02 Apr 2020

Pain Relief for Toothache during Covid19 Lock down

Yesterday I put a video on our Piopio Dental Facebook page explaining what services your dentist can provide during this level 4 lock down period. Please go to our Facebook page and watch this video for more information.

During this time, we are limited to the Medical Management of Dental Pain. This limits us to mainly pain relief and antibiotics. I thought I would give information about which pain relief is best for dental pain. These are medications that you may well have at home and therefore helping to limit your need to go out during lockdown.

This is general advice on pain relief. I do not know the exact medical history of each individual person. So, if I discuss a medication for dental pain and you know you can not take this, please do not. Some people may be on medications for other health reasons. Sometimes pain relief and antibiotics can react or alter the affect of these regular medications. So please if you are uncertain if you can take pain relief with your normal medications call your usual doctor or pharmacist and check for any interactions or side effects.


Pain relief works best if you take it early. Don’t wait until you have severe pain. If you wait too long no pain relief will seem to have any beneficial effect. Also ensure you stick to the dosage recommendations on the packet.


Commonly known by the brand Panadol, paracetamol is our first pain relief recommended for dental pain. Tablets come in 500 mg and an adult can take 2 tablets(1000 mg) four times a day. This is a maximum dose of 8 tablets per day.

Paracetamol is generally safe for most people. However, it is very important you do not take more than the recommended daily amount.

There is no difference in the actual drug, or its pain relieving effects, if you buy the Panadol brand or the budget paracetamol brands. To save yourself some money buy the cheaper paracetamol at the chemist or supermarket. This advice is the same for Ibuprofen below. There is no need to buy the more expensive Nurofen brand.


Commonly known by the brand Nurofen, Ibuprofen can be taken with Paracetamol to give a stronger pain-relieving effect. Tablets can come in 200 mg or 400 mg. So, check your packet for dosage instructions and recommended daily doses.

Ibuprofen falls under a group of drugs known as Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatories (NSAID’s). These drugs can have interactions or cause side effects with some medications or health conditions. Often people will know if they can not take NSAID’s, if you are uncertain check with your Doctor.

It is best to take NSAID’s like Ibuprofen with food. By doing this you limit damage to your stomach lining which is a side effect of this medication.

During this Covid19 pandemic there has been discussions about whether Ibuprofen can worsen Covid 19. Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement saying “At present, based on current available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of Ibuprofen”.


Some people may have other pain relief at home which has been prescribed by their Doctor for different reasons. Care needs to be taken if you add these medications to a dose of paracetamol and ibuprofen. It would be best to discuss this with your Doctor or Pharamcist.

NSAID’s come in many types

There are a lot of different NSAID’s out there. So you need to be careful that you are not doubling up with Ibuprofen and another NSAID. An example of this is Voltaren (Diclofenac) which is commonly prescribed for arthritis. Another example is Celebrex (Celecoxib) which is said to have less side effects on your stomach compared to other NSAID’s.

Only take one type of NSAID for pain relief.


Codeine can be added to Paracetamol and Ibuprofen for pain. But it does not give much improvement for dental pain.

Care should be taken as some medications contain Paracetamol(500mg) and Codeine(8mg), eg Panadeine. You can not take 2 Panadeine and 2 Panadol (Paracetamol) as this is a double dose of Paracetamol. Ensure you read the packet and check the type of medication in each tablet.

I hope this has been helpful during this time. Once again this is general information about different medications. If you have any doubts if these medications are right for you, check with your doctor, dentist or pharmacist first.

Panadol Image Nurofen Image