Tag Archives: pain medication

Dental care for a person in recovery from addiction

Four months ago I started treatment for an addiction to opiates. I am on methadone maintenance, and it seems to be working well. The issue is that I need dental work, and a lot of it. I went to my old family dentist last week, and he refused to give me any pain medication when I was honest with him about the methadone. I didn’t last ten minutes in that chair before I had to call a halt. I tried to persuade him, but he would not even call the clinic, even after I gave him the number. He said I need at least five root canal treatments, maybe more, and treatment for gum disease.

So I need to find a new dentist. I know I have to tell them about the methadone because of the way it might react with the pain meds, but I don’t know how in the world to find someone who will work with me. The dentist I just saw has known me for more than 20 years, and he would not help. I guess that makes me feel like no one will.

Do you have any suggestions for finding someone?


Edward in Tampa Bay

Dear Edward,

Congratulations to you on your efforts to recover from addiction.

The first step in finding a dentist who might work with you is to look for a dentist who is a sedation dentist (sometimes called “sleep dentists” by lay people, though that term is inaccurate). ┬áSedation dentists tend to be more compassionate to pain issues than dentists who have not pursued the extra training in pain management. ┬áBe very up front, and ask if he or she can help you.

A second avenue of information might be the doctor you work with at the clinic. They are very likely to have the names and contact information of dentists and doctors that are compassionate and educated in issues faced by people who are in addiction recovery.

The very best of luck to you in your endeavors.

Detroit cosmetic dentist Dr. Hadgis’s office sponsored this blog post.