Avoiding The Dentist
Avoiding the dentist is a recipe for disaster.
In the long run, the reasons you have for doing it are only made worse.
Most of us understand that getting regular dental checkups is just as important as getting a regular physical. We here at Dentist Brandon MS want to stress that.
But too many people – upwards of 35% to 40% of Americans, forgo regular dental checkups and cleanings for a variety of reasons.
Now I’m tempted to say that all of those reasons are bad – but if you had a really bad experience as a kid leading to dental anxiety, or if you have no dental insurance – your reason may seem pretty good to you.
Most people avoid going to the dentist for one or more reasons, the “top” reasons are pretty consistently given, but not always in the same order:
- Fear of Pain
- Fear of Bad News
- Embarrassment Over Oral Hygiene
- Negative Past Experiences
So let’s have a quick look at some of these reasons and examine the consequences of allowing them to prevent regular dental visits.
Avoiding The Dentist: Cost
Sure – some dental work is expensive, but suffering from dental problems carries a cost too.
And the bottom line is this – ignoring problems in order to save money will only have one result – sooner or later – probably at the worst possible time – that problem is going to blow up and force you to get it taken care of.
You will experience a dental emergency, and it’s probably going to cost a lot more than it would have if taken care of sooner.
Conclusion: You can’t avoid the cost – you can only delay it and make it greater.
Avoiding The Dentist: Fear of Pain
I can relate to this.
I had some painful dental experiences early in life that caused me to dread anything more involved than a cleaning. Every time I sat in that chair, I had a white-knuckled death grip on the handles and stayed stiff as a board – just waiting on the pain.
Most of the time, it never came.
It took me years to realize that in modern dentistry; pain just isn’t as common as it once was.
Conclusion: Modern dentistry has largely removed pain from the picture.
Fear of Bad News
I get this too.
But once again, sooner or later something is going to force you to see a dentist; probably in an emergency; and the news will not be better for having waited – it can only get worse.
Conclusion: By keeping up with your at-home care and having regular checkups and cleanings; problems and bad news will be minimized.
Embarrassment Over Oral Hygiene
OK – a lot of us don’t follow a really aggressive at-home regimen; and that fact is no secret to your dentist or hygienist. Furthermore, they see it all. They see people who floss four times a day and people who don’t know what floss even looks like.
If you think you’ll feel embarrassed about your oral hygiene, there’s an easy fix:
Try a little harder and do a little better.
Look – they’re not going to submit your pictures to the crime section of the local paper; and like I said – they see it all.
You’re not likely to be much different from their average patient, so either drop this excuse; or change it.
Conclusion: Your dentist sees it all – you don’t have anything to be embarrassed about, so go to your dentist.
Negative Past Experiences
This is one of the harder things for people to overcome; at least at first.
But let me relate what has to be one of the most negative dental experiences that anybody can have.
And it directly caused my fear of pain as mentioned above that took me, oh; maybe about 30 years to recover from.
When I was about seven or eight years old, my dad took me to my regular dentist.
Now, I really didn’t like going; and I really didn’t like getting one of those Novocain shots they had to give before they filled a cavity. Back in those days, that was the only available option; except for the second one that I devised on that very day.
I told him that I didn’t want the shot.
I told him I wanted him to fill the cavity without it.
Pretty crazy, right?
Here’s the really crazy part:
HE DID IT!!!
Or at least, he started to.
We didn’t get too far into that procedure before I completely changed my mind about the shot and that awful feeling of numbness that it causes.
That experience caused me great anxiety about dental care until I was well into my 30’s or 40’s, but I did get over it; thanks to a compassionate and understanding dentist and his office staff.
Conclusion: A bad experience in the past doesn’t mean that you will ever have another one – just give it a chance.
Don’t Avoid The Dentist – Call!
The main thing I want you to take away from this post is this:
Talk to your dentist and the staff because they don’t know if you don’t tell them.
Explain what your concerns or fears are, and give them a chance to address them – and they almost always can and will address them.
It’s not just about your oral health or how nice your smile is – oral health and overall health are significantly interconnected.
What about you?
Do you avoid the dentist?
Leave a comment, tell us what you think and why.
Then, give us a call at Dentist Brandon MS and we’ll get you through it.
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