Ibuprofen Improves Performance of Local Anesthetics


Ibuprofen is a commonly used over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drug. Injure a muscle or sprain a joint and this analgesic is often recommended by a doctor as part of your treatment and recovery. This is not all it can do, however, as the Journal of the American Dental Association has also reported that ibuprofen helps local anesthetics to work effectively when dental patients are receiving treatment for a tooth infection.

Treatment for Pulpitis

Pulpitis is an infection of the living tissue inside a tooth. Since infection usually causes swelling, and there is no room inside a tooth for the pulp to expand, pulpitis is a common cause of toothache. If treated promptly, the disease can be reversible. If allowed to progress to the point where part of the pulp dies, the now dead tissue must be removed from the tooth and a crown placed on top to strengthen what remains.

During this treatment, commonly called a root canal, local anesthetics eliminate pain in the tooth. Depending on the patient and the circumstances, more or less anesthetic may be required. Since preventing pain is a primary goal of any dentist, dental scientists investigated whether experimental data shows any benefit to pain relief from taking a dose of ibuprofen before oral surgery.

Based on statistics collected from five different experiments, researchers concluded that using ibuprofen made local anesthetics (like lidocaine) more than twice as effective during pulpitis treatment in the lower molars. Only one pre-operative dose of ibuprofen was needed. The effectiveness of an OTC drug in this case fits well with a report in Pharmacy Times suggesting that ordinary anti-inflammatories are just as effective as opioid analgesics for treating many types of pain.

Should I Take Ibuprofen Before Oral Surgery?

First, patients should always consult with their dentist before taking any non-prescription medications on the day of oral surgery. Second, always make sure the staff at the Sacramento Dentistry Group is aware of all medications and supplements that you take on a regular basis. Both of these steps are important to prevent mixing or overdosing drugs that may cause an adverse reaction.

And if this information does not give you more peace of mind when you need oral surgery, remember that the Sacramento Dentistry Group also offers sleep dentistry to eliminate any chance that you feel pain during your procedure. For more information and to get help with a toothache, contact our downtown Sacramento office by calling 916-538-6900.

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