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Although many dental patients require prescription painkillers following surgery or due to a toothache, some individuals may simply be seeking the drugs to fuel an addiction to opioid medications.
In a recent article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, a group of researchers from Tufts Health Care Institute Program on Opioid Risk Management offered several tips on how dentists can avoid contributing to the high number of Americans who are addicted to pills.
First, the experts said that dentists should ask their patients whether or not they think they need opioids in order to manage their pain and if they plan to use the entire prescription. This may be important because many addicts have reported obtaining drugs from their family members or friends who have leftover pills.
Prescription pads should be kept in a secure place and patients should be instructed to properly dispose of any pills that they do not use, the group suggested.
Oral care providers may also consider using prescription monitoring programs like state databases to help ensure that their patients do not have a prior history of drug abuse.
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