No one loves a dentist visit, unless you like suffering—and I do. But not the kind of suffering that involves someone jamming tools into my mouth.
Here’s what I do love: Every dentist visit allows me a chance to practice mindfulness. And if you can practice mindfulness in the dentist’s office, you can be mindful anywhere.
- Start your visit off by focusing on the everyone working at the dentist office. Make it your goal to try to make these people smile. Since they’re helping you with your smile, help them with their smiles.
- Next, relax your body. If you’re like me, the moment you sit down in a dentist chair your entire body tenses up like a car is about to hit you. Try to relax into the chair like you’re in a giant recliner made out of clouds getting ready to watch your favorite movie with your favorite people. If this doesn’t work, start at your head and relax every part of your body ending with your feet.
- After you relax your body, it’s time to focus on your breath by breathing through your nose. I even do this while the dentist is banging tools around my mouth like a mechanic working on a beat-up car. It may be difficult at first but keep reminding yourself to stay relaxed and to focus on breathing.
- Lastly, try to take the time in the chair to be grateful. I always start with being grateful that I have access to dental care, as this was not the case for a portion of my life, and people around the world do not have the same access. Next, I’m thankful that there are people that want to be a dentist, something I could not imagine. I end my grateful list by thinking of additional small things in life to be grateful for.
By practicing these tips your visit will be over before you know it, and you will leave in a better mood with a shining smile. I’m not saying you won’t notice the metal hook scraping your teeth, but you won’t dread your next dentist appointment nearly as much.