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Hypnosis can help quell fear of dentists, says expert

GEORGE TOWN: The use of hypnosis in dentistry could be a game-changer as it would help alleviate anxiety among patients undergoing dental procedures, says a dental expert.

Dr Annapurny Venkiteswaran, a pediatric dental surgeon, said hypnotherapy could be a form of “dental sedative” to reduce pain in patients, and also help to break habits such as thumb-sucking, nail-biting and grinding of teeth.

Speaking at a hypnotherapy convention here yesterday, Annapurny said hypnosis of patients before the procedure would reduce gag reflex, reduce salivation, improve oral hygiene care and increase motivation to wear appliances like braces.

Hypnosis could also help patients to quit smoking.

Annapurny, who teaches at Universiti Teknologi Mara, said children would have greater benefit from hypnosis as they are less anxious during the procedure, and “are in a state of hypnosis most of the time”.

“Children don’t have to close their eyes to go into a trance. Children and adolescents are also more trusting, and they go more easily and deeper into a trance,” she said at the event, organised by the London College of Clinical Hypnosis Asia.

Another expert, Dr Marzida Mansor, spoke of problems in providing for the use of hypnosis in Malaysian hospitals because of the lack of recognition, lack of trained staff, time constraints and lack of referrals.

Many medical professionals did not know that hypnosis can be used to treat pain, said Marzida, the former head of anesthesiology at Universiti Malaya.

However, a review of hypnosis for pain management, conducted by a unit of the health ministry, had found that hypnosis could be used during acute medical procedures, labour, dealing with chronic pain, and to help elderly patients who could not take drugs or were allergic to them.

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