Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Dentists’ Role in Opioid Dependence

Having your wisdom teeth removed, or any other type of oral surgery, often requires some degree of pain management to make the patient more comfortable following the procedure. It is very common for dentists to prescribe opioid painkillers like Percocet or Vicodin to help the patient get through the days immediately following the procedure with as little discomfort as possible. Unfortunately, because these drugs follow the same neural pathways as heroin, resulting in the same powerful euphoric feelings, they can become extremely addictive. Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers warn that many drug addictions and dependences stem from a prescription.

What often ends up occurring is that dentists will overprescribe an opioid, and write a prescription for extra medication in an effort to avoid having to see the patient again or write a refill for the prescription. This means that there is often a lot of medication left over, which contributes to the skyrocketing rates of opioid abuse.

According to a professor of pharmacology and anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, close to half of all dental patients do not get adequate pain relief from over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Dentists will often prescribe opioids to all surgical patients, because they do not know which ones are likely respond to an OTC medicine.

Remedying the Addiction Crisis

To address this issue, dental schools around the country are training students to provide their surgical patients with a detailed explanation about dosage, whether to take the medication on an empty stomach, as well as information on how to dispose of the medication. According to The study suggests that writing prescriptions for opioids should follow a strict checklist that addresses the addictive properties of these drugs.

Until there is a way to determine which patients require opioids for pain relief, dentists can warn patients about the addictive nature of these drugs, and limit the number of pills so that they do not have more than they need.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Patients Who Have Opioid Dependencies

 If you have developed an opioid dependency after your dentist overprescribed you a drug, contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will examine every detail of your case, including the procedure you had done and the prescription you received. We will aggressively investigate the dentist’s role in your case and pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent victims of medical malpractice throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.