Types Of Prescription Toothache Pain Medicines?


Dental problems like tooth abscesses or deep tooth fractures and dental procedures like extraction or other forms of dental surgery can lead to a strong toothache. Sometimes, these toothaches can’t be controlled by the usual over-the-counter pain medications. During these cases, you will need to approach your dentist for stronger prescription-only medicine for your toothache to relieve the pain.

What are the types of prescription toothache medication?

You need to visit your dentist and ask for a prescription first before you can buy these medicines for your toothache. Your dentist will perform a check-up and assess your dental condition so that he can prescribe the best toothache medication for your case. The medication that is prescribed to you will depend on factors like what your dental problem is and the pain level you are experiencing.


Most of these medications are narcotics, a controlled substance, which is why dentists are very careful about writing up prescriptions for narcotic based drugs. Dentists will only prescribe these when they are needed to manage severe dental pain.

The drugs of this type that are prescribed the most are agents that act on the central nervous system to decrease the feeling of pain. A few of the drugs on this list are codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

  • Codeine

This drug is a controlled substance because the body metabolizes it into morphine. Morphine can be highly addictive when it is taken for more than just a few days. It should only be used as prescribed.

  • Hydrocodone

This is used for tooth infections that have a high level of pain because this drug is much stronger than most other pain medications for toothaches.

  • Oxycodone

This is another strictly controlled substance. Dentists usually write up a prescription for this drug for dental pain that you can experience after having dental surgery.



Studies have shown that opioids increase in effectiveness when used with medications that help treat fever, pain, and inflammation like NSAIDs and acetaminophen or paracetamol. Tooth pain medication under this category are used to treat severe dental pain. These include:

  • Percocet

It’s a combination of 500mg acetaminophen and 5mg of oxycodone. This medication is a combination of the two drug’s pain relieving effects.

  • Percodan

It combines aspirin and oxycodone.

  • Tylenol 3

This medication is a mix of codeine and acetaminophen. It can be considered the toothache medicine that is most prescribed by dentists.

  • Vicodin

This is another popular choice of toothache medicine. Vicodin is a combination of 500mg of acetaminophen and 5mg of hydrocodone.

  • Vicodin ES

This is a more powerful medication, increasing the mix to 750mg of acetaminophen and 7mg of hydrocodone.

Along with your prescription, your dentist will give you instructions regarding how much to take, how often or when to take it, and for how long you should use these medications. Make sure to follow these directions to make sure you get the pain relief you need while avoiding and minimizing any possible side effects.


Antibiotics for Toothache Infections

Toothache pain can also mean an infected tooth. While pain medications help to manage pain, they do not fight bacterial infections. This is why antibiotics are usually prescribed along with pain medication for dental problems. Some of the most common antibiotics are:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Metronidazole


Side Effects and Safety Concerns when taking Toothache Medicines

Almost all medications, when not properly used as per the instructions given, can cause some unwanted side effects. Always follow your dentist’s directions regarding any prescription toothache medicines prescribed to you.

  • NSAIDs are commonly taken with toothache medication. You should not use NSAIDs with certain drugs used to treat high blood pressure because the combination may reduce their effectiveness.

Some short-term side effects are diarrhea and upset stomach as well as abdominal pain. If used long-term, NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal distress, cardiovascular problems and possibly kidney damage.

  • Using more than the recommended dosage of toothache pain medications that contain narcotics like Vicodin and Percocet can cause drug addiction.
  • Take note of toothache medications that contain aspirin. They should not be used by children as they can increase the risk and possibility of developing Reye’s syndrome. This should not be taken lightly as this is a serious health condition.
  • Liver damage can be caused by over-usage of acetaminophen.
  • Toothaches can also mean that you have a tooth infection. Do not simply take pain medications to relieve prolonged or severe toothache pain. Visit your dentist to make sure that your tooth isn’t infected. Proper treatment and prescription of antibiotics may be necessary. If an infection is not treated properly, it could worsen and cause irreparable damage to your teeth.


Things to keep in mind when using toothache medication

The use of medication come with unwanted side effects if you don’t follow the instructions given by your dentist. There are other things you can do to avoid these side effects:

  • As much as possible, consult your dentist or your physician before taking any tooth pain medications. This is especially important if you are taking any other medications or drugs for any other health conditions.
  • Follow the dosage recommended by your dentist. Almost all medications, even those you can purchase over the counter, can lead to unwanted side effects and serious health issues if over-used.
  • If you are on pain-killers, never drink alcohol.
  • Aspirin can cause chemical burn if you put it directly against the gums near the aching tooth.
  • Eat a filling meal/ make sure that you have a full stomach before taking any NSAIDs, especially aspirin. You can take an antacid before your toothache medication to avoid having an upset stomach.
  • Let those around you know if you are taking any narcotics because these drugs can make you drowsy or act differently or strangely. Limit, or if possible, avoid activities like operating machinery or driving, while you are on narcotics.