Role of Dentists in Prescribing Opioid Analgesics and Antibiotics: An Overview

Dent Clin North Am. 2018 Apr;62(2):279-294. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2017.11.007.


Opioid analgesics and antibiotics prescribed by dentists is a useful and cost-effective measure when prescribed appropriately. Common dental conditions are best managed by extracting the offending tooth, restoring the tooth with an appropriate filling material, performing root canal therapy, and/or fabricating a prosthesis for the edentulous space. Unnecessary prescription of opioid analgesics and antibiotics to treat dental pain and bacterial infection is a growing public health concern. This article highlights the state of the literature on opioid analgesic and antibiotic prescribing practices in dentistry, the impact of opioid analgesic overdose, and prevention strategies to reduce opioid analgesics and antibiotic overprescription.

Keywords: Antibiotic stewardship; Antibiotics; Dental public health; Dentistry; Opioids; Prescription drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / statistics & numerical data
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'* / statistics & numerical data


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents