Many people complain of problems with their teeth while in the methadone program. There are many rumors that claim that methadone ‘rots your teeth’. However, it is more likely related to the fact that Methadone causes dry mouth and sugar cravings. Put these two items together, and many people end up sipping on pop or other sugary drinks throughout the day. This sipping on sugary drinks, as well as not brushing your teeth, will result in dental problems. One alternative would be to sip on water, rather than sugary beverages, for your dry mouth. It is also very important for you to brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals.
In my practice, I have seen that a lot of people use opiates such as Tylenol 1, 2, or 3, Percocet, or even Dilaudid and stronger narcotics for dental pain. Some even rub crushed OxyContin or Cocaine into the painful tooth to help control pain.
Although you may not get high from this practice, and feel that this is not truly ‘drug use’, it is hard to separate the results of the urine drug screen from problematic drug use. For this reason, any non-prescribed use of cocaine or narcotics must be considered potentially problematic drug use in the methadone clinic setting. For this and other reasons, carries will be removed if you use cocaine on the teeth in this way.
There are a lot of alternatives for tooth pain control. You could use over-the-counter painkillers, such as Advil or Tylenol. Please check with your physician before doing so, because these can have side effects which can seriously affect your stomach, liver, or other organs. You should make sure you can take them safely before you do so.
Please note that although 222 and Tylenol 1 are considered over-the-counter drugs, they do contain codeine, and should not be used for your pain control.
Another way to deal with your tooth pain is dental wax. This wax can be bought from a pharmacy. Please ask your physician, or pharmacist, about whether it is appropriate to use this in your specific case.
Of course, the best way to deal with tooth pain is to see the dentist. Many people feel that these dental services are not available to them as they do not have insurance or money. However, there are a number of free dental clinics available in the Toronto area.
There is information available at www.toronto.ca/health/professionals/dental_services/index.htm
I hope this helps. And remember, prevention is the best cure. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and avoid sugar drinks.