Dental Pain And Opioids

Trusted Health Products

Written By Kassandra Foreman / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

The recent rise in opioid abuse and overdose has brought increased attention to the prescription use of opioids for all purposes. Research has shown that there is a higher level of overdose in those who use opioids after a dental treatment.  

Dentistry study

A study conducted by the U-M Medical School and School of Dentistry using information gathered from 8.5 million completed dental procedures compiled data showing 27 percent received and filled a prescription after their procedure that provided an opioid. When researching the number of overdoses in the following days and months it was determined that 2,700 overdoses had occurred within 90 days of the procedure.

At a rate of around three overdoses for each 10,000 procedures and 11.4 million prescriptions for opioids from dentists in 2016, it estimates 1,700 of the overdoses each year are due to a dental opioid prescription.

Using rates gathered from private insurance companies of 3.5 million, the overdoses in 10,000 cases where 1.7 among the families of dental patients who filled an opioid prescription. This study used 400 families for this information and determined that 43 percent of those where a child of the patient who had undergone a dental procedure, 25 percent were a spouse, and the remaining were either siblings or parents of the patient holding the prescription.

“Our paper shows that when patients fill dental opioid prescriptions, the risk of opioid overdose increases both for themselves and their family members,” says Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D. “This underscores the importance of avoiding dental opioid prescribing when non-opioids like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are effective options for pain control, as is the case for the majority of dental procedures. Our finding of increased overdose risk in family members also shows the importance of emphasizing safe storage and disposal when prescribing opioids to dental patients.”

This research has determined that before prescribing opioids the dentist should consider not only the risk of overdose to the patient but also to the entire family.

When dentists should prescribe opioids

The study also shows that there are groups that are at a higher risk than others when prescribed this medication. These groups include those who have a history of substance abuse, those who have mental health concerns, and those on Medicaid.

The results of this study caution dentists to consider prescribing opioids only when necessary and avoiding them when other, over-the-counter pain killers would suffice. They should consider supplying a naloxone prescription along with the opioid prescription if it is necessary for a patient in a high-risk category.

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Written By:

Kassandra Foreman has been writing freelance for five years now and enjoys learning about new things to write about. When not writing she teaches yoga and meditation with a focus on health and fitness.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at

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