Most people have experienced a mild form of “dental phobia” at some point in their lives. Or, to be more accurate, most people have been, at some point in their lives, afraid of going to the dentist, without developing full-blown phobias. Even a simple tooth cleansing can cause a great deal of anxiety and fear, especially among young or first-time patients. The teeth are an intimate, vulnerable part of one's body: they're lodged in the face, and they feel like bone. Teeth are different from skin. They protrude outside, yet they're part of one's body's core. Plus, the effects of dentistry have not always been as safe or painless as they are today. Expressions such as “it is like pulling teeth” testify to the horrors of dental operations before effective anesthetics.
Fear Turns To Phobia
As modern dental techniques rarely cause serious difficulty or pain, many people have learned to overcome that initial fear. In others, that natural fear of dentists has developed into a full-blown phobia. Several factors can cause the transition.
First, although anesthetics and modern medical equipment have made tooth work significantly faster and less painful than in the past, some operations do involve some amount of discomfort and pain. If you're a child going to the dentist for the first time, and already expect a painful experience, any discomfort that you do experience will corroborate your expectations. A child who's had a negative first experience at the dentist will obsess over the perceived pain he or she has suffered at the dentist's hands. This pre-existing dread will make unique visits even more unpleasant for the growing child, until – potentially – a full-scale phobia developments.
Loss Of Control
Second, the experience of sitting in the dentist's chair can be unsuitable from a psychological, rather than physical, standpoint. Even a simple procedure such as getting one's teeth cleaned requires the patient to lie, helpless, immobile, and almost horizontal, on a giant, reclining chair. The angle at which the patient lies in the chair – and, indeed, every aspect of the dental experience – is in the control of an all-powerful masked and gloved figure who towers above the prone patient. This temporary lack of control is enough to make even the most stalwart patients uneasy. For some people, it is the stuff of nightmares.
Stop Dental Phobia Now
Sigmund Freud, who has contributed greatly to our understanding of phobias, believed that the first step to helping those who suffer from crippling fears is to understand the cause those fears. Unfortunately, this “first step” takes years of conventional psychotherapy. What if you can not wait that long? Fortunately, 20th and 21st century NLP and hypnotherapy techniques can often yield significantly faster results.
How NLP And Hypnotherapy Help
NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and hypnotherapy techniques can be used to eradicate phobias irrespective of their underlying cause. If someone has a pervasive, irrational fear of the dentist, chances are his or her past past experiences have ended up “programming” that person on an unconscious, neuro-linguistic level.
NLP and hypnotherapy work quickly because they do not ask the patient to root out the specific experiences that now result in a fear response whenever anyone, for example, broaches the subject of dental work. Instead, these techniques ask the dental phobia sufferers to “re-experience” their fear of dentists in a controlled environment – and then work to teach them new responses, other than fear.