The growing problem of opioid addiction has medical professionals rethinking prescriptions for pain medications and evaluating other alternatives for relief. Medications are generally needed after oral surgery to help patients manage their pain. However, the amount of painkillers a patient will need varies on an individual basis. Professionals should therefore evaluate needs based on each individual patient’s current medications, drug interactions, and personal history.
The American Dental Association (ADA) announced a new policy last March to raise awareness and support continuing education. While they remain committed to helping patients manage their pain, they are concurrently urging dental professionals to double down on their efforts to prevent opioids from harming patients and their families.
Doctors are finding that a combination of ibuprofen plus acetaminophen can be superior to opioid based mediations, and the ADA recommends this as the first-line therapy for acute pain management.
Another alternative is a drug that has been developed for post surgical pain relief. EXPAREL® is injected into the surgical site, and works as a long-acting local anesthetic. This helps reduce the need for opioids after surgery. When a patient’s pain is under control, the body can then work on healing.
As research and knowledge on this subject expands, practitioners are becoming better equipped to provide their patients with safe, effective pain relief, with alternatives that continue the fight against the opioid crisis.