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Promoting opioid alternatives

Opioid addiction can often start in a surprising place: the dentist's chair. One Michigan doctor is working to change that.

Posted: Oct 1, 2018 1:58 PM

(WEYI) One Flint, Mighigan oral surgery practice is taking a proactive approach when it comes to prevents opioids overdoses and deaths.

Overdose deaths in the United States jumped 10 percent with nearly 72,000 deaths in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Researchers at the University of Michigan recently found that patients prescribed opioids for wisdom teeth extractions are three times more likely to continue filling the prescriptions after their surgery.

However, Greater Michigan Oral Surgeons and Dental Implant Center is now using an alternative painkiller called Exparel.

Exparel is a single-dose injection that numbs the surgical site and controls pain for up to three days and is completely opioid free.

"As oral surgeons, it's our duty to make sure we help patients manage their pain in a safe and healthy way," Dr. Bobby Lesneski says. "I will always advocate for an alternative to prescribing opioids. We're seeing the worst addiction epidemic in American history and prescribing opioids only fuels that."

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