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Opioid Crisis Grows With Every Wisdom Tooth Removed.

Removing a wisdom tooth contributed to the opioid epidemic in the U.S. Experts said that dentists already prescribed the drugs to millions of patients, and many families are already suffering from its consequences.

Estimates show that there are nearly five million people in the country who visit clinics to remove their wisdom teeth, CBS News ( reported Wednesday . Opioids were previously the most common drugs used by dentists to help reduce the pain after the procedure.A

The American Dental Association (ADA) said it already issued updated guidelines against the use of opioids. However, prescriptions for the harmful drugs still reached more than 18A million over the past years.A

Many families of patients who received opioids after having their wisdom teeth removed now are living with its side effects. One of the cases involved the daughter of Ellen Earley.A

In 2017, her daughter Saige received opioids from a dentist to help manage her pain after removing her wisdom teeth. Ellen said they did not get any warning about the side effects of the drugs.A

"In fact, he said, 'you know, I think they gave her a five-day supply,' and he said, 'if you need more, just let me know. Just give a call,'" A Ellen said.A

Saige became opioid dependent after the procedure and eventually used heroin. In 2018, she was found dead in an airport bathroom after overdosing. Saige was on her way to rehab.A Despite hearing many cases similar to Saige's, many dentists still prescribe opioids, according to Dr. Chad Brummett of the University of Michigan. He added one opioid prescription after wisdom tooth surgery can make a patient two times more likely to continue using the drugs.A A "For many, dental care such as wisdom teeth extraction is the first opioid exposure," he said. "It could be like 50,000 kids each year becoming new chronic opioid users after just something simple like a wisdom tooth extraction."

ADA has been encouraging dentists to use alternative pain relievers to help address the opioid epidemic. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that opioid overdose kills more than 130 people daily in the U.S.

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Publication:Medical Daily
Date:Aug 22, 2019
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