Thursday, October 3, 2013

The effects of over-the-counter analgesics on orthodontic tooth movement

By far the most frequently asked question in every orthodontic office is, “When are my braces coming off?” In the fast-paced, busy lives of patients, there is little time to spend on lengthy orthodontic therapy.  In the ever-advancing field of orthodontics, many barriers have been overcome, leading to healthier results and more beautiful smiles.  Now, the focus is on reducing treatment time.

Faster care without sacrificing quality would be advantageous in (a) reducing hygiene problems, (b) increasing patient acceptance of treatment plans and (c) creating a higher level of overall treatment satisfaction.

With the emphasis on shortening treatment time, it is critical that practitioners be aware of all medications that patients are taking that could unknowingly slow down their orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic patients often use over-the-counter analgesics to control the discomfort associated with tooth movement as well as to treat other ailments. Many of these pharmaceutical agents are known to systemically influence bone and the velocity of tooth movement.

Research has shown that traditional anti-inflammatories/”pain killers” such as Advil®, Motrin® and Aspirin® decreased the rate of orthodontic tooth movement. Tylenol® had no effect and should therefore be considered the analgesic drug of choice for patients undergoing orthodontics, unless contraindicated by the patient’s medical history or physician.

(Summarized from original article written by Dr. K. Sakas)