Dentistry involves various surgical and non-surgical procedures besides prescription medicaments to counter pain, diseases, infection and anxiety. Although dentists use disposable bibs, gloves and masks and follow proper hygiene to ensure that infection is in check, there are times even the dentist has to depend on medicaments to overcome them.
The dosage prescribed depends on factors like the patient’s condition, existing medication, age and weight. It is important to understand the purpose of the prescription so that any unexpected reactions can be reported back to the doctor. Here are some of the drugs used in dental practice:
Depending on the procedure planned for the patient, a range of pain medication is used in the form of anaesthesia or sedatives to relieve anxiety and pain. Anaesthetics are used for sores in and around the mouth and are available in the form of sprays, paste, gel and rinses.
Pain management can involve non-prescription over-the-counter painkillers for mild discomfort or toothache and prescription anti-inflammatory medicaments like corticosteroids that relieve redness and swelling in the mouth and gums. Pain relievers are also used when dental appliances hurt.
In children and the elderly, dental medicaments are used very cautiously because of their sensitivity and likely side effects.
Gingivitis and Plaque control
Antibiotics are used to control plaque and gum disease and used in the form of an oral rinse. Dentists usually recommend regular brushing with flossing to minimize plaque build up and staining of the teeth in addition to having the teeth examined and professionally cleaned once in six months.
Non-prescription antiseptic mouth rinses are also useful in keeping plaque and gingivitis at bay as they control bad breath caused by bacteria.
Dentists ask their patients brush their teeth regularly with fluoride rich toothpaste to avoid tooth decay. The teeth absorb the fluoride and become stronger, resisting acid and keeping away bacteria responsible for cavities. Fluoride is also used in the form of liquids and oral tablets.
For those suffering from dry mouth, medicaments to trigger the production of saliva are prescribed.
In addition to the above, if the patient is scheduled to undergo oral surgery, a variety of antibiotics along with oral rinses are used during and after surgery to reduce infection and pain. Muscle relaxants are also prescribed to relieve stress and tension associated with dental treatment, especially for those prone to grinding their teeth. Some people develop oral thrush and this is treated with antifungal drugs.
If a tooth extraction is necessary, antibiotics are usually started before the date of extraction to fight an infection besides minimizing pain after the procedure. For all dental procedures, disposable bibs are essential to avoid the transmission of infections and bacteria from doctor to patient and vice versa.
During a patient’s first visit, dentists ask about their complete medical history as well as any allergies and medications being taken for existing health problems to avoid adverse interactions and side effects. Dental health is critical to overall health and any medication related to treatment must be taken exactly as instructed to ensure success.