Dentists frequently prescribe immediate-release opioids like hydrocodone (Vicodin® and Lortab®) and oxycodone (OxyContin® and Percocet®) for pain management treatment following tooth extractions. For most patients, these drugs never pose a problem. But for those in recovery, an opioid prescribed, for even a short duration, can start a tailspin back into addiction. The over-prescription and leftover supply of opioids engender another problem, which has become a national “epidemic,” namely, the uncontrolled sale of opioids by patients to other individuals who seek them. Uncontrolled sale has led to many overdose deaths. Over 165,000 heroin overdose and other opioid overdose deaths have been reported nationwide, during the last fifteen years.
Opioids, your Dentist, and Pain Management Treatment
For these reasons, in the State of Florida and throughout the nation, doctors of all kinds, including dentists have pulled back from prescribing opioids and are becoming very cautious with pain management treatment. Recovery Dentist, Dr. Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, FL, is extremely cautious with his patients, and especially those in recovery.
“I don’t want to put patients at risk of relapse and serious health injury,” said Dr. Alexander. “Managing the dental pain of patients in recovery is one of my areas of expertise. Treatments are performed in a way to minimize discomfort, and we carefully counsel patients and are there for them to provide alternative post-operative care if they are recovering from the soft gum tissue swelling associated with tooth extraction. It’s the soft tissue swelling of the healing gum tissue that causes the greatest discomfort.”
Typically swelling is very light when surgery is performed by a specialist in oral surgery and the need for painkiller can be avoided altogether. For this reason, all surgical procedures that are part Dr. Alexander’s patients’ treatment plans are performed by one of Dr. Alexander’s preferred surgeons, and Dr. Alexander is in close communication to ensure the care is perfectly controlled. Non-opioid analgesics are available when they are needed for pain management treatment.
“Recovery patients wonder about the discomfort and pain that can occur during dental procedures,” said Dr. Alexander. “Local dental anesthetics are used to numb gum tissue and the nerves of teeth. As with all my patients, whether they are in recovery or not, the dose is controlled as a procedure progresses. If the patient needs more, it can be administered during a procedure. However, extra caution is taken to minimize drug interactions and adverse effects while achieving the goal of comfort. If a patient has an adverse reaction, I am trained to manage the reaction and minimize health risks. We carefully schedule our patients so we have plenty of time to provide optimal care, observe them, and ensure their safety. We strive to know the medical history of our patients in detail.”
If you are in recovery and long for oral health and a beautiful smile, give Boynton Beach dentist Dr. Jamie Alexander a call today. He is one of the nation’s few dentists who have declared they have a passion for helping people in recovery.
Our practice is devoted to not only quality comfort and care in dentistry, but also the more specific dental care that is needed for those recovering from addiction. Dr. Alexander has a deep understanding of human emotions, addiction behaviors, PTSD, and systemic health issues that can influence a patient’s dental experience. There is no judgment in our office. We are only here to support you. If you can’t take pain pills, that’s okay. We know just what to do.