Everything you always wanted to know (and didn’t know) about drugs

Drugs have been incorporated with dental treatments since the Phoenicians began using Oil of Cloves to settle inflamed nerves over 4000 years ago.

Dentists today utilise drugs (including Oil of Cloves) to help fight oral diseases, prevent infection, reduce pain or swelling and even control anxiety.

Pharmacology (the branch of medicine involving the research & prescription of drugs) plays an important role in dentistry. Interactions between different drugs can cause undesirable effects, so it’s vital your dentist is aware of your full medical history.

Pain control

Local anaesthetic agents for numbing the mouth were previously all derived from cocaine. These are now synthetically manufactured in laboratories avoiding the previous addictive characteristics.

NITROUS OXIDE (or laughing gas) is commonly known to be used as a general anaesthetic and was first introduced by a dentist over 160 years ago.

ANALGESICS (painkillers) are widely used for the control of dental pain ranging from the opiates, codeine, paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin and all the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Paracetamol if taken in excess may seriously affect liver function. Aspirin and Ibuprofen may increase the potential to prolong bleeding after surgery.

ANTIDEPRESSANT medication often causes a dry mouth and increases risk of tooth decay.

Infection and disease control

ANTIBIOTICS including penicillins, tetracyclines, erythromycins, and metronidazole are all used for various dental infections of teeth, roots and gums.

TETRACYCLINES may affect the contraceptive pill and increase the risk of conception.

STEROID medication is often associated with internal bleeding and poor healing after surgery or infections and can even influence a patient’s susceptibility to oral infection.

Be aware of ‘inter-reactions’

HOMEOPATHIC or Chinese medication is often dismissed as irrelevant must be viewed as a drug which can have serious implications with inter-reactions with the mainstream drugs prescribed resulting in oral ulceration and acute soreness.

RECREATIONAL drugs including nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy & cocaine can all inter-react with mainstream drugs with serious consequences. Nicotine is also associated with chronic gum diseases.

ALLERGIES to drugs can have a wide range of effects, from a simple rash to acute anaphylaxis.

ANTI-EPILEPTIC drugs may cause an overgrowth of the gums which in some cases can actually cover the teeth entirely.