Is wisdom teeth removal without opioids possible? It is a commonly held myth in the dental profession and among patients that effective pain management after oral surgery only happens with opioid use. However, almost everyone has been touched by the opioid crisis in America. Consider these stats:
These are some scary statistics, but there is good news. My experience as an oral surgeon has proven that there are alternative procedures and methods that can be effectively applied to counter minor discomfort and bruising, and speed up the recovery process. 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.
In fact, a study by Case Western Reserve University found that, “ibuprofen and acetaminophen are more effective than opioids in treating dental pain.”
Now, an opioid may be required for pain control for a short period of time for some oral surgery procedures, such as fracture repair or jaw reconstruction. When this is necessary, it must be monitored closely by both the physician and caregivers. This takes extra time and care, but it is important that oral surgeons and dentists avoid the temptation to use a one-size-fits-all pain management strategy. Changing prescribing practices to avoid unnecessary opioid prescriptions for teenagers or young adults can potentially make a huge difference in a young person’s life. For example, The WisdomToothDoc™ Technique results in:
From personal and professional experience, I believe that through proper preparation, we don’t have to prescribe opiates or narcotics following oral surgery. There are better options available, and we should apply these developments in the best interest of the patient, as well as for the caregivers. I’ll be discussing more of the benefits of The WisdomToothDoc™ Technique in future blogs.