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Article: Volume 44 Number 10 Page 922 - November 2017

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  Dent Update 2017; 44: 922-934

Implantology/MentalHealth:  The Importance of Recording Mental Health History – A Case Report

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Abstract: Until recently, dentists were not trained in psychology and access to education in psychiatry and mental health remained limited within the dental curriculum. A major obstacle for integrating mental health initiatives into primary healthcare services is the lack of consensus on a definition of mental health. Currently, there is widespread use of the term ‘mental health’ as a euphemism for ‘mental illness’. Mental health can be defined as the absence of mental disease, or it can be defined as a state of being that also includes the biological, psychological or social factors which contribute to an individual’s mental state and ability to function within the environment. This lack of consensus on the definition of mental health has implications for research, policy and practice. Mental health issues will impact significantly upon many aspects of patients’ health, including: seeking care, presentation, compliance with treatment and providing additional complexities in delivering routine care. Significant issues can arise in relation to routine care but, as dental procedures become more complex in their delivery and maintenance, the impact of undiagnosed mental health issues are likely to increase in prevalence and impact not only on individual patients but also their treating clinicians.

Clinical relevance: This case report provides an account of a case where early identification of the patient’s mental health status may have prevented significant post-treatment sequelae.

Author notes: Ian James Mills, BDS(Glasg), MFDS RCPS, MJDF RCS, Dip Imp Dent RCS (Eng), FFGDP(UK), FDS RCPS, FHEA, Partner at Torrington Dental Practice, Torrington, Devon, Honorary Lecturer, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Sarah Barker, DClinPsy, BSc(Hons), DipMHSC, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, King’s College London, Tara Renton, PhD, MDSc, BDS, FDS RCS, FRACDS (OMS) FHEA, Professor Oral Surgery, King’s College, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK.

Objective: To understand that early identification of a patient’s mental health status may prevent significant post-treatment sequelae.