If you are a dentist or other dental care professional, you likely meet and work on many people who must undergo procedures that require you to successfully manage pain either during or after the procedure. Some procedures that require the use of numbing or pain control medications include root canals, implants, the draining of an abscess, or a tooth extraction. Some of these things require drilling into the jaw, which is comprised of bone, necessitating the pain medications. 

Dentists may be allowed to prescribe opioid medications for patients to use as they heal and recover from an invasive dental treatment, but the right and responsibility to make such a prescription should never be taken lightly. Especially as the nation’s opioid problem grows, it is important to understand the regulations around the use of these drugs for dental patients. 

The Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry will only confer or renew a license granting a dentist the right to prescribe opioid medications if a sufficient number of educational hours have been completed. For initial applications, the dentist must complete four hours of education on the matter and at least two hours are required for subsequent renewals. Education should cover prescribing practices, pain management and possibly the identification of an addiction. 

If you would like to learn more about the laws and regulations set forth by the Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry regarding narcotic medications and other issues that may contribute to professional disciplinary actions and how to protect your right to retain your professional license, please feel free to visit the dental opioid prescribing guidelines page of our Pennsylvania professional license defense website.