Mind Over Dental Surgery with Hypnosis
Yes, you can use the power of the mind to produce a comfortable, and even pleasant experience during dental surgery and other uncomfortable procedures. I had a very pleasant, and at times, eurphoric (yes, really) experience my molar extraction last week. Hypnosis on the self is generally harder than hypnosis on others because you can't just drift off...you have to actively give yourself those positive suggestions. I have mostly resolved my old dental phobia, but still feel mildly anxious with long procedures.
Like meditation, you get better with hypnosis the more you do it. I can drop myself into trance a little faster now than I can do for another on their first time. Typically, I require a lot of injections - usually at least 5 to start to get sufficiently numb and at least one or two more after the procedure starts. The numbing gel was applied to my gums, but that is never enough to prevent the deep ache of an injection into the jaw.
Since I have monitored thousands of surgeries in my work in neuromonitoring (monitoring neurological function during brain and spine surgeries), I had an advantage of using that experience to imagine myself as the observer of my dental surgery. I slipped into a light trance, and imagined myself as the observer of my procedure. I imagined myself wearing the scrubs I would wear in the operating room, and imagining what I would look like if someone else were watching me - my body position, my clothing, the tray of instruments, the blue paper bib around my neck and the dentist and assistant beside me. Meanwhile, I had my earphones in and listened to a guided meditation of floating among the stars to beautiful ethereal music.
There I was, in the corner of the room (so I imagined), watching the patient (me) getting a molar extracted, and it was great. I also offered suggestions to myself for an easy procedure and rapid healing afterward. No additional injections were needed and I was elated as I imagined myself floating blissfully and observing the cosmos including vibrant planets and colorful distant nebulas.
I was so enjoying the journey that I was disappointed when my dentist informed me that we were all done. It was time to come back to the here and now and listen to my post-op instructions. In addition to a pleasant procedure, I had modest blood loss (usually I bled a lot), and post-op recovery was uneventful. I was feeling perfectly fine for the Wisdom 2.0 conference despite the fact that my dentist anticipated I would have some mild swelling that week and wasn't expected to be 100%. I was better than 100% - I was freed of that foul tooth that was giving me so much discomfort that it woke me from my sleep in the night.
This was by far my best success at self hypnosis to date. I hope to advance to the point to even skip the numbing injections next time, but I knew I wasn't ready to do that on myself yet. Again, it's much easier to perform hypnosis on others. I will probably bring in another hypnotherapist to work with me if I want to forego the injections.