You just found out that you need a dental procedure to correct a problem. It’s possible you’ll choose to take a day off work and may be prescribed pain medication while your mouth heals. It’s important to be prepared and understand all of your pharmaceutical choices during and after your procedure at Colorado Dental Arts.
Pain Management Considerations
When choosing medications with our Littleton family dentist, Dr. Thomas Froning, you should think about the following three things and how they influence our recommendations for handling pain:
- the level of pain you are experiencing or will expect to experience after your procedure;
- other medications you take, either prescription or OTC, along with side effects;
- your health history.
Our dental team discusses all of your choices and makes recommendations for pain management based on these factors. We care for your comfort during the procedure, and get you back to normal as soon as possible!
OTC Pain Management
OTC pain medications include NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Aleve, Motrin, Advil and their generic counterparts, such as aspirin. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is also effective for managing pain, however some studies show that, for some people, NSAID pain medications may be more effective and relieve pain longer. Some OTC medications, such as Advil and Aleve, are also available in higher dosages prescribed by the dentist.
Prescription Pain Medications
Opioids are sometimes prescribed for pain management. Opioids are available by prescription only and Colorado Dental Arts prefers to err on the side of caution when prescribing these powerful medications. They are very effective for managing pain, but can also be addictive. Our dentist carefully considers the benefits and risks for each patient before prescribing opioids, as well as the type of procedure to be performed. Sometimes opioids may be combined with an OTC medication. For example, Vicodin is a combination of the opioid hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Some people find that opioids make them drowsy, so it is wise to make changes to your driving habits while using these prescriptions. Because these medications are also addictive, be sure to give a complete medical history to your dentist, Dr. Froning, and discuss with him any history of drug or alcohol dependency.
No matter what pain medications we recommend, take your medicine exactly as directed. When recovering from a dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction, it’s best to take pain medication at bedtime to guarantee a good night’s rest. Also, if prescribed, pain medications are written for your use only. For information about how to store or dispose of unused prescription medications, visit MouthHealthy.org, the American Dental Association’s website for patients.
Know that you are in good hands at Colorado Dental Arts! Our team is committed to making your dental procedure as comfortable and stress free as possible. Feel free to speak with us about sedation dentistry for patients with dental anxiety, as well as other choices to manage pain effectively.