Wisdom teeth removal is a rite of passage for many teenagers. But the recovery comes with pain that is hard to manage.
Sometimes the pain is bad enough to be treated with opioid prescriptions. Examples of these drugs are hydrocodone (Vicodin®) and oxycodone (Percocet®). Without meaning to, the over-prescribing of these drugs can lead to addiction.
The American Dental Association understands that the misuse and abuse of opioid pain relievers has reached dangerous levels. Children and teenagers are not excluded. So dentists and oral surgeons have been asked to help by offering more education to patients.
You can help too.
Start by taking steps to prevent risk. If your child—or even you—will have wisdom teeth taken out, ask your dental specialist or surgeon these questions:
- Are there non habit-forming medications that can be used? If so, what are their risks?
- How long should the opioid prescription be taken?
- If an opioid must be prescribed, is it the lowest strength (especially for a child)?
- What options are there to avoid or reduce using an opioid for pain?
- What should be done with any extra medication?
- When and how should the medication be taken?
If you have medication that is unused, unwanted, or expired, find a safe disposal location. If you have questions about opioid use (for example, how much is too much, how do I know if I’m “abusing” my medication, etc.), talk with a healthcare provider. If you know you need help with your use of drugs or opioids, call Get Help Now at 800.662.HELP (4357). You can find additional help on the Drug Take Back website.
Dentists and surgeons may hold the tools, but you are your best advocate.
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Interested in drug information? Visit our prescription education section.