Hypnosis is a topic that’s not common when referring to dentistry. When you think of hypnosis, it’s common to imagine it as something used only for entertainment or therapy. But when discussed within the medical field, some professionals have begun using hypnosis as a way to alleviate forms of anxiety and assist with treatments. Some dentists have even incorporated hypnosis to help patients with dental anxiety or dental phobia. But does this treatment have any merit to it? We’re here to explore the ins and outs of hypnosis and see why it’s become more popular in recent years.
Why Has Hypnotherapy Become Popular in Dentistry?
The idea of hypnotherapy and mesmerism has been around since the early 1800s, and it’s due to its popularity and interesting concepts that hypnosis continues to be around today. When someone is hypnotized, the person goes into a hypnagogic state, also known as the border between wakefulness and sleep. While in this state, the person is calm, relaxed, and believed to be more open to suggestions and instructions.
For dentists, using hypnosis can act similar to an anesthetic, where those experiencing severe forms of dental anxiety can be placed in a hypnotic state and experience better control over those fears. People in hypnotic states are often still aware of their surroundings and ease their discomforts with their treatments. In some cases, dentists who use hypnosis argue that it can be used to address other conditions, including sensitive gag reflexes and bruxism, especially during dental appointments and treatments.
Is Hypnosis A Valid Approach To Dental Care?
Hypnosis, in short, works with subtle suggestions and trance-like states to help patients find better ease and comfort during their appointments, especially in dental settings. While the studies behind this practice don’t often support this treatment as a whole, hypnosis techniques can be used in many ways to help patients. For instance, children can highly benefit from hypnosis, especially if they often experience bouts of anxiety and have overactive imaginations.
So, when is hypnosis appropriate? As long as the patient can consent to it, then it can be a safe, harmless way to provide forms of therapy during treatments. However, for those who are uncomfortable with the idea of hypnosis in their dental care, many dentists offer other solutions, including:
- Offer Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is a sweet-smelling, colorless gas that is safe for patients of all ages, providing conscious sedation that easily allows dentists to perform treatments. When patients are under nitrous oxide, the patient can relax and easily interact with the dentist.
- Provide Entertainment: Entertainment can be used as a way to distract fears and phobias and provide certain levels of comfort while receiving treatment. Some forms of entertainment often used include television, video games, toys, and phone app games.
- Compassionate Support: Your dentist will also have the ability to communicate and support you throughout the entirety of your procedures and will use positive language that reinforces good behaviors, knowledge, and resources for better dental care.