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Clinician’s Corner: Visit your dentist

We have spent the past thirteen columns meticulously going through all the products in our dental section.  We have a lot of products to choose from to help our dental patients, but there are some complaints that your pharmacist just can’t fix!  This column is dedicated to what we can’t fix, and should be immediately referred to a dentist.

Dental pain: Basically, if a mechanical problem exists (broken tooth, ill-fitting dentures, missing fillings, chipped or broken tooth), you need to see a dentist. In the meantime, dental pain from toothache is best treated orally with anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, naproxen. Topical treatment is short lived and is not of much use and should be discouraged.  Ask your pharmacist if it is OK for you to take ibuprofen or naproxen. One of the more common OTC treatments many patients use is Anbesol which contains phenol and is of no use in treating dental pain. It will however, in high enough dose, cause caustic chemical burns in the mouth. We do not advise the use of Anbesol for dental pain.

Teething pain in babies: Your Thompson Pharmacist recommends acetaminophen or ibuprofen if old enough (over 6 months). We do not recommend benzocaine topical products, homeopathic remedies or heaven forbid rubbing whiskey on the gums (sorry Grandma!) Consult your child’s pediatrician for appropriate doses if over under two years of age.

Missing fillings, cracked caps, broken off teeth? Don’t apply any sort of medication, such as aspirin, or topical anesthetics, directly to the tooth. Bite down on tea bag to stop bleeding.  It is best to avoid eating, but if necessary eat only soft foods until patient can be seen by a dentist. To manage pain, apply ice to the face outside the lips or cheek at the location of the injured tooth. Do not apply ice directly to the tooth. Over-the-counter pain meds (Ibuprofen or Naproxen) if appropriate, are effective to minimize pain.

First Aid for Tooth Avulsion- “Knocked out teeth”

Best Choice: For professions around activities where teeth can be knocked out, such as athletic trainers, coaches, school nurses and emergency responders, Save-a-Tooth® is a brand product that should be carried to all events. This product keeps tooth alive and nourishes cells until implantation occurs. About 90% success rate (versus 10%).

If no one has this product available, (which is most likely) pick up tooth by crown, not the root.  Rinse the affected tooth with water if dirty.  Reposition into socket at once (if possible). Do NOT let the knocked-out tooth dry-out! It is important to remember that time is extremely important here. After 30 minutes the success rate of tooth reimplantation drops sharply.

  • may hold in mouth next to cheek(Not recommended in cases where there is a fear of the patient swallowing their tooth)
  • drop into glass of milk (Best option if you don’t have Save-a-tooth)
  • see the dentist/endodontist within 30 minutes

Your Thompson Pharmacist will be glad to help you with your dental emergencies; however, your best treatment option is usually your dentist.  At Thompson Pharmacy, it’s all for You!