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Methamphetamine: Implications for the Dental Team

Course Number: 332

Dental Team Considerations

  1. Because this drug affects every organ in the body it is important to refer the patient for a complete physical including a blood panel before the treatment begins.

  2. Lung function: Do not administer nitrous oxide until appropriate lung function has been determined by a primary health care provider.

  3. Kidney and liver function: Do not prescribe medication or use anesthetic until appropriate function has been determined by a primary health care provider.

  4. Evaluation of cardiovascular system for need of premedication and precautions. Do not administer epinephrine or prescribe narcotics until cardiovascular status has been determined.

  5. Find out the history of use and physical results including strokes, heart considerations, etc.

  6. Involve the patient’s drug counselor, pastor or probation officer in treatment decisions including pain management, appointment considerations, etc.

It is imperative to educate the patient about the various risks associated with meth or other illicit drug use. It is the dental professional’s obligation to encourage the user to seek a medical evaluation. Offer the patient the name and contact information for local treatment programs.23 If it is suspected that a child is living in the environment of a meth lab, reporting of this suspected child endangerment is mandatory.5