Mental Health Issues and Special Care Patients - L0800


About Course #L0800

Release Date: December 8, 2016

Expiration Date: December 7, 2019

Millions of adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in some form. Dentists must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and the effects certain disorders may have on oral health. Additionally, many antipsychotic medications have deleterious side effects that can impact oral health. Dental professionals should recognize these side effects, and be able to treat and advise their patients accordingly. Additionally due to the episodic nature of some mental disorders, the dental team must be flexible, be able to augment treatment schedules, and provide patient-focused care in order to accommodate the unique needs patients with mental illness present with.

Appropriate for dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants, this basic-level course reviews the type, severity and stages of mental illnesses, the effect that mental illness has on mood, motivation and self-esteem, the lack of perception a person with mental illness may have of their oral health problems, the effect of patients' habits and lifestyles on their ability to sustain self-care and dental attendance, the side effects of medication and finally, how to help these patients overcome barriers to oral health care.

AGD Subject Code: 750

Course Objectives

  • Describe different types of patient behaviors reflective of mental health issues that dental professionals may encounter in their practice.
  • Describe how mental illness may affect the oral cavity and the provision of dental care.
  • Recognize the comorbidities that may accompany mental illness and affect lifespan.
  • List the side effects of medications commonly taken by patients with mental illness.
  • Discuss the dental professional's role in helping patients with mental illness overcome barriers to oral health care.

Western Schools designates this activity for 2 continuing education credits.

About the Author(s)

Veronica Powers, DMD, received a BS degree from Providence College and a DMD degree from the Oregon Health and Science University. After working for four years as a general dentist in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Powers returned to New York City to serve as lead dentist for Phoenix House Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, where she provided comprehensive treatment for the residents of a rehabilitation facility. In this capacity, she performed simple and surgical extractions and root canals and placed crowns, bridges, and removable prosthodontics. Dr. Powers created the protocol for the day-to-day management of the clinic and became especially adept at treating anxious patients. Now in private practice, Dr. Powers is licensed to practice dentistry in the state of New York, maintains registration with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is CPR-certified. She has provided volunteer dentistry in India and in Chiapas, Mexico, and has worked with the American Dental Association's Give Kids a Smile program in the United States.

Course Disclosures

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools' policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.