IF YOU’RE FRIGHTENED OF THE DENTIST LEARN THESE SIMPLE TECHNIQUES YOU CAN USE TO KEEP YOU CALM IN THE DENTIST’S CHAIR
According to the University of Adelaide, one in six adults and one in ten children have a high level of fear and anxiety about going to the dentist.
This becomes a vicious cycle. You avoid going to the dentist because of your anxiety – your dental problems get worse. When you do finally go to the dentist, you have a potentially more traumatic experience because you need more work done – you put off going to the dentist again the next time round, and the cycle continues.
Meanwhile, you are reinforcing your fear by not going.
In an ideal world you would have regular check-ups and professional cleaning. Our dentists at Parramatta dental clinic are experienced in helping people who are nervous. The best thing to do is book an appointment and discuss your problem with them.
You can help to relieve your anxiety using a simple NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) technique called anchoring.
WHAT IS ANCHORING?
The idea behind anchoring is that we attach feelings to thoughts. So if you think of an amazing experience you’ve had in the past e.g a wonderful holiday or a great day out with your kids, you can evoke the same feelings of happiness, contentment and security. Your feelings are unconsciously ‘anchored’ to these thoughts.
Your body is controlled by your mind, so you will have corresponding bodily reactions, such as relaxation of the muscles and perhaps a little smile or chuckle when you recall these memories.
You can use anchoring to evoke positive feelings no matter what situation you are in, and that includes sitting in the dentist’s chair.
HOW TO CREATE AN ANCHOR FOR A DENTAL VISIT
1. Sit quietly somewhere where you will not be disturbed.
2. Close your eyes and think of an event in your life where you felt relaxed, confident and happy.
3. Imagine this event as an image projected onto a screen in front of you
4. Attach as much detail to this image as you can e.g what sounds are you hearing, are there people laughing, what are people wearing?
5. Put yourself in the image and put in as much detail about yourself – what you were wearing, are you sitting down or standing up…?
6. Enlarge this image until it is all around you.
7. As you view this image, squeeze your thumb and index finger together (it doesn’t matter which one) for a few seconds.
8. Stop. Take a few deep breaths.
9. Now practice squeezing your thumb and finger again. and you will experience the same calm emotions. This is your anchor and it will happen whether your eyes are open or closed.
10. Next time you are in the dentist and feel anxious, use your anchor by pressing thumb and finger again and this should alleviate your stress.
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T RECALL POSITIVE MEMORIES?
Many people struggle to recall positive memories. If this happens, you can also think of a book or movie you’ve seen that evoked relaxed, happy emotions in you – perhaps a love story or an uplifting story; or look at images of relaxing wonderful places e.g a waterfall in a forest or a beach at sunset.
These are just as effective as real-life experiences. Your unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference.
The great thing about anchoring is that you can apply this technique to any anxiety-inducing situations you may find yourself in, not just visiting the dentist.
CAN MY KIDS USE ANCHORING?
Yes. Anchoring is safe for anyone to use. Anchoring is a great life skill you can teach your children.
CONSIDER SLEEP DENTISTRY
Dental clinic Parramatta also offers sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry is a safe method where you are in a dreamlike state but still conscious and responsive.
If you feel this is something you want to do call the Parramatta clinic and we will be happy to discuss it with you.