Objectives: Opioids are the most commonly prescribed analgesic for dental extractions, resulting in millions of prescriptions each year. The objective of the work to be presented is to inform the development of a patient education intervention designed to change expectations around opioids for pain management with dental extractions. The resultant intervention will be used as part of a larger study designed to understand potential strategies to decrease opioid prescribing for dental extractions.
Methods: This 9 question survey was implemented in the HealthPartners myVoice online members’ panel where patients provide insight regarding their health care. The member panel was established in 2015 by HealthPartners, a large healthcare organization in the Midwest. A total of 500 patients were approached to participate in the on-line survey containing questions regarding dental extractions and opioid use. The response rate was 46% (n=232).
Results: Most patients (70%) expect their post-extraction pain to last 1-3 days and that medication would lessen the pain (51%). Many patients (62%) felt that over-the-counter medications would manage the pain associated with having a tooth extracted. More patients reported being very interested in over-the-counter medications (67%) than in non-medication options (46%) or prescription pain management (28%) after tooth extraction. They also expressed high interest in receiving information on the best pain management options for them given the medications they take and their medical history. Potential side effects and out of pocket costs were additional aspects that they felt should guide the pain management decision.
Conclusions: These patients prefer non-prescription medication for tooth removal and believe it can manage their pain effectively. The dental care team can better support patient preferences by providing information about multiple pain management options. Dental professionals can reduce their opioid prescribing, and the impact such prescribing has on patients, by offering opioid prescriptions selectively and only as needed.