“The Phantom of the Opera-tory”: Let Your Pharmacology Inner Voice Guide You to Great Patient Management

<< Back to the Course Calendar

An Overview and Update in Pharmacology for Dental Professionals

THOMAS A. VIOLA, R. PH., C.C.P. Clinical Adjunct Professor, Pharmacology, Penn State University, Abington, PA; Harcum College, Bryn Mawr, PA; Manor College, Jenkintown, PA

Throughout the course of their everyday practice, dental professionals must frequently draw upon their knowledge of Pharmacology. Recently introduced competency-based curriculums have demonstrated that tasks ranging from the routine, such as obtaining a complete patient medical history and appointment planning, to the extreme, such as handling a medical emergency in the office, all require a foundation knowledge in Pharmacology.

However, the science of Pharmacology consistently represents only a small portion of most dental degree programs. Armed with a relatively brief exposure to such vast subject matter, many dental professionals have difficulty retaining this knowledge throughout their career as well as staying current with new pharmacotherapeutic trends, especially when faced with a marketplace awash in direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and an explosion of new drug entities over the last several years.

The purpose of this program is to provide dental professionals with an overview of the basic principles of Pharmacology and the classes of drugs used in the current therapy of most common disease states. Throughout the program, special emphasis will be given to drugs administered or prescribed in dental practice, as well as to drugs whose actions, side effects, or interactions with other drugs may impact dental therapy.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Explain basic pharmacokinetics and describe how pharmacokinetics and related factors affect a drug’s ability to produce a therapeutic effect.
  • Identify the medications listed on a patient’s medical history and be able to:
    • Classify them according to their pharmacologic class.
    • Identify their basic mechanism of action, pharmacologic effects, principle therapeutic indications, potential adverse reactions, potential drug interactions and specific contraindications.
  • Review the etiology of common organ system disease states, describe the classes of medications used in their treatment, and discuss considerations important to proper patient care planning and patient management.
  • Discuss and compare the classes of drugs used in dentistry for:
    • local anesthesia and pain management
    • prophylaxis and treatment of infection
    • treatment of oral conditions