Rethinking Standing Orders for Opioids to Manage Pain in Adolescents and Young Adults Requiring Third Molar Extraction

Rethinking Standing Orders for Opioids to Manage Pain in Adolescents and Young Adults Requiring Third Molar Extraction

It has long been a habit of dentists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons to prescribe narcotics following surgeries such as third molar extraction, with many prescribing as many as 20-30 tablets. A recent study of 105 patients who underwent third molar extraction saw 8 surgeons prescribing 1,773 opioid units, with only 38.4% of those units being consumed during the study period. As dental postsurgical pain is mainly driven by inflammation, NSAIDs are an effective non-opioid alternative to treatment, and applying a multimodal analgesia approach provides pain relief at multiple inputs on the nociceptive pathway, reducing the need for opioids.
The first installment of this CME Outfitters Briefcase series on non-opioid pain management focuses on how to choose safe and effective pain management strategies for dental postsurgical pain by aligning pain management practices to evidence-based recommendations for a rational, multimodal approach to analgesia.