Health

Ask the Dentist: Why am I so tired after dental treatment?

A trip to the dentist can involve a lot of nervous energy, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care

Our fight or flight instincts can kick in ahead of dental treatment - leaving us tired afterwards
Lucy Stock

IF you feel positively zonked after dental treatment and end up snuggling under your duvet for several days afterwards, you are not alone.

Some people say it feels as if they've been run over by a bus. The reasons for these post-dental dips can be intriguing.

For some people, the mere thought of dental treatment can cause sleepless nights and drench them in cold sweat.

The body expends an awful lot of energy when it is in a state of anxiety. Billions of cells go into chemical hyperdrive, it's as if all the lights in the castle were switched on in one go and set to full-tilt disco mode.

This continuous fight or flight state takes its toll and by the time a dental appointment comes around the body is physically spent. Once the 'threat' that it had been preparing for is over, the chemical lights can be switched off, leaving energy levels at rock bottom and a person feeling knackered.

Stress is not the only player causing the tiredness. It can also be down to our friends, the bacteria. We may think of ourselves as human, but with twice as many bacterial cells in our bodies than human ones, we are simply elaborate guesthouses for bacteria.

There can be teaspoons of infection around teeth; all sorts of yuckiness prowl in tooth abscesses and gum disease. When a tooth's number is up and it needs to be pulled, the bacteria can spike in our bloodstream causing bacteraemia.

This sets off the immune system's alarm bells, causing a rush of infection-fighting cells to the scene to clean up the carnage which uses immense amounts of energy so the body must recharge afterwards.

On top of that adrenaline is added to dental anaesthetic which makes it work better. However, this can also produce a similar effect to caffeine or sugar where your body crashes later on.

This doesn't mean that you should request an anaesthetic without adrenaline as that just gives different problems.

To help minimise tiredness, try deep breathing before, during and after appointments to reduce stress and balance your body.

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