Dental professionals are among the leading prescribers of opioids in the United States and play a significant role in the current opioid epidemic. While dental professionals prescribe these potent pain killers to provide relief to patients, the serious implications of their prescription and distribution must be considered. This manuscript covers the science behind opioids, history of the opioid epidemic, the affliction it is currently causing in the U.S., the immense impact dentists have in providing opioid prescriptions along with gross over-prescription practices, and much more. Other topics discussed include alternative pain management, safe prescribing practices, naloxone, and how dentists can help patients with opioid use disorder (OUD).



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