Managing Dental Pain

advil dualAdvil + Tylenol Better Than Opioids for Oral Pain

Over-the-counter ibuprofen and acetaminophen provide better relief for dental pain than prescription opioids and are less likely to cause side effects, researchers say. People may take both acetaminophen and ibuprofen if they have chronic or severe dental pain. However, they should talk to Dr. Katie Bell before doing so.

In recent studies, researchers found that a combination of 1-2 pills (200mg) of ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) and 1 pill (500mg) of acetaminophen (Extra Strength Tylenol) was more effective than opioid medications (for example, Vicodin, Oxycontin) for adults. If these medications are medically tolerated, please discuss dosing with your dental provider.

The investigators also found that opioids or drug combinations that included opioids caused the greatest number of side effects — including drowsiness, respiratory problems, nausea/vomiting and constipation — in both children and adults.

Data suggests that the use of nonsteroidal medications [NSAIDs], with or without acetaminophen, offers the most favorable balance between benefits and harms, optimizing efficacy [effectiveness] while minimizing acute adverse events.

If you are trying to manage pain for the short-term, Advil plus Tylenol may be a good choice for you.