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Inside Dental Hygiene
September 2019
Volume 15, Issue 4

Center Yourself

Patients deserve caregivers who take care of themselves

Christina DiBona Pastan, DMD

I work in an intense dental office, so a high level of stress would be understandable. However, even on days when we have three emergencies before lunch, I tell my staff, "We can do it. Just take a deep breath." Airplane passengers are told to put on their oxygen masks before anything else in an emergency, and there is a reason for that. In our profession, if we are not in a good, healthy place within ourselves, we cannot provide the best care to our patients.

I attribute my state of mind to yoga. Since I started practicing yoga, I have been transformed into a more grounded, more thoughtful, less reactive person. I became more skillfull in a lot of my actions, including in the dental office. For anyone else seeking to center themselves I would suggest trying yoga.

Not a new concept:

The ADA's first code of ethics in 1866 specified being calm in all manners, bringing mind and body into harmony because it is the patient's right to receive care from someone in that state. I do not know if the people who wrote that were thinking about yoga and meditation, but it certainly rings true for me.

Make it happen:

Do not feel bad about scheduling time to take care of yourself. It is not always necessary to change clothes and go to studio. You could just use a YouTube video to practice at home.

It's science:

More than 150 studies focusing on yoga are ongoing by the National Institutes of Health. They are exploring the effects on chronic illnesses, PTSD, fertility issues, and more.

About the Author

Christina DiBona Pastan, DMD, received her BA from Wheaton College and her DMD from the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She is an assistant professor of clinical endodontics and the director of mind-body wellness at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Pastan is a certified yoga and meditation instructor and currently practices endodontics in Back Bay Boston, Massachusetts.

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