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


If you feel positively zoned after dental treatment and end up snuggling up under your duvet for days afterwards, you’re not alone.

Some people say they feel like they’ve been hit by a bus. The reasons for these post-dental dips can be intriguing.

For some people, the mere thought of dental treatment can bring on sleepless nights and drench them in cold sweats.

The body expends a 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 turned on at once and set to full-tilt disco mode.

This continuous fight or flight state takes its toll and by the time a dental appointment arrives, the body is physically exhausted. Once the “threat” he had prepared for has passed, the chemical lights can be turned off, leaving energy levels low and a person feeling knocked out.

Stress isn’t the only player causing fatigue. It can also be due to our friends, the bacteria. We may think of ourselves as human, but with twice as many bacterial cells in our bodies as humans, we are simply elaborate guesthouses for bacteria.

There may be teaspoons of infection around the teeth; all sorts of dislikes lurk in dental abscesses and gum disease. When the number of a tooth is high and it needs to be pulled, the bacteria can increase in our bloodstream and cause bacteremia.

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 has to recharge afterward.

In addition to this, adrenaline is added to the dental anesthetic, which makes it more effective. However, it can also produce an effect similar to caffeine or sugar where your body later crashes.

This does not mean that you should ask for anesthesia without adrenaline, because it just creates different problems.

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


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