Diagnosis, Treatment Planning & Interdisciplinary

Dentists’ role in monitoring, managing care of patients using buprenorphine

July JADA examines xerostomia, caries linked with use of drug


The possible connection between caries and buprenorphine should prompt dentists to teach patients about proper oral hygiene practices.

These patients should also be monitored while they are taking buprenorphine, according to a study published in the July issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The cover story, “Orally Dissolving Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder Linked to Caries,” was authored by Stuart L. Segelnick, D.D.S., and Mea A. Weinberg, D.M.D., and references a U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning in 2022 about the connection between xerostomia and caries and taking transmucosal buprenorphine, used for managing opioid use disorders.

“It is imperative for dentists to recognize buprenorphine as medication-assisted treatment and to recognize a patient as having an [opioid use disorder],” the authors wrote. “Dental health care professionals should instruct patients taking buprenorphine on how to prevent these dental issues.”

Drs. Segelnick and Weinberg added, “While taking buprenorphine, the patient should have regular oral health care appointments, including home care instructions and caries risk assessment to monitor for caries and xerostomia so that treatment, if indicated, could be initiated as soon as possible. In addition, the dentist’s role in [opioid use disorders] is to make sure patients follow the treatment recommendations and use the buprenorphine and to not have them discontinue because of potential caries risk.”

Other articles in the July issue of JADA discuss the evaluation of patients with penicillin allergies; implant and implant restorations trends among adults ages 50 years and older; and maternal perceptions of assisting preschool-aged children with toothbrushing.

Every month, JADA articles are published online at in addition to appearing in the print publication. ADA members can access JADA content with their ADA username and password.

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