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Managing Pain After Dentistry

It is very important to our office that we effectively manage pain during and after dentistry!  Managing pain after dentistry is typically done with Prescription opioids but may be more effectively managed with other safer medicines.

Pain following a typical dental procedure such as an uncomplicated extraction is effectively managed with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.   Manage inflammation and you will be managing pain after dentistry! Most dental pain is due to inflammation, so this is important to prevent.  Most NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs)  like ibuprofen have strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Trauma to front tooth led to the surrounding inflammation, gum recession and pain.

Managing pain after dentistry or dental trauma is important!  Trauma to the front tooth led to the surrounding inflammation, gum recession and pain.

What is inflammation? Inflammed skin or gums may appear red, swollen and painful. The tissue may also feel warm, and may have lost function.  Inflammation is part of the body’s response to harmful stimuli, such as bacteris,  damaged cells from surgery, or trauma.  This is your body’s response at a cellular level that includes your immune cells and your blood vessels.  Evidently, tissue becomes inflammed to help remove the cause of the cell injury, and begin the process of repair.  The downside of this is pain or discomfort.

Managing pain after dentistry leads to happier patients!

Managing pain after dentistry and of course, during dental treatment leads to happy, comfortable, satisfied patients.

Here are a couple other suggestions your dentist may do to help with managing pain after dentistry or dental trauma and be as comfortable as possible following dental treatment:  Note: goal is minimize inflammation, to delay the onset of pain, minimize the pain intensity and prevent acute pain.

  1. Give NSAID before pain occurs or while you are still numb!
  2. It is helpful to take prescription dose of NSAID (400 mg to 600 mg Ibuprofen) prior to your procedure.  Try taking two OTC Ibuprofen about 30 minutes before your appointment.
  3. Your dentist can add additional long-acting anesthetic (0.5% bupivacaine with epinephrine) at the start of a short procedure or near the end of a longer procedure.
  4. Take NSAIDs in the appropriate amount by the clock for 48 – 72 hours after treatment.
  5. Add OTC Tylenol as part of the medications taken after surgery if not taking Ultracet which contains acetaminophen. Tylenol 600/650 mg by the clock either with the Ibuprofen listed above or alternated every 3 hours to maintain blood levels of both medications.
  6.  Use ice if swelling present, 20 minutes on/20 minutes off for 24 hours
  7. Prescribing Tramadol (Ultracet) for 3 days may be very beneficial without the abuse potential of other narcotics. Ultracet combined acetaminophen with tramadol which is an orally effective opioid drug with much less abuse potential than an oxycodone or hydrocodone combination.  (2 tablets of 325-mg acetaminophen plus 37.5 mg tramadol (Ultracet) every 4 – 6 hours)
  8. For mild to moderate pain you may just need ibuprofen 400 mg to 600 mg every 4-6 hours by the clock for the first 48 – 72 hours until pain subsides.

Together we can help decrease opioid abuse!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth, Restoring Smiles