Dentists try a new approach for pain: fewer opioids

Last Updated: Monday, March 27, 2017

(WHYY/Kaiser Health News, March 11) Dentists have long been frequent prescribers of immediate-release opioids like Vicodin and Percocet for the pain from tooth extractions. That’s a lot of pills and teeth; annually more than 3.5 million people, mainly young adults, have their wisdom teeth removed.

For many patients, these drugs never pose a problem. But deaths of some 165,000 people in the U.S. in the past 15 years involved an overdose of heroin or opioids, and many others are struggling with addiction. Health officials say the nation’s major epidemic of drug use has been fueled by the misuse of prescription painkillers. Read more. 

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