Hypnosis for Dental Phobias


Whether you have a fear of injections or the sound of the drill, an oversensitive gag reflex or dread the whole experience and can’t even bring yourself to book a dental appointment, hypnotherapy can help.

Hypnosis has also been shown to be highly effective as a way of treating teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism) and controlling pain and bleeding, and is widely used by dentists themselves.

Hypnotherapy’s powerful desensitisation techniques will help you tackle any phobias, and the relaxation and breathing techniques you’ll be taught will enable you to greet your dentist with a friendly smile.

Anxiety UK (formerly called the National Phobics Society), the UK’s leading charity for people affected by anxiety disorders, advocates the use of clinical hypnotherapy to its members.

An article published in The Independent reported that ‘hypnotherapy is increasingly being used in a number of areas of dentistry, including dental phobia, teeth grinding and extractions and fillings. It has also been used for dental surgery that is usually done under local or general anaesthetic.’



‘I’ve been terrified of going to the dentist since I was a child, when a nurse held me down while I was having a filling,’ says Tamsin Larcombe, 27. ‘As an adult, I avoided going for years and eventually found one who offered intravenous sedation. But being heavily sedated to have a filling seemed ridiculous, so I decided to go for hypnotherapy. In the session, the therapist and I made a list of what I feared about it, starting from the least scary situation and working up to the worst. She then put me in a trance, described each situation to me and asked me to imagine myself feeling calm. When I was able to visualise the scenario without feeling fearful, we moved on to the next. I went to the dentist a week later and it was amazing. I had a filling with no sedation and I was finally able to control the fear.’

‘Going to see Lisa Jackson about my dental phobia definitely helped me combat it. I was so phobic that I used to cry even before I phoned to book an appointment. I needed to have three injections and four small fillings, and afterwards the dentist remarked that I was a very good patient. I’ve seen a real improvement, and it was less of an ordeal than it has been in the past. I intend to continue with the self-hypnosis and hopefully will get even better.’ RS, Streatham

‘I have very sensitive teeth and injections have never been a very effective form of pain control for me. So when I was told that I needed root canal treatment I was extremely nervous. I had two sessions with Lisa and when the day came I felt quite calm. One of the suggestions Lisa had made was that the anaesthetic injection would work well for me this time – and so it did! I was in the chair for over an hour and I can honestly say that it was a pain-free experience. I certainly think that the hypnosis helped to work with the anaesthetic and I was able to remain focused and calm throughout the experience.’ JS, Clapham

Bruxism is a horrible cycle – you’re stressed so you clench your teeth, and that stresses you even more. Hypnotherapy helped me to confront the things that make me stressed, and made me focus on what is and isn’t important in my life. By continuing with the programme of self-hypnosis Lisa Jackson suggested, my bruxism eventually became much less of a problem. Last week, I had two job interviews and a deadline for a project (I’m doing the final year of my degree) – all in one day. Whereas I’d have clenched my teeth for a week before such a stressful situation, I was surprised to find I didn’t clench for a single night beforehand!’ CW, Surrey

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