You and your dentist have a range of options for relieving dental pain. It's most important to determine the cause of the pain and if any treatment is necessary. This blog post will discuss medications that are available for mitigating dental pain. When choosing a pain medication you might consider:
OTC (over the counter) drugs are medications that you can buy at a pharmacy without a prescription. The two general types of OTC pain relievers are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil of Motrin), naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn), and aspirin. Some of these drugs have different maximum dosages and indications. Research has shown that NSAIDs are just as effective as narcotics for relieving most dental pain.
People with asthma, kidney disease, and gastric ulcers should not use NSAIDs. In addition, patients on blood thinners should not use NSAIDs. For these patients Tylenol is a better choice.
Prescription drugs include higher dosage NSAIDs and narcotics. For nearly all patients, a higher dosage NSAID works just as well if not better than narcotics and has less side effects. Narcotics are often combined with an OTC medication. For instance Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Narcotics can make people sleepy and there is a risk for addiction, so NSAIDs or Tylenol are usually a better initial choice. .
Taking Prescription Drugs Safely
Take your medication exactly as directed. Remember, it is for your use only. It can be harmful or fatal when used by someone else. Make sure you tell your dentist if you are taking other medications (even OTC medications) because some combinations can be dangerous.
Talking To Your Dentist About Pain Medication
When you talk to your dentist about pain relief make sure you tell him or her about your past history with pain, past use of OTC and prescription pain medications, and your full medical history. Are there certain drugs that made you feel poorly? Are there certain drugs you know you can't take? Be sure to ask questions about when to take your pain medication (for example, whether you should take the medication after a meal).
If you find that the medication is not improving your pain, call your dentist. Since there are so many pain medications available today, he or she will be able to recommend a different option.