Using Dentistry to Help Combat Opioids and Help Veterans

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Dennis Wilson, President & CEO, Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut, to discuss how dentistry can be a contributor to opioid abuse awareness and overall health. They also talk about the importance of helping veterans with their oral health needs.

11/2/18 #2174






"Once again we welcome back our good friend Dennis Wilson, President and CEO Delta Dental of New Jersey and Connecticut. Great to be back. It's always good to have you. Now it's every time you're with us, we talk about Oral health issues and it's, listen, I love my dentist, we talk about this all the time. It is so much more than dentistry oral health equals? Oral health equals overall health and well-being period. That's the way to look at it the body starts at the mouth and it's all connected. And there's just so much connectivity between overall systemic medical health and oral health. And one of the things you're just we were just talking about before we got on the air as a connection between oral health and the opioid addiction crisis you say? Yes we're doing some very very important work in there. If you hear all the stories about opioid addiction, misprescribing, over prescribing, etc. It's always pointed at the medical side. The physicians, hospitals, etc., but a few people realize that dentists prescribe opioids as well. So if you're going for a complex procedure, root canal, extraction, wisdom teeth, things of the like, chances are you're going to have some kind of pain medication or pain management program after you leave. Hmm. And chances are, you will walk out with a prescription for an opioid. So two very important things that we're doing, one is when one of these complex procedures is about to be done, we generally get a notice from the dentist for a pretreatment estimate. Is the person covered, how much are they covered for, what is the benefit, etc. You vet that? We have that, so... You vet it too? We vet it, absolutely. And there's a flag that goes up for us and say, okay this is an opportunity for us to reach out to the member, to the patient, send them something electronically,email, if they if they give us other addresses, we'll send it snail mail as well. But it'll say, "Do you know that your dentist could prescribe you an opioid? These are what you should be looking for. These are the questions you should ask, and you should ask for any alternative medications, like Tylenol, Advil, etc." One of the other things you and I have talked about, and it is important for patients to be advocates for themselves. Yes, indeed. And the more information they have, particularly in...from conversations like this, they need to bring these issues to the oral health professionals, and dentists and dental hygienists and others dealing with them right? It's their..."