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Statement on the Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Dental Pain

This guideline is being updated. A revised version is due for release in early 2017.
  1. The ADA encourages continuing education about the appropriate use of opioid pain medications in order to promote both responsible prescribing practices and limit instances of abuse and diversion.
  2. Dentists who prescribe opioids for treatment of dental pain are encouraged to be mindful of and have respect for their inherent abuse potential.
  3. Dentists who prescribe opioids for treatment of dental pain are also encouraged to periodically review their compliance with Drug Enforcement Administration recommendations and regulations.
  4. Dentists are encouraged to recognize their responsibility for ensuring that prescription pain medications are available to the patients who need them, for preventing these drugs from becoming a source of harm or abuse and for understanding the special issues in pain management for patients already opiate dependent.
  5. Dentists who are practicing in good faith and who use professional judgment regarding the prescription of opioids for the treatment of pain should not be held responsible for the willful and deceptive behavior of patients who successfully obtain opioids for non-dental purposes.
  6. Appropriate education in addictive disease and pain management should be provided as part of the core curriculum at all dental schools.

Adopted October 2005