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Your Oral Health

Know the Facts

Patient in doctor's office

Talk to your dentist about opioids

Know the facts and ask questions before you – or your child - agree to an opioid prescription following oral surgery.

Did you know?

  • The largest increase in oral health opioid prescriptions from 2010-2015 were among patients aged 11 to 18.
  • Dentists ranked 4th among all medical specialties in opioid prescribing rates, and are the leading prescribers of opioids for U.S. teens
  • The age groups that received the highest median dose than all other age groups were aged 11-18 and 19-25
  • Women were 50% more likely than men to receive an opioid prescription for pain management of a dental condition
  • Half the opioids prescribed after oral surgery go unused
According to the American Dental Association, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are equal or superior to using opioids for dental pain. The ADA has issued a policy statement that dentists should consider NSAIDs as the first-line therapy for pain management.

What to ask your dentist before taking opioids

  • Why do I need this medication – is it right for me?
  • Are there non-opioid alternatives that could help with pain while I recover?
  • What are the potential side effects from this medication?
  • What if my family or I have a history of addiction with tobacco, alcohol or drugs?
  • Could this treatment interact with my other medicine for anxiety or sleeping problems?
  • If I need opioids, how many opioids are absolutely necessary? Can we start with a smaller prescription and then fill a second only if necessary?
  • What should I do with unused opioid medicine?

Safe Storage and Disposal

Opioid Resource Overview