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Studies Show Hypnotherapy Eases Dental Anxiety

Monday, December 10, 2007 by: Steve G. Jones, Ed.S.
Tags: hypnotherapy, dental work, health news

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(NewsTarget) I recently had a friend come to me complaining about some tooth pain. I asked her what her dentist said. I thought this was a rather simple question, because pain in your mouth equals a trip to the dentist. You can imagine my shock when she said she would rather live with the pain than go see the dentist. It turns out she has severe anxiety about going to the dentist. Everything about going to see the dentist, the sound of the drill, the smell of the sterile equipment, the sight of someone peering inside her mouth, it is all too much for her to take in.

I explained to my friend that there's a very effective and natural method of relaxation to distract yourself during a procedure. I was talking about hypnotherapy.

In an article published in Contemporary Hypnosis in 2006, a study was performed on a 31-year-old woman who needed to have a tooth extracted, but due to her fear she refused to go through with it. The study showed that prior to hypnosis treatment, she had very high levels of anxiety: A 16/20 on the Corah scale and when asked to rate how fearful she was of future pain during dental procedures, she gave a 5/10 on a Visual Analogue Scale. Hypnosis was performed to ease her dental anxieties. The outcome was very successful. The woman learned self-hypnosis techniques to ease her dental fears and this allowed for successful extraction of the tooth. After the removal of the tooth, she was again asked about her levels of anxiety and her level reduced to 7/20 on the Corah scale and her fear of future pain reduced to 1/10 on a Visual Analogue Scale. The results of this study show that the use of hypnosis can be very successful in reducing dental anxiety.

There have been many studies showing that hypnosis can be very successful and beneficial for someone suffering from dental anxiety. In another study published in the Journal of The American Dental Association in September 2007, it was found that there was a positive relationship between the level of dental anxiety and the ability to be hypnotized. People who have severe anxiety about seeing a dentist often feel that there is little hope for them and they are willing to live with pain. This study shows that the more fearful someone is about dental procedures, the more likely hypnosis is to help alleviate their fears. Hypnosis might not help everyone who has a fear of dental procedures, but it has been shown to help many people.

I showed these two studies to my friend, which caught her attention so we then discussed various hypnotherapy options. She decided on having three one-on-one hypnosis sessions to address her dental anxiety. The sessions consisted of talking about her fears and anxieties and then addressing her fears through hypnosis. I recorded her session every week and gave her a CD for her to listen to every night before going to bed. She showed a great deal of progress with each additional session. She was feeling less anxiety and more confidence.

After her third session, my friend talked with her dentist about her fears and they discussed the use of hypnotherapy. Her dentist was actually very open to the idea and said he had seen it used successfully many times. After having the hypnosis sessions she was then able to confidently make an appointment for the dental procedure. She ended up having to have a root canal. She remained calm and relaxed throughout the procedure and now she doesn't have to live with the pain of the tooth and the stress of seeing her dentist!


Contemporary Hypnosis; Jun2006, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p83-91, 9p

Journal of the American Dental Association; Sep2007, Vol. 138 Issue 9, p1242-1250, 9p, 6 charts

About the author

Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 22 books on Hypnotherapy. Steve is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, president of the American Alliance of Hypnotists, on the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association, and director of the Steve G. Jones School of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Steve G. Jones, Ed.S. is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Florida (1994), a master's degree in education from Armstrong Atlantic State University (2007), and is currently working on a doctorate in education, Ed.D., at Georgia Southern University. Learn more at:

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