Opioid Use Disorder in Dental Patients: The Latest on How to Identify, Treat, Refer and Apply Laws and Regulations in Your Practice

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Opioid use disorder is a persistent problem in the United States and has become an important issue to medical and dental professionals. Americans are the largest users of opioids by a large margin. The importance of knowing how to identify, handle, refer, and treat patients with opioid use disorder cannot be understated. This article attempts to educate dental professionals on the current epidemiology of opioid use, explain the physiology of addiction, teach practitioners how to identify chronic opioid users, gives options for treating dental pain, establishes criteria for referring to an addiction specialist, and describes the laws, regulations, and resources available to practitioners. With this article, practitioners should have a greater understanding of the current problem of opioid use disorder and be able to develop a protocol for treating these patients.

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