Introduction: Prescription opioid abuse may have adverse dental effects that are
irreversible, leaving younger populations with substantially decayed dentitions. This article explores
the damaging effects of three years of prescription opioid abuse to a twenty-six-year-old’s dentition
and oral health.
Case Presentation: A twenty-six-year-old Caucasian male presented to the University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine with a past medical history of Percocet® abuse. He was consuming
approximately twenty tablets per day for three years, and he had neglected to visit a dentist for over five
years before arriving to the School of Dental Medicine.
Management and Outcome: Intraoral examination revealed gross generalized decay along with
generalized plaque accumulation. He was diagnosed with severe plaque induced gingivitis with
localized chronic periodontitis and xerostomia. The dental treatment for this patient included periodontal
maintenance and control, caries excavation, root canal therapy, extractions of non-restorable teeth, and
continuous dental education.
Discussion: Prescription opioids are addictive, have high abuse potential, and dentists contribute to this
problem by overprescribing these drugs.