Pitt School of Dentistry First to Create Opioid Guidelines

Bernard Costello

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine is the first dental school in the nation to establish opioid-free pain management guidelines for the vast majority of procedures performed in all of its clinics. The guidelines advocate that clinicians prescribe non-opioid pain-relievers first whenever possible.

The Appalachian corridor, which includes Western Pennsylvania, is a hot zone for opioid addiction. With deaths occurring every day from opioid abuse, and costs of rehabilitation care approaching $90,000 per hospitalization, deliberate strategies to minimize dental pain after treatment and eliminate the need for opioid pain relievers are now available to combat this public health crisis in the Appalachian region. 

“Pitt Dental Medicine is leading the way with the adoption of this new protocol by teaching our students and residents the best way to manage pain effectively without the unnecessary risk of opioid dependence,” said Bernard J. Costello dean of the School of Dental Medicine. “When these trainees move on to other practices, they’ll take these opioid-free guidelines with them.