Mental health plays an important role in oral health, in more ways than you may realize. Not only is dental anxiety a mental health concern, it’s often the side effects of conditions like panic or depression that can create serious problems with teeth and gums. These issues can be managed and even overcome with help, guidance, and patience. All your dental needs can be addressed with gentle care from your Johns Creek family dentistry practice.
Here are just some of the ways mental health can interfere with maintaining good oral health:
Inadequate Oral Health Care
Patients with severe mental illness, depression, and other mental health conditions may be less likely to brush their teeth, floss, and take adequate care of their general dental health. Studies have shown that decayed and missing teeth are common among patients with acute mental illness, and that these patients are far more likely to be missing all their teeth.
Excessive Oral Health Care
On the opposite end of the spectrum of poor oral hygiene is too much oral health care. Patients with obsessive compulsive disorder may focus on oral health too much. They may brush and floss multiple times every day, consumed with keeping their teeth clean. Heavy-handed, excessive brushing can lead to gum recession, damage enamel, and irritate gum disease.
Side Effects of Medication
Medications that are prescribed to treat depression or anxiety are known to cause dry mouth. Saliva is critical to oral health, doing the important job of washing away food and minimizing plaque in between brushings. The lack of saliva, if left untreated, can result in tooth decay and, eventually, gum disease.
Poor oral health, gum disease, and other teeth and gum problems can result from dental anxiety and an unwillingness to visit the dentist. Often dental anxiety is a condition that is developed in childhood. Our dental practice focuses on gently introducing our youngest patients to dental care so they establish a good relationship with their dentist and understand the importance of oral health from a young age. People who carry their dental anxiety into adulthood are more likely to neglect their oral health care and find themselves with problem teeth, pain, infection, and more.
Seeing your Suwanee dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning ensures two things: Plaque and bacteria are thoroughly removed from your teeth, and your dentist can identify any threats to your oral health. These twice-annual exams allow for the identification of decay, infection, or other dental problems. Oral conscious sedation, also known as sedation dentistry, is a way for patients with severe dental anxiety to get through their dental procedures, no matter how big or small.
Overcoming Dental Anxiety
If your dental anxiety is so severe that you have a diagnosed phobia or distrust of the dentist, try to begin by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Mitul Patel at Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Johns Creek. We understand your reservations and are willing to start small with you, discussing any concerns you may have in person, even before you sit in an exam chair.
It is our goal to make you comfortable, earn your trust, and show you that we have a mutual goal of excellent oral health. We will do whatever possible to ease your dental visits with tolerance, empathy, and understanding. Contact us today to talk about your concerns and schedule a consultation. We proudly serve the areas of Johns Creek, Suwanee, Alpharetta, Duluth, and neighboring areas.