How Ohio's New Prescription Opioid Rules Will Impact Dentists

Dentists who typically prescribe opioids for wisdom teeth extractions or other surgeries will now have to use more caution. (Photo: Shutterstock /  milosljubicic)
Dentists who typically prescribe opioids for wisdom teeth extractions or other surgeries will now have to use more caution. (Photo: Shutterstock / milosljubicic)
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The new state rule for dentists limits prescribing opioids for acute pain to only 7 days, according to the Ohio Dental Board. It aims to reduce the risk of dental patients getting addicted to painkillers after oral surgery.

Patients who suffer from chronic oral pain – pain that lasts longer than 3-6 months – are the exception and will still be able to receive standard opioid prescriptions.

There are some concerns, however, that the rule may prevent people who don’t entirely qualify as chronic pain patients from getting the painkillers they need, says Dr. Andres Pinto of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine.

"Once you have somebody who develops complications or may have any other pain issues that are in the grey zone between acute and chronic pain, how would that be managed?" Pinto said. "I would expect a little more guidance when there is a surgical complication that would demand for additional prescriptions."

According to the Ohio Dental Board, the new rule will reduce the number of opioid prescriptions across all health practitioners in Ohio by 109 million doses.

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