I am very fortunate to have all of my natural teeth. No, not because of any genetic propensity; I have all of my natural teeth because I knew about trigeminal neuralgia.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition that produces brief episodes of severe facial pain and is found in about 4%-6% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to WebMD.

Had I not known about this symptom, I likely would’ve pursued a dental solution. I tell my story because it is important to recognize rare symptoms of MS. Knowing what they are can either help diagnose MS or help an MS patient avoid pain and stress.

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When looking to diagnose MS, healthcare professionals rely on the most common symptoms, including optic neuritis, gait issues, muscle weakness, fatigue, etc.

Read more about multiple sclerosis symptoms

Trigeminal neuralgia, which causes severe facial pain, is more common in patients with multiple sclerosis than in the general population. Credit: Shutterstock

Nearly every resource will cite the same symptoms. The need to make general symptoms known to as wide an audience as possible helps to identify diseases or chronic illnesses as early as possible. In that pursuit to cover and educate as many people as possible, lesser symptoms are easily overlooked. 

However, MS professionals should make an effort to look beyond the primary symptoms to recognize and assess other indicators of this disease. Doing so will help avoid unnecessary medical treatments and improve the quality of life for their patients, among other benefits.

I still have days when my teeth hurt. The difference between the past and the present is that I fully appreciate the fact that I have a mouth full of teeth. And that is all due to knowing rare symptoms of MS.