Photo by Christian Hermann on Unsplash

For some, a trip to the dentist is like a fork in the eye – it won’t kill you but you’d rather not. Although, the fact of the matter is your oral health is a gateway to all other facets of your health. Dentists work hard to debunk dentistry myths and tall tales, however, it is inevitable that some will still be apprehensive about their looming dentist visit.

In a recent edition of Australian Prescriber, specialist endodontist Dr Aovana Timmerman and Professor Peter Parashos from the Melbourne Dental School give an overview of dental pain and the medicines that can help while awaiting dental treatment.


Socrates’ wisdom lives on to this day but I don’t think even his curious mind could have predicted his name would be used as a mnemonic for assessing oral pain.

Site – Where is the pain?

Onset – When did it start?

Character – Can you describe the pain?

Radiation – Does the pain spread anywhere?

Associations – Are there other problems associated with the pain?

Time course – Does the pain follow any pattern? How long does it last?

Exacerbating or relieving factors – Does anything worsen or improve it?

Severity – How bad is the pain?

Booked out?

If you are unable to see your dentist or feel more comfortable approaching your GP or a pharmacist first, Dr Timmerman has some advice for relieving the pain in the interim.

Dr Timmerman says “If you need relief for dental pain, ibuprofen is the first choice for most people or a combination of ibuprofen with paracetamol for stronger pain relief.

“Be aware, however, that not everyone can take ibuprofen such as people with heart, kidney or liver conditions. Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you are unsure, and make sure to read the label and follow the instructions to avoid unwanted side effects.

“Antibiotics alone are usually not appropriate for dental pain. Having a fever, tenderness and a rapid spread of swelling may be signs of an abscess which will require drainage.

“Your doctor or pharmacist can give advice and help you with your pain if you have to wait to see a dentist,” says Dr Timmerman.

“The best treatment for dental pain is dental treatment,” Dr Timmerman advises.

Local dentists

There are a plethora of dentists in our beautiful region, both holistic and traditional and couldn’t come more highly recommended by us here at Health Byron as well as the wider community.

Dr Jon Veranese

A holistic approach to dental health and wellbeing, inspired to bring you the best in holistic dental care with a gentle touch, empathy and conscious dental solutions.


O’Meara Dental

O’Meara Dental are acutely aware of the role your mouth plays in overall systemic health. A healthy mouth is vital to a healthy body, and a happy life.