Gabriela Gerstweiler | Health & Wellness | 26.04.2019 Health+%26amp%3B+Well-being
Hypnosis at the dentist: For patients with fear of treatment a good way to reduce these fears. Adobe Stock, (c) Photographee.eu
Panic fear of the dentist often prevents necessary dental treatments and therefore costs many a valuable bite. Hypnosis can help. In any case, hypnotising dentists relieve most of the scaredy-cats of pain. Often without any anaesthesia. HEROLD reveals how hypnosis works at the dentist and which Viennese dentists offer this somewhat different form of sedation.
Hypnosis at the dentist – does it really work?
Fear of the dentist is familiar to almost everyone. But most of them manage to get over themselves and start the necessary walk to the “torture chair”. For people with dental phobia, however, all good intentions help nothing, no comforting coaxing, no rewards. Fear is simply stronger. But if toothache becomes rampant or there is another dental problem, good advice is expensive.
Relaxation techniques need time to be mastered, psychotherapy even more so, and not everyone can trust acupuncture. However, it is not advisable to risk anaesthesia because of every minor intervention. Then the way out is dental hypnosis.
Hypnosis – what is that?
Hypnosis is the method of inducing a trance (lat.: transire = to pass over, to exceed; state between being awake and sleeping). A trance is a changed state of consciousness in which the environment, the body and one’s own identity are experienced differently than usual. In this state of relaxation (recognisable by a calm pulse, deep abdominal breathing and relaxed muscles) the hypnotist uses sonorous, rhythmic language to direct attention away from external stimuli, i.e. inwards. To thoughts of something positive, such as a nice holiday.
For children with less concentration, stories, fairy tales and confusing techniques such as hypnotic movement induction are also used.
Dental treatment under hypnosis helps the patient to relieve anxiety. But not every practice offers this method. Adobe Stock, (c)Nestor
How does hypnosis work at the dentist?
At best, during the guided imaginary journey, external events (dental actions) lose such importance that they are hardly noticed or reinterpreted (e.g. the sound of the sucker becomes a rushing brook). Thus unpleasant sensations (instead of pain, dull pressure, touches or temperature differences are noticeable) are faded out, the experiences of many hypnosis patients show. The sensitivity of the body can be reduced up to complete insensitivity to pain.
Dental treatment under hypnosis
A therapeutic trance state should not be confused with lack of willpower, because natural protective mechanisms ensure that one resists possible manipulations during hypnosis and does nothing that one does not want or that runs counter to one’s own convictions. The concern not to wake up from a trance is also unfounded. After a hypnosis session a reorientation usually takes place by the doctor saying a certain, previously agreed formula (e.g.: “I count to five now, at five you will stretch and be awake”). But you will also become awake again without reorientation.
For whom is dental hypnosis suitable?
Unfortunately, not everyone is equally hypnotizable, 10 to 20 percent even only with difficulty or not at all. Rule of thumb: if you can easily concentrate on a topic and have a pictorial imagination (e.g. if you think you are in the middle of the action while reading or watching TV), you are more susceptible to hypnotic suggestions. Dentists primarily benefit from hypnosis:
- Anxiety patients,
- People with severe gag reflexes when touched in the mouth, tension in the chewing muscles or painful diseases of the jaw joint,
- People with allergies to local anesthetics,
- Sick people for whom general anesthesia is a major risk,
- Patients who need lengthy treatments to make them more comfortable,
Hypnosis at the dentist – Requirements
Of course, it is important that the affected person trusts the doctor and that a certain degree of communication and cooperation is possible (e.g. with children). In addition, the patient should be able to concentrate and understand speech, because hypnosis is not possible without these prerequisites. Infants and dementia patients are therefore not hypnotizable.
Care should be taken with psychologically damaged patients, such as those in psychotherapy, because then the reactions (e.g. emergence of traumatic memories) under hypnosis may be unpredictable.
There are also dentists in Vienna who offer treatment in trance for patients with dental phobia. Photo: AdobeStock, (c) Hetizia
Who offers dental hypnosis? Vienna
The dentist directory of the Austrian Society for Medical and Dental Hypnosis and the provincial chambers of dentists reveal which dentist works with hypnosis. The physicians listed there have a sound training in dental hypnosis with certification, which includes trance and communication techniques, hypnosis applications, child hypnosis and much more. In Vienna, the following dentists offer medical dental treatment under hypnosis:
Hypnosis at the dentist – Costs
Hypnosis therapy is not covered by statutory health insurance or dental fee regulations. The costs depend on the individual effort required and must be agreed with the treating dentist. Often the first session costs more than the subsequent one due to the greater effort involved.