Using Mindfulness To Treat Dental Anxiety
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If you have anxiety about seeing a dentist, you’re not alone. It is estimated that up to 75% of adults have some fear around dental visits. Numerous studies show that mindfulness is an effective technique for reducing anxiety. As the leading holistic dentist in Prescott, at Prescott Dentistry, we value natural therapies. This is why we believe mindfulness is a great way to treat any anxiety you may have about dental appointments.
What is Mindfulness?
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), mindfulness is: “Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” In mindfulness meditations, there is often an emphasis on breathing and the breath itself. When the mind starts to wander, a gentle reminder to return to the breath can bring us back into the present. When we focus on the breath, we can let go of thought, even if only for two seconds at a time. This is helpful, because it is our thoughts that cause anxiety.
With mindfulness, we can acknowledge and observe thoughts and feelings without judging them or attaching to them, allowing them to just pass by. Some people find that imagining thoughts as clouds floating away is helpful.
- Training the mind to be quiet.
- Learning to sit and be with whatever is, without needing to label it as good or bad.
- Learning to turn off the unconscious autopilot function in which we tend to live most of our lives, and waking up to whatever is actually happening in the present moment.
How Can Mindfulness Help My Dental Anxiety?
- Breathing Exercises— try these mindfulness breathing practices before and/or during appointments to ease anxiety.
- Meditation— Research shows that a regular mindfulness meditation practice has the potential to significantly reduce anxiety. If you’re new to meditation, there are several apps that provide guided meditations.
- MBSR— Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an eight-week, evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. Check this resource to find a course offered near you.
In addition to these mindfulness practices, we also offer a complimentary comfort menu to ensure that your experience with us is as comfortable as possible. If there is anything else we can do to put your mind at ease, please let us know. At Prescott Dentistry, the leading holistic dentist in Prescott, we are committed to providing you with quality dental care, in a fun, pleasant environment.
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