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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Sep 12;9:CD008392. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008392.pub2.

Preoperative analgesics for additional pain relief in children and adolescents having dental treatment.

Author information

  • 1Unit of Paediatric Dentistry, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, London, UK. p.ashley@eastman.ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fear of dental pain is a major barrier to children needing dental care. The use of preoperative analgesics has the potential to reduce postoperative discomfort. In addition it might also reduce intraoperative pain. Reviewing the available evidence will determine whether further research is warranted and will inform the development of prescribing guidelines.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the effects of preoperative analgesics for pain relief in children and adolescents undergoing dental treatment.

SEARCH METHODS:

We searched the following electronic databases: the Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register (to 8 March 2012), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 1), MEDLINE via OVID (1950 to 8 March 2012), EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 8 March 2012), LILACS via BIREME (1982 to 8 March 2012) and the ISI Web of Knowledge (1945 to 8 March 2012). There were no restrictions regarding language or date of publication.The reference lists of all eligible trials were checked for additional studies. Specialists in the field were contacted for any unpublished data.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Randomised controlled clinical trials of analgesics given before dental treatment versus placebo or no analgesics in children and adolescents aged up to 17 years. We excluded children and adolescents having dental treatment under sedation (including nitrous oxide/oxygen) or general anaesthesia.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Two review authors assessed titles and abstracts for eligibility and undertook data extraction and assessment of risk of bias.

MAIN RESULTS:

Five trials met the review's inclusion criteria with 190 participants in total. Three trials were dentally related i.e. restorative and extraction treatments; two trials related to orthodontic treatment. None of the included trials were judged to be at low risk of bias. Three trials compared paracetamol with placebo, only two of which provided data for analysis (presence or absence of parent-reported postoperative pain behaviour). The meta-analysis of the two trials showed a nonsignificant risk ratio (RR) for postoperative pain-related behaviours of 0.81 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 1.22; P = 0.31), which showed no evidence of a benefit in taking paracetamol preoperatively (52% reporting pain in placebo versus 42% in test group). One of these trials was at unclear risk of bias, the other at high risk. Four trials compared ibuprofen with placebo. Three of these trials provided useable data. One trial reported no statistical difference in postoperative pain experienced by the ibuprofen group and the control group for children undergoing dental treatment. Data from two trials, including patients who were having orthodontic separator replacement without a general anaesthetic, were pooled to determine the effect of preoperative ibuprofen on the severity of postoperative pain. There was a statistically significant benefit, with regard to severity of postoperative pain, for giving ibuprofen preoperatively with mean difference -19.12 (95% CI -29.36 to -8.87; P = 0.0003; moderate quality evidence) on a visual analogue scale (0 to 100) indicating a probable benefit for preoperative ibuprofen before this orthodontic procedure. However, both these trials were at high risk of bias. Adverse events were only reported in one trial (one patient from the ibuprofen group and one from the placebo group reporting a lip or cheek biting injury).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:

From the available evidence we cannot determine whether or not preoperative analgesics are of benefit in paediatric dentistry for procedures under local anaesthetic. There is probably a benefit in prescribing preoperative analgesics prior to orthodontic separator placement.

PMID:
22972120
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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