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Dental Hygiene Newswire

News and research for Ontario dental hygienists

Managing clients with substance use disorder

Key message

  • Oral health professionals play a vital role in detecting substance use disorders at an early stage and preventing their associated adverse effects on oral health.

Substance use disorder is a treatable medical condition that affects the brain and involves compulsive and continuous use of alcohol and/or drugs despite negative impacts on the person and failure to meet significant responsibilities at work, home, or school.

Substance use can negatively affect oral health by causing various orofacial conditions, such as xerostomia, dental caries, periodontal disease, bruxism, and oral cancer. However, there are limited guidelines available for oral health professionals to manage clients experiencing substance use disorders.

This article aims to inform oral health professionals about the potential consequences of substance use on oral health. It discusses the effects of long-term substance use on both oral and systemic health and provides recommendations for treating clients with substance use disorders. The article also covers the oral effects of substance use disorder treatment and offers advice for practitioners to take necessary precautions when treating such clients.

Managing oral health complications caused by substance use disorder can be challenging. Collaboration with health professionals is crucial when treating clients with substance use disorders. Oral health practitioners should work together with the client’s medical team to ensure the safe and effective delivery of oral care. This collaboration is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of the client.

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