Managing Dental Pain

Dental Pain

Discussing NSAID and Opioids

One of the main reasons many people avoid the dentist is an expectation of pain. Ironically, avoiding regular dental checkups often results in acute pain from things like toothaches, gum irritation, dental abscesses, or cavities. The Placerville Dental Group is fully aware that our patients do not want to feel pain before, during or after their visits. We also know that a certain level of discomfort may be unavoidable, depending on the procedure. Please keep in mind that the pain is only temporary and quickly diminishes as your body heals. In many cases, a patient is extremely relieved to be free of dental pain.

Thankfully, our dentists have the option of prescribing medications to help with dental pain. During a procedure, we have medications that can inhibit the senses so that you do not feel any pain, and we also offer sleep dentistry to help you with anxiety. We are also aware that you might experience some pain or discomfort as you heal after the procedure. What options are available?

Opioids in Dentistry

Opioids are used to help with acute pain. They include drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine. Such drugs are sometimes prescribed mixed with acetaminophen or aspirin. Opioids alter the body’s response to pain sensations. They are often very effective in reducing acute or chronic pain symptoms.
Of course, once the drug wears off, the pain returns, and the first reaction is to take more drugs to remove the pain again. As a result, a person can easily develop an addiction to opioids, both physical and behavioral. Other adverse effects include dizziness, vomiting, constipation, and shallow breathing. Continued overuse may result in death, as news headlines repeatedly show. In 2015, over 61% of the reported deaths by drug overdose involved opioids. Thankfully, there are alternatives to either dilute the dosage or replace it altogether.

NSAID and Acetaminophen for Dentistry

The acronym NSAID stands for “nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.” Such medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib, and aspirin. NSAID medications help with pain by reducing inflammation at the site where pain is occurring. Acetaminophen is not an NSAID, because it acts differently, reducing pain, but not inflammation. Most of these medications are available over the counter, with higher doses prescribed by medical professionals.

As with any medications, moderate use is important. Long-term use of NSAIDs often affects the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in things like nausea, abdominal pain, and heartburn. Even so, they rarely result in death because their effectiveness has limits. NSAID medications do reach a point where increased dosages do not increase effectiveness. If your pain persists beyond that point, it’s important to inform the Placerville Dental Group so we can assess the situation and see if you need help with the pain, or determine if something else is causing further pain.

Analgesics and Dentistry

Very few people like to feel pain, and fewer than that want to feel dental pain. But it’s important for you to know that the discomfort from a dental procedure is only temporary. The Placerville Dental Group prescribes medications in a way that allows us to evaluate your ongoing level of pain. That way, we can make any adjustments necessary and provide you with enough medication so that the pain is manageable, without endangering your health. If you require further pain management, we address the issue at that time.

Are there other alternatives to help you manage pain, or acceptable home remedies that might assist in keeping the pain or swelling down? There might be a few for your case, and we’re happy to discuss them with you. Feel free to give us a call so we can discuss pain management for your issue in detail.

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