With the subject of opioids and opioid abuse in many news headlines these days, patients may have concerns about the prescription practices of dental offices, or more specifically, Adams and Cheek Dentistry. Some patients may be concerned we will recommend certain prescription pain medication following dental procedures. Others may worry we will not prescribe what the patient thinks they need. Let’s look at how the doctors at Adams and Cheek Dentistry deal with pain management and why.
We mostly recommend acetaminophen and ibuprofen
The efficacy of the combination of these medications is usually underestimated. However, when combined, acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) and NSAIDS (i.e. Motrin) are often equivalent or even superior to opioids for managing pain. Additionally, these medications have fewer side effects and less potential for abuse.
We prefer to treat the pain and not the brain
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen treat the inflammation at the site of treatment (extraction, etc.). The inflammation caused by the dental procedure is what often causes the pain. By treating the source of the pain, this speeds up the healing process and, consequently, the longevity of the pain.
Conversely, opioids block pain signals from the body to the brain. These medications do nothing for the affected site and only “trick” the brain into not feeling the pain. Opioids trigger the release of endorphins which muffle pain perception and boost feelings of pleasure. It is for this reason that opioids become so addictive.
We will prescribe stronger medication when necessary
While Dr. Adams and Dr. Cheek prefer to prescribe the above combination, they do recognize the need for stronger pain medication when necessary. Even so, our doctors prescribe non-narcotic prescription medication as needed.
In conclusion, the doctors at Adams and Cheek Dentistry follow the recommended ADA (American Dental Association) policy on opioids. The ADA supports mandates in prescription limits as well as continuing education in what could be the first of its kind among major healthcare professional organizations. The policy reads as follows:
- The American Dental Association supports mandatory continuing education in prescribing opioids and other controlled substances.
- The ADA supports statutory limits on opioid dosage and duration of no more than seven days for the treatment of acute pain, consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evidence-based guidelines.
- The ADA supports dentists registering with and utilizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to promote the appropriate use of opioids and deter misuse and abuse.
*The above policy was provided directly from the ADA
Please do not hesitate to call our office at 919.866.1360 or click here to contact our office if you have any questions concerning pain management for your dental procedure.