Oral health is a key component fighting the opioid epidemic, and dental professionals and their patients in Indiana are encouraged to take a more proactive role in prevention. Dentists and oral surgeons write 12 percent of all opioid prescriptions. While often necessary to combat dental pain, opioids come with a high risk of misuse and addiction. That’s why UnitedHealthcare Dental is focusing on reducing painkiller prescriptions and promoting proper use. As Chief Dental Officer for the company, Dr. Ted Wong explains there are other alternatives to manage pain. Following C-D-C recommendations, first-time opioid prescriptions written by UnitedHealthcare Dental health professionals will be limited to three days for people ages 19 and younger. More than 130 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and nearly half are estimated to be related to prescription opioids. Dentists write nearly half of all opioid prescriptions for adolescents, and about two-in-three patients ages 16 to 22 are prescribed an opioid following a wisdom-tooth extraction. Wong says they’ll be provided information about the risks of opioids. Wong encourages all dental patients to take charge of their health by speaking in-depth with their dental provider about the safest treatment options for pain. About half of opioid pain pills prescribed for dental pain go unused. In Indiana, there were nearly 800 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2016.
February 8th, 2019|Local News|