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DS2005 - Pathophysiology and Therapeutics for Dentistry

Credit points: 6
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 3
Administered by: School of Medicine & Dentistry

This subject examines the pathological basis of oral disease, the oral signs of systemic disease, and the pharmacological management of the dental patient. In addition, it also examines the significant relationship between oral and systemic health, and the need for a holistic approach to managing the dental patient. The subject also lays the foundations for managing the special needs dental patient. The subject reviews the main systemic conditions that impact on oral health, such as diabetes, and examines the pathophysiological basis for that relationship. There is also a focus on how poor oral health can be a significant risk factor in the development of systemic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. The main medications used to manage systemic conditions are examined, and the potential for some commonly prescribed medications, such as those for asthma and depression, to negatively impact on oral health is addressed. The module also introduces the students to the dentist as a prescriber, and addresses the key issues associated with drug prescribing, and dental prescription writing. There is a focus on the pharmacological basis of therapeutics, particularly the aspects of clinical pharmacology pertinent to dental practice. There is a major focus on analgesia, local and general anaesthesia, antibiotic therapy and anxiolytic agents. In particular, the potential for drug-drug interactions, and how drugs prescribed for other conditions may impact on the management of the dental patient, is addressed. The module also includes a basic overview of pharmacokinetics, and toxicological issues that are pertinent to dental practice.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the pathophysiological basis of oral disease, as well as how systemic disorders may impact on oral health;
  • Understand how oral disease, in particular infectious and inflammatory disorders, can impact on systemic health;
  • Describe the pharmacological actions of drugs commonly encountered in dental care, and discuss the potential for unwanted effects and drug-drug interactions with these agents;
  • Understand the principles and anatomical considerations for the administration of local anaesthesia in clinical dental practice;
  • Apply knowledge of a patient's medical condition to determine the type of dental treatment that will be provided.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to adapt knowledge to new situations;
  • The ability to define and to solve problems in at least one discipline area;
  • The ability to think critically, to analyse and evaluate claims, evidence and arguments, and to reason and deploy evidence clearly and logically;
  • The ability to deploy critically evaluated information to practical ends;
  • The ability to find and access information using appropriate media and technologies;
  • The ability to evaluate that information;
  • An understanding of the economic, legal, ethical, social and cultural issues involved in the use of information;
  • The ability to select and organise information and to communicate it accurately, cogently, coherently, creatively and ethically;
  • The acquisition of coherent and disciplined sets of skills, knowledge, values and professional ethics from at least one discipline area;
  • The ability to reflect on and evaluate learning, and to learn independently in a self directed manner;
  • The ability to read complex and demanding texts accurately, critically and insightfully;
  • The ability to speak and write clearly, coherently and creatively;
  • The ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences;
  • The ability to work individually and independently.
Prerequisites: BM1071 AND BM1072 AND DS1001 AND DS1002
Corequisites: DS2004


Cairns, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Professor Alan Nimmo
Lecturers: <Person not found>, Assoc. Professor Ian Heslop, Mr Joe Grasso, Ms Bronwyn Tanner, Professor Alan Nimmo.
Workload expectations:
  • 78 hours lectures
  • 52 hours workshops/Seminars
Assessment: end of semester exam (50%); quizzes or tests (30%); assignments (20%).

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.