We studied 32 patients undergoing bilateral symmetrical lower third molar surgery under general anaesthesia to determine if the combined effects of pre-emptive local anaesthetic block using 0.5% bupivacaine, together with i.v. tenoxicam and alfentanil had any benefits over postoperative administration. Patients acted as their own controls and were allocated randomly to have surgery start on one side, the second side always being the pre-emptive side. Difference in pain intensity between the two sides was determined using visual analogue scales completed by each individual at 6 h, and at 1, 3 and 6 days after operation. A long-form McGill pain questionnaire was also used to assess difference in pain intensity between the two sides on the morning after surgery. There was no significant difference in pain intensity at any time after surgery. Our findings indicate that the combined use of pre-emptive analgesia from 0.5% bupivacaine, tenoxicam and alfentanil did not reduce postoperative pain intensity in patients undergoing molar exodontia.