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Opioid Addiction: Questions to Ask Your Dentist – Wellesley, MA


On November 17, the surgeon general issued its first report on alcohol, drugs, and health. More than 20 million people have substance use disorders but only 1 in 10 receive treatment. The report defines substance misuse as the “use of any substance in a manner, situation, amount or frequency that can cause harm to”. Addiction is prolonged, repeated misuse of a controlled substance that impairs health and function.

Dentists frequently prescribe opioids like hydrocodone or oxycodone to manage pain. These medications are effective at controlling post-procedural pain but have also become a source of drug abuse.

If you are prescribed an opioid, ask your dentist or pharmacist:

  • What is the goal of the prescription?
  • When and how should I take these? How long should I be on this medication?
  • What are the risks of this medication and how do I dispose of extra medication?

Several studies have shown that over the counter medications work as well in most situations as painkillers. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be effective for moderate pain relief. Talk to your dentist about managing your pain with minimal risks. Discuss medications you are currently taking and if you have had a history with addiction.

Sources:
http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2016-archive/december/ada-others-ask-congress-for-funding-to-curb-opioid-addiction
http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/threats-to-dental-health/article/ada-surgeon-general-issues-new-report-on-addiction
http://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=310576


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