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Over-The-Counter Pain Relief Medication for Dental Use

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Updated September 26, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relief Medication for Dental Use
Photo: John Foxx / Getty Images

Over-the-counter pain relief medication is used in dentistry to manage pain from a number of dental problems including:

  • Pain from wisdom teeth
  • Discomfort from advanced gum disease and gum infections
  • Pain from an abscessed tooth
  • Pain and discomfort from a cracked or broken tooth

Selecting an over-the-counter pain medication that is right for you involves understanding how this type of pain relief medication manages pain, and more importantly whether or not you are able to take certain types of over-the-counter pain relief medications. The most common over-the counter pain relief medications include:

  • Ibuprofen - The most popular over-the-counter pain relief medication used in dentistry is ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which works very well for dental pain, because inflammation is a common outcome from most dentally related aches and pains. People taking certain medications should not use ibuprofen, so it is advisable that you discuss using ibuprofen with your dentist, physician, or pharmacist before taking ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is available in tablets, liquid gel capsules, and oral suspension formulations.
  • Acetaminophen - Acetaminophen is another popular over-the-counter pain relief medication used to manage dental pain, especially for people that are unable to take ibuprofen. As with any medication, discuss using acetaminophen with your dentist, physician, or dentist because there are side effects and drug interactions that one should be made aware of before taking this type of medication. Acetaminophen is available in tablets, liquid gel capsules, and oral suspension formulations.

Sources:

Drugs A-Z. Ibuprofen. http://drugsaz.about.com/od/drugs/ibuprofen.htm. Accessed June 24, 2010.

Drugs A-Z. Acetaminophen. http://drugsaz.about.com/od/drugs/acetaminophen.htm. Accessed: June 24, 2010.

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