yoga and the dentist


Not the most flattering photo, I know, but evidence of my teeth after my last visit to the hygienist!

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I don’t know about you, but I was brought up to look after my teeth and regular trips to the dentist and hygienist have helped me to do that. I view these visits as necessary for my wellbeing, but they are not something I enjoy. I know people close to me who encounter severe difficulty in going to the dentist and I’m sure they’re not alone.

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I wonder how many of you have made the link between going to the dentist and yoga? If you have a phobia about going to the dentist, please read on.

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Over the years, I’ve had a few problems and my dental experience includes two lots of root canal treatment. I find each subsequent visit more nerve racking than the last and the dental hygienist’s high speed cleaning apparatus is something I approach with trepidation! My dental “highlight” involved a third lot of root canal treatment through an existing crown, requiring a visit to a specialist dentist! Not for the faint-hearted, particularly when he fitted a “dam” across my open mouth to prevent water or saliva getting into the tooth he was working on. I had to sit in the chair like this for nearly two and a half hours!

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I can hear the panic rising in some of you as you read this. I think this therefore “qualifies” me to offer my own remedy for dealing with such expeditions!

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Very simply, but very seriously, I focus on my breathing… and then focus on it some more.

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However calm you may be and focused on the positive outcome of whatever treatment you are receiving, it is so normal and easy for the little voice in your head to tell you all kind of stories: that you won’t be able to breathe, that you’ll swallow some dental equipment or that you’ll drown from all the water from the drill… Need I go on? I think you get the idea.

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And the breathing really does work. Slow abdominal breathing is good as it slows down your heart rate, but you can get creative: breathe into one foot, bring the breath up the body to the crown of the head and then let it go out through the other side of the body and out through the other foot.

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It really helps me. Next time you find yourself in the dentist’s chair, even just for a check-up, please think about your breath. We all breathe and we can focus on the breath: therefore, we can all use what we have available to us to help us through what can be a not-so-enjoyable, but necessary visit to the dentist.

 

©  Sarah Swan  (June 2016)

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