Red Heads & Dental Fear of Dental Procedures

Red Alert for Red Heads

We all have that fear of going to the dentist or showing up on dental appointments. Some more than others have developed strong fear towards the dental office environment that they neglect dental appointments and treatments altogether just to avoid seeing the dentist. These cases often make simple dental problems become severe and irreversible damages to the teeth and gums.

It might seem strange but redheads or people with natural red hair are more likely to avoid dental procedures more than others. They have developed anxieties associated with dental treatments or procedures as their experiences with dental offices are not so good. The phenomena is experienced almost everywhere that studies were done to better understand redheads and their fear of dental appointments.

Gene mutations. Perhaps the most significant thing about red heads is the mutation of the gene that turns their hair into red and their skin white. This gene called MCR1 gene is responsible for making people’s hair black or blonde. It produces melanin or the pigment that gives you brown, black, or blonde color. When a mutation to this gene occurs, it starts to produce a different chemical called pheomelanin which results to redheads having natural red hair. This gene is also a receptor that receives pain signals in particular. Studies show that this gene gives redheads strong sensitivity to pain as an extra sensor is added to your brain which is specifically for pain. This might explain why they experience more pain as their brains get more signals of pain on treatments and procedures. This mutation might not be exclusively for red heads but non-redheads with this mutation have a lower tendency of pain receptors development in the brain.

Resistant to local anesthetics. Redheads are also identified to be more resistant to local anesthetic. Patients with red hair often need more anesthetic than non-redheads as they still feel pain in normal dosages. This supports the gene mutation effect that makes them more sensitive to pain more than others. There might be many factors that affect one’s sensitivity to pain but this resistance to anesthetics and low tolerance to pain definitely adds up.

The significant amount of fear toward emergency dentist San Jose and dental health offices can impact the oral health of many redheads. This can lead to poor oral health habits and poor management of dental problems. They would not be given the professional dental care they need and deserve because of the constant delay or avoidance of going to the dentist.

The good thing is that there is still hope. The levels of anxiety experienced by these redheads can vary and the amount of fear that they have can be managed. They can simply practice and exercise mental and physical activities that ease the mind from tension and stress. You can always talk to your dentist about your struggles in pain management and your tolerance to it. Your dentist would be more than glad to recommend and discuss the right ways for you to manage anxiety and fear as well as medication and techniques to be done on procedures.