The drug classifications can be further divided into
two groups: noncontrolled and controlled drugs.
Noncontrolled drugs are referred to as non-
prescription, over the counter drugs (OTC), (i.e.,
aspirin, and mild analgesics). These drugs are
effective for relieving most mild dental pain.
All prescription drugs are to be treated with
respect; certain groups considered to have a potential
for abuse, such as narcotics, stimulants, and sedatives
require special handling and security measures.
Controlled substances are those drugs listed in the
Controlled Substance Act of 1970 that is administered
by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the
Justice Department. Controlled drugs are categorized
into five schedules. MANMED, chapter 21, describes
the schedules. Ethyl alcohol (used to fuel laboratory
torches), although not included in any schedules of the
Controlled Substances Act, must be received and
accounted for, and dispensed in the same manner as
schedule II substances described in MANMED,
The term drug nomenclature implies that there are
several names that can be used to identify a drug.
Normally drugs have three names: chemical, generic,
and trade (brand).
Chemical nameDescribes the chemical and
molecular structure. The chemical name of a common
dental local anesthetic called acetamide is
Generic nameDescribes the common name of
the drug. The above example has the generic name of
Trade nameThis name is given by the
manufacturer, and is also called the brand name.
DRUGS USED IN DENTISTRY
The drugs listed here are some of those commonly
used in dentistry and are grouped according to
pharmacological classes. Only a brief summary is
possible here and the Dental Technician who desires
more complete study of each drug should refer to
reference books in the command library.
Acids are very caustic and present a sour taste.
Extreme care must be taken when handling acidic
substances. Follow all safety precautions on Material
Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each product. A
common acid used in dentistry is phosphoric acid, and
comes in the forms of solutions or gels. It can be used
in etching procedures with composite restorations,
sealants, and orthodontic brackets.
Emollients are bland or fatty substances that
may be applied to the skin to make it more pliable and
soft, and can also serve as a lubricant in dental
Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Oil)
Cocoa butter is an excel lent emollient with a
pleasant odor. It is ideal for the treatment of chapped or
cracked lips, and can also be used as a lubricant in
rubber dam procedures.
Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly)
Petrolatum is highly occlusive and a good
emollient. It can be used as a lubricant when handling
sticky dental materials, and has several uses in the
DISINFECTANTS, ANTISEPTICS, AND
These drugs and chemicals are primarily intended
for the prevention of infections by destroying
microorganisms or preventing their growth. The
differences among them are based primarily on the
degree of activity and how they are used. Complete
details on their uses is covered in chapter 10,
Sterilization and Disinfection.
Antibiotics are chemical compounds that stop the
growth of or destroy different types of bacteria and
other micro-organisms. They are used in dentistry to
treat oral infections. They are also prescribed as a