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Could hypnosis make visits to the dentist less stressful?

15 Apr, 2021 | Debbie |

Could hypnosis make visits to the dentist less stressful?

Hypnosis is often thought of as a way of manipulating a patient and is not particularly thought of as being scientific whilst in fact, the main aim of hypnotherapy is not to manipulate the patient, but to give them the tools they require to take back control of their feelings and emotions. Hypnosis comes originally from a Greek word that means sleep and this is usually how a person who is being hypnotised appears. Although in a hypnotic state the subject is open to suggestion, they maintain concentration and keep the potential to make their own decisions at any time.

Dentists who use hypnosis regularly in their clinical practices experience a variety of significant advantages. There are many and varied applications of clinical hypnosis in dental clinical practice including relaxation, relief from fears and anxieties, reduction in the perception of pain during procedures and in the control of bleeding. Hypnotics is one of the oldest and non-invasive ways to control dental anxiety in children as well as in geriatric patients and therefore dentists get a better treatment result, and the patient has a much better experience.

Hypnosis can bring considerable relief to anxious patients and make it easier for the dentist to do their job, but it is particularly implemented in order to help patients relax. As relaxation raises the pain threshold, requirement for local anaesthesia is reduced. And even if it is necessary, it is better tolerated. Therefore, the use of hypnosis as a general relaxation strategy is certainly possible in both adults and children. The clinical benefits that are gained from hypnosis such as the control of fear, abnormally active gag reflex, adaptation to dentures is well reported on but additionally hypnosis can control salivary flow and bleeding.

A distinction arises between a deep type of hypnosis and a light one and both have different applications. Deep hypnosis takes long so it is not useful for regular dental practice however, it is required for analgesia. On the other hand, the light hypnotic state is easier and faster to attain and can be used on a daily basis for instance, to relax a nervous patient in a matter of minutes.

Dentists have to use positive suggestions when managing patients. Words or actions that inspire trust in the dentist will relieve the patient’s anxiety and fear. There are those dentists that use an Informal hypnotic method including the use of encouraging phrases such as “you will feel quite comfortable” or “you will feel happy with the finished result” and this can be a powerful technique of patient management.