Factors that Influence Pain and the Use of Pain Medication following Periodontal Surgery

To determine the relationship between anticipated pain and actual pain experienced following soft tissue grafting or implant surgery; to identify the factors that predict actual pain experienced and the use of pain medication following soft tissue grafting or implant surgery. Prior to dental implant placement (n = 98) or soft tissue grafting (n = 115) and for seven days following the procedure, patients completed a visual analog scale indicating anticipated or experienced pain, respectively. The use of pain medication and alcohol, and smoking were measured.  Actual pain experienced on day 1 was lower (p < .01) than anticipated pain and continued to decrease (p ≤ .01) for each of the 7 consecutive days. Anticipated and actual pain were positively correlated. Increasing age (p < .05), having sedation during the surgery (p < .05), and lower use of pain pills (p < .01) predicted lower pain experienced. Actual pain experienced was a predictor of pain pill use (p < .01). Greater nervousness (p < .01) prior to surgery was a predictor of greater anticipated pain. Patients anticipated more pain than they actually experienced. Sedation, age and number of pain pills used predicted pain experienced.

Written by: Jennifer Beaudette, Peter C. Fritz, Phillip J. Sullivan, and Wendy E. Ward

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