Dental Phobia and a long-term Solution
5th July, 20130 Comments
Written by: Julia Croft - HPD, DHP, SFBT(Hyp) MNCH(Acc) CNHC
The psychological definition of phobias can be found in many places online and in paper publications, and generally refers to the ‘irrational fear’ - in this case, of going to the Dentist. There are some people who are able to state that they specifically are not able to walk past a dental surgery without crossing the road first, or going into a real panic attack at the mere thought of the dentist. These can be called phobic cases, and they generally have more than one fear about dentistry. When/if phobic people are persuaded to make an appointment, they may say their fears are needles and pain and perhaps lying in the reclined chair. As there are many other possible fears too, these multi-fear issues are considered by many sufferers as being beyond help, especially if they are held for decades. This is a misconception.
Some people will ask for Hypnosis when having treatment with a dentist who uses it, but don’t necessarily realise that an ‘on the spot’ temporary solution isn’t the only option. Even if they are offered oral sedation, this is still temporary. Not going to the dentist because of phobias is naturally going to have a negative effect on teeth and overall health. So, naturally, overcoming the problem first is the best answer - but unfortunately it's also the least looked for.
Going to a hypnotherapist for a course of treatment to significantly reduce the fears increases general wellbeing. It also enables a previously phobic person to happily go to the dentist at any time and not need the ‘on the spot’ solutions. Some people could even get to a point where they feel the problem is almost gone (certainly sufficient to say they are only mildly anxious). This is because the person can learn self-hypnosis during therapy to take away with them; a life skill that can be used under any stressful situation, not just when they go to the dentist.
The main thing to remember when using hypnotherapy as a first resort to tackling Dental Phobia is that, if the fears are from very early in life, then it will take a certain amount of time to reduce and control the fears; hence if the process isn’t followed completely then only limited effects occur. It is possible to overcome Dental Phobia with determination and patience and - most of all - the dental phobic person wishing to improve their life by going through the whole process. The lesser side to this is that not everyone will be able to respond equally to this process, so discovering susceptibility to hypnosis is advised.
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