Pulsed and Conventional Radiofrequency Treatment: Which Is Effective for Dental Procedure-Related Symptomatic Trigeminal Neuralgia?

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Many patients develop dental treatment-related symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia. However, the effectiveness of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) treatment and conventional radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) for treatment of this disorder has not been determined. This retrospective study was conducted to compare the effectiveness and complications of PRF and RFTC in these patients.


Fifty-four patients who experienced the onset of symptomatic trigeminal neuralgia after a dental treatment were managed by PRF or RFTC. Data were collected by reviewing their medical records and conducting a questionnaire. Patients' characteristics, the dental procedures that caused the trigeminal neuralgia, the baseline and posttreatment pain intensities, duration of pain relief, complications, and satisfactions to the treatment were evaluated.


Pain intensities were lower at 1 week (3.0/10 vs 6.4/10), at 1 month (2.5/10 vs 5.9/10), 3 months (2.6/10 vs 5.5/10), 6 months (3.1/10 vs 7.1/10) and 1 year (4.8/10 vs 7.2/10) in the RFTC group (28 patients) than in the PRF group (26 patients) (P< 0.05). The duration of pain relief without medication in the RFTC group (10.8 months) was longer than that in the PRF group (0 months). The incidence of complications in the RFTC group (46.4%) was higher than that in the PRF group (3.8%) (P< 0.05). The RFTC group reported higher satisfaction ratings (3.86/5) than the PRF group (2.19/5) (P< 0.05).


Although the RFTC group had more complications than the PRF group, most were minor and transient, and the patient satisfaction rate with RFTC was very high. Therefore, RFTC is an effective tool for the treatment of dental procedure-induced trigeminal neuralgia.

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