Merck Manual

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Introduction to Urgent Dental Problems

By

Michael N. Wajdowicz

, DDS, USAF

Last full review/revision Nov 2020| Content last modified Nov 2020
Click here for the Professional Version

Certain dental problems require prompt treatment to relieve discomfort and minimize damage to the structures of the mouth. Such urgent dental problems include

To relieve most dental pain and discomfort, people can take acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) by mouth. To relieve severe pain, people may need to combine these drugs with more powerful prescription opioid pain relievers such as codeine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone. To relieve pain resulting from a surgical procedure, people may alternate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen every 3 hours for a short period of time.

To treat infections caused by dental problems, doctors and dentists give penicillin, amoxicillin, or clindamycin.

People with certain heart conditions or some people who have a weak immune system and a prosthetic joint are given antibiotics to prevent infection of the heart (endocarditis) or joint that may result from some invasive dental procedures.

More Information

The following is an English-language resource that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.

  • Mouth Healthy: This resource provides information on oral health, including nutrition and guidance on selecting products that carry the American Dental Association's seal of approval, as well as advice on how to find a dentist and when to see one.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
TYLENOL
AMOXIL
CLEOCIN
ADVIL, MOTRIN IB
OXYCONTIN
No US brand name
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
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