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Dental Pain Management | Hawaii Family Dental

Written by Danica Lacson on April 2, 2018

Pain is an unpleasant or distressing feeling caused by a damaging or intense stimulus. In Dentistry, managing dental pain is imperative in the treatment of patients to provide them the most comfortable dental experience.

At Hawaii Family Dental, your comfort is our priority. We will tend to your needs and get your teeth back to their normal functions. Our dentists may prescribe pain medication to help in managing your dental pain. The dose of the drugs may vary from one patient to another as it is dependent on the age, weight, and other considerations.

But before prescribing or administering any pain medication, your health records, allergies to drugs, and current medication you are taking will be asked to check for possible complications that can arise.

Pain medications may include the following:

During Dental Treatments

Local anesthetic, anesthesia that affects a restricted area of the body to provide reversible blockade of nerves, will be used on the area to be treated to eliminate or minimize the sensation of pain which may come along with the procedure.

It is often administered via an injection to the site or allowed to be absorbed into the skin. The dental procedures which commonly use a local anesthetic include:

  • Dental fillings
  • Treatment for gum disease
  • Tooth extraction
  • Preparation for dental crowns.

The anesthesia is expected to wear off about one to three hours following the procedure. Patients must not chew on the numb side unless the effects have worn off.

The common drugs used for local anesthetics are lidocaine, mepivacaine, bupivacaine, among others.

Aside from local anesthesia, general anesthesia, nitrous oxide, or intravenous sedation are also common anesthetics used in dental procedures as a way of controlling pain and management.

At Hawaii Family Dental, we check our patient’s condition first before administering the local anesthesia. We also use the smallest possible dose of a drug which can adequately give the needed loss of sensation of pain.

After Routine Dental Treatments and A Root Canal Therapy

No pain or soreness is expected to result after a dental filling procedure, dental crown preparation, or routine teeth cleaning. Still, if mild soreness is experienced following the treatments, the patient may be prescribed by the dentist a pain medication including ibuprofen (Advil).

Ibuprofen is available over-the-counter, although some pharmacies may require a prescription. It is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug which can treat mild to severe pain. The maximum dose of ibuprofen is set at 3.2 grams per day or 200 to 400 milligrams every four to six hours.

If moderate to severe pain is experienced, it is best to give the dental office a call.

After A Dental Surgical Procedure Like Tooth Extraction

A few days after a surgical procedure, intense soreness may be experienced which may require a higher level of post-treatment pain management.

  • For minor surgery, a patient can take 600 milligrams of ibuprofen with 325 milligrams of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • For a more extensive surgery, the dentist may prescribe opioid drugs or narcotic pain medications like fentanyl. Opioid drugs can help for moderate to severe pain. However, extra caution must be imposed on taking the opioid drug as it can have adverse side effects, the risk of addiction, and abuse.

For Walk-In Patients With Dental Pain

When you walk into our office with dental pain, we will first evaluate your situation and arrive at diagnosis before performing the appropriate emergency dental treatment. If needed, we will follow up the procedure with pain medication or antibiotic or other medication depending on your situation.

What are the different pain medications used in Dentistry?

As a patient, it is essential that you are aware of the various medications used to eliminate or treat your dental pain so that you will also know the implications of each type of pain medications.

Non-Narcotic Analgesics

Also known as non-opioids, non-narcotic analgesics are a type of medication used for acute, mild to moderate pain management and inflammation and are available at drugstores without a need for a prescription. However, for higher doses, a prescription must be presented.

Often, non-narcotic analgesics are orally taken. Some non-opioid drugs are given through an injection or an IV either before, during, or after the procedure.

Examples under the non-narcotic analgesics include non-prescription drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve), or surgical options like bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension (Exparel).

Like any other drugs, this type of medications has possible side effects like liver and kidney problems, nausea, abnormal heart rate, vomiting, among others.

Narcotic Pain Medications

Unlike non-narcotic analgesics, narcotic pain analgesics are only available through prescription. This type of medication control body pain by mimicking the activity of endorphins which are naturally produced by the body to combat pain. They help in the management of acute and persistent, moderate to severe pain.

Opioids are orally taken either in pill or liquid form, but they can also be administered through bandage-like skin patches, lozenges, patient-controlled analgesia pump, rectal suppositories.

Examples of narcotic pain medications include morphine (Avinza), methadone (Dolophine), oxymorphone (Opana), levorphanol (Levo-Dromoran), oxycodone (OxyContin), meperidine (Demerol), and fentanyl (Duragesic).

Opioids can cause drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, mood swings, among others. Patients are advised to take caution in taking opioids as they can cause addiction. Still, abruptly stopping opioid treatment is not recommended. It will be best to inform your dentist about your intention halt your opioid intake so he could gradually lessen the dosage, giving your body time to adjust.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

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