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Do You Know Which Medications Are Best for Toothache Relief?

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The pain of toothache can send anyone running to the medicine cabinet for relief. Of course, the best option is to have your dentist treat the underlying problem that is causing the pain, but it is not always possible to see a dentist right away. While you wait for an appointment, it pays to know which medications you can safely take to relieve your pain. Not all medications are equally good at treating toothache, so let's take a look at four of the most common painkillers and assess how effective they are for toothache relief.

1. Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is a fantastic medication for treating toothache. As well as blocking out the pain, ibuprofen also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can be helpful if you are experiencing swelling after dental surgery. However, ibuprofen and other medications in the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) class may not be suitable for people with gastrointestinal or cardiovascular problems, as they can cause digestive ulcers and raise the risk of stroke. If you have medical conditions or take regular medications, talk to your doctor to find out whether ibuprofen is suitable for you.

2. Paracetamol

Paracetamol is an effective pain medication that is safe for most people to take. However, you must be careful not to exceed the maximum dose indicated on the packaging, as taking too much paracetamol can damage the liver. You can take ibuprofen and paracetamol together if neither drug is enough to relieve your toothache on its own. These two medications are sold under many different brand names, but the cheaper generic options are usually just as good as the more expensive brands.

3. Codeine

Codeine is a strong and effective painkiller, but from 2018 it will no longer be available without a prescription in Australia. Many people become addicted to codeine, which can have serious health consequences. If over-the-counter pain options don't relieve your toothache, you can ask your dentist or doctor for a prescription for codeine, but you soon won't be able to buy it in the pharmacy without a prescription.

4. Aspirin

Aspirin is generally not the best option for relieving pain while you wait to see a dentist about your toothache. This is because aspirin thins the blood and reduces its ability to clot. If your dentist needs to remove a tooth or perform dental surgery to relieve your toothache, you could end up bleeding profusely if you have been taking aspirin. Stick to the other options in this list to avoid complications. If you have taken aspirin recently, let your dentist know during your appointment.