Do you feel nervous when you visit the dentist? It may not be your fault. A new study revealed that people with red hair commonly express more fear and anxiety when visiting the dentist. The gene that causes hair color also affects your body’s sensitivity to pain.
Research shows that redheads often have a specific mutation in the MC1R gene. The variant in the gene produces a substance called pheomelanin, creating red hair and fair skin. MC1R receptors in the brain affect pain sensitivity, and redheads are more sensitive to pain.
People with this gene are more likely to show panic and nervousness about dental procedures, and are twice as likely to avoid appointments. Redheads with the MC1R variant gene are more resistant to some pain medications, making their dental visit more difficult. Many redheads need larger doses of anesthesia or pain medication to be completely comfortable.
Redhead or not, you don’t have to fear anymore. Dr. Locke offers several sedation techniques to help you feel calm and relaxed during your visit. Try these tips to prepare yourself and ease your nerves.
- Distractions: Televisions and music can distract you during your appointment. The noise will mask the sounds of the dental office so that you can relax. In addition, listening to music can lower your blood pressure. Television also provides visual stimulation to further occupy your thoughts.
- Questions: Before your procedure, feel free to discuss your concerns with Dr. Locke or any of our staff members. We love to build relationships with our patients and will communicate with you so you feel comfortable.
- Sleep: Don’t stay up all night worrying. Getting a good night’s sleep before your appointment will help reduce your stress level during the visit.