The use of opioids for pain relief is one of the main reasons for developing an opioid addiction. But how effective is opioid in reducing pain? Not in the case of dental procedures, finds a new study. Published in Jama Network, the research shows that opioid users actually reported higher levels of pain after tooth extraction. This suggests that non-opioid analgesics should be our first choice.
To evaluate the efficacy of opioid-based pain relief, the researchers conducted their study across 14 dental clinics in Michigan. The team identified local patients who had undergone a routine or surgical extraction between June and December of 2017. These patients were contacted telephonically within 6 months of their procedure. The participants had to self-report on the level of their pain.
They were asked about the type of extraction, use of opioids or non-opioid analgesics, pain level, and satisfaction with their care. To measure the pain, they were asked to rate it on a 4-point scale of no pain, minimal pain, moderate pain, and severe pain. They had to rate their satisfaction levels on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being extremely dissatisfied and 10 being extremely satisfied.
The team studied 329 patients of whom 155 underwent surgical extraction and 174 underwent routine extraction. 80 patients in the surgical extraction group and 68 patients in the routine extraction group used opioids after their procedure. In both groups, patients on opioids reported a higher level of pain, indicating that other means were more effective.