YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As WKBN 27 First News is committed to helping find a solution to the opioid epidemic in the Valley, we are also shedding light on others who have the same goal.
For many people, addiction begins legally in a medical office.
Dr. Dom Lombardi is a dentist in Sharpsville, and he acknowledges that going to the dentist can be painful.
“Everyone’s afraid when they come to the dentist, whether they admit it or not. At least, they’re a little anxious,” he said. “I have to do what I can do to make it better for them.”
Many times, making it better means managing pain, and in 2017, it also means managing the threat of addiction.
Lombardi said he wouldn’t want someone’s drug addiction on his conscious, so that’s why he’s one of the first dentists in the area to use a new product called DPR.
DPR helps lessen the need for opioid painkillers. It’s an oral paste that dentists can use to help patients who have all of their teeth pulled.
In the past, a procedure like that could mean days or weeks of opioids to manage pain. But DPR — developed by Health Intrinsic Technology and produced by MD Compounding Pharmacy in Boardman — promises to relieve the pain without any of the harmful side effects.
“We are looking to drive an alternative so that professionals have something to turn to other than just opioids,” said Joe Bleacher, president of Health Intrinsic Technology.
The paste goes right in the denture. Then, when the denture is worn, and it numbs the area where the teeth were removed.
It is being tested in other ways as well to control pain in an effort to keep people from using opiates.
“What’s promising is professionals in the local area are looking for solutions,” Bleacher said.
Dr. Rajesh Baji is another of those dentists.
He said anytime he has an alternative to opioids, that’s his first choice. He is thrilled about using Bleacher’s product.
“It’s going to give you pain relief, but it’s not going to cause that euphoria where you feel like you’re in La La Land. And plus, then you can actually drive a car. You can go to work, do your normal daily stuff,” he said.
Baji said his patients are equally happy with it.
Bleacher said he hopes the product will soon be available for other procedures, like root canals and wisdom teeth.
In the meantime, Bleacher said it’s up to doctors and patients to speak up and seek alternatives.
“The main thing is, we’re starting to let people know there is an avenue other than the opioid, and by people speaking out and professionals getting on board, I think we’ll be able to find a solution to this problem,” he said.
If you’re going to be having an oral procedure and would like your doctor to use DPR instead of opioid pain medication, talk to your dentist or call MD Pharmacy. They can also make contact with your dentist’s office for you.
MD Pharmacy, located at 721 Boardman-Canfield Rd. in Boardman, can be reached at (330) 726-6337.
WKBN 27 First News will hold another panel discussion as part of our efforts to find solutions to combat the area’s opiate epidemic. “27 Investigates: Heroin Crisis, Impact on Families” will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 on WKBN 27 First News and WKBN.com.