The American Dental Association (ADA) recently became the first national health professional organization to agree to imposed limits on opioid prescriptions. In fact, dentists already have been writing nearly 500,000 fewer opioid prescriptions over the past five years.
On a state level, the Georgia Dental Association (GDA) is urging its 3,500 members to consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a first-line therapy for acute pain. According to ADA research, NSAIDs, alone or in combination with acetaminophen, are more effective with fewer side effects than opioids.
“GDA is committed to working with physicians, pharmacies, policymakers and the public to end this tragic and preventable public health crisis that has been devastating our families and communities,” said an association representative.
The Saga of Painless Parker
Many of us have developed what could be considered a dysfunctional relationship with pain early on. Our mother comes running to kiss our elbow and make it all better, and we get the idea that pain is the enemy, later reinforced by terms such as “pain killer”.
Pain, however, is not the enemy. It lets us know something needs attention. And yet, pain has been made the villain, with dentistry getting a bad rap. It all began in 1915 with Painless Parker and his Dental Circus. Having legally changed his first name to Painless, he used diluted cocaine to numb his patients, sometimes unsuccessfully, while a brass band drowned out their screams. No wonder nobody looks forward to the dentist.
Why Manage Pain When You Can Prevent It?
Pain being a symptom, the most effective way to avoid it is to address the cause. Seeing your dentist regularly is a good preventative measure, while a dental plan from your association and AMBA could save you thousands on everything from routine visits to procedures that could become financially excruciating.
In the meantime, try and maintain a healthy relationship with pain. It could prevent a lot more pain in the long run, for you and everyone else.