Percocet is a strong medicine often used to relieve severe tooth pain. It is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Doctors administer the drug to help control tooth pain in cases of moderate to severe aches. It is classified as a Class 2 narcotic analgesic. As such, it is controlled by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

Common Uses

Percocet is used to bring relief to patients suffering directly from chronic tooth pain or oral surgery, or from recurrent pain in the jaw or face associated with toothaches. Dentists may sometimes combine the medication with agents such as antibiotics or other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Characteristics of Percocet

Percocet contains oxycodone, a strong and highly addictive narcotic. Oxycodone is similar to morphine in terms of strength. Acetaminophen, the second component of Percocet, is sold over-the-counter under such brand names as Tylenol. If the area around the aching tooth is inflamed due to infection, ibuprofen or aspirin may be needed as well because neither oxycodone or acetaminophen can combat this problem.


Normally, the smallest dose possible for pain relief is prescribed to patients to reduce the risk of side effects and/or addiction. The most common dosage consists of 5mg of oxycodone and between 325 and 500mg of acetaminophen. Even though only a small amount of oxycodone is included in each dose, the acetaminophen boosts its effectiveness.

Possible Side Effects of Percocet

Taking Percocet can lead to side effects. Mild effects can include dizziness, mild stomach pain or diarrhea, dry mouth, and blurred vision. More serious side effects include confusion, slowed heartbeat, shallow breathing, jaundice, fainting, and even seizures. The risk for these side effects is greater in people who have had reactions to other narcotics, including morphine, and to people who combine the pain killers with alcohol.

Patient Precautions

When taking the medication, patients should not drink alcohol or take any other pain medication without consulting their physician and/or pharmacist. The pills should be taken exactly as directed and only when needed for pain. As soon as possible, patients should try to ween themselves off the drug to prevent abuse and addiction.