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How Persistent is Opioid Use after Wisdom Tooth Extraction?


I had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Chad Brummett, Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Brummett co-authored a recent article that looked at the risk of persistent opioid use following wisdom tooth extraction, a common dental procedure. The group of researchers were mostly interested in filled prescriptions by young adults and teens, and particularly opioid-naive patients, those who had not filled an opioid prescription before. 

Dr. Brummett is also a member of the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, (Michigan OPEN), which aims to ensure appropriate acute pain care, while protecting patients and communities. The group believes that addressing opioid prescribing during the acute care period among opioid-naive patients has the greatest potential to reduce the number of chronic opioid users and minimize unintended distribution of prescription opioids into communities. To learn more about their work, head to their website and check out some of the great initiatives they’ve got going. 

We would like to hear from you and know your thoughts and questions about this topic. If you wish to reach us, it’s quite easy: email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca or call our toll-free number 1-855-716-2747.

Until next time!

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager


  • Patients undergoing wisdom tooth extraction are predominantly young and healthy and routinely receive a post-operative opioid prescription.
  • Opioid-naive patients are at risk for persistent opioid use after elective surgery and the risk following dental procedures has not been assessed. 
  • The authors investigated the association of filled perioperative opioid prescriptions with persistent use of prescription opioid medications following wisdom tooth extraction.
  • A filled perioperative opioid prescription after wisdom tooth extraction was associated with higher odds of persistent opioid use among opioid-naïve patients.

Read/download the transcript of the interview (PDF)

Article Reference

Harbaugh CM, Nalliah RP, Hu HM, Englesbe MJ, Waljee JF, Brummett CM. Persistent Opioid Use After Wisdom Tooth Extraction. JAMA. 2018;320(5):504–506. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.9023

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