The Role of Opioids in Dentistry

There is a common misconception that opioids are required to control pain after dental surgery is performed. I often have patients asking for something ‘stronger’ to be prescribed just in case their pain can’t be controlled. However, as outlined in this article, opioid use after wisdom teeth removal should be a last resort, not a routine prescription. “In most cases, post-surgical dental pain can be controlled without opioids, through anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, in combination with non-opioid pain relievers, such as acetaminophen."

There is a national public health crisis of opioid abuse and opioid prescriptions need to be limited to minimize harm, especially for young people.

According to the Canadian Association of Hospital Dentists “Non-opioid based pain medications are to be prioritized following dental surgery and to resort to opioids only if the pain cannot be managed”. However, that is not currently what is happening. “An American study published in early December found that dentists are the leading source of opioid prescriptions for children and adolescents aged 10 to 19 years in the United States.”

Read the article below to learn more about the dependency risk for young people being prescribed opioids for dental surgery.

Dr. Lauren Vredenburg 

Calgary Fine Dentistry


Lauren Vredenburg