FOCUS ON: Pharmacology

Jay Reznick, DMD, MD, and John Roberson, DMD


Paul Feuerstein, DMD, editor-in-chief of Dentistry Today, talks with 2 practicing oral surgeons, Jay Reznick, DMD, MD, and John Roberson, DMD, about pharmacology and a new webcast they have introduced to the profession.

Q: Please take a moment to introduce yourselves.

Dr. Reznick: John Roberson and I are the PharmaDocs. We came up with the concept of bringing pertinent information on pharmacology to dentists who are in the trenches seeing patients every day. These patients are on an increasing number of medications, many of which the doctor might not be familiar with but have an impact on how to manage them. 

Dr. Roberson: Since we are both in private practice, we constantly need to keep up with new drugs ourselves. We thought the best way we could share our ongoing pharmacology education with our dental colleagues was to bring this information to dentists in the form of an informal, fun video discussion. 

Q: We learned about drugs in dental school, and there are apps and information online to keep us updated. Isn’t that enough? 

Dr. Roberson: About 50 to 75 new drugs are approved each year by the FDA, so for a dentist who has been practicing for 10 years, that’s a minimum of 500 new drugs that were not around when he or she was in dental school. Medications the dentist might prescribe or give his or her patients could have significant interactions with those the person is already taking. 

Dr. Reznick: How do you keep up with this? Where do you go to get this information? Where do you start and how do you know which are the most important new drugs to learn about? It would help if you had a resource to keep you updated.

Q: Why is pharmacology important to the dental healthcare professional?

Dr. Roberson: It is important to know about old and new drugs because it gives you a complete picture of the patient you are about to treat. Knowing what your patient is taking gives you insight into his or her medical history and how severely he or she may be affected by those diseases. You want to make sure that the treatment you are providing will not adversely affect the course of those diseases and how these diseases may impact your treatment plan. Also, it is essential to know the possible interactions between the medications the patients are on and the ones you will be giving them to avoid adverse outcomes.

Q: What help can you offer to practitioners?

Dr. Roberson: Most of the pharmacology courses we have seen are taught by academicians or pharmacists. Our advantage is that we are also in the trenches, in our offices every day, seeing patients with complex medical histories and medication lists, and it is our job to deliver safe dentistry to them. 

Dr. Reznick: This real-life experience allows us to bring our expertise and experience, so they are learning from practicing clinicians who understand what it is like to run a busy dental office and incorporate the latest in pharmacology and medical knowledge into their practices. 

Q: Where can dental healthcare professionals find a lecture on dentally related pharmacology?

Dr. Reznick: That’s a tough one. There have not been a lot of courses or education that gives comprehensive coverage to this important topic. We have developed a webcast called PharmaDocs, a free resource for the dental profession. Most of the webcast episodes are about 30 minutes in length. We start out discussing 2 or 3 new drugs that the FDA recently approved. We talk about what those drugs are, what they are for, how they affect dental treatment, and what drugs used or prescribed by dentists might interact with them. Then we talk about various topics, such as non-narcotic analgesics, opioids, antibiotics, and how to recognize and manage medical emergencies in the dental office. 

Q: Will you go beyond drug discussions in the future?

Dr. Reznick: We are developing an educational website where dentists and their teams can get in-depth information about the medications their patients are taking. 

Dr. Roberson: The site will also cover medical emergencies that can occur in dental offices and advise on what to do to achieve the most favorable outcomes. There will be more information in the upcoming weeks about the new website called PharmaDent. For now, look for PharmaDocs on YouTube and Facebook.

Dr. Reznick is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. One of the first North American adopters of fully guided, prosthetically based implant surgery, he was the first specialist in the United States to integrate CBCT and CAD/CAM in his practice. He has been teaching implant dentistry, surgery, and 3D digital technology for the last 2 decades. He is the director of the Southern California Center for Oral and Facial Surgery in Tarzana, Calif. He can be reached at

Dr. Roberson received his DMD from the University of Mississippi and his oral and maxillofacial surgery training from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Along with his private practice in Hattiesburg, Miss, he lectures, has written a book, and has written more than 100 articles on medical/sedation emergencies and emergency drugs in the dental office. He is a 13-year Leader of CE in Dentistry Today and is board-certified by the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. He can be reached at