Dental visits are essential for maintaining oral health, but for many, the mere thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair is nerve-wracking. Dental anxiety is a common issue, and finding effective ways to manage it is crucial. In this article, we will explore whether this compound, which has been growing in popularity for its therapeutic properties, can help patients anxious about visiting the dentist. In short, can CBD alleviate dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety is a term used to describe fear, stress, or anxiety associated with dental settings or procedures. It ranges from mild nervousness to an intense, irrational fear known as dental phobia. This anxiety can stem from various factors such as past traumatic experiences, fear of pain, or even the clinical environment of the dental office. Dental anxiety often leads to avoidance of dental appointments, which can have detrimental effects on oral health and, in the long run, on overall health.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 100 compounds known as cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for the “high” sensation, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. This makes it an attractive option for those seeking relief from various symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana. CBD is believed to interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body, which regulates various physiological processes, including mood, pain, and sleep. CBD has gained popularity for its potential anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, with studies suggesting it may reduce symptoms of social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As such, using CBD to help with dental anxiety has been rising in popularity.
Now, let’s explore the different ways in which CBD can potentially alleviate dental anxiety.
Calming the nervous mind.
One of the most notable benefits of CBD is its potential to reduce anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggested that CBD could reduce anxiety levels in individuals with social anxiety disorder. By promoting a sense of calm and relaxation, CBD may help patients manage the anxiety associated with dental visits.
Taking the edge off the pain.
One common reason for dental anxiety is the fear of pain, especially during procedures like tooth extractions or root canals. CBD has been studied for its analgesic properties. Research indicates that CBD may interact with the brain’s pain receptors and can help reduce pain perception. This can be especially helpful for those with dental anxiety from a fear of pain. After a dental procedure, CBD might also help patients deal with pain and discomfort once the local anesthetic has worn off.
Approach your dentist appointment with positivity.
CBD has been found to have a positive effect on mood. By interacting with the serotonin receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating mood, CBD can help elevate mood levels. A better mood can contribute to a more positive outlook on dental visits, helping to reduce anxiety and increasing the likelihood that a patient will attend their dental appointment.
Resting well before the appointment.
Poor sleep can exacerbate anxiety. Many people with dental anxiety might find it difficult to sleep the night before an appointment, leaving them feeling more stressed than they otherwise would have been. CBD has been studied for its role in improving sleep by addressing factors such as anxiety and pain, which can contribute to sleep disturbances. A good night’s sleep can result in a calmer state of mind, making the dental visit more manageable.
Relaxing the Body.
Anxiety often leads to physical symptoms such as muscle tension and tremors. CBD is believed to have muscle-relaxant properties. By helping to reduce muscle tension, CBD can address the physical manifestations of anxiety, contributing to a more relaxed state both mentally and physically.
Dental anxiety is a widespread issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. There are various medications and supplements available for managing anxiety, including CBD. When choosing which option is right for you, comparing CBD to other anxiety medications, looking at efficacy, side effects, mechanisms of action, and considerations for use is important.
As previously mentioned, CBD is a natural extract with several potential calming effects when taken correctly. It’s believed to help regulate physiological processes such as mood, pain, and sleep. As such, CBD has gained popularity for use in many stressful situations, which includes dental anxiety.
If you’re feeling anxious about visiting your dentist, you should first let them know. Your dentist treats patients with fears just like yours all the time and will be able to offer you some advice on what to do.
Your dentist can explain what you can expect from your appointment, so you won’t feel like you’re entering the unknown. They will also be able to recommend some self-help tactics for dental anxiety, such as breathing and distraction techniques, to keep your mind from wandering into a fear response.
For more serious cases of dental anxiety, your dentist may have you undergo some form of sedation dentistry. These options range from over-the-counter anxiety medications to nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or sleep dentistry. The best way forward is to speak with your dentist about your concerns and discuss available options.
Determining the correct CBD dosage for dental anxiety is not an exact science. Variables such as body weight and the strength (potency) of the CBD product used will affect how much a person needs to take. On top of that, CBD doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. The best way to determine what dosage is right for you is to start with a very small amount and work up until you feel some effects. It’s also important to remember that CBD’s effects can be very slight but nonetheless beneficial.
“For generalized anxiety or sleep disorders, 25 to 75 milligrams per day is recommended, while for PTSD, 33 to 50 milligrams per day is recommended. A patient’s dose might be increased to 300 to 600 milligrams in severe anxiety. If the patient is experiencing pain due to chemotherapy, 50 to 60 milligrams is recommended, with a maximum daily dose of 600 milligrams,” says Kimberly Langdon, a board-certified MD.
Known to fight pain and inflammation, dental anxiety isn’t the only thing CBD can help with.
As a mild pain inhibitor, CBD can help patients suffering from tooth sensitivity. Combined with the use of a sensitivity toothpaste, CBD can make tooth sensitivity a thing of the past.
CBD has been shown to help fight and prevent inflammation, one of the major issues patients with gum disease face. While it may not help fix the root cause of the issue, CBD may be able to help reduce the symptoms.
While the potential of CBD in alleviating dental anxiety seems promising, it’s important to approach it with caution. The field of CBD research is still evolving, and it’s essential to consider various factors such as dosage, method of consumption, and individual responses.
Making an Informed Decision.
Before incorporating CBD into your routine to manage dental anxiety, it’s advisable to consult your dentist and healthcare provider. They can provide insights into whether CBD can be a viable option for you, especially if you take other medications. It’s crucial to avoid any potential interactions between CBD and medications.
Choose a high-quality product if you decide to try CBD for dental anxiety. Look for CBD products that are third-party tested and have clear labelling regarding the concentration of CBD. This helps ensure that the product is free from contaminants and that you are consuming CBD safely and measuredly.
CBD holds promise as a natural remedy for dental anxiety. By potentially reducing anxiety levels, pain perception, and muscle tension, and by improving mood and sleep, CBD can make the experience of visiting the dentist more manageable for those who find it anxiety-inducing.
However, making informed decisions based on consultation with healthcare professionals, understanding the legal considerations, and choosing high-quality CBD products is essential. As research continues to evolve, we can look forward to more definitive evidence on the role of CBD in managing dental anxiety and other health concerns.
Please contact us for all inquiries or to book an appointment with one of our convenient clinic locations. We look forward to hearing from you.