The efficacy and tolerability of single doses of dexketoprofen trometamol 12.5 mg, 25 mg, and 50 mg and ketoprofen 50 mg were compared in this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of 210 patients with moderate to severe pain after removal of one mandibular impacted third molar tooth. Pain intensity and pain relief were monitored for 6 h after administration of medication using visual analogue and verbal rating scales. All four active treatments were significantly more effective than placebo (P < 0.001). Dexketoprofen 25 mg and 50 mg produced an analgesic effect within 30 min of administration and their effect persisted for 6 h. Ketoprofen 50 mg produced a level of analgesia similar to those of the higher doses of dexketoprofen trometamol, but it had a slower onset. The 12.5-mg dose of dexketoprofen trometamol was significantly superior to placebo but produced a lower level and shorter duration of analgesia compared to the other active treatments. There were no significant differences between 25 and 50 mg of dexketoprofen trometamol in any measure of analgesic efficacy. No serious adverse events were observed and there were no significant differences in the incidence of adverse events among treatment groups. These results demonstrate that dexketoprofen trometamol 25 mg is at least as effective as the racemic ketoprofen 50 mg in the treatment of postsurgical dental pain. The more rapid onset of action compared to ketoprofen suggests that dexketoprofen trometamol is more appropriate for treatment of acute pain.