Gentle and Caring Dentist & Staff

Dr. Badwalz
18 Feb 2016

Do People with Red Hair Really Take Longer to Numb?

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numbThe Pain of Being a Redhead and Getting Numb

It is not uncommon for people to have a fear of going to the dentist, especially when they are in pain. People may get anxious thinking about tools that’ll be used or being poked by the numbing injection. People with red hair may have another fear altogether—not being able to get numb. According to research conducted in 2009 by The American Dental Association, people with red hair do in fact have a harder time getting numb when compared to people with black, blonde, or brown hair!


Why is that?

Basically, it all comes down to genetics. A mutation in the MC1R (melanocortin-1 receptor) produces pheomelanin which causes the signature pale skin and red hair. This same gene (MC1R) is linked to a group of receptors, including pain receptors in the brain.  A mutation in MC1R appears to influence pain sensitivity in the body. A study conducted in both 2004 and 2005 showed that people with red hair require 20% more anesthesia when compared to people with other hair color, and that they are more resistant to its effects. This mutation also appears to allow them to have higher pain sensitivity when compared to others.


Mutation in MC1R

The mutation in MC1R can occur in people with brown hair, but the chances are low. If you have a hard time getting numb, or know that it will take more injections to get you numb let Dr.Badwalz or one of the hygienists know! We want you to be as comfortable as possible during your treatment.


The dental practice of Dr. Badwalz,is located at 3178 Collins Drive in Merced. He has been active in the Merced community since 2009. Make sure to visit Pearl Family Dentistry at or you can also find us on Facebook if you’d like to join in on the conversation there. Call us today 209-383-6133 to make an appointment for your six-month check-up or to finish your treatment.

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Map & Directions

We are located just seconds away from Olive Ave just down the street from Hibachi Grill on Collins Drive. Look for our big sign just in front of the office. Having trouble finding us? Call us at 209-383-6133!

Call Us at 209-383-6133