Pain relief

We are often asked for advice on which painkillers to take for dental pain. Firstly we would point out that painkillers are to be taken for temporary relief of pain. The longer a medication is taken the more unwanted side effects may become apparent.

Aspirin
Perhaps this is the most well known of painkillers. Children cannot take this drug, as there is thought to be a connection with Reye's syndrome. (A rare but unpleasant condition) side effects are similar to Ibuprofen. Aspirin has to be swallowed to work, sometimes patients think that they can be used topically, this just causes a "chemical burn" so this practice should be avoided. Patients are advised that taking aspirin before a tooth extraction will probably lead to more bleeding, owing to it's "blood thinning" properties.

Ibuprofen
Sadly like aspirin this drug causes gastro-intestinal irritation, but unlike aspirin children can take it. Side effects of this drug include; fluid retention, headaches, dizziness, vertigo makes you not want to take them! Also as with Aspirin Asthmatics have to avoid Ibuprofen.

Paracetamol
Paracetamol doesn't irritate the stomach like the two drugs above and as it doesn't affect bleeding, so patients on warfarin can use it. Saying that Paracetamol is dangerous in overdosage, patients should always read the label and stick to the printed recommendations.

How they work.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) work by blocking the production of chemicals known as prostaglandins. Paracetamol works in a similar way though of course it is not an anti-inflammatory drug.