Reasons For Facial Paresthesias: Symptoms & Treatment Options

Paresthesia is a medical term which means abnormal sensation on the surface of skin. It can occur on any part of body surface. Typical feeling of pins and needles, tingling and pricking sensation all are referred as paresthesia. Numbness can be transient episode or may persist for many days and months if it is chronic. Facial paresthesia is defined as abnormal sensation of numbness, tingling, pricking, on the face. It is caused by neural injury. In majority of cases the nerve involved is trigeminal nerve, one of the cranial nerves.

Systemic as well as local factors both play a role in causing facial paresthesia.

Systemic disorders such as multiple sclerosis, viral or bacterial infection, blood cancer, diabetes, nutritional deficiency etc can cause facial paresthesia. Local cause include anesthetic injection during dental extraction, insect bite etc. Treatment of facial paresthesia depends on the underlying etiology.

Causes And Risk Factors Of Facial Paresthesias

Paresthesia can be a symptom of injury or dysfunction of the nerve. The damage can be caused due to an injury or disease or nutritional deficiency. It can also be an indication of entrapment of the nerve, wherein if the pressure is removed from the nerve, the symptom will relieve.

Facial paresthesia is caused mainly due to some form of damage to the trigeminal nerve. Patient experiences numbness and sensation of pins and needles on face in case of facial paresthesia.

The cause and pathophysiology of neuropathy is not clearly understood. But it is caused due to defect in the signaling mechanism that is released from brain to different parts of the body. There are several factors that can contribute numbness and tingling on face. The sensation can be transient or persist for days and months. Following factors can trigger paresthesia on face:

  • Injury on face
  • Cold climate
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency.
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Anesthetic injection used during tooth extraction. The numb sensation in this case is temporary. As the effect of anesthesia wanes, numbness goes away.
  • Surgery of facial structures such as the jaw bone.
  • Entrapment of trigeminal nerve.
  • Bacterial and viral infection.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hormonal irregularities

Facial paresthesia does not always mean something serious; however, it can sometimes indicate a serious condition such as multiple sclerosis. In some cases the underlying etiology remains unclear even after extensive examination and diagnostic tests.

Symptoms Of Facial Paresthesias

The symptoms of facial paresthesia can be sudden in onset of gradual. They can remain for transient period of time and subside or may persist for long period of time. The abnormal sensation occurs on the skin surface of face. It can occur all over the face or only in one part. The typical unusual sensation can be described as burning, tingling, or prickling.

Patient experiences pins and needle feeling on the facial skin. If the tingling and numbness is also accompanied on one side of arm and leg, it can be an indication of stroke. In case of multiple sclerosis, the condition remains constant and may extend to other parts of body as well.

Treatment Options For Facial Paresthesia

Treatment of facial paresthesia will depend on the underlying cause. In majority of cases the treatment is conservative. Medications are used to treat and relieve facial paresthesia. In some cases as in case of trigeminal neuralgia, injection containing medicine is given directly in the trigeminal nerve. If the cause is entrapment of the nerve, surgery may help to relieve the pressure.

Once the pressure on nerve is reduced, patient may experience relief in the symptoms of paresthesia. In case if the cause is nutritional deficiency or diabetes, control and correction will gradually reduce numbness and tingling. In case of tooth abscess, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines will effectively reduce numbness on face.