We all know that a large number of patients find visiting the dentist, even just for a checkup, something of a stressful experience. In fact to be honest there are relatively few patients who come bouncing and leaping into the surgery full of enthusiasm and anticipation. We can but hope!
But the Institute of Hypnotherapy for Medical and Dental Practice is now running a number of different courses for those dental professionals with an interest in what they are calling ‘dental hypnosis’.
For many of us the idea of hypnosis seems to either relate to somewhat dubious late-night television programmes which result in allegedly innocent members of the audience demonstrating their prowess at impersonating jiving chickens, or to things such as weight loss and quitting cigarette smoking. But it seems that using hypnosis can have a very positive impact on how patients feel both before and during treatment.
Now at this stage you’re probably shaking your head, much as we were initially, imagining asking your patients to sit back, open wide, and listen to your voice, only to your voice, whilst they are feeling sleepy, feeling sleepy, sleepy…
No, it isn’t necessary to grow a goatee, especially if you happen to be female, and there’s no need to purchase a shiny gold watch on a chain either.
In fact the idea of hypnosis has been blown out of all proportion by the media, and refers to something which has very real practical benefits in industries such as ours.
So What Is Dental Hypnosis?
Dental hypnosis is about helping patients, both adults and children, cope better with their experiences during and through dental treatments. These include both formal and informal interactions with patients, helping to alleviate their anxieties, help them deal better with any potential pain, and helping anxious patients relax.
It’s important to appreciate that dental anxiety is not only very real, but it can actually be a recognised phobia, and people’s fear of visiting the dentist, their fear of things such as needles, and their fear of just simply feeling anxious all results in them failing to attend for the regular checkups and cleaning that is necessary in order to keep their teeth in good condition.
The Irony Of Dental Anxiety
Ironically the result of feeling anxious about visiting the dentist can result in teeth and gums becoming unhealthy and damaged, resulting in more pain and discomfort than they would otherwise have ever experienced that they simply visited for regular checkups and cleaning, and any dental treatment ultimately required is almost certainly likely to be more involved, more invasive, and more likely to increase the level of their anxiety.
So it’s certainly easy to see that when talking about dental hypnosis what we are really talking about is learning a range of tactics and techniques that enable us to be able to help our patients relax, ease pain and discomfort, and enable those patients with phobias to deal with them in a positive way which helps them to still attend for the treatments which may be necessary.
The course offered by the Institute of Hypnotherapy for Medical and Dental Practice includes a number of significant and very valuable points, including alleviating dental anxiety phobia in patients, easing pain and discomfort, improving patient compliance with dental procedures, boosting attendance, reducing or eliminating the phobia of needles, increasing patient satisfaction and improving staff well-being as a result of the increased cooperation of patients.
Now it’s hard to argue with those benefits.