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Clinical depression may have negative effect on periodontal treatment

CHICAGO (April 19, 2002) ---- Researchers found depressed patients have twice the odds of sub-optimal outcomes from periodontal treatment over one year compared to patients without depression, according to a recent study in the April Journal of Periodontology.

"There are many factors that could impact treatment outcomes in clinically depressed periodontal patients," said John Elter, lead author of the study and a dentist and epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. "For example, the patient's attitude about the treatment process plays a significant role in treatment success. Depressed patients might view a course of periodontal treatment as an overwhelming ordeal, and might be more likely to not comply with all treatment recommendations."

"In addition, depressed persons are more likely to continue to smoke, which has been linked to poor response to periodontal therapy," said Elter. "Most importantly, it is possible that their immune system is impaired which may slow down the body's reaction to fight off the infection, but more research needs to be conducted to verify this."

He continued, "Future studies should focus on elucidating a possible mechanism for the negative effect of depression on the immune system and on wound healing."

Previous research has found that depression has been associated with poor outcomes from cardiac surgery and reconstructive spinal surgery. In this study, the presence of preoperative fear, anxiety, or depression prior to surgery is associated with a negative postsurgical experience and with increased post-periodontal surgery pain response and impairment of quality of life.

"This is the first report of clinical depression and poor periodontal treatment outcome," said Kenneth Bueltman, D.D.S., president of the American Academy of Periodontology. "As we are hearing a l
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Contact: Shelia Naab
shelia@perio.org
312-573-3243
American Academy of Periodontology
19-Apr-2002


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