News Details

Study: Many Patients Seeking Treatment For Dental Issues In EDs Prescribed Antibiotics, Opioid Analgesics

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HealthDay (2/25, Preidt) reports a new study suggests that “too many patients who go to U.S. emergency rooms for dental problems are prescribed antibiotics and opioid painkillers.” After analyzing “2012 to 2014 data,” researchers found that “more than 50% of patients who visited the emergency department [ED] for a dental-related condition filled a prescription for antibiotics and about 40% filled a prescription for opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin).” The findings were published in the March issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association. HealthDay notes that “the ADA released a guideline in 2019 stating that, in most cases, antibiotics aren’t recommended for toothaches, which are a common reason for dental-related [ED] visits.” The article also highlights the ADA’s efforts to address the country’s opioid epidemic.

Multiple sources carry the HealthDay article, including U.S. News & World Report (2/25), Drug Information Online (2/25), MedicineNet (2/25), and UPI (2/25).

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Follow all of the ADA’s advocacy efforts, policies, and positions on opioids at

As a public service, the ADA Center for Professional Success website is now offering free access to information on safe prescribing, online continuing education, and other tools for managing dental pain, especially for patients who are at risk for drug overdose or addiction. For more information, visit Success. In addition, the Oral Health Topics on provide information on oral analgesics for acute dental pain for dental professionals.

ADA CE Online offers the courses Safe and Responsible Prescribing of Opioid Analgesics and Pharmacotherapeutics for Dental Practitioners: Analgesics Clinical Implications, and the ADA Catalog features the book The ADA Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing.

The ADA has information available online for starting an ED referral program.