New materials raise awareness on dangers of opioids and reinforce guidelines for pain management

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) has published a new brochure on pain management and the dangers of opioid use.

The patient brochure educates on the dangers of opioid use and offers information on opioid alternatives as well as storing and using opioids safely. Many over the counter medications have been proven effective in treating pain. Medications such as NSAIDs, aspirin, Tylenol, and topical anesthetics are commonly recommended as the first treatment option after any dental procedure. Brochures can be ordered from the MDA online store.

The abuse, misuse and diversion of opioid medications have now reached epidemic proportions in Minnesota and throughout the United States. Prescription opioid medications are no longer considered a safe, low-risk option for relief of moderate to severe acute pain. In response, the Minnesota Dental Association and other key medical stakeholders have been working to address this issue.

“As dentists, we have a responsibility to be proactive in preventing opioid addiction,” said Dr. David Andersen, president of the Minnesota Dental Association. “I am proud that the MDA is supporting both dentists and the public when it comes to this issue.”

The brochure’s release follows the 2017 revised MDA “Protocol for the Assessment and Non-Opioid Management of Oral and Facial Pain.” The protocol provides alternatives to opioid use and supports the ongoing education of dental providers regarding managing oral and facial pain in a dental clinic setting.

Unlike some medical conditions in which the underlying cause of pain cannot be diagnosed and treated, dentists can use pain indicators, symptoms, and diagnostic methods to effectively diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the pain. These techniques can often result in obtaining pain relief without the use of prescription opioids or other narcotics.  For more information, dentists can access the protocol online.

The MDA and its more than 3,000 members have made this issue a priority and are taking proactive measures to improve practices. This includes a commitment to demonstrate dedication to and accountability for patient safety. Dentists are urged to provide patients with educational materials and to ensure they are following best practices.

The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at