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  • Laura Clavio

A Trip to the Dentist

As if things aren't already tense in the time of a pandemic, the need to visit the dentist just added concern. A broken tooth that needed attention. At least the office had opened this week, but the thought of two people stretching my jaw and having their hands inside my mouth was NOT comforting.

I wasn't really worried about cleanliness. I knew this office would do its best. I just really don't like going to the dentist. And, in my rational mind I know that after the initial shot there isn't even much pain involved, my anxiety level was high. There is something about childhood memories of dentists I visited who scared me...the one that yanked out six baby teeth with garage pliers.....another one who, even as a child, I could tell had been drinking before my visit....the one as an adult who missed the mark with his needle and sent me into heart palpitations....well, you get the picture.

It was an excellent time to try out self-hypnosis. As I sat in the chair I could feel my body tensing up; I could feel my heart beginning to beat faster. I could see myself standing the ledge of a deep canyon. I needed to talk myself down. I started to take deep breaths and gave myself the suggestion to relax. Then, I began to reason with myself about what was truly going on and that I was going to be fine. I had the necessary strength to be calm and endure what needed to be done. After a bit, I began to settle down.

I will never like the sound of a high speed drill, but learning how to relieve my own inner tension is a valuable tool in my tool chest. I came through it all fine, and no one ever knew how anxious I really was. Self-hypnosis has been really valuable to me on more than one occasion. When I was suddenly faced with emergency laser surgery on my eye, I was able to use self-hypnosis to calm myself and remain perfectly still while the doctor repaired my retina. In fact, he told me that I was the most stoic patient he ever had! Gold star for me!

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