After having their wisdom teeth removed, patients are urged to try to control their pain with the use of few or no opioids. (iStock)

Use opioids wisely after wisdom tooth removal, urge officials

Dentists and patients are being warned about the potential harms of opioid use to manage pain after the routine extraction of wisdom teeth. “The existing evidence suggest(s) dentists are responsible for a significant proportion of first-time exposure to opioids,” said a former president of the Canadian Association of Hospital Dentists.

A statement from this and other health and safety organizations says that there are far more younger students, particularly 10 to 12 year-olds using opioids non-medically than are using cannabis. And 67 per cent of students using opioids non-medically say they got the drugs from home. It adds that each day, about 17 Canadians are hospitalized with opioid poisoning.

Before using opioids, patients are advised to try other pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. (iStock)

Flier provides patients advice

A flier has been produced to advise patients on how to manage pain after they have their wisdom teeth pulled. It says patients should first try non-opioid medication. If they do require opioids, they should need them for less than three days and use the lowest possible dose. Patients are urged to call their dentists, surgeons or pharmacists if pain persists.

The flier also urges patients to never share their opioid medication, to store it in a secure place and to take unused opioids back to the pharmacy for safe disposal.

Since the Canadian government started tracking opioid-related deaths in January 2016, there have been more than 12,800 deaths.

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