Self-hypnosis for Dental Phobia-Can It Help?

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Daniel hadn't been to the dentist in years due to a phobia and anxieties about the sights, sounds and smells of the dental office.

Finally, he had a bad enough toothache to the point where he couldn't put it off anymore. Fortunately, he was able to see a dentist who understood his problems.

After successfully treating his toothache, the dentist spent some time talking to Dan about self-hypnosis measures he might undertake to help overcome his aversion to dental treatment.

One of the things he suggested was self-hypnosis.

In this article, we will explain how self-hypnosis may help you overcome your dental phobia so that you can enjoy your visit to the dentist.

Self-hypnosis for Dental Phobia Explained

Self-hypnosis is a well-documented, scientifically proven measure for fearful phobic and anxious dental patients.

  • Self-hypnosis helps reframes negative dental preconceptions, images and thinking.
  • At the same time, it allows patients to take personal control in changing their ideas and feelings about what it means to have a “normal” visit to the dentist.
  • Modern dentistry has excelled in methods of pain management for patients in the office setting and many dentists recognize the value of hypnosis, and self-hypnosis today.
  • Hypnosis has been used in medicine and dentistry for years as an adjunct, or additional pain management method for patients.
  • Some dentists regularly practice hypnosis for their patients in their dental offices as a pain management system, along with the more familiar nitrous oxide, “Novocain”, and oral sedation methods known to most patients.
  • Self-hypnosis has the distinct advantage of being drug free and effective in reducing dental fears and anxieties. Furthermore, self-hypnosis can be learned and practiced by anyone.

Misconceptions About Hypnosis

There are several misunderstandings about hypnosis and self-hypnosis.

  1. Many of these myths are perpetuated by “stage” hypnotists who stereotypically “make” their subjects cluck like a chicken, or forget their name. These subjects are acting out the wishes of the hypnotist for an audience and are not under the “power” of the hypnotist.
  2. Medical and dental self-hypnosis unlike stage hypnosis, is simply learning to deeply relax and focus on changing or reframing how we look and feel about various aspects of being in the dental treatment environment.
  3. There is no possibility of not “waking up” from a self-hypnosis session, or performing actions that are against a person's will.
  4. Although self-hypnosis shares some aspects of meditation, self-hypnosis usually aims at a particular goal, as in our case, making dental visits less and less anxiety provoking.
  5. These changes in how we look and feel about dentistry and dental treatment come through self-hypnosis by positive self-affirming and self-directed suggestions while deeply relaxed.
  6. Heavy “trances” are not required for positive results as even very light experiences in depth of self-hypnosis can bring about significant results.

Learn Self-Hypnosis

Dentists who utilize clinical hypnosis in their own practice, often perform initial hypnosis sessions to provide a basis for what a hypnotic experience feels like. Being hypnotized by a health provider first, can sometimes serve as an aid to developing one's own self-hypnosis skills. This can be especially true for patients having difficulties with starting self-hypnosis training on their own. As with any skill, self-hypnosis has a learning curve. Some people seem to take to self-hypnosis readily, while others may take longer to gain the desired goals.


There are many resources available at the library and on the internet concerning the basic background information, practice and learning of self-hypnotic skills. One site that provides "How to" information can be found at:

Dental care is an important part of everyone's overall health. If you have put off seeing a dentist, or dislike your appointments because of dental phobia or anxieties, consider self-hypnosis as one way of overcoming and even enjoying future dental visits. Doing so will help maintain your important oral care, along with your healthy smile.

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