Pain Management and Dentistry
Knowing what kind, how much, or how often to take medication for oral or tooth pain can be confusing. Below we will discuss a few different scenarios and how to handle each scenario.
Unless otherwise instructed by your physician to not take any NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), I usually recommend taking ibuprofen as a first like of defense. This is the active ingredient in Motrin or Advil. An adult can take up to 800mg of ibuprofen every 8 hours or 600 mg every 6 hours. The important thing to remember is to not exceed 2400mg in 24 hours.
If ibuprofen is still not enough, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) in between your doses of ibuprofen to help with the pain (do not exceed 4000mg per 24 hours). These are allowed to be alternated because acetaminophen and ibuprofen have a different mechanism of action. But if you have to option which to take first, I would recommend ibuprofen over acetaminophen.
If you noticed your jaw joint or associated muscles are sore during chewing, there is a possibility you have strained one of your facial muscles. And like any other sore muscle, it usually just needs time to heal. But ibuprofen can help with the inflammatory and pain response and keep you comfortable in the meantime.
- Up to 800mg of ibuprofen every 8 hours
- Rest (soft diet, no gum)
- Warm compress (if muscular)
If the symptoms do not begin to subside after a week or so, I would definitely recommend having the area examined for other factors or concerns.
While there are some mildly effective over the counter medications, I usually recommend discussing a prescription with your dentist if they are a frequent and painful problem. Orajel is a mild topical anesthetic that can help reduce pain when eating or drinking. However, it will only address the symptoms and not the source. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are again affective and controlling some pain associated with these sores.
Each individual is unique and may require some adjustments to the usual protocol. The important thing to remember is to contact your dentist with any questions or concerns.