Intrinsic and extrinsic physiological stressors (physical, metabolic, or psychological) are constantly challenging the body's homeostatic mechanisms. Regardless of their nature, the body will initiate a series of autonomic responses in an effort to maintain homeostasis. For example, to cope with a perceived threat, cardiac output and respiration are increased, the availability of glucose is increased, and blood flow to the heart, brain, and muscles is increased. Conversely, once the threat subsides, conter-regulatory mechanisms act to down-regulate these responses. The adaptive stress response is essential for a patient's well-being. An altered adaptive stress response may lead to illness, and, at times, even to death. Oral healthcare providers must develop preventive and therapeutic strategies compatible with the functional capacity of a patient's adaptive stress response.
Keywords: adrenal dysfunction, dental management, addisonian crisis