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This technique is widely used to help people to relax and encourage positive feelings. It is often used to help people deal with phobias, weight loss and smoking cessation for example. When sitting in the waiting room concentrate on relaxing the muscles in your feet, visualize these muscles becoming soft and relaxed. Then think of relaxing the muscles in your legs, your fingers, your arms and your shoulders. While you are relaxing think of your breathing becoming slower, settling into a more and more relaxed rhythm.

Another thing you can try is to distract your mind by trying to count backwards from five hundred. Not as easy as it sounds!

For more information see The National Council for Hypnotherapy

Neurolinguistic Programming

This technique is very popular with professional sports people and has been shown to help overcome anxiety and improve performance and there are many therapists who specialize in this technique. In very simple terms, a patient can visualize a positive outcome to replace the idea of a negative one.

For example, many patients have heard "horror stories" about dentistry in general or about specific procedures and for a nervous patient, this can increase their anxiety. Or a patient may have had an unpleasant experience themselves and these negative thoughts become instantly associated with a visit to the dentist.

However there are many patients who have been very anxious about a visit who have felt that the experience was much better than anticipated.

One technique you can use while sitting in the waiting room is to visualize yourself sitting through your appointment in a relaxed manner and before you arrive at the surgery remember that many nervous patients have had this procedure performed before and have coped very well with it. Once again if there is anything you wish to talk to us about so that we can make your appointment more comfortable please ask.

Children can be especially responsive to this approach. Seeing siblings or parents have a positive experience or telling positive stories about a visit, builds their confidence. it is important not to talk in a negative way about a visit to the dentist, even as a joke. Sometimes a parent may tell children that seeing the dentist "will not hurt" in order to reassure them; however children may focus on the negative wort "hurt" and become anxious, try to avoid any negative words or comments around children relating to a dental visit.

Please tell us if there is a specific approach you would prefer so we can help make your treatment easier for you.