Is hypnosis used in Dentistry

Hypnosis has been around for centuries and many religious rituals send the participant into a hypnotic state. Some dental schools expose their students to the art of hypnosis but most do not.

Hypnosis is a focused form of concentration that can mimic sleep but the subjct is not sleeping. They also will only listen and do what is safe and does not contradict their beliefs. With that said how does a dentist use hypnosis. Hypnosis is a form of basic communication. With the use of calming words the dentist will help the patient start to relax. This first step is know as progressive relaxation. Once relaxed the dentist will often have the patient imagine a different place other than the office, He or she then explains that many of the sounds you hear allow you to relax even more and go deeper into a state of complete relaxation. Very often the dentist will transfer the association of the sound of the drill to become a soothing sound. You can create a feeling of numbness by suggesting your fingers are falling asleep and going numb. You then transfer that numb or sleeping feeling to the lip or the area to be treated.

Many patients practice self hypnosis so a dentist trained in hypnosis can easily work with this patient to control pain and other sensations. It takes practice and the more often a patient is hypnotized for anything the easier and faster it is to go under. I have formal training in hypnosis and use it daily as an adjunct to my local anesthetics, sedatives and pain medications.

More dentists need to be trained to use this valuable tool. If you would like additional information simply contact me using the contact form or call the office in Levittown. The phone number is 516-796-6600.


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Dr. Marc Gottlieb is one of Long Island's leading dental practicioners, specializing in helping those who feel anxiety or apprehension when visiting the dentist. He can be reached at