Analgesia for Oral Pain

Nonsteriodal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)

  • Typically highly effective for oral pain and is medication of choice for most patients.
  • Less side effects than many other analgesic options when used appropriately.
  • No potential for abuse.


  • May occasionally be required for severe pain.
  • Have significant potential for abuse.
  • Care should be taken when evaluating the need for opioids as drug seekers often complain of oral pain.

Oil of Cloves (Eugenol) & Other Topical Agents

  • Although often used topically for oral pain, eugenol has not been shown to be effective.
  • FDA reclassified eugenol indicating insufficient data to support efficacy.
  • Topical local anesthetics have little effect on dental pain and should not be used in young children where overdosage is a concern.

References -  accessed 7/21/17.

Moore PA, Hersh EV. Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen for acute pain management after third molar extractions: translating clinical research to dental practice. JADA. 2013; 144(8):898-908.

Aminoshariae A, Kulild JC, Donaldson M. Short-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and adverse effects: an updated systematic review. JADA. 2016; 147(2):98-110.

Moore PA, Ziegler KM, Lipman RD, Aminoshariae A, Carrasco-Labra A, Mariotti A. Benefits and harms associated with analgesic medications used in the management of acute dental pain: an overview of systematic reviews.  JADA. 2018;149(4):256-65.