Acetaminophen Effective for Pain Relief After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Oral surgery is never fun, but a new study reveals that managing your post-operative pain could be safer than ever.

The study, which was developed by the Cochrane Collaboration, a group that conducts systematic reviews on the relative effectiveness of health care interventions, has concluded that acetaminophen is a safe and effect pain reliever following wisdom tooth distraction.

Acetaminophen&—more commonly known by the brand name Tylenol&—is an over-the-counter pain reliever used for the relief of fever, headaches and other minor aches and pains.

The Cochrane Collaboration came to this conclusion after examining the data from 21 randomized control trials that studied more than 1,900 patients to determine the optimal dose of acetaminophen and the optimal time for drug administration for pain relief following wisdom tooth extraction.

The reviewers found that acetaminophen showed a "statistically significant benefit" when compared with patients who were placed on placebo drugs. They also determined that the drug was most effective when taken at both four and six hours and that acetaminophen could be taken at six-hour intervals without compromising patient safety.

The reviewers concluded that using acetaminophen was "extremely safe" and said that it had "a low incidence of adverse effects."

The study did not analyze the effectiveness of ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on patient pain following wisdom tooth extraction. Patients are urged to consult with their doctors before taking any pain medicine following wisdom tooth extraction or any type of oral surgery.

For more information on wisdom teeth and extractions, visit the American Dental Association Web site at "www.ada.org/public/topics/wisdom_teeth.asp".

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

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