Dentists’ role in preventing addiction – ASDA Blog


Dependancy is outlined because the continued want to hunt pleasure from some stimuli although there are hostile penalties related to doing so. Though substance use issues can happen from varied drugs, opioids are essentially the most addictive substance dentists prescribe. Opioids relieve ache by blocking ache receptors within the mind however could be misused by taking extra medicine than prescribed, utilizing the medicine for an unintended objective or sharing the medicine. As well as, many individuals are launched to prescription opioids after widespread dental surgical procedures, akin to knowledge tooth extractions or root canals. Due to this fact, it’s typically the case that sufferers aren’t abusing prescription opioids on objective. Thus, it’s important to query a dentist’s position in treating sufferers whereas stopping them from misusing prescription opioids.   

Many components can affect a affected person’s threat of abusing prescription opioids. Considered one of these concerns features a affected person’s genetic make-up. Sufferers which have a household historical past of substance abuse even have an elevated risk of growing abusive behaviors. Because of this, dentists should assess a affected person’s household medical historical past for substance abuse issues earlier than treating them with prescription opioids.

Furthermore, the traits of a affected person’s surroundings also can play a considerable position in substance abuse. For instance, individuals could also be poorly influenced by mates, household or coworkers who downplay the dangers of prescription opioids. Additionally, sufferers who’ve suffered from bodily, psychological or sexual abuse have a better threat of growing a substance use disorder. These sufferers could also be ensuing to prescription opioids to deal with the trauma they’ve skilled. This makes it essential for dentists to be open with their sufferers and talk any considerations to reduce the danger of prescription opioid abuse. 

A few of the most fascinating situations for people after an damage embody experiencing the least quantity of ache and hostile results related to that damage. In lots of instances, opioids will have to be prescribed in dentistry to forestall the extraordinary ache {that a} affected person is experiencing. Nonetheless, if the affected person can bear remedy that may efficiently relieve ache whereas not utilizing an opioid, the danger for hostile results is minimized. Non-opioid drugs akin to NSAIDs, topicals and muscle relaxants have much less abuse potential and related threat, and could be efficient in lowering ache. Various non-drug therapies also can successfully deal with a affected person’s signs, akin to chilly compresses or saltwater rinses. This implies dental professionals will not be restricted by their remedy choices for ache when involved with misuse potential.

As a result of many dental procedures require prescription opioids for ache aid, dentists must be educating their sufferers on accountable medicine behaviors and following up with sufferers after prescribing them. It will permit dentists to enhance affected person wellness and may forestall individuals from growing a substance use dysfunction. As dentistry advances, new methods and steering will strengthen the present strategy to treating sufferers in ache. However till then, dentists will proceed to play a necessary position in making certain wholesome and protected medicine behaviors. 

~Ethan Hermensky, Ohio ‘23



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