Landmark research known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study has shown that exposure to abuse, neglect, discrimination, violence, and other adverse experiences increase a person’s lifelong potential for serious health problems. As health care providers grow aware of trauma’s impact and implications of ACE studies, they are realizing the value of trauma-informed approaches to care. Trauma-informed care means taking into account a patient’s life experiences so as to deliver care that may improve patient engagement, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. This approach is also designed to improve outcomes and health for providers themselves.15
Developing trauma-informed care skills can be an important way to better recognize and respond to patients who may be victims of violence, including IPV and EM.15 For a survivor of sexual assault or IPV, the dental office can be a really scary place and may trigger negative responses related to the underlying experiences of abuse. Dental professionals should be aware of these possible triggers and develop techniques to incorporate into their daily practice (as described in the next section describing the AVDR method).16
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