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  • Dentists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Assisting
Hours: 5 Contact Hours
Author(s): Mark Donaldson, BSP, RPH, PharmD, ACPR, FASHP, FACHE
Peer Reviewer(s): Raymond K. Martin, DDS, MAGD
Item#: L0802
Contents: 1 Course Book (70 pages)
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Pharmacological Agents Commonly Used in Dental Practice: A Review of Side Effects, Adverse Reactions, and Precautions, 2nd Edition

Price $49.95
Item # L0802
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: July 30, 2013

Review Date: December 27, 2016

Expiration Date: December 26, 2019


While new medications continue to come on the market to treat disease, the typical drug armamentarium for practicing oral healthcare professionals (OHCPs) continues to be fairly limited, in keeping with the old adage “Simple is best.” In fact, dental prescribers tend to rely on just five classes of medications to routinely aid in the delivery of excellent oral health care: analgesics and anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, local anesthetics, sedatives, and emergency medications. Even so, the importance of keeping up to date, even when considering just a handful of medications, can be a challenge given the myriad other medications or herbal supplements patients may be taking outside of their dental visit. To avoid potential drug interactions and ensure patient safety, it is especially important to be knowledgeable about the mechanism of action of these medications, their side effects, adverse reactions, precautions, and any special dental considerations related to their use.

This intermediate-level course reviews the pharmacology and indications for use of the most common medications employed in dentistry. It addresses the pharmacology, side effects, adverse reactions, precautions, and any special dental considerations related to the use of the medications most frequently employed in dentistry. This course will also fill gaps in knowledge concerning patient selection, contraindications, and appropriate administration in certain special populations requiring advanced consideration. The principles learned will be directly applicable in determining the most suitable approach for drug selection and prescribing and will help address patient and staff concerns around potential risks. Information presented in this course should be considered essential knowledge for all dental professionals, both seasoned and newly credentialed.


AGD Subject Code: 016
Western Schools designates this activity for 5 continuing education credits.


Course Objectives

  • Describe analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents used in dental practice.
  • Discuss antibiotics used in dental practice.
  • Identify local anesthetics used in dental practice.
  • Discuss sedatives used in dental practice.
  • List emergency medications used in dental practice.
  • Recognize the special considerations in using medication with patients who are pregnant or breast-feeding.


Mark Donaldson, BSP, RPH, PharmD, ACPR, FASHP, FACHE, received his baccalaureate degree from the University of British Columbia and his doctorate in clinical pharmacy from the University of Washington. He has further completed a residency at Canada’s largest tertiary care facility, Vancouver General Hospital, and is the current Director of Pharmacy Clinical Services at Vizient. Dr. Donaldson is a clinical professor in the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Montana in Missoula and clinical associate professor in the School of Dentistry at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. He has a special interest in dental pharmacology and has lectured internationally to both dental and medical practitioners. Dr. Donaldson has a number of published works in the peer-reviewed literature and has coauthored textbook chapters. He spent 3 years in Japan focusing on cross-cultural communication and internationalization. He currently serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), is board certified in healthcare management, and is the past-president of the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Montana Chapter. In 2016 he was recognized by the Academy of General Dentistry as the recipient of the Dr. Thaddeus V. Weclew Award. This award is conferred upon an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the art and science of dentistry and/or enhanced the principles and ideals of the Academy.


Raymond K. Martin, DDS, MAGD, graduated in 1979 from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and earned his DDS in 1983 from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He then went on to study at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in the General Practice Residency Program. Dr. Martin began his work in dental risk management after being awarded a Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. He consults with 20 legal firms as an expert witness and lectures extensively on dental risk management and ethics in dentistry. In addition, Dr. Martin teaches CAD/CAM dentistry as a CEREC mentor and has served as a Key Opinion Leader for an international dental implant manufacturer. Dr. Martin has maintained a private practice for more than three decades and is currently president of the Massachusetts Dental Society. He has served the American Dental Association on the Future of Dentistry work group and is currently a member of the Council on Government Affairs.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.