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Six ways to make your dentist less terrifying

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Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015 8:20 am

My friend Jan, who is a self-confessed “big coward who cringes” at the thought of any dental procedure, asked me if she should take cannibis prior to her dental appointment. She is not able to use nitrous gas due to her body crashing from it (from a methylation SNP). She’s had a bad reaction to it.

When Jan asked me about “eating a little brownie,” I reminded her that she lives in a state where medical marijuana has not been decriminalized yet, and federal law prohibits it. Besides, a Sativa strain (versus Indica) would heighten her anxiety and increase vividness. Believe me, I’m not an aficionado, but I know that much!

Also, a cannibis treat could make for a longer procedure if you know what I mean. And like a good friend, I pointed out the biggest dilemma of all: How will you deal with the munchies with all that gauze in your mouth!

Many of you are skittish about dental work too. I can’t say I am, however I’ve come close to it. I think the sound of drilling, or other noises is the hardest part.

When I had 2 hours of scraping done near my gum line a few months ago, I brought in a soft, fuzzy microwavable hot pack. I asked the hygienist to warm it up and then I placed it on my abdomen where it provided instant comfort. I plugged in my headphones and listened to upbeat music. It was loud enough to muffle my own ‘mental noise’ as well as the scraping sound she was making, plus several comments about “all the blood.”

Here are other ideas to reduce anxiety and pain:

1. Essential oil of bergamot or lavender- Put a drop of either (or a drop of both) in your hands, and rub together, then cup your hands and inhale deeply. Do before the trip, and while you’re there.

2. St. John’s wort- If you buy the liquid extract, you can take a small dose using just a few drops taken 1 hour before your visit.

3. 5-HTP- This supplement raises serotonin, which reduces anxiety. Take 2 hours before your visit.

4. Rescue Remedy- Contains 5 different flower essences including Star of Bethlehem which is helpful for trauma and shock, and Rock Rose which helps with panic or terror. Bach Flower makes this.

5. Acetaminophen- About 500 to 1,000 mg should pre-empt the pain that will ensue, however it does nothing for anxiety. Ibuprofen is a blood-thinner, be careful with that one.

6. L-theanine- Found in green tea, drink a cup before going. It’s also a strong anti-infective. Test yourself on this in advance, because some people get more alert, rather than relaxed.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For more information about Suzy Cohen, visit her website at www.suzycohen.com.

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