Receiving a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep at night can determine how productive the following day may be, and many of us are all too familiar with the unfortunate side effects of sleeping any less than that. Aside from the negative impact a lack of sleep can have on your job, social life, and physical health, it can affect your mental health as well, specifically leading to cases of anxiety.
This increased feeling of anxiousness has been directly linked to dental anxiety, or essentially, a fear of going to the dentist. The regular fatigue and general lack of motivation can lead to one avoiding everyday tasks, including scheduling dentist appointments, prompting poor dental health.
A few common sleep disorders involving dental health include teeth grinding and restricted airways. Patients who grind their teeth in their sleep are much more likely to have negative experiences at the dentist’s office due to increased levels of pain from destroying their enamel over time. This association with the dentist and extreme pain can create a fear of scheduling these appointments. Having a restricted airway during sleep can affect the tonsils, cause dry mouth, and worsen pre existing ailments. Sleep apnea, one of the most common sleep disorders to obstruct airways, can become worse after diagnosed because of this anxiety.
Perhaps the best way to tackle this issue head on is to do exactly what your anxiety is telling you not to do; go to the dentist. Dental professionals are skilled in helping their patients cope, and eventually cure their sleep disorders, which, in turn, can cure their dental anxiety. Simply sitting down and talking with your dentist about the procedures necessary to maintain your dental health can establish trust, and a sense of comfort upon entering his or her office.
If the situation calls for it, there are a number of strategies you can implement in order to relax while in the dentist’s chair. Listening to music, breathing exercises, or additional medication can calm one’s dental anxiety before or during the procedure. The key is establishing a trustworthy relationship with your dentist. He or she will happily work with you on improving your dental anxiety, and will walk you through the steps necessary for the most success.
Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that affects 1/3rd of Americans, and should be addressed by those suffering from it in order to maintain their health. In addition to the harmful effects a lack of sleep has on our bodies, our mental health can be affected as well. The increased levels of anxiety that have been linked to this can negatively affect our lives in many ways. Work closely with a sleep specialist or dentist to discuss any feelings of dental anxiety, or anxiety in general that you may be feeling after long nights consisting of little sleep.