Mental Health: What do Dental Lasers Have to Do With It?

Mental health

The National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) reports that 67% of patients suffering from depression also experienced toothaches. Many people that struggle with mental health also suffer from poor oral health conditions. People with depression and anxiety get looped into what is called the “vicious cycle” of dental fear. They put off dental treatment due to fear and anxiety, and only go to the dentist for an emergency. They may also neglect daily dental care, leading to further oral health issues.

As dental professionals, we are well-versed in comforting the anxious patient. At some point, we have all been in contact with a patient that displays severe dental fear. We put on our best supportive friend hat and empathize through the appointment.

Trauma-informed care (TIC) is an evidence-based practice that puts the clinician in an empathetic mindset. When the clinician is in a TIC mindset, they assume that every patient has suffered some form of trauma and can be re-triggered in the dental chair. With that mindset in place, they walk through each appointment with a heightened awareness of compassion.

You might be wondering, “what the heck does this have to do with lasers.” Lasers provide a faster, less invasive procedure. When we offer patients a procedure that is more comfortable and offers faster healing, we can apply that trauma-informed mindset. The application of lasers for patient comfort can help reduce patient fear and anxiety. As the patient experiences appointments with little or no pain or discomfort, they begin to trust the clinician. This trust leads to building mental resilience, less fear, and more frequent dental appointments.

Dedicated Dental Hygiene offers laser training for dental hygienists and dentists that want to provide a gentler approach to treatment. We are an approved AGD PACE continuing education joint provider. Our laser course offers 12 hours of CE and laser certification. We offer exclusively in-person and hybrid training courses. The hybrid course allows you to complete a portion on the coursework in the privacy and comfort of your own home or office at your pace. This format offers time to digest and comprehend the material at a speed that is comfortable for you. Our partial online/in-person course reduces these long days of study and skill acquisition and allow you to stay fresh to practice hands-on. Whether you take an in-person or hybrid course will depend on your state’s training regulations.

We are currently scheduling courses through 2023. To find a course in your area or contact Kristin to set up a training for your office, visit our website.