Fear of the Dentist
Dental phobia is extremely common but Robert offers a Dentist phobia cure. Between 30% and 75% of adults suffer from some level of fear at the thought of dental treatment. Many sufferers of dental phobia and needle phobia will put off going to the dentist for years.
Anxiety – when you produce adrenalin in the “fight or flight response”- is only useful to you if it gives you an extra edge to outrun or fight off your attackers.
Anxiety tells you to avoid what you fear, because what you fear seems threatening. But if you have anxiety because of dental phobia, then avoiding the problem DOESN’T benefit you – the problem doesn’t go away. In fact, putting treatment off means that eventually you’ll need more extensive (and expensive!) treatment . Sometimes you put off preventative treatment for so long you end up with damage that can’t be repaired, and get severe pain, or find you can’t eat properly – maybe you even end up even losing teeth.
The cheapest and best dental treatment is preventative, stopping problems before they start. However, even if your dental phobia or needle phobia is so severe that you have not been to the dentist for years, or if even the though of the dentist or doctor gives you a panic attack, hypnosis can help. And don’t worry about your dentist being judgmental, disappointed, disgusted or angry with you – he or she is there to help you and will certainly have seen similar, if not worse, problems before and will be used to seeing other patients who suffer from dental phobia.
Hypnotherapy and hypnosis can help you face the dentist – or blood tests or injections – at an early stage (where preventative dental treatment is still possible,or when your symptoms or ill health can be more easily dealt with) by teaching you to relax at will. It’s impossible to be relaxed AND anxious at the same time. Your dental or needle phobia is simply an association between dentists or needles and feelings of fear and panic. You can replace this association with one of feeling calm and in control. You will therefore be taught to completely relax whilst visualizing yourself at the dentist, doctors’ or hospital (this can be done at various levels – if you anxiety is severe we can start very simply by imagining booking an appointment or sitting in the waiting room).
Once you have successfully reached the stage where you can imagine yourself at the dentist’s surgery, you will then be taught to imagine all the various stages of treatment, again whilst remaining totally relaxed. You won’t move on to the next part of the visualization until you are comfortable with the previous stage.
What causes dental phobia?
Phobia’s may stem from a variety of sources, bad experiences in the past, the embarrassment of having not looked after your teeth, stories told by others, fear of panicking in front of people, negative portrayals on film and TV, and fears of lack of control, or of choking or being unable to breathe. Whatever the source, counselling and hypnotherapy can help you to understand the irrational basis of your fears and to help you feel relaxed whilst facing them. You will also be taught self hypnosis in order that you can continue to work at the problem between sessions.
Claustrophobia and dental phobia
For some patients, the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair brings on feelings of panic. Having someone stand over you, with their hands near your face or in your mouth, can make you feel trapped and claustrophobic. There is a feeling that you cannot escape. We are highly experienced in the treatment of claustrophobia and can work with you to help this aspect of your dental phobia too.
Fear of needles
If your fear of the dentist stems from a fear of needles, then your needle phobia can also be treated by hypnotherapy and gradual exposure, whilst relaxed, first to the idea of needles and then to photographs, and slowly working up to real exposure. If however you have ever fainted or lost consciousness after an injection or blood text, then this may be a medical condition known as vasovagal reflex reaction, where the blood pressure drops very quickly. It is not dangerous, and can be avoided by having the blood test or injection whilst lying down – but people who have experienced this often learn to dread needles. You can still safely use hypnotherapy to deal with your fear of needles.
There are other measures you can also take to overcome your dental phobia and to help you feel more comfortable whilst at the dentist – these include taking an mp3 player/ipod, earplugs, a blanket, wearing comfortable clothes, asking for additional anaesthetic, and self-hypnosis.
For dental phobia, it is a good idea to agree a “signalling” procedure with your dentist before treatment starts, so that you can signal with your hand if you need the treatment to stop. Many dentists advise that it will also help if you take Nurofen or another (over the counter) anti-inflammatory painkiller half an hour before treatment begins.
Finally, if your dentist is not understanding about your dental phobia, or does nothing to help you deal with it and feel more comfortable, then you may want to seriously consider moving to another practice! Most dentists now are very good at putting nervous patients at east, so it is worth looking around to find someone you feel comfortable with.