I am currently on methadone maintenance for opiate addiction and I am in desperate need for extensive repair on my teeth. The last time I needed dental work the dentist refused to give me any pain medication after I had informed him that I was on Methadone. I even gave him the name and number of the clinic I attend and permission to speak to the clinic’s doctor and my counselor. I was in need of dental care and in quite a bit of pain and concerned about pain after the procedure. I already have anxiety issues about going to the dentist and my teeth are in great need of dental care. What would be the best way to go about talking to the dentist about my needs. I do not want to continue to suffer with the pain I have been nor do I want to suffer through pain after. If you could offer me any suggestions or know of a compassionate dentist in my area that would be willing to work with me, I would greatly appreciate it.
– Cheryl from California
Dentists and medical doctors are afraid of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and many of them simply prefer not to deal with any issue that could raise questions from the DEA. Some dentists have gotten in trouble simply because they were trying to be compassionate, and as these stories circulate, it’s the patient that suffers.
You just need to find a dentist for whom the compassion will be a ruling factor and not fear of the DEA. I would start by looking for dentists who do sedation dentistry, and then ask them up front if they can help you with your treatment and post-operative pain control, given that you are in addiction recovery. My advice would be to just keep asking around until you find a dentist willing to help you. Dentists tend to be compassionate, but they also tend to be timid. But I’m confident you could find someone who would be a match for you.
– Dr. Hall
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.