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I have a sad confession. When it comes to going to the dentist I am, well, not terrified, but definitely not a happy camper! It probably stems from too many cavities at my first dental appointment. Or perhaps I was traumatized by those years in braces. Probably the fact that my mouth is a bit on the small side plays a large part. Also, I am very tender – both in the mouth and in my scalp. It must be a head thing.
What’s a dental chicken to do? For awhile, I went to the max and had them give me laughing gas. It definitely relaxed me. I hate unnecessary medications though, so I really wanted to work past that. I decided to give a more natural remedy a try.
Lamaze. We all love to laugh when TV sitcoms portray a woman in labor and there she is, deep breathing and “he he he” panting away right before the blessed event. I’m here to tell you that it’s not just funny. I used it with each of my deliveries and it really helped! Admittedly I am very blessed that I had fast, relatively easy labors. But they still hurt! All that breathing may look silly but it has a very definite purpose and it very much eased the pain to where I could tolerate it without using any medicine.
I decided that if it worked for babies, maybe it would work for the dentist. Guess what, it did! I now sit down in the chair and take several deep breaths in order to start out relaxed. When the dentist or hygienist starts working, I resume the deep breathing as needed. It definitely helps! But I still tended to cringe a bit.
Then a new trauma ensued. We moved and I had to find a new dentist. But God was good, I found a wonderful new dentist and he offered a special option I’d never heard of at my old office. He told me I could listen to an iPod or tape player if I wanted. They even kept one in their office for people to use if they forgot their own.
What a difference! I take in my iPod with either praise and worship music, a good novel, or an interesting nonfiction book, and I am instantly relaxed. I know it makes it a little harder for the dentist and his staff. They often have to ask me something 2-3 times. But it is so worth it for me, and I suspect for them as well. The time goes by faster, I am rarely aware of what is going on, and before I know it, I’m done. On those rare occasions when they accidentally poke a little to hard, or when the drill is loud enough to penetrate through my earplugs, I throw the Lamaze breathing in as well.
The nice thing is, this is something that works for all ages. If I have to take a grandchild in, they are rarely nervous. However, if they are we can play some kid songs, or a Clifford book on tape. My elderly relatives enjoy hymns, classical music, and their favorite mystery novels. I just make sure to remind them (and myself) a day or so in advance so we can have it all ready to go. I still don’t RUN to the dentist, but I don’t dread it as much either. That makes me a very happy camper!