Pain medications are most effective when taken before pain gets to be severe. If pain is a possibility following a dental procedure, it is best to take the pain medication while you are still numb.
If the first dose doesn't effectively reduce the pain within 30 minutes, then take another pain tablet. Keep your activity level to a minimum to limit inflammation. Keeping your head elevated will reduce pain for any dental treatment.
For maximum pain relief from over the counter medications take a combination of 800mg of ibuprofen with 1000mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol). This will give you some pain relief without the side effects of prescription pain medications.