Patient, provider type, and procedure type factors associated with opioid prescribing by dentists in a health care system Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • INTRODUCTION: Reports examining opioid prescribing for dental conditions are limited and do not examine patient-level factors. This study examines the association of patient age, sex, race, ethnicity, Medicaid coverage, and the need for an interpreter in addition to procedure type and dental provider type with receipt of an opioid prescription in dental care settings within a large health system. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was conducted utilizing data from the electronic health record of HealthPartners, a large dental practice embedded within a health care system. The analytic sample consisted of all 169,173 encounters from 90,487 patients undergoing a dental procedure in the baseline period (9/1/2018 to 8/30/2019), prior to implementing a clinical trial to de-implement opioids in dentistry. RESULTS: Opioids were prescribed at 1.9% of all 169,173 encounters and rates varied by patient factors, procedure category, and provider type. Opioid prescriptions were most likely for extraction encounters (25.9%). In a multivariable analysis of 8760 extraction encounters, all patient age groups were more likely than those age 66+ to receive an opioid prescription, particularly those age 18-25 (OR=6.94). Patients having a complex rather than simple extraction were more likely to receive an opioid prescription (OR=6.31) and those seen by an oral surgeon rather than a general dentist (OR=9.11) were more likely to receive an opioid prescription. Among 108,748 encounters with a diagnostic procedure, opioid prescribing was more likely among male than female patients (OR=1.20), Black patients relative to White (OR=1.69), patients with Medicaid coverage (OR=1.86), and patients seeing an oral surgeon rather than a general dentist (OR=27.81). CONCLUSION: Opioid prescribing rates vary considerably depending on procedure type. Patterns of associations between patient factors and opioid prescribing also vary considerably across procedure type. To understand which patient groups are more at risk of being prescribed opioids, it is essential to consider the procedures they are receiving.

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publication date

  • 2021