Dental Pain Management, Opioid-Free

Clinician Review

Dental Pain Management, Opioid-Free Image

Pain management is an important part of dental practice. It is not uncommon for dental patients to receive opioid (narcotic) pain medications after various dental procedures. In conjunction with NSAIDs, narcotic pain medications are commonly given after third molar surgery. In the United States, 12% of all immediate release opioid analgesic prescriptions are written by dentists(1). An American Dental Association survey suggested that while a majority of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (74%) preferred patients to use ibuprofen after third molar extraction, 85% also prescribed a post-operative opioid analgesic (most commonly hydrocodone or oxycodone) (1).

By some estimates, almost 17,000 deaths per year are related to opioids; drug poisoning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States. Approximately 3 million persons in the United States and almost 16 million worldwide have a current or past opioid-use disorder.(2) The global burden of disease from opioid-related conditions approaches 11 million life-years lost from health problems, disabilities, and early death.(3)

The StellaLife® VEGA® Recovery Kit and Gel offers dental patients a natural, opioid-free alternative to management of dental pain. The clinical studies show VEGA® Recovery Kit and Gel provided adequate pain relief for patients undergoing wisdom teeth removal, other complex dental surgical procedures. It allowed patients to significantly decrease and in many instances completely eliminate the use of opioids (narcotic medication) for pain management. While providing pain management, VEGA® Recovery Kit and Gel also decrease post-surgical edema and accelerated healing.

(1) Denisco RC, Kenna GA, O'Neil MG, Kulich RJ, Moore PA, Kane WT, et al. Prevention of prescription opioid abuse: the role of the dentist. J Am Dent Assoc. 2011;142:800-10.
(2) Soyka M. New developments in the management of opioid dependence:
focus on sublingual buprenorphine-naloxone. Subst Abuse
(3) Degenhardt L, Whiteford H, Hall WD. The Global Burden of Disease projects: what have we learned about illicit drug use and dependence and their contribution to the global burden of disease? Drug Alcohol Rev 2014;33:4-12.

For questions, please call StellaLife® at (800) 828-7265 or email us at

About the author: Dr. Walter Tatch has been a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for over 20 years. He is a graduate of University of California at San Francisco and University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr Tatch is a Fellow of American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American and International Associations of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is also a member of numerous professional organizations including ADA, CDA, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. 
Dr. Tatch is affiliated with StellaLife®.

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