Have you experienced dental pain before? Sometimes, it can be challenging to manage. Get to know some effective ways of pain management in dentistry. Read on!

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Dental Pain Treatment (At home), Video Courtesy: Medical Centric

Dental pain management at a clinic or at home helps to minimize patient discomfort.

The nature of pain varies from person to person. Find out more about them below!

Types of Dental Pain

Dental problem is usually due to a pre-procedure cause or post-op pain.

It can further be divided into

  1. Acute (short-term, intense)
  2. Chronic pain (> 3 months)

It is caused mainly due to locally associated factors like [1]

  1. Oral tissue diseases
  2. Lymph node diseases
  3. Salivary gland diseases
  4. Infections in teeth and jaws
Dental pain is one of the common causes (approximately 12%) of patients seeking emergency dental treatment in the US. [2]

Dentists aim to use innovative methods and proven approaches to reduce pain effectively.

Dental Approach for Pain Management

Local anesthesia remains a critical part of pain management in dentistry.

Techniques such as nerve blocks, topical anesthesia, and sedation provide effective pain relief during invasive procedures.

Behavior management techniques are often used as relaxation methods.

Distraction therapy and guided imagery enhance patient comfort during dental procedures. 

These are required for more complex procedures.

Dentists make careful selections for drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids.

It is based on patient-specific factors and dental procedures. 

Patient medical history, dental anxiety levels, and procedure complexity is considered by dental professionals to customize pain management approaches.

It helps maximize patient comfort and satisfaction.

Source: NCBI [3] , The Pharmaceutical Journal [4]

Wisdom Teeth Pain Relief

Firstly, rinsing the mouth with salt in warm water helps with mild to moderate pain. [5]

However, it is not advised in severe pain and /or swelling cases.

Second, it is advised to consider spreading a benzocaine-based gel on your gums where wisdom teeth are protruding. [6]

Lastly, over-the-counter pain reliever can definitely be used for wisdom teeth pain relief.

Many patient factors have an impact on the patient’s perception of pain.

These include gender, age, physiological factors, drug abuse history, diseases, and psychology of every individual. [7]

Newer Pain Management Techniques

Advancements for enhanced pain relief include computer-assisted anesthesia delivery systems.

Laser therapy also offers innovative ways to enhance pain relief and reduce patient anxiety.

Patient Approach

When immediate dental attention is not readily available, certain home remedies can offer temporary relief from dental pain.

A saltwater rinse is a simple yet effective remedy for dental pain.

It helps reduce swelling and pain and promotes oral healing.

Repeat several times a day or as needed for relief.

It helps reduce dental pain by numbing the affected area.

Avoid placing ice directly on the skin to prevent potential damage.


Although these solutions can offer temporary relief from dental pain, it’s important to note that they should not replace professional dental care.

If your dental pain continues or gets worse, it’s crucial to promptly seek the dentist’s help.


In case of excruciating pain, a dental professional should be visited immediately.

Dentists will use a combination of medical and non-medical methods for pain relief.

It is tailored as per every individual case.

According to the American Dental Association, NSAIDs are frequently considered more efficacious than alternative choices in diminishing dental pain. [8]

3 methods dentists use for dental pain relief during oral procedures include

  • Sedation (via gases)
  • Local Anesthesia (patient remains conscious)
  • Deep Sedation (patient may be unconscious)

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