Preparing for Your Next Trip to the Dentist

With a little preparation, you can make sure that you get much more from your next trip to the dentist. Your local dentist doesn't just check on the health of your teeth, they can also offer many other treatments. This website is designed to bring up the best info possible about the range of treatments a dental professional can offer you. We will be looking at dentures, tartar removal, tooth replacement and much more. While no one who contributes to this site is a trained dentist, everyone is extremely interested in researching and writing about this topic. Thank you for checking out this site.

Two reasons why your dentist might inquire about your mental health

Dentist Blog

Whilst dentists are not therapists and are not qualified to diagnose or treat mental health conditions, they may occasionally enquire about their patients' mental health. Below are some examples of the reasons why they sometimes do this.

They have noticed signs of bruxism in the patient's teeth

If a dentist observes that one of their patients has several clinical signs of bruxism (such as teeth that look like they have been ground down to the extent where much of their enamel is gone), then they might ask that patient if they have a mental illness like anxiety. The reason for this is as follows: although there are several reasons why a person might grind their teeth, this issue often comes about either as a direct result of them having an anxiety disorder (as the chronic physical tension that anxiety causes can lead to a person grinding and clenching their teeth) or as an indirect result of having a mental illness (as some antidepressants that are used to treat mood disorders can produce side-effects which include bruxism).

If the patient confirms that they either suspect they suffer from or have already been diagnosed with one of these mental health conditions, this may influence the direction of the treatment process that the dentist chooses to take. For example, in addition to making them a mouthguard that they can wear as a barrier to stop the grinding from causing damage, they might also encourage that patient to either go to a therapist (if they have untreated anxiety) or talk to a GP about the possibility of switching to a new antidepressant (if their medication is thought to be causing the bruxism). The dentist will do this, in order to give that patient the best chance of overcoming this dental condition so that they can spare them from having to wear a mouthguard when they sleep for the rest of their life.

The enamel of their patient's teeth is wearing off alarmingly quickly

If during several consecutive check-ups, a dentist finds that their patient's enamel is wearing off incredibly quickly, despite the fact that they have said they are brushing their teeth correctly, then they might decide to have a conservation with that patient about their mental health and may ask them if have an eating disorder.

The reason for this is as follows; eating disorders are mental illnesses that manifest as unhealthy eating behaviours and fixations on food that can lead to dental damage. If for example, a dental patient has severe anorexia, the malnutrition that arises from this might eventually cause brittle and thin tooth enamel. Similarly, if a person has bulimia, their enamel might end up thinning out due to being regularly drenched in the acidic fluids that travel up from their stomach and into their mouth each time they force themselves to vomit.

If a dentist suspects that their patient's enamel issues might be caused by an eating disorder, they might gently enquire about this matter and advise them to either seek psychological treatment or (if they're already having therapy) they might suggest that they talk to their therapist about their relapse and work with them to put a stop to it. If the patient does this, the chances of the other suggestions the dentist makes in regards to preventing further enamel damage (such as including more nutritious, mineral-rich foods in their diet) will be more likely to be effective.

For more details, talk to a dentist near you.


7 April 2020