Opioid, NSAID, and OTC Analgesic Medications for Dental Procedures: PEARL Network Findings

Ying Jo Wong, James Keenan, Keith Hudson, Henry Bryan, Frederick Naftolin, Van P. Thompson, Ronald G. Craig, Don Vena, Damon Collie, Hongyu Wu, Abigail G. Matthews, Ashley C. Grill, Frederick A. Curro

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    OBJECTIVE: Dental treatment is often categorized as a moderately or severely painful experience; however, no clinical data reported by the patient and dentist currently exists to support this degree of pain. This has contributed possibly to the overprescribing of analgesics, in particular the opioid class of medications. The primary objective of the study was to document the dentists' postprocedural prescriptions and recommendations for analgesic medications and their effectiveness for a 5-day period. Medications prescribed or recommended in the patient-reported outcomes included: opioid, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics. Met hods : This study used both dentist and patient responses to evaluate the use of opioid, NSAID, and OTC recommended or prescribed analgesics following one of seven classes of dental procedures encompassing over 22 specific coded procedures thought to elicit pain. The patient-centered study included a 5-day postprocedural patient follow-up assessment of the medication's effectiveness in relieving pain.

    RESULTS: Baseline questionnaires were completed by 2765 (99.9%) of 2767 eligible patients, and 2381 (86%) patients responded to the Day 5 follow-up questionnaires.

    CONCLUSION: The data suggest NSAIDs, both OTC and prescribed dosages, may be a sufficient analgesic to treat most postoperative dental pain. Clinical judgment as to the use of an opioid should include the physiological principles related to the pharmacology of pain and inflammation and may include a central effect. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02929602.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)710-718
    Number of pages9
    JournalCompendium of continuing education in dentistry (Jamesburg, N.J. : 1995)
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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