In many situations, your dentist may prescribe you narcotic pain medications as a pain reliever when over-the-counter medications are not sufficient. Opioids are a common type of narcotic pain medication that is derived from the opium plant. It is important that they are used properly, and may be addictive in nature and have negative side effects. When taken correctly, narcotics may have many positive pain relief benefits for the patient.
Some of the narcotics commonly prescribed in dentistry include codeine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone (Norco or Vicodin). These medications are readily taken orally and are often combined with acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce inflammation. When opioids (narcotics) are taken properly, they may benefit the patient in controlling pain and act as a powerful anxiety reliever. Side effects include drowsiness, mild nausea, blurred vision, and dizziness.
Addiction and misuse occurs when patients use the medication beyond the doctor’s prescription, with the intention of getting high or relieving anxiety or stress. It is important for patients to take narcotics only when prescribed by their doctor, and to follow his or her instructions carefully.
by Dr. Olga Karnakova, DDS