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Statement on Provision of Dental Treatment for Patients with Substance Use Disorders

  1. Dentists are urged to be aware of each patient's substance use history, and to take this into consideration when planning treatment and prescribing medications.
  2. Dentists are encouraged to be knowledgeable about substance use disorders—both active and in remission—in order to safely prescribe controlled substances and other medications to patients with these disorders.
  3. Dentists should draw upon their professional judgment in advising patients who are heavy drinkers to cut back, or the users of illegal drugs to stop.
  4. Dentists may want to be familiar with their community's treatment resources for patients with substance use disorders and be able to make referrals when indicated.
  5. Dentists are encouraged to seek consultation with the patient's physician, when the patient has a history of alcoholism or other substance use disorder.
  6. Dentists are urged to be current in their knowledge of pharmacology, including content related to drugs of abuse; recognition of contraindications to the delivery of epinephrine-containing local
    anesthetics; safe prescribing practices for patients with substance use disorders—both active and in remission—and management of patient emergencies that may result from unforeseen drug
  7. Dentists are obliged to protect patient confidentiality of substances abuse treatment information, in accordance with applicable state and federal law.

Adopted October 2005

Interested in a practice resources on substance use disorders? Visit the ADA Store to purchase the ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing.