To be honest, few of us look forward to visiting the dentist.

But for some, getting their teeth cleaned is more than something to merely dread—it’s a source of debilitating anxiety. The idea of sitting in the dentist’s chair causes them to lose sleep, experience persistent stress, and even feel ill.

If you let dental anxiety stop you from getting your teeth cleaned, you may suffer from dental issues that will be even more stressful to fix (and will probably increase your dental bill, too). Negative emotions tend to get worse the longer you put off your next cleaning.

Here are a few tips you can use to cope with dental anxiety:

Take Good Care of Your Teeth!

Anxiety can build if you have an upcoming procedure that may be uncomfortable, like a root canal or dental implant. But the fewer cavities you have, the less you need to worry about these issues.

By doing things like eating healthily, brushing often, and flossing, you won’t need to feel as stressed about seeing the dentist. Limit your consumption of sugary foods and acidic drinks. Next time you need a cleaning, you’ll know that your teeth are in good shape!

Use Distractions

As soon as you’re in the dentist’s office, your mind may flood with fears about what might happen. Pack a few items with you to keep your thoughts busy, like:

  • Headphones

Music is a great way to transport your mind somewhere else. You can create a playlist of your favourite songs or select one that’s designed to relax you. When the appointment begins, just put in your headphones and close your eyes—it will be over before you know it. Alternatively, wear a set of earplugs to block out any noises.

  • A stress toy

Fidget spinners, stress balls, and silly putty are all great tools that help manage anxiety. Keep one handy when you visit the dentist and fiddle with it whenever you have distressing thoughts.

  • Mental distractions 

Have you ever tried meditation or mindfulness to manage anxiety? These practices can assist you with centering your thoughts and focusing on the present moment. Instead of stressing about the tool your dentist just grabbed, close your eyes and return to your breath. Breathe slowly, deeply, and mindfully. This is an effective way to slow a racing heartbeat. 

Let Your Dentist Know

Anxiety often stems from a lack of control. By establishing things like hand signals, you can make a sign whenever you need a break. 

At WestSide Dental Clinic, our dentists understand that many of our patients feel stressed when they visit our office. We don’t take it personally!

To alleviate that anxiety, we offer sedation dentistry for any patients who deal with stress during a procedure. A dental visit can be quite invasive of your personal space. We spend time getting to know our patients before a cleaning—this relationship helps you trust our services. 

If there is anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable, let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

The pain of an untreated dental issue isn’t worth it. Give us a call whenever you need a Winnipeg dentist.