Dental anxiety prevents hundreds of people from visiting the dentist each year. Recent research suggests that this fear might do more than keep you out of the chair. Increased dental anxiety might also impact your sleep quality, and inadequate rest might further increase your fear. Sedation dentistry can calm your mind during cleanings and dental work, giving you a more relaxing experience.

Dental Anxiety’s Impact On Sleep

In a recent study published in February 2015, researchers set out to find out whether or not dental anxiety impacts sleep quality. The study included 67 patients with dental anxiety, 54 patients who benefit from sedation due to a sensitive gag reflex, and 100 control patients with neither condition. Researchers assessed and recorded the oral health, anxiety levels, sleep quality, demographics, and habits of each participant.

Over all, the dental anxiety group showed the highest rate of poor sleep, at 49.3% of participants. Comparatively, only 38.9% of gag reflex patients and 29% of the control experienced reported inadequate rest. Based on the data, researchers concluded that dental anxiety might contribute to poor sleep quality. Future studies on this topic will help determine whether or not this is the correct conclusion.

Catching Fewer ZZZ’s Increases Anxiety

Another possibility is that rather than reducing slumber, dental anxiety is caused or exacerbated by inadequate rest. Researchers from UC Berkeley found that poor sleep quality increases your brain’s anxious anticipatory response to incoming stimuli. Based on their research, it is also possible that if you feel nervous about the dentist, sleep deprivation might cause increased anxious responses compared to what you would feel after a solid night of rest.

Sedation Dentistry Decreases Anxiety

Whether you experience sleep loss or anxiety first, both conditions seem to influence and perpetuate one another. If you experience daytime fatigue, you might benefit in a sleep study to find out if you suffer from disruptive conditions such as sleep apnea. Improving your rest might help you reduce your anxiety.

You can also potentially get more rest by overcoming your dental anxiety with sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry. Sedation puts you into a relaxed state that decreases your anxious response to incoming stimuli such as sights, sounds, and smells in order to give you a comfortable, pain-free experience.

Your teeth impact the health of your whole body. Preventative dentistry can protect you from conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease, which have been linked to heart disease and other conditions. To learn more about whether or not sedation dentistry is right for you, please call (845) 627-7645 or contact us online for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.