Pain relievers used orally Many people find that taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) is a quick and easy way to effectively relieve mild-to-moderate toothaches. Both medications can help reduce fever and pain, while keeping you more comfortable in the meantime.
Acetaminophen combined with caffeine is thought to work together to reduce pain and inflammation. However, caffeine has been shown to be toxic in large doses so be sure not to take more than what's recommended on the label. Ibuprofen works by reducing the effects of chemicals released during inflammation. It may also have some anti-inflammatory properties of its own. The dose of ibuprofen required to provide pain relief varies from person to person because everyone processes medication differently. If you're taking an oral form of ibuprofen, check the label for instructions on how much to use each day.
Non-prescription options There are several over-the-counter alternatives to both acetaminophen and ibuprofen that may provide some relief if your toothache isn't too severe. Options include naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), and meloxicam (Mobic). As with any other medication, if you have allergies or sensitivities to anything in these products, consult with your doctor before using them.
The best over-the-counter therapy for tooth pain is to alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen every 3 hours. Take ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), then three hours later, acetaminophen (Tylenol), then three hours later, ibuprofen, and so on. Continue with this regimen until you see your dentist. Don't take both medications at once; it can be toxic.
Ibuprofen works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals in the body that cause pain and inflammation. Acetaminophen works by blocking the production of prostaglandins and also has some anti-inflammatory properties itself. By alternating between these two drugs, you get their separate benefits while reducing their potential negative effects.
If you only have access to one type of medication, then use that one that's still in its original packaging. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be harmful if taken in excess of what's recommended, so make sure not to go beyond the prescribed dose. If you miss a dose of either drug, simply start again with your next dose instead of waiting for your next appointment as long as it isn't more than 24 hours after your last dose.
If you're asked to wait three hours after taking an aspirin before having something to eat, then don't bother eating before then!
OTC pain medications including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and others can give temporary pain relief. If you're taking aspirin, take it as usual. Do not apply it directly to your teeth or gums, as this will not help pain and may cause harm to the soft tissues in your mouth.
You can also find tablets that have been crushed and mixed with food like apples or carrots to increase their taste and allow you to avoid drinking water while taking them. However, these products are only available if you take oral medications regularly, so they aren't for people who occasionally need pain relief.
If you do decide to use a product that has been crushed up and mixed into food, only take it for as long as you are going to be away from a bathroom for several hours. Otherwise, the drug content may not be enough to provide relief and you could end up needing more than the recommended dose. This is especially important if you are also drinking alcohol or taking other drugs that can affect how much you need of a particular medication.
Finally, if you are thinking about using illegal drugs like heroin to get high and feel better, we recommend against it. While there are times when people are able to handle their pain without any assistance from prescription medications, many health professionals believe that patients receive the best care when prescribed painkillers. In addition to being highly addictive, some medications used to treat pain have dangerous side effects when taken by individuals who are not in pain.
The most typically prescribed opioid drugs for dental pain treatment are hydrocodone Vicodin(r), oxycodone Percocet(r) or OxyContin(r), and acetaminophen with codeine Tylenol(r) No. 3 and Tylenol(r) No. 4. These medications can be very effective in reducing the intensity of pain from extracted teeth, but they will not cure a toothache.
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by binding to receptors inside the brain and spinal cord that cause feelings of pleasure and relaxation. It may also have some effect on hormones related to stress and anxiety. Like other opioids, it can have side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, urinary retention, dry mouth, and mood changes.
Oxycodone hydrochloride is available in controlled-release forms that provide continuous pain relief over an extended period of time. The tablet form of the drug comes in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, and 100 mg doses. The liquid form of the drug is available in 5 ml bottles that contain 15 mg/ml or 30 mg/ml concentrations. The children's syrup contains 6.5 mg/ml concentration of oxycodone hydrochloride.