Depression: Special Considerations for the Dental Setting
|9010||September 28, 2011||1|
The specific aim of this presentation is to increase awareness of depressive symptoms, impacts on oral health, treatments for depression and how to make appropriate referrals. This presentation and associated discussion guide will also encourage dental professionals to explore their own beliefs about depression in order to facilitate communication with patients and promote patient health. The resource contains a PowerPoint presentation with a script, a discussion guide, resource list, and instructor's guide. The material can be presented in a face to face class, or in an online or partially online course.
Hinz J. Depression: Special Considerations for the Dental Setting . MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2011. Available from: https://www.mededportal.org/publication/9010 http://dx.doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9010
- To recognize symptoms of depression.
- To recognize oral health effects of depression.
- To recommend treatment and education to meet the special needs of the patient with depression.
- To communicate appropriately with patients with depression.
- To make appropriate referrals to mental health professionals.
- Depression, Major Depressive Disorder
Interpersonal & Communication Skills
- Psychology/Behavioral Science
- Clinical Skills/Doctoring
- Dental Student
Authors & Co-Authors
Jessica G. Hinz, PhD
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Effectiveness and Significance
The one-year prevalence rate for depression is 9.5%, or approximately 20.9 million adults in America. The lifetime prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder is approximately 10-25% (1996, American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV). It is highly likely that dental students and practicing dentists will encounter patients with depression. Depression and the psychopharmacological treatment of depression have significant oral health impacts. The practicing dentist should be aware of the special needs of these patients in order to properly plan and execute treatment. Depression is frequently left untreated or poorly treated. If untreated, depression can lead to significant functional impairments in the patient’s life or even premature death. Dentists are in a unique position to recognize signs of depression as they develop and to make appropriate mental health referrals.
The specific aim of this presentation is to increase awareness of depressive symptoms, how depression impacts oral health, treatments for depression and how to make appropriate referrals. This presentation and associated discussion guide will also encourage dental professionals to explore their own stigmatizing beliefs about depression in order to facilitate communication with patients and promote patient health.
Special Implementation Guidelines or Requirements
1. Readings can be assigned to be completed before or after the class presentation. Readings will enhance learning and provide information not covered in the presentation.
2. The instructor can present the PowerPoint with the narration or use the slides and notes as a basis for his/her own lecture, adding examples or cases as desired.
a. In an online learning environment, the students can view the PowerPoint on their own (via class management system such as Blackboard, Moodle, or WebCT) and then use the Discussion Guide as a basis for an online chat or bulletin board discussion about the topics.
b. In a partially online learning environment, the student can view the PowerPoint on their own prior to class. The class time can be used for discussion using the Discussion Guide as a catalyst, case examples the instructor or students have encountered, and/or role play making appropriate referrals.
3. Discussion can be integrated throughout the PowerPoint. Students can break into small groups, discuss the topic and then one student can report a brief summary of their discussion. The instructor should engage with the students and challenge any incorrect information or stigmatizing beliefs about people with depression.
4. Role play: The goal of a role play is to help student feel comfortable making a referral. Students can break into groups of 3. One student is a patient with symptoms of depression, one is the dental provider and one is an observer. The “provider” should role play making a referral to the patient. The referral should be brief. The student should express concern for the patient, reflect on the patient’s difficulties, and provide the referral expressing confidence that the patient can benefit from seeking help. The patient can then accept the referral or deny the problem. The observer can give feedback to the provider about their communication skills. Student should switch roles and repeat until each student has a chance to be the dental provider.
Students frequently assume that mental health issues are categorically different from medical health issues and are often reluctant to broach the topic with patients even when the patient displays behavior that significantly impairs their ability to participate fully in treatment. Students assume that mental health issues are “fuzzy” or ill-defined, unlike medical disorders that have definitive test results that can be presented to patients and discussed. Many students simply feel unprepared to discuss a topic that is outside the realm of dentistry that they are used to. I have found it helpful to have a discussion with students in which we equate depression with a medical disorder such as high blood pressure. Both disorders have signs and symptoms, may display subtle symptoms, may develop over time, may result in significantly disabling conditions or death, and have effective treatments available.
This information is made available under the Creative Commons license.