Study Finds Wisdom Teeth Removal Opioids Go Unused Every Year

wisdom tooth removal opioids unused
According to research done at the Perelman School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, more than 50 percent of opioids on a prescription after surgical tooth removal, such as the extraction of affected wisdom teeth, go unused by the patients.
Considering the number of people in the US who need a tooth extraction* every year, this translates to over 100 million unused opioids that lead to the possibility of misuse or abuse by patients, their family, or their friends.
*Mint Dentistry offers Wisdom Tooth Removal in Woodland Hills!
The Study
The researchers examined the use of prescription opioid for a group of 79 patients following tooth impaction treatment, and the impact of providing informational material about an internal drug disposal agenda and small financial incentives on the willingness of patients to properly get rid of their unused drugs. They also tested a messaging platform for its effectiveness in collecting data on soreness or pain and the corresponding use of prescription medications.
During enrollment, the participants were each issued with a debit card with a $10 deposit. Surveys to check pain intensity and the use of medication were delivered through text message daily for the initial seven days after treatment, and again on the 14th and 21st day after surgery.
To incentivize the participants, they were given an additional $3 credit on their debit card after each survey, up to a maximum of $27. At the end of the follow-up interview about their condition, the patients were given an extra $10.
According to the survey, the patients experienced the most pain with an average score of 5/10 just 24 hours after surgery while taking medication. The day after, 51 percent of the patients reported a significantly lower pain score of between 0/10 and 3/10. By day 5, nearly 80 percent has a low pain score.
After the procedure, 94 percent of the patients received an opioid prescription to manage pain; 82% also received a NSAID – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; while 78 percent were prescribed an antibiotic. Generally, 93 percent of the patients without post-surgical anomalies were prescribed a total of 28 pills.
By the end of three weeks only 5 patients has used all their opioid pills, while the rest had used only 13 pills, leaving over 1,000 discarded pills. From the study, it was apparent that most patients were experiencing minimal pain within five days, yet they still had more than 50 percent of their prescribed opioid pills left.
According to the study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, it is possible that the availability of prescription disposal kiosks in pharmacies, as well as small financial incentives may help facilitate the proper disposal of opioids by over 20 percent. Moreover, combining prescription-strength drugs, like ibuprofen with acetaminophen, was observed to provide more substantial pain relief and minimal adverse effects compared to opioid-containing drugs.
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Mini Dental Implants – Common Myths Debunked

dental implant mythsIf you are considering getting dental implants, then you may have heard that there is more than one type of dental implant. Besides the regular or traditional implants, some dentists occasionally recommend that patients get mini dental implant placement. But what exactly are these mini implants? How do they differ from normal implants, and when would they be considered a good option?
The following are some myths about mini dental implants to help you gain better understanding of how they work.
Myth #1: If you are not a good candidate for regular dental implants, you should also not receive mini implants.
On the contrary, mini dental implants are usually recommended in cases where traditional dental implants cannot be fitted, and they deliver great results. For instance, patients with substantial bone loss cannot sufficiently support large implants to anchor a full plate. Instead, multiple mini implants can be placed to provide a strong structure that distributes the weight evenly among 4 – 6 mini implants (as opposed to 2 normal implants).

Myth #2: The recovery time for all kinds of implants is very long.

Unlike regular implants that require surgery, incision, stitching, and 4-6 months of recovery, mini implants are less traumatic and less invasive with minimal disturbance to the gum tissue and bone. The procedure for mini implants typically lasts 1-2 hours, and is performed under local anesthetic. It is a painless procedure, and any discomfort or soreness usually passes within 48 hours.
Myth #3: It will take a long time for life to get back to normal after mini implant placement.
One of the key advantages of mini dental implants is that they can resume your normal life as if you had your own natural teeth immediately after the procedure. The procedure for placing normal implants is lengthy, with cutting of gum tissue and preparation of the bone into which the implant will be placed, followed by 4-6 months of recovery.
Mini implants work in a different way. Because they are narrower – a fraction of the diameter of normal implants – the amount of pressure required to install them is tolerable to the surrounding bone without requiring surgery. The implant is designed to screw tightly into the bone from the very start, so it is stable and secure enough to allow you to resume normal life without any pain or jeopardizing its long-term performance.
Myth #4: Mini implants are not a long term solution
Regular implants are very strong and steady, usually with assured longevity. Mini implants may not be as steady as traditional implants, but when installed properly, they preserve oral health – including gum and bone health – better than alternative restorations. Many claimed disadvantages are usually associated with poor planning or inexperienced practitioners.
Like with regular implants, mini implants require precision, attention to detail, and utmost care in both prosthetic design and fitting. That said, there are a few instances when they are not the right choice for patients. To determine if you are a suitable candidate for mini implants, you should seek the advice of a qualified dental practitioner.

Mini Implants vs. Regular Implants

mini vs regular implantsDental implants are usually recommended when you need to replace one or more missing teeth, or when fitting removable dentures to provide a firm base on which the dentures can be snapped on and off. Although there are two types of dental implants – standard and mini – most dentists prefer the standard dental implants because they’re very reliable, plus they give predictable results that feel and look great.
Mini Dental Implants vs. Regular Dental Implants
However, not every patient is a good candidate for traditional implants, and your dentist may recommend mini dental implants as a workable alternative. So, how do mini dental implants compare to regular implants?

Differences in Structure

All types of dental implants are fabricated from titanium, because it is one of the few metals that are completely biocompatible with the body. This means that titanium does not trigger an immune response in the body.
However, mini dental implants are about half the diameter of regular implants. While regular implants comprise three parts – an implant post inserted into the jawbone, an implant abutment that is fixed to the post, and a replacement tooth – mini dental implants comprise two parts because the implant post and abutment are fitted as a single piece.
Because mini implants are narrow, it takes 2 of them to provide the same support as one standard implant.
Differences in Surgical Procedure
Each type of implant uses a slightly different surgical procedure when being inserted into the jawbone. With regular dental implants, the dentist has to make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the jawbone underneath, so implant post can be inserted. The gums are then stitched shut to allow the implant to heal and integrate with the jawbone. The abutment is usually attached after the implant has healed in another appointment that may or may not involve a small surgical procedure to reveal the implant.
With a mini implant, the post is usually inserted directly through the gum tissues and into the jawbone. No gum incisions are necessary because the implant post is much narrower compared to a regular implant. This means that there are no stitches. In addition, the post and abutment come as a single piece, and the abutment will appear above the gums, eliminating the need for further procedures.

When are mini dental implants recommended?

In most cases, mini dental implants are used to stabilize loose dentures (upper or lower), or to replace missing teeth in narrow gaps where there is insufficient room to insert a regular dental implant. They can also be recommended in cases where there is so much bone loss that a normal diameter implant cannot be placed.
However, mini implants do not offer the same degree of stability and longevity as regular dental implants, because of their smaller surface area. To determine the best solution for your dental problem, it is important that you visit your dentist for proper consultation.

Do’s and Don’ts to Enhance Recovery After Oral Surgery

Recovery After Oral SurgeryWith great advances in dentistry, many oral surgery procedures, like dental implants and extractions tend to be fairly simple and painless. But after the surgery, the site of operation usually feels tender for a few days, which can be easily addressed with over-the-counter pain relief medications. However, avoid taking aspirin immediately after the surgery because it thins blood and can cause your mouth to bleed.

Here are some other steps to help boost your recovery after oral surgery.



• Follow dentist/surgeon recommendations strictly – If you have been prescribed a specific painkiller or other medication to take after the procedure, take it at the recommended times and intervals. This is necessary to manage pain and prevent infections.
• Get enough rest – Rest promotes speedy recovery. It is recommended that you don’t do anything for the rest of the day after a procedure. Depending on the type of surgery, you can resume light tasks the following day.
• Swelling is normal after oral surgery. It can increase for 2 to 3 days, but then it starts going down. To reduce the swelling, avoid any movement for 8-12 hours after the surgery.
• To help lessen swelling, you can start applying cold packs or ice to the side of your face, over the surgery site, holding the pack for 15 minutes and removing it for another 15 minutes. You can do this as often as you like for the rest of the day after surgery. After that, it won’t be as effective.
• Some bleeding or oozing can be expected for the first 12 – 24 hours after surgery. You should bite on the sponge given to you after surgery for at least one hour. If you’re bleeding a lot, place clean, damp gauze over the bleeding area and press it firmly for 20 minutes so no blood escapes. Repeat if necessary.
• For the first 2 days after surgery, only consume liquids and soft foods. Things like yogurt, eggs, cheese, cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, smooth soups, pudding, protein shakes, fried beans, and fruit smoothies are okay.
• Continue with soft foods that don’t require much chewing for the rest of the week – rice, macaroni, noodles, etc. and avoid hot, spicy, hard, crunchy, or acidic foods.


• Do not brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for 24 hours after the procedure. After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals. Brush your teeth carefully as instructed by your surgeon/dentist.
• Do not use straws for 48 hours
• Do not blow your nose. Wipe it instead, and sneeze with your mouth open for at least 48 hours
• Do not drink or smoke for 48 hours
If you notice anything unusual about your recovery, like excess swelling, pain, or bleeding, contact your dentist or surgeon immediately.


Alternatives to Dental Tooth Extraction

dental-tooth-extraction-alternativesWhen you have a problem tooth, one of the options to rectify it is by getting the tooth extracted. It is not always the only option, but it is also not the worst. Each case is unique, and sometimes, extraction may be necessary, like to lighten the bite forces. Tooth extraction may also be the only option if:

· The tooth is damaged beyond repair. This could be because it is broken or has suffered serious decay. Additionally, if the gums around the tooth have deteriorated to such an extent that even if the tooth is repaired, the bone or gums around that tooth cannot maintain a healthy root, an extraction may be the only option.


· The tooth is crooked. Wisdom teeth that are slow to develop tend to grow crookedly as they try to push through existing teeth. Crooked teeth often pose challenges when it comes to maintaining proper oral hygiene, plus they can cause problems with biting and chewing. So, the dentist may recommend that you extract them.


· As part of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatments are supposed to help in realigning and straightening teeth, and you may have to remove some teeth in order to create enough space for the remaining ones to grow into shape.

On the other hand, keeping your original teeth is always better. Tooth extraction is often a last result since it can lead to additional complications. For instance, gaps in the mouth cause other teeth to shift as they try to compensate for the missing tooth, which can cause problems with oral health and hygiene. Removing teeth can also cause patients to suffer from headaches and migraines, sleep apnea, TMJ pain, posture problems, and other problems.
Saving Your Teeth!
Most dentists try to save the damaged tooth unless the situation is dire. Common alternatives for extractions include:

· Crowns – If the amount of tooth remaining above the gum line is sufficient, a crown can be attached and the tooth restored to provide a functional and aesthetic result.


· Root canals – This procedure requires the dentist to drill an opening into the tooth in order to remove the canal contents. The canal is then enlarged and filled with material to the end of the root.


· Apicoectomy – This procedure is only performed after a failed root canal, or when root canal therapy cannot be done. The process involves the removal of the tooth’s tip – which is typically the issue with a failed root canal.

The last alternative to tooth extraction is taking better care of your teeth. The most common reasons for tooth removal are because of decay or damage. If you clean your teeth properly, you can successfully avoid these issues. You need to rinse your mouth with water after every meal (or drink), floss once a day, brush twice a day, avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, and schedule a cleaning with your dentist every six months.