Overview

Currently, it is estimated that 322 million people worldwide live with depression and approximately 7.6% of U.S. adults had at least one depressive episode in 2017.1,2 Despite these staggering figures, mental health, anxiety, and substance use disorders are still significantly under-reported and treatment is often delayed or avoided due to stigma or embarrassment. Anxiety, depression, and stress have also been linked to poorer oral health status and treatment outcomes.3-8 This relationship has been linked to the alterations that stress may induce on the immune system. Additionally, adequate treatment and antidepressant agents have anti-inflammatory functions that may serve to improve outcomes during periodontal therapy,9 but their adverse effects on salivary flow may impact caries rates.10 Because of the high prevalence of anxiety and depression in the population and the importance of adequate treatment for oral and overall health outcomes, identification, screening, and referral of at-risk patients seen in the dental office is a critical part of ensuring overall patient wellness. This course seeks to identify risk screening tools to assess anxiety and depression in the patient population seeking dental care and to evaluate the link between these common mental health disorders and oral health.

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