Veneers are one of the staple procedures used in cosmetic dentistry today. These oral restorations are ultra-thin shells that are cemented on the front surfaces of teeth to cover flaws that show when the person smiles. Veneers are the fastest way to restore the appearance of a person's tooth as the process can be completed…
Can a Dentist in Delaware Prescribe Medication if Needed?
Because the treatment of dental problems sometimes requires medication, a dentist in Delaware has some ability to write prescriptions for patients. However, a dentist's authority to write prescriptions is strictly limited to pharmaceutical products directly related to dentistry. In other words, a dentist who prescribes medication for a patient should always be prepared to explain why it is necessary to a patient's dental care in case the prescription is questioned or challenged.
Types of medications a dentist in Delaware may prescribe
Many of the medications used in dental care are available to the patient over the counter. In cases such as these, the dentist will typically just recommend the pharmaceutical to the patient since a prescription is not necessary. There are other types of medications used exclusively in the dentist's office, so a prescription is not necessary; fluoride and anesthetics are good examples. When a drug is not available over the counter, but the patient has to obtain it from a pharmacist, the dentist will write a prescription.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections in the mouth, such as periodontal disease. Antibiotics used in dentistry include tetracycline and doxycycline. They are sometimes administered by alternative routes, such as microspheres, mouth rinses or gels, to deliver the medicine directly where it is needed.
Canker sores, braces, dentures and toothaches can all cause oral pain and irritation. A topical analgesic is a pain reliever that is applied directly to the symptomatic area. Many are available over the counter, but the more powerful analgesics require a prescription.
Anti-inflammatories include steroid medications and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, e.g., ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen. The latter typically do not require a prescription, but the former almost always do.
Whenever possible, a dentist in Delaware will recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, for dental pain. However, after an extensive procedure, it may be necessary to prescribe opioid painkillers. If taken too long, opioids can become addictive. Therefore, the American Dental Association recently put a new policy into effect to help combat opioid abuse. It supports opioid prescription for a duration of no more than one week to combat short-term dental pain and mandatory continuing education on prescribing controlled substances such as opioids.
Restrictions on dentists prescribing medications
It must be possible to hold dentists accountable for any medications they prescribe. Therefore, a dentist's office must keep complete and copious records on any prescriptions it issues for controlled substances. This means not only including the records in the patient's file but also keeping a separate record of all the prescriptions written.
A dentist cannot prescribe medications for any reason outside of the practice of dentistry. In other words, there are many types of medications that a dentist has the authority to prescribe, but it must be related to the patient's course of dental treatment. For example, if it were necessary to treat a patient's sinus condition before maxillofacial surgery could take place, a dentist could prescribe sinus medication in that specific circumstance.
Even if there is a legitimate dental reason, self-prescribing by dentists is not allowed. When deemed necessary, a dentist must receive a prescription from a colleague or other health care provider.
A dentist's ability to prescribe medication is limited to the scope of the dental practice. These limitations are in place for everyone's safety.
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