Dental Continuing Education Courses Overview

States commonly require that dentists complete a number of continuing education credits to renew their licensure and refresh their skills. These standalone courses are available through a variety of dental schools and professional organizations. Continue reading to explore some course topics.

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Essential Information

Many dental continuing education courses are offered through independent study or online, giving access to professionals wherever they are. Other courses include in-person lectures at a university, hands-on training or clinical training rotations. Some schools even give dentists the opportunity to take courses while traveling abroad or domestically with others in the class.

These dental courses normally carry continuing education units that apply toward renewing licensure. Each state, however, determines how many of these units a dentist needs and may also require that coursework be completed in specific content areas.

Here is an outline of common concepts learned in dental continuing education courses:

  • Current industry trends
  • New and emerging techniques in dentistry
  • Effective disease diagnosis and management
  • Pharmacology and patient safety
  • Dental office management

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List of Courses

Dental Pharmacology Course

This course covers the latest information involving the pharmaceutical industry, including drug updates and potential issues with pharmaceuticals and patient safety. This course is open to dentists as well as their assistants and office staff.

Dental Hypnosis Course

The use of hypnosis to decrease patient anxiety and pain is highlighted. This course discusses the history of hypnosis, how it can best be used in dentistry and how to induce hypnosis. Dentists receive hands-on instruction and experience being placed under hypnosis.

Geriatric Dentistry Course

The geriatric dentistry course focuses on the 65 and older demographic. Since senior citizens are keeping their teeth for much longer than in the past, dentists need a set of solutions for the problems they encounter. This class covers treatment plans for the elderly and dealing with elder abuse and neglect.

Local Anesthesia Course

Dentists learn effective ways to administer local anesthetics to patients. Dentists are also shown how to teach these methods to their assistants. Dentists and dental hygienists learn the types of anesthetic to use, landmarks for injection and various injection techniques.

Oral Cancer Course

Dentists learn how to spot and treat oral cancer in patients in this continuing education course. They are instructed in the advances made in cancer diagnosis and treatment over the past decade. Special attention is paid to the time following treatment, during which the dentist plays a large role in managing many of the ailments caused by cancer treatment.

Crown Lengthening Course

A course in crown lengthening shows dentists a variety of techniques used to modify crowns and the area around crowns. Students in this course learn through lecture and interactive practice on a plastic model. Covered topics include rationale for lengthening a crown, suturing and osseous therapy.

Sleep Apnea Course

The sleep apnea class is devoted to the dentist's role in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, a condition with high mortality rates if left untreated. The course discusses how dentists can diagnose patients with sleep apnea and how they can help these patients, particularly by using home monitors and the George Gauge. To accentuate how important dentists can be in fighting sleep apnea, this course introduces dentists to actual patients who have been treated with the methods discussed in the course.

Risk Management Course

In this course, dentists explore how their actions, as well as the actions of others, can leave them liable for financial compensation. Office staff, assistants and even other practicing doctors can potentially cause risk for a dentist. Students learn ways to protect themselves through informed consent and record keeping.

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