The Opioid Crisis and Dentistry
}I have had some questions concerning the Opioid Crisis and dentistry and I would like to clarify some things for my patients.
Q: Do we have an opioid crisis because so many narcotics are prescribed by dentists?
Only 6% of opioid prescriptions are from dentists. Dentists are prescribing narcotic pain medications for post-op pain following tooth extractions, gum or bone surgeries. I feel that should be considered the standard of care, not waiting until the anesthetic wears off to determine if the patient is having pain.
Q: What has been done to curb narcotic usage?
Providers are no longer able call in prescriptions to pharmacies, they must be written. I was opposed to this change, but the results have been fantastic. We now have a significant reduction in the number of patients requiring narcotics to manage their pain. Studies that show that there is a "craving" for the narcotic up to 12 months after taking them and patients have a lower pain tolerance so require more pain medications. I used to prescribe for every tooth extraction (like I was taught in dental school), now I do it less 10% of the time.
Q: Are dentists the cause of narcotic addiction because
patients receive their first exposure to narcotics for wisdom
It is the first exposure to narcotics, so dentistry starts the cycle of addiction.
Q: What are the alternatives to narcotic pain medications?
Taking both OTC Ibuprofen (Advil) and Acetaminophen
(Tylenol) pain meds "stack" the pain relief and make patients MORE comfortable than a narcotic alone.
Neal Family Dental
333 NW 3rd Ave
Canby, OR 97013