If you have had a significant dental procedure, or there’s a chance that you may have some swelling, pain or discomfort after your operation, your dentist may prescribe you a prescription painkiller. The most common prescriptions are hydrocodone or oxycodone, by they can vary based on the specific procedure that was performed.
Regardless of whether you’ve successfully managed pain with medications in the past, or if this is your first time taking painkillers, there are some steps to keep in mind to ensure everything runs safely and smoothly. We share those tips in today’s blog.
Talk to your dentist about any concerns you might have about taking prescription medications, and ask any questions you might have about their intended use or how to use them safely. After talking with the dentist, be sure you talk to everyone else in your household about safe painkiller management. Keep them in a safe location don’t let others use them. Remember, the drugs are only legal for the person for whom they are prescribed.
Don’t just put your prescription medications next to your ibuprofen and Tylenol. Either store them in a location where only you know where they are, or lock them up. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Your dentist isn’t going to prescribe you an absurd amount of pills, so it shouldn’t be too hard to keep track of how many are left in the bottle. You can also write down on a piece of paper how many are left in the bottle after every dose so that you never lose track. If you notice some pills are missing, lock them up and have a talk with your family members.
If you think you’re doing well enough that you don’t need to use the last of your medications, that’s great! However, you also need to be proactive about disposing of your painkillers. Don’t just leave them on the shelf in case pain returns or someone needs a painkiller in the future. Get rid of any leftover prescription medication by grinding them up with dirt, throwing them away with coffee grounds, or by returning them to a drug take-back center or your dentist, as they’ll be able to dispose them for you. Google search for a take back center near you, or a police station or fire station will usually take them as well.
Get Additional Assistance
If you are struggling with any aspect of managing your medications after a dental procedure, call Dr. Brooks’ office or reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1-800-662-4357. The call is free, and it’s available 24/7/365.