Why are you oversleeping?

How do you feel when asked into your dentist's office? Answer 1: "I don't mind!" Those who cannot agree - and most people are likely to be - can choose between the following answers in the self-test on a dentist's homepage: "racing heart", "trembling", "sweating" and "extreme fear". The test does not lead to an evaluation, but does lead to the contact form of the doctor, whose specialty is the treatment of anxious people under general anesthesia.

"Nice in your sleep" is a slogan, or: "While you are dreaming, we work on your smile": A number of dentists advertise anesthesia. Anyone looking around their website can easily succumb to the mistaken impression that panic in front of the dentist is extremely widespread and can only be tolerated in complete unconsciousness. Experts are concerned about this development.

In fact, it is estimated that around five percent of people have a real dental phobia. If a dentist looks anybody in the mouth, he will find on average a maximum of one tooth in need of treatment. The teeth of phobics, on the other hand, announce their uncontrollable fear with an average of ten sick teeth. On average, it takes ten years before sheer hardship drives these people into the treatment chair. "We have also seen patients who have not seen a dentist for 30 years," says the psychologist Gudrun Sartory, who deals with the subject at the University of Wuppertal.

The damaged dentition leads to pain, shame and not infrequently to social and professional difficulties. "Fear of the dentist affects the lives of these patients," says Sartory. This sets them apart from the many people who, although the shrill of the drill creates considerable anxiety, but who ultimately endure the treatment again and again.

The prospect of being able to completely block out the dreaded drilling, scraping and scratching in one's own mouth catches on many phobics. "They even ask for the anesthetic," Sartory often learned. If a doctor agrees to your request, you will usually be given a deep sedation with propofol. An overdose of it killed Michael Jackson, but it's a regular anesthetic that is also used for colonoscopies, for example. For general anesthesia in the dentist's chair, propofol is combined with other drugs, especially painkillers.