When discussing the topic of hypnosis, it’s common for images of shows held for entertainment and show business gags. The art of hypnotherapy, once known as mesmerism, has many therapeutic medical and mental health applications. Dentistry is one area where the benefits of hypnosis have been applied to aid patients in overcoming dental anxiety. Mesmerism has been practiced since the 1800s. Its success in addressing fears and anxieties has resulted in its use today. Keep reading to discover why this unusual practice is still used at dental practices today.
The Application of Hypnotherapy In Dentistry
When you are hypnotized, you’re in what’s known as a hypnagogic state. This is the borderline area between wakefulness and sleep. Being in this state makes you relaxed and calm. You are still awake in a hypnotic state but are more open to suggestions. Due to this, you can be easily reassured that there’s nothing to fear and that everything will go smoothly. This is key to helping those who experience dental anxiety overcome these fears and remain calm throughout the procedure.
In order to undergo hypnosis as part of your dental treatment, you’ll need to sign a consent form. As someone who is in a hypnotic state is still aware of their surroundings, they can cooperate with the dentist during the procedure. The benefits of hypnosis go beyond merely controlling dental anxiety, however. Your dentist can also use it to address certain dental conditions such as bruxism, ease sensitive gag reflexes, and help ease discomfort.
Is Hypnosis Effective For Everyone?
Not everyone responds to hypnosis, though children tend to be quite open to the experience. Those with bouts of dental anxiety and overactive imaginations are the most likely to benefit from this method. Using subtle suggestions, it’s possible to subdue their fears and alter their perception of receiving dental care. Another benefit of using hypnosis is its ability to be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide and other forms of sedation to produce more effective results.
Other options may be made available for those unable to benefit from dental hypnosis. These include:
- Offer Nitrous Oxide: This sweet-smelling, colorless gas is safe for patients of all ages. This sedative produces a state of conscious sedation. Under nitrous oxide, the patient can relax while still being able to interact with the dentist.
- Provide Entertainment: Giving the patients some form of entertainment to distract them has also proven to be effective in certain cases. This often take the form of a television near the procedure chair. Video games, toys, and other distractions may also be helpful.
Ask Your Dentist About Alternative Sedation Options
Your dentist can inform you about the total range of sedation options available at their clinic. They’ll help you determine which would be appropriate for your dental care. They may also suggest new ways to help address concerns with dental anxiety. Be sure to arrange your next appointment today!