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. 2003 May;85(5):26-32.

Are Your Patients Depressed? Implications for Dental Practice

  • PMID: 12756671

Are Your Patients Depressed? Implications for Dental Practice

Dale A D'Mello. J Mich Dent Assoc. .


Depressive disorders traditionally reside outside the realm of customary dental practice. Nonetheless, one in every five patients who visits a dentist experiences clinically significant symptoms of depression. The clinical implications of this are substantial. Depression is associated with diminished salivary flow and the complaint of dryness of mouth. It is associated with a diminished and distorted taste sensation, and a higher oral lactobacillus count. Depression is a risk factor for the development of dental caries, periodontal disease, and the erosive variant of oral lichen planus. Antidepressant medications can produce xerostomia, dysgeusia and bruxism. Depressive illness is a legitimate medical condition, with recognizable signs and symptoms, definable pathophysiology, and a significant response to treatment. Unfortunately, despite the availability of effective therapeutic measures, the majority of patients remain untreated. Routine dental checkup visits provide an opportunity for screening.

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