Every year, about 5 million Americans, most of whom are adolescents and young adults, have their wisdom teeth removed. Many of them are prescribed opioids for the pain during recovery.
The American Dental Association said that after updating its guidelines advising against prescribing opioids, dentists wrote almost half a million fewer prescriptions in 2017 compared to five years earlier. But that still amounted to a staggering 18.1 million prescriptions — and some families are living with the devastating consequences.
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