Are painkillers being overprescribed? And, chloral hydrate disappearing

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

As the economic recession persists, fewer employers are offering dental insurance, and many states have cut or eliminated adult Medicaid dental benefits. As a result, more people are turning up at hospital emergency rooms (ERs) complaining of dental issues, such as toothaches and abscesses.

The problem is most ER docs are not experts in dentistry and often opt for the only relief they can provide: prescription pain meds. Knowing this, a growing number of ER visitors are reportedly faking toothaches just to get access to these drugs. Are they being overprescribed in the dental office as well? Click here to read more.

In other news, chloral hydrate has long been used by dentists to sedate pediatric patients. But the only manufacturer of the oral solution of this drug has ceased to produce it, putting some practitioners in a bind. Others, however, are saying "good riddance" to a drug whose safety they have long questioned. Read more in this Restoratives Community feature.

Meanwhile, over in the Cosmetics Community, a new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that at-home bleaching using 6% hydrogen peroxide is effective in removing stains caused by coffee or cigarette smoke.

Finally, in business news, Straumann is hoping its minority investment in a Brazilian dental implant firm will help boost the Swiss company's bottom line. Read more.

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