It has been said that the only people who look forward to going to the dentist’s office are dentists. But even they cannot possibly enjoy going to work every day, when it means having to perform procedures on frightened patients that they are unable to completely reassure.
Many dentists are turning to dental hypnosis as an alternate way to prepare their patients for potentially painful dental procedures. But dental hypnosis is more than a rising trend - it is a proven, non-invasive way of putting dental patients at ease and a technique that is now being taught in some of the finest dental schools.
Hypnosis is a trance-like state of consciousness that is induced in a subject, leaving them open to suggestion or direction, but unable to perform voluntarily. It is often used to uncover repressed memories, or to modify behavior through suggestion. It is this second use that is very helpful when it comes to dental procedures.
Pain management is commonly considered the most important component when it comes to preparing a patient for an invasive dental procedure. But being able to relax a patient sufficiently, prior to performing a root canal
, extraction or other dreaded but necessary dental work, is just as critical as deadening the pain during the procedure. In fact, the level of relaxation that dental hypnosis can bring has been proven to actually lessen pain felt by the patient.
Dental hypnosis is an incredibly effective tool that can be used by a trained practitioner to eliminate issues like gag reflex or locking jaw. But it can also free the patient from the kind of anxiety related issues that usually cause a patient to tense up and make performing procedures more difficult. Dental hypnosis puts the patient a state of extreme relaxation.
Many patients who experience dental phobias, or just have a low tolerance for pain, prefer to be completely unconscious during their dental procedure and opt for general anesthesia. But undergoing anesthesia isn't an option for everyone. Not only can the additional expense be prohibitive and not covered by insurance, but using anesthesia carries elevated risks, especially for those suffering from certain pre-existing medical conditions. Dental hypnosis, however, can relax the patient to an extent that is comparable to anesthesia, without the danger or the additional cost.
Dental hypnosis is not just some medical gimmick or fly by night fad. More and more reputable dental schools are offering courses in dental hypnosis and establishing protocols for its implementation. The use of dental hypnosis is subject to the same rigorous medical and professional standards as other dental procedures.
Unfortunately, there are some people who are simply not open to the type of suggestion needed for hypnosis to be successful. But for a surprising majority of patients, dental hypnosis is a viable option that is preferable to the alternative. A trained practitioner can fully assess whether a patient is a candidate for dental hypnosis. Dental visits might never be 100% anxiety free, for the patient and the dentists. But with psychological methods, patients can expect to be as relaxed as possible the next time they are in the dental chair.