Dental pain relief tips before you see the dentist
It’s possible that dental pain and scary dentists feature more in movies than back pain and various ‘body workers’ such as physiotherapists, masseurs and chiropractors. Surely this comes from widely held fears and unpleasant memories of tooth ache?
Understanding pain relief options
Dental pain can come on suddenly from a cracked tooth or trauma. Or it may come and go over a period of time when decay is advancing. When it strikes, knowing how to manage it in the lead up to your dental appointment can reduce the associated stress!
And these same measures apply to discomfort experienced after procedures such as tooth extraction.
Over-the-counter drugs – more effective and safer
Research over the last few years has found a relationship between two familiar, over-the-counter medications. These two drugs together are more effective at relieving acute pain and safer than stronger pain killers.
Research shows normal doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen taken together provide greater relief from pain than either medication taken alone.
Relief from dental pain without strong meds
Codeine was once readily available and often prescribed, Since 2000, it has been linked with increasing deaths from overdose in US, UK and Australia. One factor is variations in how the drug is metabolised by the body (which is genetic). And another is interactions with other common drugs. Since February 2018, even medications with low-dose codeine are no longer available without a doctor’s prescription.
Don’t forget your first aid: #1 apply ice!
Ice-packs held to the outside of the cheek have an excellent anti-inflammatory effect which helps to ease pain from irritated, inflamed tissues. Twenty minutes with an ice-pack also produces a soothing numbing effect, enhancing relief from pain.
. . . and #2 elevate the painful area
One final tip is to avoid lying flat at night. By propping the head and shoulders on pillows, or sleeping in a recliner chair, the head is kept above the heart. This reduces blood flow to the area which otherwise increases swelling and likelihood of throbbing.
There’s a good chance that these simple measures will help you keep it together until you can get to see your dentist.