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Letters: Prescribing practices

April 16, 2018

As a presently full-time practicing dentist for over 50 years, I am glad that we are progressing toward helping solve the national opioid problem. Thankfully, however, I feel that dentists play only a very small, minor roll in this problem in this day and time. But, every little bit helps in the battle. Texas dentists and the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners are on the front lines to do what's possible to help.

Such was not always the case. In 1967, if we did extractions, we were taught to prescribe 12 codeine and aspirin and not to hesitate to give them one refill if they "hurt." "Keep the patient from hurting." At that time, they had not taught us that the aspirin would help them to bleed all week. Soon, we went to codeine and Tylenol and "other" pain meds. It took 20-plus years for the trend to change, but most all of us quickly realized that the opioids were not really all that necessary most of the time.

John T. Baker, D.D.S.
Dallas