Pain & After Care

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Pain & Dental Surgery After-Care FAQs – Part 1

If you read this and feel there is an area of information we have left out about after-care dental surgery and pain, please contact us and we can address the information you would have liked to find. 

Q.  The most often asked question about after-care surgery is “Will I be in pain immediately after the tooth extraction or surgery?”

No!  After your surgery, you will remain numb for a period of time.

If you have been treated under general anaesthetic (asleep in hospital) as a day surgery patient, you will remain numb for 8-12 hours because you were given a long acting anaesthetic injection in the mouth called Marcaine.

If you have been treated at the dental practice, in most cases you will remain numb for around 2-4 hours having been given an injection of Articaine.  In certain circumstances you may be given Marcaine to provide longer pain relief after surgery in the practice, particularly if you have to face a long journey home.

Q.  What about the pain after the local anaesthetic wears off?

As your local anaesthetic injections in your mouth start to wear off, it is important to have the pain killer tablets already working.

For this reason, we advise that if you have been treated as a day case under general anaesthetic and have a long acting injection (lasts 8-12 hours), start to take all your medications around 8 hours after surgery.

However, if you have had surgery at the practice and received the usual 2-4 hour injection, it is wise to begin taking your painkillers as soon as practical after surgery, either at the practice before you leave or as soon as you get home.

Q.  How much pain can I expect?

Your pain after surgery can vary a great deal from person to person.   Although pain is variable it is only rarely severe.

For minimal pain it is suggested you take Naproxen 500mgs every 8 hours (the anti-inflammatory) as prescribed by Dr. Priestland, and simple Paracetamol (also known as Panadol), 2 tablets every 4-6 hours for adults.  Avoid more than 8 Paracetamol tablets in 24 hours or you may damage your liver.

For moderate pain take your Naproxen 500mgs every 8 hours as prescribed and 2 Panadeine Extra every 4-6 hours.  Panadeine Extra contain both Paracetamol and Codeine.  Panadeine Extra can also be purchased over the counter.  You do not need a prescription.

For severe pain use your Naproxen 500mgs every 8 hours as prescribed and 2 Panadeine Forte 2 tablets every 4-6 hours not exceeding 8 in 24 hours.  Panadeine Forte is only available on prescription from Dr. Priestland or your GP.

Q.  Is Panadeine Extra the same as Panadeine Forte?

Both Panadeine Extra and Panadeine Forte contain Paracetamol with Codeine.  Panadeine Extra contains 500mgs of Paracetamol and 15mgs of Codeine per tablet while Panadeine Forte contains 500mgs Paracetamol and 30mgs Codeine per tablet.

The usual dose of both of these medications is 2 tablets every 4-6 hours not exceeding 8 tablets in 24 hours.  This means you receive either 30mg of Codeine with Panadeine Extra or 60mg with Panadeine Forte.

Both Panadeine Extra and Forte are great painkillers.  However, both can lead to side effects although such effects will be more pronounced with the higher dose of Codeine found in Panadeine Forte.

Q. What is Codeine?

Codeine is a strong painkiller.  It is absorbed and converted by your liver into Morphine.  Morphine is a narcotic analgesic (an extremely strong pain killer).  If you take Codeine you are therefore taking a narcotic drug with several potential side effects.

The unwanted side effects include:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • disorientation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hallucinations
  • constipation

This is why we always suggest you use the least strong medication that keeps you comfortable.

If you are suffering from intense pain and Panadeine Extra does not control it adequately, then you will need to take Panadeine Forte or a narcotic painkiller.  Remember, these are only obtained by prescription from either Dr. Priestland or your GP .

Q. What else works for severe pain?

Alternatively, your GP may offer to prescribe Endone (Oxycodone), a very strong narcotic painkiller to be taken as required while you continue to take 2 tablets of Paracetamol every 4-6 hours.

Sometimes if a procedure is expected to cause severe pain after day surgery under general anaesthetic at the Mater Hospital Day Surgery Unit, your anaesthetist may give you a prescription for Endone (Oxycodone) just in case you need it to save you going to see your GP to obtain additional pain control.

Remember, that if you are taking Endone, you should only take Paracetamol and avoid any medicines containing Codeine.  Do not take Endone with Panadeine Extra or Forte.

In part 2 of our “Frequently asked questions concerning tooth extraction and dental surgery”, we will look at some more frequently asked questions. Some of the questions we will answer will be on how to do deal with post-operative swelling and the possibility of infection.

If you would like more information, contact NQ Surgical Dentistry today.

Part 2 – Swelling & Post-Operative Questions

Part 3 – Bleeding after Surgery

Part 4 – Oral Hygiene and Diet

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NQ Surgical Dentistry

Dr Priestland is on call 365 days per year. In an emergency (post-surgery) refer to your after care instructions for phone details.

Address: 183 Kings Road, Pimlico Townsville, QLD, 4812

Phone: 07 4725 1656

Opening Hours: 8:30 - 5:30 Monday - Thursday

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