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December JADA spotlights dental prescribing patterns of opioids

November 28, 2018

By Michelle Manchir

Dentists' contribution to opioid availability matters, especially as abuse of the drug has become widespread in the U.S. But there is a lack of research that investigates dentists' prescribing patterns of opioids, according to the cover story of the December issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Cover image of December JADAThe authors of "A Scoping Review Exploring the Opioid Prescribing Practices of US Dental Professionals" reviewed 18 research articles that met inclusion criteria such as being peer-reviewed and having an opioid focus and a dental health care professional prescriber.

They found that the limited available research suggested that dental practice does not always align with proposed guidelines for opioid prescribing, and that there may be a benefit for developing practical strategies targeted to dental providers who prescribe opioids.

"ADA member dentists need to be at the table when solutions are discussed, planned, and implemented regarding opioid availability through all means," said corresponding author May Nawal Lutfiyya, Ph.D. "Dentists can and should make significant contributions to addressing this public health issue."

Authors do note the ADA's policy, launched in March, related to opioid prescribing. The policy and descriptions of ways the ADA is committed to ending opioid abuse can be found online at

To read the full article, visit

Other highlights of the December issue of JADA include an examination of access to preventive services after the integration of oral health care into early childhood education and medical care; a look at the prevalence of risk factors for oral disease in obese patients referred for bariatric surgery; and an editorial by the JADA editor, Dr. Michael Glick, about the importance of patients' voices when it comes to advocating for oral health.

Each month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.