The news is covered with stories of people who went to the doctor for pain relief and became addicted to narcotics to the point that they are abusing illegal drugs once they’re no longer able to get the prescription medication. This may have you gritting your teeth, and just trying to ignore your dental pain. You can get dental pain relief safely by talking with your dentist about medications.
Open the Discussion
During your next appointment, let your dentist know that you’re having dental pain and that you’re worried about taking a prescription painkiller. They cannot help you with pain relief if they’re not aware that you’re in pain. Once you’ve broached the topic, they can help you with finding dental pain relief options that will work for you. Often the first step will be for your dentist to determine what is causing your pain in the first place.
Locating the cause of the pain lets your dentist treat it at its source. For instance, you may have a dental abscess that’s causing your mouth to hurt, and a course of antibiotics will be necessary to clear up the infection that’s causing the pain.
Getting a Pain Relief Prescription
Once you’ve spoken to your dentist about pain and your concern with medications, your dentist can go over various options.
- They may have some alternative pain treatments that can help your pain, such as over-the-counter medication for your type of pain, applying ice, or other natural remedies.
- They may choose a therapeutic mouthwash that’s available either over-the-counter or as a prescription that has a topical local anesthetics, such as hydrochloride or lidocaine.
- They may also choose to try to treat your pain with a prescribed narcotic likeTylenol #3, Hydrocodone, or Oxycodone.
Typically, the length of time that you’ll be on this type of prescription will be relatively short as your dentist will be also treating the cause of the pain.
How to Safely Use Your Prescribed Narcotic
If you’re coming home with a prescription from the pharmacy, you should read the instructions and caution label carefully. Be sure to ask questions to your dentist or pharmacist if you’re unsure about something with your prescription. Only take the prescription as prescribed. If your dental pain is resolved before you're finished talking your prescription, you’ll want to stop taking it.
Secure and Monitor Your Prescription
If there are other individuals inside your home or you have people over regularly, you’ll want to put your medication in a secure location where others won’t know to find it. That means skipping the medicine cabinet or on your night stand.
You’ll also want to monitor the number of pills in the bottle. Note how many you’ve taken, and how many are left to ensure that none have gone missing. In recent years, the largest source of drug abuse in teens and young adults is prescription medication that’s often obtained at first from home or their friends’ homes. Be sure to have an open dialogue with your kids about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
Safely Dispose of Unused Medication
If you have leftover medication, you’ll want to safely dispose of it. There may be some disposal instructions on the label if your pharmacy offers it. If not, you can go to a drug take back day or locate a Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations that’s in your area.
Do not flush your medication as this puts it into the water supply. A final option is to mix the prescriptions with kitty litter or coffee grounds to make it less appealing and recognizable to someone going through your trash. Don’t forget to remove your personal information from the label before disposing to protect your privacy and your identity.
Wondering about dental pain and the use of medication? Let us know!