Dentists now part of the drug war

5/14/2015, Role of dentists in reducing prescription drug abuse

Bundy said 12 percent of all of the immediate-release opioid prescription drugs are written by dentists in the U.S., just slightly less than family physicians. Part of Bundy’s presentation was to make sure dentists know what to do to prevent being taken advantage of by drug abusers, yet make sure their patients receive the medications necessary to alleviate discomfort following dental procedures. Bundy offered a few recommendations…

Bundy also advised dentists to maximize the amount of nonopioid medications to the patient’s benefit, noting that studies have shown that much of the time this approach is better than opioid medication.

“The last time I checked, most of the pain that is involved in dentistry involves some degree of inflammation,” Bundy said.

Because most postoperative dental pain has an inflammatory component, NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen therapy is essential and often superior to opioids for pain control…

Another tip he offers dentists is to not prescribe anything prior to the patient’s procedure…

Park said pharmacists are not immune to the changing environment either, as the Board of Pharmacy is cracking down on pharmacists more now, too…

Park also reminded dentists in attendance of the lecture that they must register to be able to access the CURES system by Jan. 1, 2016 (go to and register as a “Practitioner”). All dispensed controlled substance prescriptions are recorded in CURES, which allows prescribers to look up a patient’s controlled substance current usage and past history…

If you’re a chronic pain patient, do not expect treatment for the additional pain from a dental procedure.  Do not believe that most dental pain comes from inflammation — we’re talking about bone pain, which is some of the worst kind.

Since TMJ makes my dental appointments excruciating, and the lack of range of motion in my jaw joints makes it impossible for dentists to work on me without anesthesia, I have to pay extra to be put under.  My last dental bill was almost $10,000 (none of which is covered by Medicare). Needless to say, I haven’t been to the dentist in quite awhile.  And now, with dentists added to the drug war, I think I’ll just let all my teeth fall out and wait to pay for dentures.  If I’m lucky, a dental infection will travel to my brain and kill me before that happens.

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