Dental pain? Reach for the anti-inflammatories, not the antibiotics

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Dental pain can be very serious and sometimes people need urgent pain relief before they can get to a dentist.

Scientists from the Melbourne Dental School give an overview of dental pain and the medicines that can help while awaiting dental treatment. They explain that antibiotics usually are not helpful.

The research is published in Australian Prescriber and was conducted by Dr. Aovana Timmerman et al.

They suggest that not all facial pain is caused by a dental problem.

It may have another cause if, for example, the pain comes with a headache or is more a burning or ‘pins and needles’ pain. A doctor and/or dentist can help to find the cause of the pain or refer a patient to a specialist.

In people need relief from dental pain, ibuprofen is the first choice for most people, or a combination of ibuprofen with paracetamol for stronger pain relief.

Be aware, however, that not everyone can take ibuprofen such as people with heart, kidney or liver conditions.

Speak to your pharmacist if you are unsure, and make sure to read the label and follow the instructions to avoid unwanted side effects.

Antibiotics alone are usually not appropriate for dental pain. Having a fever, tenderness and a rapid spread of swelling may be signs of an abscess which will require drainage.

Your doctor or pharmacist can give advice and help you with your pain if you have to wait to see a dentist.

The best treatment for dental pain is dental treatment.

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If you care about tooth health, please read studies about why some people more prone to tooth loss, and this common tooth disease may increase risks of dementia.

For more information about tooth and gum health, please see recent studies that healthy teeth and gum could help prevent common bowel diseases, and results showing this type of pickle can help prevent tooth cavities.

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