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Dental Cowards: Discover Help From an Unexpected Source by:Wendy N. Lapidus-Saltz

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you delay trips to the dentist, even when in pain?

2. Do simple dental check-ups worry you?

3. Are annual cleanings a source of nervousness?

4. Has avoiding dental care resulted in bigger problems?

5. Does the sound of the dental drill make you cringe, even when imagined?

6. Do you wish going to the dentist were easier for you?

If you've answered YES to three or more questions, dental fears may be restricting you.

What to do?

Ask yourself: What is creating the fear?

Likely culprits are the influence of a dental-phobic relative; what you create mentally when hearing sounds of the dental office, smelling the smells, envisioning the drill, imagining pain, blood, and more.

If you dwell on these whenever dental work is advised, you probably perceived a negative experience with a dentist at some time in your life, or were influenced by a fearful relative.

Those most afraid of pain may neglect checkups, setting themselves up for more difficult procedures when they finally visit a dentist. It's a vicious cycle.

But you can instead shut off scary mind pictures or dim them. Even shrinking in your mind helps.

If you frighten yourself with imaginary drill sounds, imagine them fainter, farther away, or turn them into another tune. (Yes, you really can do this!)

Do dental smells bother you? Replace them mentally with something that makes you smile, like kids' fruit punch or peppermint.

Strangely enough, all of this is do-able. Find what's easiest for you.

Surprising Truths that can also help:

- More-frequent visits are usually gentler visits. When teeth are cared for regularly,

fewer invasive procedures are needed.

- What you create in your mind is probably scarier anything you will experience in the dental chair - especially with today's anesthesia.

- By intentionally altering your overall feeling about dentistry little by little, and increasing oral care at home, you can benefit from the rewards of less pain, fewer procedures, and even fewer appointments (with your dentist's approval).

The question is how to achieve this when you fear the dentist?

One very good answer: Hypnosis.


- Hypnosis quells fears

- Hypnosis creates relaxation you can trigger at the dental office

- Hypnosis helps you alter scary mind pictures

- Hypnosis helps make dental sounds mean something different and betteror disappear altogether

- Hypnosis becomes a process you can do any time you're in the dental zone, or anywhere else, when you sense fear or nervousness coming on

- Hypnosis can help you create positive, useful habits (like more frequent flossing, brushing, and hygiene, as prescribed by your dentist)

- Hypnosis can provide "mental rehearsal" to make the dental visit more palatable, including appointment setting, entering the office, noticing scents, seeing dental tools and feeling them in your mouth, hearing drill sounds, being given the diagnosis, getting an injectionand anywhere else your mind drifts

- Hypnosis can help you get comfortable with dental appliances more easily and quickly, including braces, retainers, bite guards and others

(Did you feel jittery reading the list? Then you're among the Most Likely To Benefit From Dental Hypnosis.)

The irony is that the less you fear the dentist, the less scary your appointments are, the more comfortable you feel at the office, the less often you'll need to come. The reverse is also true.

How to find a hypnotist who deals with dental anxiety or odontophobia? One solution is to ask your dentist prior to your appointment if he knows someone.

Otherwise, locate a local, certified hypnotist, ask about dental hypnosis, and make an appointment or two before your scheduled dental visit.

Many hypnotists who do this work now had their own dental fears in the past. If you saw all the crowns in my mouth, you'd know just how well qualified I am! 2009 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.

About the author

Wendy Lapidus-Saltz has been a dental patient since age two. She has 10+ years as a hypnotist certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists. Recommended by physicians and dentists to help quell fears and increase compliance with medical instructions, Wendy is also a strong advocate of pain-free smoking cessation for smokers who worry about their health. Visit her at Or call 312-640-1584 to schedule a free phone consult.
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