Can Clinical hypnotherapy be used as an adjunct or an alternative to conscious sedation in dentistry?

Abstract

Some patients are unable to tolerate dental procedures without a form of pharmacological intervention, whether it be via conscious sedation or general anaesthesia. Hypnotherapy understandably raises eyebrows, as many imagine the scene where a stage hypnotherapist makes subjects carry out comical acts in front of a rapturous audience, so in a clinical context, it is clear to see why many perceive it with scepticism. Current options in terms of behavioural management include, well known techniques such as distraction, positive reinforcement, memory restructuring, modelling and systematic desensitisation. A rarely explored alternative is clinical hypnosis, which can be employed with minimal risks or side effects. Clinical hypnosis aims to investigate and manage the underlying aetiology of the need for behavioural or pharmacological management, regardless of the identified cause, rather than moving directly to pharmacologically led management, which often leads to dependency on the chosen technique. The author's aim is to explore the correlation between these differing treatment modalities and to assess whether hypnosis as a stand-alone technique can be employed successfully or utilised in a combination technique, 'hypnosedation'.

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Correspondence to Dr. Munir Ravalia.

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Ravalia, M. Can Clinical hypnotherapy be used as an adjunct or an alternative to conscious sedation in dentistry?. BDJ In Pract 32, 23–24 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41404-019-0072-x

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