This prospective randomized clinical crossover trial was designed to compare self-hypnosis and local anesthesia for experimental dental pain relief. Pain thresholds of the dental pulp were determined. A targeted standardized pain stimulus was applied and rated on the Visual Analogue Scale (0-10). The pain threshold was lower under self-hypnosis (58.3 ±17.3)(p < .001), maximal (80.0) under local anesthesia. The pain stimulus was scored higher under self-hypnosis (3.9 ±3.8) than with local anesthesia (0.0)(p < .001). Local anesthesia was superior to self-hypnosis and is a safe and effective method for pain relief in dentistry. Self-hypnosis seems to produce similar effects observed under sedation. It can be used in addition to local anesthesia and in individual cases as an alternative for pain control in dentistry.