Have you ever undergone oral surgery and the pain after the procedure is truly excruciating? If so, surely your oral surgeon has given something to alleviate the pain, such as an opioid medication. But did you know that there are opioid alternatives for pain management, which have lesser to zero side effects and tend to have better results? That’s why if you need the help of an emergency dentist, don’t hesitate to ask for it, as you may spare yourself from a medication that has a lot of risks.
Take note though, that if you’ve ever been prescribed with an opioid painkiller by your dentis, you’re not alone.
Based on the findings of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2012, dental practitioners prescribe 6% of the total opioid prescriptions in America. In most cases, these drugs are meant to treat dental pain associated with procedures like tooth extraction and root canal.
The administration of prescription painkillers to alleviate pain is a decision that should not be taken lightly, especially if you are a parent. In the 90s, the number of Americans who got addicted to opioids has skyrocketed, with over half of the opioids prescribed after dental surgeries consumed by someone other than the actual patient.
By knowing the risks associated with opioids, you might want to consider an alternative to pain management therapies. But remember that no matter how you decide to manage your dental pain, you should always consult your dentist before moving forward. Your dentist can educate you on the appropriate use, risks and alternatives of various methods.
Common Dental Pain Management Alternatives to Opioids
You may know them as Aspirin or ibuprofen, but NSAIDs or non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs are an evidence-based, non-opioid pain management solution for treatment of acute dental pain. NSAIDs help by providing effective pain relief caused by inflammation in the bone, dental pulp, and gum.
The American Dental Association recommends dentists to consider NSAIDs as a first line therapy for acute pain management. According to research, NSAIDs taken after a dental procedure are at least as effective as opioids for reducing frequency and intensity of acute dental pain. NSAIDs are usually over-the-counter, but your dentist may prescribe a higher dosage based on your pain severity.
Acetaminophen is another option for managing dental pain. It’s another over-the-counter medicine commonly used to treat physical pain and fever.
Your dentist may determine that your level of pain requires more than a single medication. If that’s the case, your dentist may put you on a treatment plan that involves both a NSAID and Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen has been shown to have a synergistic effect when taken with ibuprofen for the treatment of acute dental pain.
Consult your Dentist about Pain Management
If you intend to undergo dental treatment, make sure you talk to your dentist about your pain management options. Only your dentist can best teach you on the risks and dangers of prescription painkillers.
Want to learn more?
Always talk to your dentist. If you have any questions about taking opioids for dental pain, ask them. They would be happy to tell you how it works and whether it is a good fit for you or the alternatives would work better.