After hearing interesting rumors and anecdotes from his colleagues, Dr. Daniel Sessler, anesthesiologist and department chair of Outcomes Research, decided to test a theory relating to hair color and response to sedation. The myths suggested redheads had a tougher time with sedation medication than a patient with any other hair color. Our Wilkes-Barre sedation dentist, Dr. DeFinnis will explain the outcomes of Dr. Sessler’s studies and what this means for our red haired patients.
Can Hair Color Have an Impact on Dental Care?
Since 2004, Dr. Sessler gathered information about how patients with different hair colors respond to tooth sensitivity, their anxiety levels about visiting the dentist, and how much anesthesia they needed to feel numb. After taking blood samples, Dr. Sessler found a strong correlation between the gene that contributes to red hair, fair skin, and freckles, with a resistance to pain medication. In fact, patient with this gene, MC1R, were twice as likely to fear the dentist.
Connections between Genes and Response to Sedation Dentistry
The melanocortin 1 receptor gene is the decisive gene for how your body addresses melanin, the pigment that makes your skin, hair, and eye color brown or black. Only 5% of men and women have this gene. Dr. Sessler’s article published in the Journal of American Dental Association in 2009 showed that natural redheads with the MC1R gene were 20% more likely to need more general anesthesia than patients with blonde, brunette, or black hair.
How Our Wilkes-Barre Dentist Can Help
When it comes to sedation dentistry, we know that every patient is different. Our sedation dentist in Wilkes-Barre, Dr. Jamie DeFinnis will work closely with you to determine the right amount of anesthesia to help you feel comfortable during your treatment. Additionally, you can count on individualized attention for your vital signals and comfort levels during your entire treatment, so that even redheads can rest comfortably while we care for their dental health. Continue reading