Skip to main content
Toggle Menu of ADA WebSites
ADA Websites
Partnerships and Commissions
Toggle Search Area
Toggle Menu
e-mail Print Share

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

  1. When considering prescribing opioids, dentists should conduct a medical and dental history to determine current medications, potential drug interactions and history of substance abuse.
  2. Dentists should follow and continually review Centers for Disease Control and State Licensing Boards recommendations for safe opioid prescribing.
  3. Dentists should register with and utilize prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to promote the appropriate use of controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes, while deterring the misuse, abuse and diversion of these substances.
  4. Dentists should have a discussion with patients regarding their responsibilities for preventing misuse, abuse, storage and disposal of prescription opioids.
  5. Dentists should consider treatment options that utilize best practices to prevent exacerbation of or relapse of opioid misuse.
  6. Dentists should consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management.
  7. Dentists should recognize multimodal pain strategies for management for acute postoperative pain as a means for sparing the need for opioid analgesics.
  8. Dentists should consider coordination with other treating doctors, including pain specialists when prescribing opioids for management of chronic orofacial pain.
  9. 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.
  10. Dental students, residents and practicing dentists are encouraged to seek continuing education in addictive disease and pain management as related to opioid prescribing.

ADA House of Delegates
Adopted: October 2016

Prepared by: Division of Government and Public Affairs
Last Updated: February 24, 2017