Pain and anxiety control is taught at the continuing education level in a large number of diverse courses. This paper reports the results of a survey of those courses held in 1976. The majority of courses centered on the use of inhalation or intravenous sedation. Relatively few courses were offered on the other aspects of pain and anxiety control. Very little attempt is being made at formally evaluating the competence of participants in these courses. Few courses appear to adequately cover the prevention and management of complications. Suggestions for changes in the teaching of pain and anxiety control at the continuing education level are made based on these findings.
Pain and anxiety control encompasses the application of various physical, chemical and psychological modalities in the prevention and treatment of peri-operative patient apprehension and pain. Patient apprehension about dental procedures is felt to influence the seeking of remedial and preventive dental care by a significant portion of the population. Efforts to improve the training of dentists in pain and anxiety control modalities have included several workshops sponsored by the American Dental Society of Anesthesia, the formulation of guidelines for courses at the predoctoral, postdoctoral and continuing education levels, and the establishment of postdoctoral pain control training programs at several dental schools.
Recent graduates have been trained in pain control in predoctoral programs which vary widely in content and length. A large number of practitioners seek training in pain control through continuing education courses offered by dental schools, hospitals and a variety of other institutions. This paper reports the results of a survey of these courses and suggests several recommendations based on the findings.