Have you ever had a toothache so painful, you went to the hospital for help, and they sent you home with pain pills?
Plenty of people in Wisconsin apparently have become hooked on dangerous drugs that way, and La Crosse County has made progress in finding other medicines to treat dental pain.
The county’s program on dental pain relief was honored recently with a reception at the Freight House, attended by state and local health leaders.
Dr. Chris Eberlein has worked with La Crosse’s Alliance to Heal for several years, leading efforts to reduce opioid addiction.
He said the “dental pain protocol” program is about “getting (patients) appropriate care that is timely, it controls their pain, and gets them into definitive care that we weren’t able to do as well before.”
Dr. David Gundersen, a dentist from Madison, is a spokesman for a statewide pain protocol group. He said too many people head to the ER when they feel mouth pain.
“What’s happened historically is that they’ve been given often times hydrocodone, oxycodone, some sort of opioid,” Gundersen said, “an antibiotic, and then often times sent out the door without any definitive care for the problem.”
Gundersen added that the La Crosse area is committed to treating that pain without opioids. Th area is credited as the first community in the state to adopt the Dental Pain Protocol.