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All about dental pain

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With the holiday season with us sometimes the worst can happen. While we seek to see you promptly it is possible to have dental pain in the most inconventient time and place.

The ABC website Health area has an interesting article titled "Painkillers able to target pain? No way" which is well worth reading.
The author points out that painkillers cant target pain, despite the advertising, and the most important thing to do, when buying or checking out painkillers in your first aid kit, is PLEASE read the lable and see what the active ingredient is and how much is present.

Most over-the-counter painkillers contain either panacetamol or ibuprofen.

Paracetamol is probably the safer pain medication for most people although ibuprofen has stronger anti-inflammatory effects.

REMEMBER that "dental treatment is the most predictable means of reducing pain of dental origin." (from p145 Therapeutic Guidelines -Oral and Dental V1)

We can't tell the difference between a painful upper and painful lower teeth

In a 2010 published study German scientists have found that in healthy volunteers, the brain activity from a painful stimulus on upper and lower left canine teeth resulted in brain activity that could not distinguish whether the impulse came from an upper or lower tooth.

The nerves for the upper and lower teeth are two distinct branches of the trigeminal nerve so researchers had expected to be able to notice differences in brain activity using functional resonance imaging(fMRI).

The lead researcher - Prof Clemens Forster of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany commented that "Dentist should be aware that patients aren't always able to locate the pain" and the study help demonstrate that there were physiological and anatomincal reasons for that.

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Dr Andrew Gikas BDSc (Melb)
Dr Jason Rerksirathai BDSc (Hons) (Melb)


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