Anyone who has suffered from any form of dental disease knows that it can cause pain; every person will have suffered a toothache at one or the other point in their life. It can be a result of a variety of conditions including caries, a fractured filling, a cracked/ broken tooth, peri-apical infection, exposed dentin, a dry socket etc.
If you are suffering from toothache, it’s important that you seek help from a good dentist. Depending on what is causing the toothache and how severe it is, your dentist may prescribe:
There are 2 main types of analgesics (painkillers) – opioid and non-opioid.
Opiods– These may be referred to as narcotics and can be quite powerful and may have potentially dangerous side-effects
Non–Opiods- Most dentists prefer prescribing non-opioid analgesics such as ibuprofen. These are typically used as an adjunct to your dental treatment and they reduce the production of various pain-inducing chemicals in your body.
Non-opioid analgesics- The Main Types
- Salicylates– Aspirin is a very commonly used salicylate- it helps reduce the inflammation and fever. However, aspirin also tends to “thin” the blood and it isn’t advised for use in post operative pain relief.
- NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)– In terms of their mode of action, pharmacological effects & adverse reactions, this particular group of pain killers are very similar to aspirin. They are very powerful pain relievers and have a strong anti-inflammatory action as well. These are very effective in controlling mild-to-moderate pain and are very useful in dentistry.
NSAIDs are also available in varying strengths, and you can get some over-the-counter too. Generally, your dentist will prescribe higher doses only if there is apparent swelling and a significant amount of pain. Paracetamol may also be used in combination with ibuprofen.
- Diclofenac and Aceclofenac– These are also potent NSAIDs and they cause less of a gastrointestinal upset than some other similar drugs
- Acetaminophen or Paracetamol- These act more centrally as they block pain messages in the brain; however, they have little or no impact in reducing inflammation.
If your dental pain is accompanied by swelling in the gum, your dentist will typically recommend that you use a warm saline rinse- this helps tackle the infection which has resulted in the swelling. The rinse helps draw out the pus and provides almost instantaneous pain relief.
If your pain persists, its best to visit your dentist without delay and timely diagnosis and treatment can go a long way in curtailing any further complications.