Endodontists Emphasize Pain Management Without Opioids

CHICAGO – As experts in pain management, endodontists always aim to make patients comfortable before, during and after their treatment. Endodontist from around the world will gather in Denver this month to learn about the latest research in pain control strategies to treat patients safely and minimize the risk of abuse.

On Thursday, April 26, a panel of experts will discuss the moral and legal responsibilities of prescribing opioids. The panelists include Dr. B. Ellen Byrne, professor of endodontics and senior associate dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, who holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology from VCU; Dr. Elliot V. Hersh, professor of pharmacology/oral surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; and John W. Partridge, diversion program manager for the Denver field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The group will review indications for prescribing opioids, the benefits of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve postsurgical dental pain, and the role of dental professionals to reduce patients’ reliance on prescription drugs.

On Saturday, April 28, Drs. Alan S. Law and Donald R. Nixdorf will discuss findings from a nationwide study of post-treatment pain. Research suggests up to 19 percent of patients experience severe pain following initial root canal treatment, and this session will present emerging findings from a large NIH-funded practice-based study that collected demographic, pain, psychosocial, anatomic, disease and procedure information to help tease out what are the most important factors related to predicting severe post-treatment pain. Later in the day, Dr. Asgeir Sigurdsson will present the findings from a multicenter clinical study on pain following endodontic treatment. Dr. Sigurdsson’s study aims to determine if advancements in endodontic technology and innovate have reduced patients’ postoperative pain rates.

Also on Saturday, attendees will hear Pain Perspectives: A Conversation Between Three Generations of Pain Gurus, featuring Drs. Raymond Dionne, Kenneth M. Hargreaves and Jennifer L. Gibbs. Dr. Dionne is a research professor at the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine; Dr. Hargreaves is professor and chair of the department of endodontics and professor in the departments of pharmacology, physiology and surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; and Dr. Gibbs is an assistant professor at New York University College of Dentistry and holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology. The three will describe research advances in clarifying mechanisms of dental and other orofacial pain conditions and their control, as well as evolving concepts related to pain transmission, plasticity, diagnosis and treatment. They also will discuss best practices for minimizing the experience of severe acute pain without the use of opioid analgesics and explore the role of the endodontist in preventing and interrupting the transition to chronic pain.

Additionally, Dr. Bruce Peltier, professor of psychology and ethics at the Dugoni School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific, will present “Working Effectively with Patient Anxiety and Pain: Behavioral Methods.” Dr. Peltier’s session will explore the nature of pain and dental anxiety and help clinicians understand how to understand and manage patient discomfort and distress. One way to address patient anxiety is through oral conscious sedation, which will be the focus of a Saturday presentation by Dr. Anthony Feck. Dr. Feck notes that few endodontists incorporate conscious sedation into their practice but argues that it is becoming a standard of care that specialists should offer. Dr. Thomas A. Montagnese also will discuss sedation in the endodontic practice in a Saturday session that reviews the guidelines and rules regarding sedation in the dental practice at the national and state levels.

For more information about these education sessions and to view the entire AAE18 meeting schedule, visit aae.org/aae18 and follow the AAE on Facebook and Twitter. For press passes, please contact Kim FitzSimmons at kfitzsimmons@aae.org.

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About the American Association of Endodontists
The American Association of Endodontists, headquartered in Chicago, represents more than 8,000 members worldwide. Endodontics is one of nine dental specialties formally recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAE, founded in 1943, is dedicated to excellence in the art and science of endodontics and to the highest standard of patient care. The Association inspires its members to pursue professional advancement and personal fulfillment through education, research, advocacy, leadership, communication and service. For more information about the AAE, visit the Association’s website at aae.org.

About AAE18
Taking place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver April 25-28, AAE18 is the largest endodontic meeting in the world. With more than 3,000 attendees from around the world, including endodontic specialists, other dental professionals and office staff, the meeting features more than 100 education sessions, 129 exhibitors, the association’s annual business meeting and other special events. For more information, please visit aae.org/aae18.