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ADA urges panel to better address acute pain management in teens, young adults

Washington — The ADA is urging a federal panel to better address dental care and teen and young adult patients in recommendations to ensure best pain management practices are being applied consistently throughout the federal government.   

In comments filed April 1, ADA President Jeffrey M. Cole and Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin praised the federal Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force for addressing acute pain in its draft report to Congress, but urged the panel to also address the nuances of managing acute pain in teens and young adults when their brains are at a critical stage of development. 

“[T]hird molars (or wisdom teeth) generally erupt between late teens and early twenties,” Drs. Cole and O’Loughlin wrote. “In some cases, a wisdom tooth extraction can be a teen or young adult’s first exposure to an opioid.” 

They also noted that the ADA recommends that dentists use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as a first-line therapy for managing acute pain.