Wisdom Teeth Extraction Could Lead to Opioid Addiction
Many times when drug addiction is brought up, an unfortunate reaction is to blame the addict for starting in the first place. A new study is drawing a connection between young adults becoming addicted to opioids and the medications prescribed after they get their wisdom teeth removed.
Nola.com reported that, "About 31 percent of patients ages 16 to 25 years old were prescribed opioids by their dentists after having their wisdom teeth removed, according to the study which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine in December." Researchers studied the correlation between the number of patients in that age group that were given opioids after wisdom teeth extraction surgery and "the rate of opioid abuse and dependence among this patient group a year after their surgery."
What did their research find?
According to Nola.com, "Researchers found that nearly six percent of 15,000 patients in this age group who received their first opioid prescription in 2015 from either a dentist or an oral surgeon were diagnosed with opioid abuse disorder later that year."
Patients that were not prescribed opioids had a much lower percentage of opioid addiction. The study found only 0.4% of those patients developed a substance abuse problem within a year of the surgery.
Co-founder of Oral Surgery Services, Dr. Demarcus Smith stated, "...[F]ields of dentistry and sports medicine historically have been blamed as the initial point of access to opioid medication among adolescents and young people."
He went on to say the dentists have had to modify their prescriptions to combat the growing opioid epidemic and that his practice has had success in prescribing non-opioids.