CleanSlate Blog

During National Children's Dental Health Month, Let's Discuss the Risks of Dental Opioid Prescriptions

by Flora Sadri, D.O. | Feb 18, 2019

February is National Children’s Dental Health month, an observance sponsored by the American Dental Association (ADA) that brings together healthcare providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and their caregivers.

This year, the ADA’s theme is “Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile!” But for dentists and teens, the most important lesson of children’s dental health could come through increased education about a danger far more serious than plaque: an opioid prescription.

That’s because the first time that many American teens receive a prescription for opioid painkillers is at the dentist’s office. While teens in other countries are rarely prescribed opioids after dental surgeries like wisdom tooth removal, American teens are much more likely to be prescribed highly addictive drugs such as Vicodin.   

And the danger of addiction is real. A majority of all heroin users started by taking prescription painkillers, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine.

A 2015 study in the journal Pediatrics found that prescribed opioid use makes teens 33% more likely to abuse opioids later on. A more recent study, published last December in JAMA Internal Medicine by the Stanford University School of Medicine, found that teens and young adults who receive an initial opioid prescription from their dentists or oral surgeons are at increased risk for opioid addiction as soon as the following year.

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Recovery from Addiction Includes Recovering Trust

by Flora Sadri, D.O. | Dec 20, 2018

When people start treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, they begin to regain control of themselves and their lives. Their newfound mental clarity is an important development in recovery, but it comes with a catch. With a clear view of the wreckage their disease has caused all around them, patients can feel a debilitating sense of shame and guilt.

We see this every day in our work with patients. At CleanSlate, physicians and staff practice medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help patients suffering from opioid or alcohol addiction. Patients make appointments at one of our outpatient centers, and their experience is similar to a routine visit to any doctor’s office. After beginning treatment with medications such as buprenorphine (Suboxone) or naltrexone (Vivitrol) to ward off cravings and prevent relapse, many of our patients report feeling “normal,” like their former selves, sometimes in a remarkably short amount of time.

But for most patients, medication is only one component of recovery.

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If you or someone you know suffers from the disease of addiction, please call 833-505-HOPE to speak with a professional.

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