b. Morphine. Morphine is a potent drug also derived from opium. It is used
primarily in the hospital environment for relieving severe pain.
c. Meperidine Hydrochloride (Demerol). Meperidine hydrochloride is an
important drug employed in dentistry. It is a synthetic narcotic and has one-tenth the
analgesic activity of morphine. Meperidine hydrochloride is sometimes prescribed for
patients with moderate to severe pain who cannot tolerate codeine or morphine. It has
a mild sedative action and potentiates the action of other sedatives. It is not prescribed
together with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor drugs.
3-12. NONNARCOTIC ANALGESICS
a. Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin). Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a widely used
remedy for headaches, general muscular aches, and mild to moderate pain.
b. Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Tylenol (acetaminophen) has the same
relative potency as aspirin and is used by some patients in place of aspirin. It is used
particularly by those patients who are allergic to aspirin or who cannot take aspirin for
c. Ibuprofen (Motrin). Motrin (ibuprofen) is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory
drug effective in the same situations as aspirin. It is prescribed when there is
temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and myofacial pain dysfunction (MPD).
3-13. INHALATION ANALGESIA AND SEDATION
Inhalation analgesia and sedation using a nitrous oxide/oxygen combination is
used more and more in dental therapy. Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, colorless,
nonirritating gas that is non-explosive, but will support combustion. The percentage of
nitrous oxide to oxygen is very important and is carefully monitored by the dental officer.
The gases are supplied in cylinders. Nitrous oxide cylinders are painted blue and
oxygen cylinders are painted green. To reduce the potential for fires and explosions, oil
or grease should never be used around this inhalation equipment. The dental specialist
should check the tubing, inhaler, and reservoir for cracks and deteriorated rubber before
each use. Escaped gas during dental therapy may be hazardous to the dentist and
dental specialist when exposure is chronic.
Antibiotics are agents that inhibit the growth of or destroy microorganisms.
Antibiotics are used to combat infections by producing an effective blood level of the
antibiotic and sustaining this level, usually for 5 to 10 days. Depending on the type of
antibiotic and the type of infection, antibiotics can be administered orally, topically, and
parenterally (see appendix). Penicillin, erythromycin, and tetracycline are the antibiotics
most often used by dental officer.