DRUGS IN THE DENTAL CLINIC
Section I. BASIC CONCEPTS
Drugs are chemical agents that affect living tissues. They are given to patients to
diagnose, treat, or prevent disease. Drugs may be derived directly from animal, plant,
or mineral sources or may be prepared synthetically by chemical means. Although the
dental officer is solely responsible for prescribing drugs involved in dental therapy, the
dental specialist should be familiar with the various drugs used.
CLASSIFICATION OF DENTAL ITEMS
a. Dose. Dose is the amount of a drug that produces a specific concentration of
the drug at a site, or the quantity to be administered at one time as a specified amount
of medication. The following are descriptive terms concerning drug dosages:
(1) Therapeutic dose. A therapeutic dose produces the desired medical
effect in the patient. It is in a dosage range between the minimum dose and the
Toxic dose. A toxic dose is an overdose that causes poisoning.
Lethal dose. A lethal dose is the amount of a drug that causes death.
b. Drug Response. The majority of patients who receive a drug will respond to
it as expected. However, some patients may show a lesser or greater response to a
given drug dosage.
c. Side Effects. A side effect is an action of a drug other than that specifically
desired and is a response of an entirely different character. For example, a patient
receiving an antihistamine, such as pyribenzamine for the treatment of hay fever, may
ROUTES OF ADMINISTRATION OF DRUGS
Drugs may be given to patients in any of the following ways:
a. Orally. By mouth, such as pills, tablets, capsules, and liquids. Drugs
administered by the oral route are usually taken for their systemic effect. These
medications must pass through the stomach and be absorbed in the intestinal tract.
Orally administered medications are usually easy to take and are usually less expensive
than other dosage forms.