Wisdom Teeth Removal Without Opioids

Dr. James Babiuk - wisdom teeth removal without opioids
Dr. James Babiuk - Wisdom teeth removal without opioids

It’s Time For A New Direction In Oral Surgery

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:

  • According to the latest stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “nearly 75% of the 91,799 drug overdose deaths in 2020 involved an opioid,” and “prescription opioid-involved death rates increased by 17%.”


  • A recent study from the University of Michigan found that, “patients undergoing wisdom tooth extraction are predominantly young and healthy and routinely receive a postoperative opioid prescription.” However, the results indicated that, “a filled perioperative opioid prescription after wisdom tooth extraction was associated with higher odds of persistent opioid use among opioid-naive patients.”


  • Additional research also indicates that patients ages 13-30 are typically at the highest risk of becoming addicted to opioids after surgery, 300,000 estimated U.S. patients go on to persistent opioid abuse following surgery each year… the list goes on.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Without Opioids

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, TheWisdomToothDoc™ Technique results in:

  • Less bleeding of the gum tissues;
  • Less bruising;
  • Less inflammation;
  • Less pain; and
  • More mobility of the jaws to to normally chew food and swallow soon after surgery.


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 TheWisdomToothDoc™ Technique in future blogs.

If you’d like to learn more about wisdom teeth removal without opioids now, click here.