March 26, 2018
by American Dental Association
The American Dental Association (ADA) today announced a new policy on opioids supporting mandates on prescription limits and continuing education in what could be the first of its kind among major healthcare professional organizations.
The policy states:
“As president of the ADA, I call upon dentists everywhere to double down on their efforts to prevent opioids from harming our patients and their families,” said ADA President Joseph P. Crowley, D.D.S. “This new policy demonstrates ADA’s firm commitment to help fight the country’s opioid epidemic while continuing to help patients manage dental pain.”
Most opioids prescribed to patients in the U.S. are written by physicians and other medical professionals for management of chronic (long-term) pain. Dentists with an appropriate license may also prescribe opioids, and do so most often for management of acute (short-term) pain such as severe tooth decay, extraction of teeth and root canals. In 1998, dentists were the top specialty prescribers of opioid pain relievers, accounting for 15.5 percent of all opioid prescriptions in the U.S. By 2012, this number had fallen to 6.4 percent.
New data published in the April issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) continue to shed light on opioid prescriptions from a dental perspective. The data indicates:
“The JADA articles shine an important light on a public health epidemic from the dental perspective, and signals that while the percentage of opioids prescribed by dentists has decreased since 1998, we can continue to do even more to help keep opioids from being a source of harm,” said Dr. Crowley. “Working together with physicians, pharmacies, other healthcare professionals, policymakers and the public, we believe it is possible to end this tragic and preventable public health crisis that has been devastating our families and communities.”
For more information on how the ADA is working to combat opioid abuse, visit www.ADA.org/opioids.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing more than 161,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website MouthHealthy.org.