- Persistent opioid use, opioid-abuse diagnoses, and overdoses are significantly more common among adolescents and young adults who received opioids through a dental clinician than among those who did not.
Why this matters
- Nearly one-third (30.6%) of older teens and young adults who received an opioid prescription in the last year received the prescription from a dental clinician.
- Although this study does not identify the reason for dental visits resulting in opioid prescriptions, it is likely that wisdom teeth extractions are the primary cause.
- Retrospective study evaluated 754,002 outpatients (approximate age, 16-25 years in 2015; with continuous enrollment) from the Optum Research Database in 2015.
- Dental opioid-exposed cohort comprising 14,888 individuals; 29,776 randomly selected individuals formed opioid nonexposed control cohort.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- 6.9% vs 0.1% individuals in the dental opioid-exposed vs the nonexposed cohort received another opioid prescription 90-365 days later (adjusted absolute risk difference [aaRD], 6.8%; P<.001>
- 27.0% patients received a second opioid prescription from a dental clinician.
- 5.8% vs 0.4% patients in the opioid-exposed cohort vs the nonexposed cohort (aaRD, 5.3%; P<.001 encountered subsequent healthcare encounter an opioid abuse-related diagnosis within days.>
- Database includes privately insured patients only.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD