Wisdom Tooth Removal Linked to Opioid Abuse

A new study shows that people who fill opioid prescriptions for wisdom tooth procedures are three times as likely to keep using.

Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom Teeth

Just as almost everyone is guaranteed to have to deal with the pain of getting their wisdom teeth pulled, they’re just as likely to be prescribed opioids to cope. A recent Michigan News article from University of Michigan discussed a study that suggests an opioid prescription for a wisdom tooth procedure could set the patient on a path to long-term opioid abuse.

The study, led by U-M research fellow and surgical resident Calista Harbaugh, found that people ages 13-30 are nearly 2.7 times as likely as their peers to still be filling opioid prescriptions weeks or even months after the procedure. The author suggests oral surgeons prescribe non-opioid painkillers initially, and then a less than seven-day opioid supply if acute pain lingers.

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