Home Aesthetic Dentistry Pitt Dental Medicine Pledges Responsible Pain Care Management

Pitt Dental Medicine Pledges Responsible Pain Care Management

by adminjay

The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine (Pitt Dental Medicine) announced The Costello Pain Care Pledge, a commitment towards responsible pain management to be adopted by health care providers. The Costello Pledge is incorporated into student and resident training as part of the curriculum and now will be included in the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony beginning Jan. 7, 2022.

“At Pitt Dental Medicine, we are committed to combatting the opioid crisis,” said Bernard J. Costello, DMD, MD, dean of Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine and the author of the pledge. “The Costello Pledge was developed to reinforce our own accountability in prescribing pain medications, and we invite all prescribers throughout the medical and dental community to demonstrate their devotion to these same principles in their own patients’ care. We believe it’s simply a matter of holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards and staying true to our responsibilities as health care professionals.”

For decades, opioid pain relievers have been routinely prescribed for dental procedures, including the surgical extraction of wisdom teeth – often a teenager’s first exposure to opioids. The increased use of opioids contributed to the opioid epidemic and drug overdose deaths, which saw a significant increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Together with The Costello Guidelines for Prescribing Pain Medications, The Costello Pledge represents an important change in the way health care providers can prudently manage pain following a procedure, or as part of ongoing treatment.

The guidelines are based on evidence that alternative, non-opioid medications generally work as well or even better for managing pain after dental work, without the side effects of nausea, vomiting, constipation and potential for misuse. In 2019, Pitt Dental Medicine became the first dental school in the nation to implement the opioid-free pain management guidelines for the vast majority of procedures performed in all of its clinics. Among other factors, the guidelines take into account the severity, duration and individual risk considerations when prescribing pain medications for a particular individual following various dental procedures.

“In the three years since implementing the guidelines, we have seen a significant reduction in opioid prescriptions by our dentists with no deleterious effects for our patients,” said Costello. “It is even more impressive since this occurred at the height of the pandemic when telemedicine and medications were virtually the only tools at our disposal.”

Providers who take The Costello Pledge demonstrate their commitment to carefully and responsibly weigh such criteria and consciously avoid the preferential use of addictive medications whenever possible, based upon the most current wisdom and principles.

About The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine

Established in 1896 as an independent institution named the Pittsburgh Dental College, the School of Dental Medicine was incorporated into the University of Pittsburgh in 1905. The school offers a four-year predoctoral Program leading to a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree, an international Advanced Standing Program for graduates of foreign dental schools, and post-graduate residency or fellowship programs in 12 disciplines.

Additionally, the School of Dental Medicine offers the only dental hygiene certificate program in Pennsylvania affiliated with a major university, as well as a dental hygiene baccalaureate degree program. Pitt Dental Medicine’s comprehensive clinical offerings include the Multidisciplinary Implant Center and the Center for Patients with Special Needs, one of the few centers in the U.S. dedicated to training future dentists to care for patients with a wide range of disabilities. Recognized for excellence in research, the School of Dental Medicine is ranked among the top ten institutions receiving National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) support.

For more information about the School of Dental Medicine, visit www.dental.pitt.edu.

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