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CON8000 : Scientific Basis of Dental Sedation

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Nick Girdler
  • Lecturer: Dr Chris Penlington, Dr Katherine Wilson
  • Owning School: Dental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to provide a systematic understanding of the scientific principles that underpin the practice and techniques of conscious sedation in dentistry.

Outline Of Syllabus

Scientific principles of sedation
Cardiovascular anatomy & physiology
Anatomy of the heart, major blood vessels, coronary and head and neck circulation
Cardiovascular physiology: the cardiac cycle, electrical activity of the heart, control of cardiac activity and blood pressure
Respiratory anatomy & physiology
Anatomy of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs and thoracic cage
Respiratory physiology: external and internal respiration, lung capacity and volumes, control of respiration
Carriage of gases and the oxygen dissociation curve
Monitoring of cardiorespiratory physiology
Clinical and electromechanical monitoring of cardiorespiratory status
Principles and practice of pulse oximetry and sphygmomanometry
Anatomy of the upper limb relevant to venous cannulation
Pharmacology of sedation
Pharmacology, properties and side-effects of intravenous sedation agents: benzodiazepines, midazolam, flumazenil
Pharmacology of inhalational sedation agents: nitrous oxide, properties, action and adverse effects
Anxiety and phobia, psychology of dental anxiety
Definition and development of dental anxiety and phobia
Psychological basis for dental anxiety and phobia
Non-pharmacological methods of dental anxiety management

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion322:0064:00Researching and writing 2000 word critical essay
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Present in person lectures/seminars
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading602:00120:00Based on reading lists
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical12:002:00Present in person: monitoring vital signs
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Present in person: library/search skills
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk12:002:00Present in person: module introduction
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures convey information and concepts underlying the science of sedation and critical understanding is consolidated by directed reading of scientific publications and seminar discussion. Practicals are designed to demonstrate the relevance of topics to clinical sedation practice and to build skills needed for clinical care. Workshops provide library skills in searching databases and critical evaluation of literature.

Should the public health situation require a pivot to remote learning, then teaching and learning on study days will be delivered remotely with the exception of the practical which will provided present in person.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A1002000 word critical essay requiring literature research and critical evaluation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The critical essay is used to assess deep understanding, the ability to apply knowledge and understanding to new situations and use scientific literature to support arguments. It assesses the ability to apply scientific principles to clinical sedation practice.

In order to pass this module candidates must achieve a mark of at least 50% for the essay.

Reading Lists