Survey Finds People Show Up To Dental Visits High More Often Than You Might Think

Dental procedures aren't the highlight of anyone's life, and people use various ways of coping with the stress, anxiety, and fear that often accompanies a trip to the dentist (per Better Health). According to a recent survey conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA), people show up to dental visits high more often than you might think (via WebMD). And yes, that means high on marijuana. The survey asked 557 dentists and 1,006 dental patients about marijuana use during dental visits. 

According to The Hill, 52% of the dentists surveyed said their patients have shown up to appointments stoned on THC or other drugs. And 39% of patients admitted to either smoking or vaping marijuana. But going to your dentist high might not get you the desired results. The survey revealed that 56% of dentists said they limited treatment to high patients. And 46% said patients under the influence of marijuana required more anesthesia than usual due to the effects of both drugs on the central nervous system.

Marijuana can make a dental visit more stressful

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, while 37 states and the District of Columbia have approved it for medical use, and more patients are using cannabis to deal with the discomfort of dental work. But despite its legal status, ADA spokesperson and New York dentist Dr. Tricia Quartey says, "Unfortunately, sometimes having marijuana in your system results in needing an additional visit." Dentists can limit the amount of care you receive at their discretion. And if you show up for your visit under the influence, many dentists are concerned patients who are high won't get the same quality of care as if they were sober. 

Quartey explains to WebMD, "Marijuana can lead to increased anxiety, paranoia, and hyperactivity, which could make the visit more stressful. It can also increase heart rate and has unwanted respiratory side effects, which increase the risk of using local anesthetics for pain control. Plus, the best treatment options are always ones a dentist and patient decide on together. A clear head is essential for that." 

And smoking marijuana may lead to the need for more frequent dental visits. The ADA notes that some studies show cannabis consumers are more likely to get cavities, probably at least partially due to people's poor food choices when they get the munchies. Smoking cannabis is also linked to dry mouth and gum disease. 

Smokers should brush their teeth twice a day, floss daily, and choose healthy snacks to protect their oral health.