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Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2011 Apr;32(3):22, 24-30; quiz 31-2.

Prescribing recommendations for the treatment of acute pain in dentistry.

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Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Pharmacology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Effective acute pain management is an essential but sometimes challenging component of dental practice. Numerous studies have examined the efficacy of various analgesic agents in dental postoperative models. This article combines an evaluation of the available evidence with current prescribing patterns to provide dental practitioners prescribing recommendations for acute pain, based on the anticipated severity of post-procedural pain. An important consideration when prescribing analgesics is to determine for whom opioid analgesics are necessary and appropriate, and if so, the dose and quantity that should be prescribed. This is partly because of the prevalence of substance and alcohol abuse that can be expected to be encountered within the dental patient population, and because substance abusers in the community frequently obtain prescription drugs from friends and family for misuse.

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