Why Narcotics After Oral Surgery Are No Longer the Norm

Posted on 4/15/2017 by Tessa Smith-Greisch
A collection of pills pouring out of a bottle.
Oral surgery, even a tooth extraction, can leave you feeling some pain following the procedure.

It used to be that the go-to for pain management was narcotics, because they are strong and they work fast. However, more and more oral surgeons are moving away from prescribing narcotic medications.

Here's why.

Side Effects
Narcotics (or opioids) are drugs that work by binding themselves to opioid receptors throughout the body, limiting the pain messages that are sent to the brain, and therefore reducing the amount of pain felt.

These drugs are potent, and have several side effects. Some of the side effects are quite serious and can interfere with your daily life, including drowsiness, paranoia and hallucinations.

Dependence
Narcotic medication is not meant to be taken long term. If it is, the side effects get worse. The other effect of taking narcotics long term is dependence. Becoming dependent is more easy to do than most people realize, and can happen in as little as three days of use. Suddenly, you find yourself unable to function without your medication and you are looking for more after your prescription is gone.

Narcotic Withdrawal

Once dependent upon narcotics, it becomes very difficult to get off them. And when you do try, you may experience intense withdrawal symptoms including:

•  Lethargy.
•  Irritability.
•  Anxiety.
•  Difficulty sleeping.
•  Muscle aches.
•  Abdominal cramping.
•  Nausea and vomiting.
•  Rapid heartrate.
•  Sweating.

These symptoms often begin to ease up after just a few days, but many people cannot deal with them that long, and quickly find themselves in search of narcotics to put a stop to them. Patients who cannot get themselves off of narcotics often need to seek professional treatment to help.

Instead of narcotics, dentists are advocating for other ways to help you manage pain following your oral surgery procedure. To learn about how you can manage your pain after surgery without the use of narcotics, contact our office today.



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