Ask a Dentist

How Can I Manage My Dental Anxiety?

Three Steps to Manage Your Dental Anxiety

Our Winnipeg dental clinics understand that dental anxiety is very real and affects a lot of people. You’re not alone. Whether it's the fear of dental procedures or just the thought of that dental chair, it can affect individuals of all ages. We work hard to make sure the clinic is a comfortable, safe environment so you can get your teeth checked regularly. Consistent dental visits are key to keeping your smile healthy and confident (even if you don’t feel confident when you visit us).  

The good news is that there are effective tactics and helpful suggestions that can help you manage your dental anxiety and make your appointments more comfortable, providing you with a sense of relief. Here are three steps to help with your dental anxiety.

1. Understanding Dental Anxiety

The first step to working through and living with your dental anxiety is understanding it.

Dental anxiety is caused by a variety of deeply ingrained variables. It comes from the different experiences and viewpoints that are unique to you. Dental anxiety can stem from past pain, discomfort, or a terrible experience during a dental procedure that has left lasting effects. Simply sitting in a dental chair might be enough to set off anxiety for some people, making them feel helpless, with a sense of losing control of their surroundings.

That means everyone’s dental anxiety is different.

2. Prepare For Your Dental Visit

The more prepared you are for your dental visit, the easier it will be. While it’s not for everyone, here are some relaxing techniques you can try:

  • Deep breathing exercises, such as box-breathing
  • Meditation
  • Listen to relaxing music or calming sounds, like ASMR

Relaxing techniques don’t work? There are other things you can do, including:

  • Shifting your perspective – instead of focusing on how horrible going to the dentist can be, instead focus on the outcome. What are you getting from it? Less pain? Brighter smile? Healthier gums?  
  • Practice positive self-talk – recite positive affirmations to “trick” your brain into believing you can get through a dental appointment, even if it’s one step at a time.
  • Be realistic – don’t go into the dental clinic thinking that everything will be treated, it may take multiple appointments, you may not even be able to get anything done at the first appointment, and that’s okay!
  • Get a good night’s sleep – poor sleep can increase your stress levels and may increase your anxiety.  

It’s also okay to invite reliable family members or friends to accompany you to your appointment. They can provide emotional support and reassurance while you’re there.

3. Two-Way Communication

We’re Here to Help, but it will take both of us.

The next step is to have open dialogue with the dental professionals looking after your teeth. If you have dental anxiety, let us know so you have the best dental experience possible! It’s extremely important to discuss your anxieties and concerns with your dental care provider. There are many ways we can work together to make your appointment comfortable:

  • Using specific tools, like IV sedation or nitrous oxide to help with your anxiety during treatments.
  • Scheduling appointments to answer your questions and get you used to sitting in a dental chair.
  • Getting a tour of the facility and going over what tools we use.
  • Going over as many or as few details about your treatment plan as you’re comfortable with (some people will be comfortable knowing everything and others would rather just focus on outcomes).

Through the cultivation of this dialogue, we will be able to collaborate on creating a dental experience that reduces anxiety and maximizes your level of comfort during all of your appointments.

At Dental Image Therapy Centres, our staff will work with you to devise a strategy that will ensure that you have a pleasant, risk-free, and anxiety-free consultation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for a walk through of each step. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can drastically cut down on your anxiety. If it's been a while since your last checkup and cleaning, schedule your next appointment and let us know about your dental anxiety.

Book Your Next Dental Appointment Today

Maybe it's time for your and your family's regular checkup and cleaning, you have a toothache or you need to get your treatment plan going - whatever the reason, we're here to help you get your confident smile. Whether you're a new patient or a returning friend, we can't wait to see you at your next appointment at either of our Winnipeg clinics!

Book Now