Will dentist prescribe pain meds?

As a doctor of dental medicine or doctor of dental surgery, your dentist can prescribe medications as needed for dental care, just like a doctor. This includes antibiotics to fight infection, muscle relaxants for jaw pain, anesthetics and sedatives to help during procedures, and other medications that help us keep you and your mouth healthy, including pain relievers. At one point, it was quite common for dentists to prescribe opioids for dental pain due to a lack of understanding in the general medical community about the long-term negative effects and prevalence of addiction. Fortunately, this is changing as we fully understand the seriousness of the opioid crisis in our country.

Dentists are leading the way in taking a more conscious and cautious approach to prescribing opioids. If opioids are needed, we focus on making sure they are used responsibly and on a very temporary basis. Most dentists know like Compton and Broomhead Dental Center does, that there are non-opioid pain relievers that are as effective in controlling dental pain as opioid medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. If you take other medications regularly, check with your doctor and dentist to make sure there are no drug interactions.

The Risks of Prescribing Opioids for Dental Pain: The Need for Better Education of Dentists.

Adolescent visits to non-dental centers for dental pain were related to prescriptions for opioids for 3 days, with an average daily dose of nearly 37 MME. We've come a long way since the days when opioids were prescribed naturally after dental work. Keith estimates that up to 30 million prescription pain relievers given to dental patients each year fall into this category. In many cases, dentists prescribe 20 to 30 tablets of a narcotic pain reliever, when a patient will most likely only need a handful of pills before the pain goes away.

To ease the discomfort that may result from some dental procedures, such as tooth extraction, gums and other dental surgeries, or placement of dental implants, dentists can prescribe medications to relieve pain, including opioids. These types of medications are generally safe if used for a short period of time as prescribed by a health professional to relieve short-term oral pain that can result from injury or some dental procedures. Fugh-Berman, director of the PharmedOut project, said the findings point to the need for better education of dentists on the potential harms of opioid painkillers.

Dentists' role in opioid crisis: Study highlights prescribing habits for younger patients undergoing wisdom tooth extractions

Dentists have become an important source of opioid prescriptions, especially for younger patients undergoing wisdom tooth extractions The American Dental Association recognizes the role dentists play in the opioid crisis, a crisis that has contributed to the deaths of more than 702,000 people since 1999. However, many still prescribe opioids to their patients, especially younger ones, a trend that can open the door to possible misuse, deviation and addiction, according to a new study by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

Greg Grillo, a dentist in Washington and spokesman for Express Dentist, told Healthline that there are certain dental procedures where opioids are more suitable for pain relief. He said prescription pain relievers such as Percocet and Vicodin are not very effective in treating acute dental pain and often come with side effects such as nausea, not to mention the risk of addiction.

Luke Hupe
Luke Hupe

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