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Unit information: Local Anaesthesia in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Local Anaesthesia
Unit code ORDSM0031
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Ms. Khayatt
Open unit status Not open




School/department Bristol Dental School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


This Unit of Teaching will be offered as an Optional Unit as part of a modular distance learning programme. The programme will allow students to build Certificate, Diploma or Masters level qualifications by combining optional 20 credit units.

The Local Anaesthesia Unit has the following three Elements and their general aims are: -

Element 1: Armamentarium for administration of local anaesthesia

a. Equipment

To provide students with a knowledge of the delivery systems and equipment available to deliver local anaesthesia

b. Clinical Pharmacology of Local Anaesthetic agents

To review and update students’ knowledge of the pharmacology of local anaesthetic agents and vasoconstrictors used in clinical dental practice. To provide students with the underpinning knowledge to provide safe and effective operative pain control during clinical dental practice

Element 2: Advanced Clinical Techniques

To introduce students to advanced local anaesthetic techniques including the use of alternative inferior alveolar nerve block techniques and the use of computerized delivery systems

Element 3: Prevention and Management of Complications of Local Anaesthesia

To provide students with the underpinning knowledge to prevent and manage overdose of local anaesthesia, failed anaesthesia and local complications.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will obtain a knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • the advantages and disadvantages of local anaesthetics commonly used in clinical dentistry.
  • the techniques for producing safe and effective anaesthesia for operative dental procedures.
  • the principles of management of failed local anaesthesia.
  • how to prevent overdose of local anaesthetic agents
  • how to manage overdose of local anaesthetic agents
  • the local and systemic complications of local anaesthetic administration and their prevention
  • the local and systemic complications of local anaesthetic administration and their prevention

The student will acquire the skills and attributes necessary for:

  • the administration of the Akinosi and Gow Gates inferior alveolar nerve block techniques
  • the administration of local anaesthetic agents using computer controlled delivery systems
  • the administration of periodontal topical anesthetic preparations
  • to manage failed local anaesthesia

Teaching details

Self directed CAL sessions

Seminars with videos

Medical simulator session

Reflecting writing

Assessment Details

Assessment Details

This Unit will have the following summative assessments: -

1. Written assignment (15%)

2. Written assignment 2 (15%)

3. Assessment of the management of a simulated complication of local anaesthesia (10%) (This assessment is included as it is a professional requirement that dentists are required to be able to manage the complications of the drugs they administer.)

4. A final written examination comprising an MCQ paper and a Multiple Short Answer paper of 2 hours’ duration (60%)

Reading and References

Meechan JG, Robb ND, Seymour RA. Pain and Anxiety Control for the Conscious Dental patient. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1998. ISBN:0-19-262848-8

Malamed SF. Handbook of Local Anaesthesia. fifth edition. Mosby, 2008 St Louis 2004 ISBN:0-323-02449-1

Malamed SF. What’s new in Local Anaesthesia? SAAD Digest 25;4-14:2009

Pogrel MA. Permanent nerve damage from inferior alveolar nerve blocks – an update to include articane. J Calif Dent Assoc 35(4);271-273:2007

Yagiela JA. What’s new with Phentolamine Mesylate? SAAD Digest 27;3-7:2011