Dentists have made strides in reducing opioid prescriptions to patients. But dentists remain a top prescriber of opioids to children and young adults.1 Many of these patients have their first exposure to opioids via these dental prescriptions, leading to increased risk of opioid related harms.2
The goal of our educational program is to educate dentists and dental hygienists on effective treatment of acute dental pain, the use of evidence-based treatment options for the management of acute dental pain, and to encourage the implementation of risk mitigation strategies for opioid prescribing.
Preventing opioid exposure
Filling an opioid prescription from a dentist may increase the risk of persistent use three-fold.3 Add to that, fewer than half of dental opioid prescriptions are consumed.4 Excess opioids in the home increase family risks of overdose.5 Yet opioid pain medications are less effective than other over-the-counter options.
Patient satisfaction is similar for both non-opioid pain regimens and opioid pain regimens after third molar extractions.7
Establishing a protocol for managing pain after a procedure may reduce the reliance on opioid medications.8 If an opioid medication is needed, checking the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), educating patients about opioid risks, limiting quantities prescribed, discussing safe storage and disposal of unneeded opioids, talking about naloxone, and coordinating with other clinicians if the patient is at risk for misuse can help reduce risk of overdose to the patient and family members.
The content of this website is educational in nature and includes general recommendations only; specific clinical decisions should only be made by a treating clinician based on the individual patient’s clinical condition.