Wisdom teeth surgeons, oral surgeons and other dental professionals may not be aware of it, but opioid addiction in America is an epidemic. Opioids are a factor in “7 out of every 10 overdose deaths” per The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, and according to a University of Michigan study, opioid prescriptions for wisdom teeth removal are linked to long-term use: “Patients in their late teens and 20s had the highest risk of persistent use if they received opioids around the time of their extraction.”
Instead of relying on opioid prescriptions for wisdom tooth removal, Dr. Babiuk created TheWisdomToothDoc™ Technique, which he discusses in his book, “What Every Parent Of An Adolescent Needs To Know About Opioids.”
This alternative treatment has been successful in speeding up the recovery period and reducing the chances for severe discomfort or pain following wisdom tooth removal and oral surgery.
Before surgery begins, patients and caregivers receive a thorough education on the process. They learn what to expect and how to cope with the physical and mental trauma of wisdom tooth extraction.
Dr. Babiuk takes the time to talk with each patient to discuss the unique circumstances of their situation, what is going to happen before, during and after the surgery and answer their questions.
Patients and caregivers are encouraged to communicate their concerns. They can ask about anything they are unsure of so that they feel confident in the procedure and completely understand the process from beginning to end.
TheWisdomToothDoc™ Technique combines this ongoing, patient communication with a sedation protocol using different, non-addictive medicines.
Dr. Babiuk reviews the overall disposition of both the patient and the caregivers to ensure that they are in a positive state of mind. Then, he goes through a detailed checklist with each patient:
• Pain tolerance levels;
• Personal history of substance abuse;
• Family history of substance abuse;
• Concerns about recovery time at home;
• Recovery expectations; and
• Importance of mental approach.
Pain management for each patient is handled on a case-by-case basis. This way, he can control the post-surgical dental pain using anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen in combination with non-opioid pain relievers, such as acetaminophen.
In fact, a 2018 Case Western Reserve University study indicates that, “ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) alone or in combination with acetaminophen are better at easing dental pain than opioids.”
With TheWisdomToothDoc™ Technique, patients experience less bleeding of the gum tissues, less bruising, less inflammation, less pain, and more mobility of the jaws. Plus, many patients can chew food and swallow normally soon after surgery.
By taking the time to review each patient’s unique situation, mindset, medical history, and pain tolerance, and opening the lines of communication between the oral surgeon and the patient and caregivers, everyone is more prepared for the wisdom tooth removal procedure.
This leads to a faster, healthier recovery without using an opioid prescription.
Dr. Babiuk’s new procedure allows patients to feel more comfortable with their oral surgery without worrying about opioid addiction. It is just the beginning of new techniques to help reduce the opioid crisis in America and provide better care for patients.