The first exposure to opioids for a teenager is when they get their wisdom teeth pulled. The dentist will often prescribe an opioid painkiller, but that comes with risks which causes problems down the road.

Now dentists are turning to a new protocol to help with pain, its effective, and its not addictive, Tylenol and ibuprofen.

Shatter Proof, a national non profit fighting drug abuse, wants parents to know that their children don't have to be given opioids to control pain, when their wisdom teeth are removed by a dentist.

The Tennessee Dental Associations, Wellness Committee, is also joining ranks, warning parents of what could happen down the road, if opioids are legally prescribed to a teenager, and it comes from the Journal Pediatrics.

"Legitimate opioid use prior to high school graduation in individuals, was associated with a thirty-three percent increase of opioid use following graduation" 

That's coupled with this report from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Data reported in 2009, indicate that dentists, may be responsible for thirty-one percent of adolescent first exposure to opioids"

Dr Teresa Larkins, who has a dental practice in Lebanon, prescribes few opioids for pain. She finds the ibuprofen and Tylenol combination is just as potent as a narcotic with fewer side affects.

"For probably ten years, we have used a combination of ibuprofen and Tylenol. Most of my patients love it because they are able to go to work, drive, all the things they need to do without that druggy feeling. I always tell patients, they need to use the prescription 800 milligram ibuprofen, and have to take a 325 milligram Tylenol with it at the same time," said Larkins. 

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Alan Frio is the anchor of News4's evening newscasts on Saturdays and Sundays.

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