Blog, Resource, & Helpline for those battling Percocet addiction

Preventing Addiction So You Can Smile More—How Dental Schools Address the Opioid Crisis

Preventing Addiction So You Can Smile More—How Dental Schools Address the Opioid Crisis

Massachusetts dental schools have launched a new plan to teach new dentists a course in painkiller awareness. Drugs like Percocet and oxycodone have become a serious issue in the state, and new dentists will hopefully have skills in identifying improper opioid use. This new ruling follows all of the medical colleges in the state, which are also launching similar programs.

It turns out that dentists are responsible for a solid amount of opioid prescriptions. General practitioners and internists (doctors) still prescribe, by far, more opioids than dentists, but dentists do prescribe about 8% of all opioid painkillers in the state. Hopefully these new dentists will be able to spot opioid addiction if it is already present and prevent future addictions from beginning.

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Harvard dental and Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine have all partnered to develop a solid curriculum to help prevent more addictions in the state. As part of the required materials, students will do the following:

  • Recognize the signs of unhealthy opioid use
  • Learn more about pain management with alternate treatments
  • Learn how to evaluate each patient’s risk of abusing substances
  • Practice discussing the effects, pros and cons of all pain treatments
  • Learn how to effectively collaborate with other healthcare professionals about opioid concerns

Many dentists are in a prime position to detect opioid abuse. By helping these new dentists understand what pain level is normal and appropriate for each type of dental procedure, they will be better able to identify deeper problems among patients. Instead of prescribing 30 Percocet pills after a procedure, these new dentists will be able to identify the need for less pills where appropriate. The effects of this are threefold including: patients will be less likely to become addicted, leftover pills will no longer be sitting around patients’ houses and dentists will enjoy less liability for addiction.

While many people don’t realize that addiction can begin at the dentist’s office, it can. Addiction can begin anywhere, and people of all backgrounds are susceptible. Because opioid drugs like Percocet change the way the body reads pain and decrease the brain’s own natural painkillers, any person is susceptible to becoming quickly dependent on these medications.

Percocet dependence is treatable. There are programs that can help any individual treat his or her opioid concerns, no matter how severe an addiction has become. By finding a treatment program that matches individual needs and goals, each person can heal from Percocet addiction. We can help. Call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline to learn more.


 

[1] Freyer, Felice. (2016, February). Dental schools adopt strategy to combat opioid abuse. Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/11/hoping-combat-opioid-crisis-dental-schools-adopt-pain-management-strategy/AdbYECzgmn5npPfTzeQFzO/story.html