Dental fear and anxiety …. It’s time to take control

For some people even just the word ‘dentist’ can throw them into a state of panic and can lead to them putting off the dentist and having to deal with horrible toothache, which in my opinion is one of the worst pains in the world. Now I was definetly one of those people, I absolutely hated the thought of going to the dentist and had some pretty awful experiences, which now looking back may have been partly down to my extreme level of anxiety. I had always had this fear since I was very little however it reached a whole new level in October 2012.

I was told I needed to have a root canal, which completely freaked me out but I knew I had to do it as I was in so much pain at the time. So I psyched myself up and went to my appointment, my heart was pounding like mad, palms sweating, mind going on over drive …. I was asked to wait for a few minutes whilst the anaesthetic did its work, well it didn’t do its work, I ended up having five injections and I was adamant that I could feel what they were doing. So I was sent to have the work done under sedation, which was fantastic, I felt nothing at all.

I know you might be thinking “well thanks you’ve made me feel even more worried about the dentist now!” but please keep reading as I want to share with you how I overcame this and how now looking back I think the reason I could feel everything after five injections was largely down to my state of mind at the time.

So fast forward a couple of years and I’m pregnant with my first child and here it comes again that horrific pain in my tooth and also again with my second child a year after that. Now on both of these occasions unfortunately the dentist wasn’t able to work on me due to the pregnancy so I had to wait until after the birth. Now there is waiting and there is waiting! Due to the fact that I wanted to be sedated I waited over three months after my kids were born to be given a sedation appointment, I can honestly say these were one of the worst three months of my life. I was in agony every single day. I did have the sedation again and all went fine.

Now last year unfortunelty I had a similar issue with one of my teeth (as you can guess I don’t have much luck with my teeth and I’m pretty sure pregnancy has not helped although my little monsters are worth it). This time I thought to myself, right I am not going to spend the next few months in agony …. I am a trained hypnotherapist, how can I tell people to come to me for dental fear if I haven’t even tried it on myself? So I booked myself in for a normal appointment to have a tooth out, as you can imagine the panic started from the moment I booked it in! Over that week I gave myself a few sessions of self hypnosis, during these sessions I trained my mind to focus on something when the anxiety began; for me this was a song I liked which I looped over and over my head. I also gave myself suggestions, by this I mean things such as “you have control over what you feel” … “when you sit in that chair you will allow yourself to relax, be calm, and take your mind to another place”. Another thing that really helped was remembering the pain that I had been through previously, this wasn’t going to happen to me again I had to take control.

So the day came and I was asked into the room for my appointment, part of me was doubtful that I could go through with it but as soon as I laid down in the chair I closed my eyes and the song came straight to me, I breathed steadily and evenly and allowed myself to relax. To my surprise the appointment was over so quickly and I can honestly say I was absolutely fine and I felt nothing, with only one injection. It may sound silly to some people who are fine with the dentist or who haven’t had to have anything done but I felt very proud of myself and it really brought home to me how well hypnotherapy can work. I’ve lived with that fear for 30 years! I feel so much better now and relaxed about seeing the dentist as I know I have control over my experience and how I feel.

So please if you are like I was then just think about taking back that control and allowing yourself to feel good about visiting the dentist. I completely sympathise as I know it’s really hard to imagine that one day you might not have that fear anymore but it can be done and it’s so much better than living in pain!

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