Dental Pain

Most people will suffer the unpleasant effects of dental pain or toothache during their lifetime. Every year nearly half of the population will experience some form of dental pain or discomfort and many will eventually be driven to seek emergency treatment. Severe dental pain can be totally incapacitating. Low grade, chronic dental pain is debilitating and in both cases the first priority must be to make an urgent dental appointment for diagnosis and treatment. The early warning signs should never be ignored.

It is easy to understand the reason for such unpleasant symptoms. The nature of the teeth and their association with the jaws are part of a complex sensory mechanism with short nerve pathways to the brain. Pain tells the brain that all is not well.


The teeth and the tooth attachments may give rise to painful symptoms as a result of decay, abscess, gum (periodontal) disease or eruption problems. The pain may vary from: an intermittent or fleeting sensitivity; sensitivity to hot and cold that may indicate the early onset of decay; to the most dreadful acute throbbing pain caused by advanced decay and a dental abscess. In this latter case it may be impossible even to touch the teeth together and eating may be difficult.

Postoperative Pain

Pain may occur following dental treatment. It is not uncommon after a very large and deep filling has been placed or a dental extraction carried out. The degree of pain is related to the damaged dental tissues [e.g. the surgical removal of an impacted wisdom tooth can be associated with several days of pain or discomfort]. Patients must therefore expect to be given suitable medication and advised to follow procedures aimed at promoting rapid healing whilst reducing the discomfort to a minimum. It is most unusual for postoperative pain to last for more than 10 days. In the vast majority of cases medication will not be required for more than 3 days. SmileSolutitions is a proud owner of a Epic Laser, the Epic line of diode lasers from BIOLASE provide a therapeutic and non-invasive way to treat pain in as little as ten minutes.

Using a special handpiece attachment, the Epic laser transforms from an award-winning surgical device to a fully capable solution for reducing and managing oral and maxillofacial pain.

Dental Pain Control

There are many factors that influence the choice of a successful regime for dental pain control. The young and the old require extra care together with those who may already be taking medication for other medical or dental conditions and pregnant or nursing mothers. The assessment of the physical and psychological makeup of the patient, together with their past experiences with various forms of pain control, are key to future choices. Allergies, asthma, other contraindications and short term personal or business activities may also have to be considered.

In the vast majority of emergencies dental pain can be controlled in the short term by one of three simple medicines – paracetamol, anti-inflammatory and ibuprofen. All can be purchased without the need for a prescription and are known as Over the Counter (OTC) medicines. Only a minority of dental cases will need access to more powerful Prescription Only Medicines (POM) that can only be supplied by a general medical or dental practitioner.


Effective in pain relief in a wide variety of situations that include headaches, muscular pain, neuralgia, influenza and dental pain, it also reduces raised body temperature. It has remarkably few side effects and is well tolerated in those situations in which aspirin has to be avoided, including in young children.


Anti-inflammatory is the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation or swelling. Anti-inflammatory drugs make up about half of analgesics, remedying pain by reducing inflammation as opposed to opioids, which affect the central nervous system to block pain signaling to the brain.v


Like aspirin, it has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in lowering a fever and relieving pain. It is useful in dental pain control as many dental conditions have an inflammatory element. It should not be used in situations that involve gastrointestinal problems, asthma or after surgery.

The use of paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen may well be sufficient to bring pain relief, but other drugs may be even more effective. For example, the addition of opiates like codeine, either alone or combined with aspirin or paracetamol, will increase significantly the analgesic effects. The same effect occurs when codeine is added to ibuprofen. Caffeine is commonly added and may improve absorption and reduce drowsiness. Research suggests that there may be a benefit to be gained by alternating between aspirin/codeine or paracetamol/codeine combinations and ibuprofen every 3 hours. Some branded analgesics incorporate antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or doxylamine to improve pain-killing properties.

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