For Dental Pain Choose Wisely Among the Three Classes of Pain Relievers
Perhaps the most consumed nonprescription medications are pain relievers, used for minor aches and pains, headaches, muscle aches, backache, arthritis, toothache, menstrual pain, and fever.
Although the product choices may confuse buyers, basically three classes of pain relievers exist: (1) aspirin and aspirin-like drugs (salicylates); (2) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) and naproxen (Aleve); and (3) acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Nonsteroidals can relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation. Acetaminophen can relieve pain and reduce fever, but lacks anti-inflammatory action.
Children and teenagers should not use aspirin or aspirin-like drugs for chicken pox or flu symptoms due to the possibility of a neurological condition called Reye’s syndrome; therefore, acetaminophen is preferred.
Taking an occasional dose of pain reliever is probably fine, depending on your health history. However, a physician should monitor anyone taking maximum doses for prolonged periods. Long-term side effects can include ulcers and even liver or kidney failure.
Check your medicine cabinet to ensure you are prepared!