Last Updated on January 15, 2022 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS


Ibuprofen is a drug that belongs to the family called NSAIDs, i.e., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which bring together many drugs as analgesics, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic. They are used in inflammation, pain, and fever. 

It is generally a safe drug and if it is used properly or in moderation given that it is an over-the-counter drug, it may not present any adverse effects; however, keep in mind that its chronic or excessive use over time can cause some conditions such as causing ulcers, bleeding or perforations in the stomach or intestine. These problems can arise at any time during treatment, present without warning symptoms, and even cause death. The risk may be higher in people who take NSAIDs for a long time, who are elderly, who are in poor health, or who consume three or more alcoholic drinks a day while taking ibuprofen. 

It is also important that people who use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (except acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin), such as ibuprofen, may have a higher risk of heart attacks or strokes than those who do not take them. These events can occur at any time and increase much more when its use is chronic. Do not use an NSAID such as ibuprofen if you have recently had a heart attack, unless directed by your doctor. The most common adverse reactions are constipation, diarrhea, gas or bloating, dizziness, nervousness, ringing in the ear and if you have other additional symptoms, call your doctor or go to the emergency room. 


Ibuprofen comes alone and in combination with other drugs and some of these mixed products are sold exclusively by prescription, but many others are over the counter and are used to treat coughs, symptoms of colds and other conditions, but it is always important to notify your treating dentist of everything. The use of ibuprofen is not recommended in children under 12 years of age and, in this case, check the label carefully to administer the recommended dose according to weight or age. Chewable tablets can sometimes cause burning in the mouth or throat and, given their possible adverse effects, it is always recommended to consume them with water and with food. 


Dental pain or local orofacial pain is a complex problem, in which various regions may involve anatomical and that can respond to different etiologies: neurological, vascular, tumor, traumatic, iatrogenic and dental, among others. However, facial pain is mostly due to dental causes (cavities, pulpitis, phlegmons and periodontal disease). 

From the dental point of view, there are different classifications of pain, generally orofacial pain, depending on its origin, establishes two large groups: pain somatic orofacial: inflammatory, traumatic, tumor, degenerative, etc., and these can occur in different locations: mucous membranes, tongue, salivary glands; and neurogenic orofacial pain: includes psychealgia, vascular pain, neuralgia, herpes, headaches, among others. 

Therefore, dental pain is one symptom that the general population manages with self-medication, without consulting a health professional; since they generally resort to the administration of anti-inflammatories, analgesics and antibiotics as treatment that is in any home medicine cabinet. This creates masking and, in the long term, what could be easily managed becomes a much bigger and irreversible problem.

Although in the field of dentistry there are not enough studies that evaluate the superiority in terms of efficacy and safety within NSAIDs, this drug has been the most studied and considered of choice for its rapid analgesic effect and its anti-inflammatory efficacy. 

One of the greatest challenges of dental practice is the adequate prescription of effective drugs in the different scenarios that are faced by the conditions, diagnosis, pathologies and evolution of the oral condition for their treatment, as well as the pain they can bring; understanding that they must be constantly updated in the face of knowledge and pharmacological progress for making the most correct decisions. 

For example, non-opioid drugs (acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) form the basis of dental drug therapy for oral pain. The analgesic effect of these drugs is explained by the inhibition of the different isoforms of the cyclooxygenase enzyme (COX1 and COX2) more towards the periphery, which prevents the synthesis and release of inflammation-generating mediators and, therefore, decreases sensitization and excitation of receptors in oral structures. In this context, it is considered that ibuprofen offers a significant advantage due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory power in different dental processes. (3)

In general, NSAIDs in combination or not with acetaminophen, offer a better risk-benefit ratio than other types of opioid analgesics since the latter could generate drug dependence and the efficacy of NSAIDs is adequate considering their possible adverse events. Additionally, the doses normally prescribed in dentistry can be purchased as it is an over-the-counter drug.

Therefore, the pretreatment and post-treatment of dental processes is more favorable in different doses and frequencies of ibuprofen, thus reviewed in different studies compared to other types of analgesia and anesthesia. This makes it the drug of greatest predilection by dentists for handling of patients; However, this does not mean that it should be administered chronically and deliberately. It is important that you inform your treating dentist of comorbidities, other pharmacological treatments and risk factors that could generate a greater risk if ibuprofen is consumed without adequate reconciliation.


If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Island Family Dental, as well as our Facebook page. We look forward to your visit and will make a timely diagnosis. Our dentists in Oxnard,Newbury Park,  Santa Paula, Ventura and Port Hueneme will be able to guide you towards the best treatment to take care of your health and return your best smile.


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