In March 2018, the ADA announced a new policy demonstrating the Association’s commitment to fighting opioid abuse while continuing to help patients manage dental pain.
Broaching substance abuse or opioid misuse can be difficult for providers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse created a new webpage, Screening for Substance Use in the Dental Setting, to help dentists and members of the dental team recognize the signs of risky substance use and addiction.
Visit Drugabuse.gov and search “substance abuse screening.”
• Taking a health history of the patient that includes discussing substance abuse.
• Referring patients with untreated addiction to a local behavioral health provider.
• Explaining the research on opioids versus over-the-counter pain medications. The ADA
recommends the use of nonopioid medications as a first line of defense.
• Reassuring patients who are in addiction recovery that their dental-related pain will be managed.
• Checking your state’s prescription drug monitoring program.
• Staying up to date by familiarizing yourself with the latest guidelines.
As a public service, the ADA Center for Professional Success website offers free access to information on safe prescribing, online continuing education and other tools for managing dental pain, especially for patients who are at risk for drug overdose or addiction. This includes archived recordings of the ADA’s opioid prescribing webinar series. The ADA also offers free online continuing education courses on safe and effective analgesic prescribing for dental pain.