The term opioid refers to an all-inclusive group of synthetic and naturally occurring peptide drug which act on various receptors that are bound to the membrane to produce morphine-like effects. Opioids drugs bind to different physiological receptors that are recognized by opioid peptides like endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins.
Individuals depending on opioid drugs are susceptible to various medical problems as seen below.
A significant change in Social Behavior
Opioid users tend to seek treatment when the disease has advanced, and the symptoms become severe. These late presenting patients with severe symptoms are always anxious and demanding. Their altered social behavior often leads them to free sexual activity without precautionary measures.
Susceptible to Various Infections
These infections can include viral hepatitis, HIV and infective endocarditis. This increased property towards infections can be attributed by increased participation in unsafe sex, sharing of contaminated needles and reduced immune competence.
Highly Susceptible to Oral Infections
Many other oral conditions are associated with opioid addiction, commonly referred to as candidosis, bruxism, and mucosal dysplasia. Oral candidosis has been observed frequently in such users.
Suffer from physiological problems accompanied by general anxiety
Under the influence of high pain, any general anxiety that associated with physiological behavior can be dramatically magnified. This can explain the increased risk of dental fear shown by opioid users. Also, patients taking methadone can exhibit phobia for needles that are in the hands of others.
They are high users of Tobacco and Alcohol.
The concomitant smoking of cannabis and cocaine can be an added aetiological factor in the development of mucosal dysplasia. Such substances contain many carcinogens which are postulated to render the epithelium more susceptible to exogenous carcinogens.
Uncontrolled opioid dependence presenting late intense pain can put unrealistic demands on the dental health provider, and this may not be taken into consideration regular dental treatment. Nevertheless, clinicians have the mandate to inform all patients the status of their dental health and offer them the opportunity to return for comprehensive care.