U Pittsburgh dental clinics adopt opioid-free prescribing guidelines

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine announced Nov. 6 that it has established opioid-free pain management guidelines for outpatient procedures at its dental clinics. 

As one of the first dental schools in the U.S. to do so, the guidelines are part of an effort to reduce routine prescriptions of opioid pain relievers after dental procedures, such as wisdom teeth removal. The school instead emphasizes the use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Most outpatient procedures don't require opioid pain relievers, Bernard J. Costello, MD, DMD, dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, told the American Dental Association. He added that opioid medications could be appropriate under specific circumstances, and the guidelines help dentists account for these situations.

The university is located in an area greatly affected by the U.S. opioid crisis, with an estimated 12 Pennsylvanians dying from an opioid, heroin or fentanyl overdose every day, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

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