Today I again dragged myself off to the dentist for some continuation work on my teeth.
Several weeks ago I decided to have a routine dental check-up, maybe get a filling done or some teeth cleaning. One hour later I had one filling on the left side of my jaw and the beginning of root canal therapy on the other!
And so the therapy began.
My next appointment was the following week for more root canal and the week after that also. Not only that my newly filled tooth was now even more painful than before so more work on my filling ensued (as well as more root canal). To cut a long story short I then chose to have a crown in place of a filling that may, or not, have lasted very long.
By now I was helping myself to their filtered coffee and newspaper on arrival.
So today, as I again sat in the dental chair I was prepared. I made sure I was sufficiently relaxed, centered and in the present moment before I turned up.
What did I do? I meditated before my appointment and then meditated through my appointment!
As the shrill piercing sound of the drill reverberated through my head and my face sprayed with water, I simply drifted away to somewhere else – somewhere peaceful. The dentist and the assistant continually asked me if I was okay – I’d slowly nod then zone out again, drifting away and closing the door to the sounds and movements of where my physical body was.
And then it was all over!
The next time you visit your dentist, it really pays to zone out during your procedure (if possible even before you get there) – especially if you’re nervous about any dental procedure at all like I am.
7 Steps to help you Zone out
1. Get a meditation session in before you arrive for your appointment. If you’re not sure how to meditate, do some slow, deep breathing exercises. I generally take around 4 to 5 slow deep breaths, focusing on the outward breath.
2. Be in the present moment. This is when you’re not thinking anything about the future – even 3 minutes into the future! Nor are you thinking about the past – not even 3 minutes ago. The present moment is now whilst you’re sitting in the dental chair, staring at the ceiling becoming aware of and concentrating on the rhythm of your breathing.
3. Once the procedure starts close your eyes and take your mind within. Focus straight ahead – wherever you perceive straight ahead to be once you have your eyes closed – and think of nothing – just blank – the void – staring at the colors and patterns you can see as you sit in the chair with your eyes closed.
4. If you’re about to receive an injection – as the needle goes in, breathe into that area and continue to concentrate fully on your slow breathing until the injection is over.
5. Once that’s over, resume staring into the blank void that is the inside of your eyelids!
6. If you find it challenging to think nothing, focus on a visual image that makes you feel really, really good about yourself then have a look around and see where you are.
7. Whenever you sense you’re starting to again focus on the drilling or whatever else is happening in your mouth, breathe in slowly and deeply focusing on the rhythm of your breathing and allow every single muscle you become aware of, to deflate and relax.
Meditation is a great ‘self-help’ tool and when applied during a visit to your dentist – it makes the experience if not enjoyable, at least bearable!