PTSD Linked to Oral and Facial Pain
Nearly 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), representing a significant portion of the population. Researchers from the University of São Paulo recently found that PTSD can increase the potential for oral pain, facial pain, and problems with the biomechanics of chewing.
This is an important insight both for individuals with PTSD and their dentists. Many dentists are not aware when their patients are suffering from PTSD, as it may not seem relevant to discuss it during a routine examination. As a result, they may not make the connection between PTSD and the presented symptoms.
If a person has PTSD, awareness of this by their dentist may be beneficial, as pain and chewing issues associated with PTSD don't appear to be tied to oral hygiene and periodontal health. Those with PTSD have similar brushing, flossing and other oral hygiene habits according to researchers. Without the knowledge of an individual's PTSD, a dentist may be at a disadvantage in identifying the correct response or treatment for the pain or chewing issue. Depending on their evaluation, a dentist may recommend consultation with other healthcare professionals.
Researchers believe that more study is needed to better understand the connection between PTSD, oral pain, facial pain, and the biomechanics of chewing. In the meantime, if you are experiencing these symptoms and have PTSD, you might find it beneficial to discuss your health history - including PTSD - with your dentist. This is true for both your routine dental visits, and if you are missing teeth and considering tooth replacement. If you are missing teeth, be sure to find an experienced, AAID credentialed implant dentist with expert education and training.