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Why bring mindfulness to the dental chair?

Regardless of the dental procedure, the dental chair is actually very comfortable and being there is an opportunity to recline a restful position cocooned away from the world; no disturbances, no phones, no rushing. I view a one-hour hygienist appointment as an all too rare opportunity to unwind and be taken care of, not only in our mouth but in the mind and body, a truly holistic experience.

When the mind relaxes, the body relaxes. Even a naturally relaxed person can, with a little guided meditation reach a deeper, calmer state. For an anxious person this effect can be profound. The facial muscles and the jaw relax, allowing me to reach the more difficult areas in your mouth with ease. I have had numerous patients tell me this is the most thorough clean they have ever had, and achieved without discomfort.

Sometimes, when I invite people to take a deep breath, I observe how challenging this can be for them. Someone who has not experienced Yogic breathing exercises before often breathe in a shallow manner and are unable to utilise the full capacity of their lungs. This can inhibit deep relaxation, especially in the dental chair. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes of guidance to allow one deep breath to take place. Once achieved however, the effect is immediate , there is increased exchange of oxygen in the lungs and more circulation of oxygen to the brain and body. Many times my patients can not believe how amazing they feel in the dental chair and how deeply relaxed they can feel, with full trust while they are having their treatment.

When I am guiding my patients with mindfulness, I myself also become fully present and fully relaxed. Of course, this allows me to be a natural vessel for healing and harmony, a near perfect synergy!

What I bring to the dental chair is changing the dynamic of dentistry. Dentistry is moving forward fast with technology and it is now time to move forward spiritually also. It is effortless. It is effective, and it allows for a more wholesome healing in body and mind not just teeth and gums.

As a meditator I try to apply mindfulness more and more in my daily life, and I find no better place than at the dental chair.  What we do on the dental chair is active meditation. It’s meditation in motion. I am actively engaged in treating my patients and they are actively engaged in receiving my treatment and instructions. And at the same time, we are present in our own bodies, we are connected to the natural rhythm of our breath. We are together with an allowing presence which takes us deeper into our calm collectedness. For me it’s very beautiful to share these intimate moments of being totally grounded with true poise with my patients.

The physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness and breathing exercises are now proven by science and If we can get deep into it on a dental chair while having our teeth done, we can see the result immediately as it changes our dental appointment experience. Many of my patients report they started meditating regularly after seeing the results with me. I find it magical to bring this experience to the dental chair. And it never gets ordinary for me. The more I do it, the more it restores my faith in its power, magic, health, vitality and happiness in my day and my patient’s experiences too.

If you are dental phobic you can say goodbye to the old patterns of your mind with my exercises and if you are already chilled on the dental chair try it and see how much deeper you can get into your relaxation. The more relaxed the mind, the more relaxed the muscles. And you will be surprised to see how much more you can get out of your dental hygienist appointment.

There are so many other fields like psychotherapy, and other health focused treatments that are incorporating mindfulness practices in their fields. Please feel free to check out some of the links I include below. And I look forward to seeing you soon for an appointment with me. Let’s take our dental hygiene appointment to the next level.

Maryam Aabrishami
Article by Maryam Aabrishami, Hygienist at London Holistic Dental Centre.