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J Can Dent Assoc. 2017 Sep;83:h8.

Antibiotic and Opioid Analgesic Prescribing Patterns of Dentists in Vancouver and Endodontic Specialists in British Columbia.



To assess the prescribing decisions of general dentists in Vancouver and endodontists in British Columbia regarding analgesics and antibiotics for patients with endodontic disease. An additional aim was to determine whether gender, clinical experience or practice location have an impact on such decisions.


A 4-page survey was developed and distributed to approximately half the general dentists in Vancouver (n = 259) and all of the endodontists in British Columbia (n = 50). Basic demographic questions were followed by 7 clinical scenarios and a list of endodontic diagnoses. Participants were asked questions regarding their decisions to prescribe analgesics and antibiotics.


The overall response rate was 49%: 72% of endodontists responded, compared with 45% of general dentists. A substantial proportion of clinicians prescribed opioid analgesics and antibiotics in the various clinical scenarios. The rate of prescription of opioid analgesics ranged from 4%-47% for the various scenarios; the rate of prescription of antibiotics was 5%-88%. General dentists reported prescribing opioid analgesics and antibiotics more often than endodontists. Gender, clinical experience and practice location did not seem to have an impact on the decision to prescribe opioid analgesics or antibiotics.


Based on the results of our survey, a significant proportion of dental professionals in British Columbia prescribe opioid analgesics and antibiotics during endodontic procedures when they are likely not required. General dentists tend to prescribe these medications more often than endodontists. We found no apparent differences in terms of gender, clinical experience or practice location. Dentists must be conscientious when prescribing these medications as over-prescription has negative consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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