Dental Prescribing – What do I write?

At uni, theres usually someone looking over your shoulder while you write a pharmaceutical script. At the very least, theres a final check from a tutor before they sign it (and take responsibility for it!). When you graduate and start working as a Dentist, you have to take 100% responsibility for the pharmaceutical prescriptions your write.

I was unsure about exactly what to write on my newly acquired script pad and found myself flicking through the therapeutic guidelines over and over – wasting a heap of time! Eventually, I had the sense to build up a list of all my commonly written scripts and had it written in the back of my diary. Its one thing to know the required dose and frequency, but when writing the script you also need to know the strength that each tablet comes in, and how many are in a standard packet.

If it helps, keep my list in a handy spot for your first few months at work. Hopefully it can save you some time!

A few notes on my list:

  • Fungilin lozenges are often used a whole lozenge at a time. Your pharmacist may disagree with prescribing 1/4 lozenge at a time, indicating to you this will not reach therapeutic dose levels. At The University of Sydney, we are taught by our oral medicine specialists to prescribe in this manner. It allows for 3 weeks treatment which corresponds with the approximate time taken for cellular turnover of the oral mucosa
  • Miconazole 2% gel doesn’t need a prescription. I write one anyway and give it to the patient so they are more clear on how to use it. This doesn’t mean you have to do it too
  • Lorazepam isn’t included in the Oral and Dental Therapeutic Guidelines – Temazepam and Diazepam are recommended. I use Lorazepam following a recommendation I was given by another Dentist. Do not prescribe this medication without first educating yourself on its indications, contraindications and drug interactions
David is a recent graduate dentist working in private practice in regional NSW, Australia. Read more at

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