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News / November 6, 2013

Mental health issues linked to dental pain

by Guy Hiscott

Experts from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin have found a link between mental health problems and dental pain.
Psychiatrist Professor Jim Lucey, of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, told the audience at the Irish Society of Rheumatology’s autumn meeting that stress and mental health problems could be causing up to a fifth of commonly reported physiological pain – including dental pain.
He argued that a more proactive approach to investigating mental health could avoid ‘drawn out’ treatments that fail to tackle to root cause of the pain.
Professor Lucey said: ‘If Irish doctors were better able to raise mental health issues with their patients and shied away from it less often, then we could better treat a great number of physical conditions that don’t immediately suggest a mental health problem.
‘There is evidence to suggest that as many as 10% of problems can be eliminated if the right patients are referred for the right treatments.
‘These don’t necessarily always require expensive consultations and the solution might even be the sort of ‘mindfulness’ training which typically costs a few Euros an hour at community centres around Ireland.’