Previously, we talked about the benefits of music when undergoing lengthy procedures at the dental office, whether that’s for cavity fillings or replacements, root canals or other treatments. If music isn’t your thing or the earphones get in the way, consider giving meditation a try. It’s free, involves no equipment and will definitely put you in a relaxed state of mind!
Many already know and are familiar with the overall beneficial effects of meditation. If you are, that’s great! You might already be using it during regular office visits. If this is new to you however, let’s take a time out to talk about some of the basics when it comes to inducing a relaxed state of mind. First and foremost, you want to think about something that is pleasing to you. There are many, many types of meditation and the practice is definitely not a “one size fits all.” Some prefer to visualize, others to count and still others use a specific word or mantra as part of their practice. If you have an upcoming dental procedure that is worrisome, you might want to start exploring meditation before hand to determine what method works best for you. There is nothing worse than trying to induce calm by visualizing water if the only result will be that you’re fighting the urge to hit the bathroom! In that instance, forest visualization might be better suited to your personality. With that said, here are some things to consider when you are considering meditation:
- Get comfortable. You might think this isn’t possible in a Dentist’s chair but it’s all in your state of mind. Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing to your appointment. You’re reclined anyway, in a nice comfy chair, so take advantage of the time to lay flat – we don’t often get that in our busy schedules. If both you and the Dentist are comfortable with it, take your shoes off too. It will help put you in the right frame of mind for achieving Zen relaxation.
- Close your eyes. Most dental procedures require bright lights. Many practitioners offer sunglasses. Either way, everyone will understand (or expect) you to close your eyes so go ahead and close ‘em!
- Focus on your breath. Breathing and the regulation of your breathing is a huge part of the meditation process. That marries nicely with the fact that for dental work your mouth must remain open for long periods of time, forcing you to breathe through your nose. Put this to work for you by practicing mindful breathing techniques to both slow your mind and put your anxieties to rest.
- Pick a Focus. Whatever you decide put your focus to the test. Whether it’s a word, a visualization, a mantra, simply counting your breath in and out or some other meditation, choose your focus and then stick with it. Of the many elements critical to the practice of meditating, choosing and maintaining your focus on one thing is the key to success. If your mind wanders and your thoughts drift, simply gently remind yourself to come “back to centre and renew your focus.”
Mmmnnnn, I’m feeling calmer already….how about you? If you occasionally struggle with dental appointments and think this method might be for you, talk to you Dentist or the Team here at Brinkley ahead of your scheduled appointment. Meditation works. We can help along the way by agreeing ahead of time to minimal talking intrusions if this is a method you want to explore. We’re happy to help all of our patients have a pleasant experience and if meditation is something you’d like to try, give us a call prior to your next procedure. In the meantime, as we’ve developed a habit of saying (perhaps this could be your mantra!) ”don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”