Oral Health Care Pain Management Options
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For mouth or jaw pain, schedule a visit with your doctor to learn the cause of your pain and learn what type of pain management will be the most effective. The source of pain needs to be directly addressed, otherwise, when pain medication wears off, the pain will breakthrough.
Everyone experiences pain differently. Often those who are fearful of pain, depressed, or anxious experience pain more severely. Pain can be debilitating and prevent regular, everyday activities.
Acute pain may be due to oral disease or injury and usually last from days to less than four weeks. Most commonly, pain is due to dental caries (cavities) in the tooth (enamel, dentin, and cementum). Pain can also be due to other tissue conditions, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. Sometimes, short-term pain may result from a dental procedure.
Pain control with the use of oral analgesics, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), is the most effective. NSAIDs are recommended as first-line therapy for acute pain management for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions. A decision regarding pain management needs careful consideration. Providers and patients should understand available pain control options and decide on a pain management strategy that optimizes benefits while minimizing risks.
Short-term or chronic pain may have clinical, psychological, and social costs. Pain may limit your ability to complete everyday activities, you may miss work, and it can disturb your overall quality of life.
If you want to learn uses, side effects, dosage, details, and reviews about a medication your doctor has prescribed, click here.
Medications commonly used in Oral Health Care
There are many medications prescribed for pain. Opioids (narcotics) and benzodiazepines (muscle relaxers) may not be the best options, as these drugs tend to be addictive. Studies have demonstrated that just three days of opioid use can increase the likelihood of addiction.
Types of non-addictive chronic pain medications:
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), including ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Antidepressants, which can improve sleep and alleviate pain
- Anti-seizure medications, which can be effective in treating pain related to nerve damage or injury
- Steroids, like dexamethasone and prednisone, to alleviate inflammation and pain
Types of addictive chronic pain medications
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
Therapy can be aimed at both the mind and the body.
Physical therapy is an exercise program tailored just for your type of pain.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is understanding the role of pain in your life and what to do about it.
Other Pain Management Options
A variety of approaches and modalities can help you manage both the physical and emotional parts of pain:
- TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Visual imagery (as simple as picturing a peaceful scene)
- Biofeedback (teaches control over muscle tension, temperature, heart rate, and more)
- Heat and cold therapy
- Manipulation and massage
- Healthy lifestyle
- Weight loss
- Increased physical activity (e.g., walking)