My teeth are a mess!!!! 10 reasons why I won’t go to the Dentist.
These days we all know how important dental health is, but many of us still prefer to shy away from regular dental visits and addressing dental health issues even when problems are literally staring us in the face. Here are some of the most popular reasons why people won’t go to the dentist:
01: I am terrified!
Many people become anxious about the dentist when they are kids – usually an irrational fear picked up from their parents, and then as adults they make sure a dental visit isn’t on their radar. Leave it long enough and anxiety will turn to terror, and the very thought of walking through a dentist’s door makes their blood run cold. Meanwhile gaping holes, toothache and bad breath become a way of life.
What to do: Talk to friends and family about their dental experiences; share your concerns and listen to their opinions, which will hopefully be positive. Keep an open mind and you should get a realistic impression of modern dentistry which will help to put your fears into perspective.
02: It might hurt.
It might hurt, but it’s highly unlikely. Modern anaesthetics are extremely effective and the positioning and dosage can be tailored to your treatment, age and level of concern. You probably won’t feel a thing, and it’ll be over before you know it.
What to do: Some Google research will give you a bit of background on the latest pain management methods if you’re interested. Calling a couple of dentists to discuss their approach to pain management would be sensible, but for real reassurance talk to family and friends who are happy with their dental experience and listen to a ‘horse’s mouth’ experience.
03: I am scared of needles ☹
Trypanophobia is a funny name for a very real fear that affects around 20% of the population. Patients can literally become overwrought at the thought of having a needle anywhere near them.
What to do: This is a prickly one, but there are a number of options:
- Sedative: most dentists can give you a pre-treatment sedative that, whilst not putting you to sleep, will relax you into a deeply restful state, at which point you won’t be concerned about anything that’s going on.
- Hypnosis: this requires genuine belief in the method, but has proved popular, effective and successful. Ask around, get a referral to a respected, qualified practitioner, ask to speak to patients who have had hypnosis for similar problems.
- General Anaesthestic: This will undoubtedly require a hospital visit and quite likely a recommendation from a psychiatric expert. It may also be expensive but sometimes it is the best and only way to get the job done.
04: I feel out of control in the dentist’s chair
Dentists are experts in their field, and so to some extent we must hand over control to them if they are to do the best job possible. This is where being ‘forewarned and forearmed’ is the best approach mixed with a big dollop of trust.
What to do: Take the time to voice any concerns at your consultation. Highlight what bothers you: Being uncomfortable? Not understanding the treatment process? Not being able to see what’s going on? The uses and sounds of the instruments? Most dentists will be happy to explain a procedure in more detail. Agree that the Dental Assistant will flag certain stages of the treatment and agree hand signals that allow you to take a breather. Most important of all relax and trust your dentist. If you can’t relax, then look for another dentist.
05: I don’t understand dental jargon.
Understanding dental-speak is a challenge for us mere mortals, but clarity around your proposed treatment plan is all part and parcel of understanding priorities and feeling in control.
What to do: When you book your appointment ask the receptionist if the dentist can explain things in a ‘user-friendly’ way – they’ll know what you mean. During your consultation, ask questions – don’t be intimidated or embarrassed. You wouldn’t order a meal or buy a car without a few queries. Write key words or phrases down and then look them up on Google later. The secrets of ‘denting’ will start to reveal themselves to you.
06: It might cost a fortune.
Good quality dental work, that provides a durable, long-lasting solution is rarely cheap. However, there’s no doubt it will probably be an excellent investment with positive, life-changing results – but it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune.
What to do: A good dentist will always prioritise a treatment plan and give you several solutions to choose from to fit your timeframe and your budget. This might mean your treatment plan takes a year or two to complete, but that may allow you to comfortably manage it financially AND get the best possible solution.
07: How much will it cost?
‘How much’ is always hard to answer until you’ve had a consultation. You’re not buying a loaf of bread from a super-market so it’s difficult to price check, and many dental solutions are tailored to the patient.
What to do: Most dentists have a Treatment Price List or Menu of Services which state how much separate items will cost ie: filling, crown, abutment, implant. However, some items are combined to create an overall procedure and this is where it can get complicated. The best thing to do is call before your appointment and get an ‘in the region of/ballpark’ cost, then you will have a reasonable idea of where you stand. Once the dentist has confirmed the proposed treatment plan the practice will give you a detailed breakdown.
08: How will I pay?
The thought of paying for dental work can cause concern and worry, especially when you haven’t planned for it, but unfortunately this is a symptom and the consequences of inadequate dental management. The good news is most dentists now offer a range of payment options that can be tailored to your timeframe and your budget.
What to do:
Check out the following options with your chosen dentist:
Do you have health insurance with dental? – check it is current and what is covered
Cash, debit or credit card – payments can normally be managed in stages if the treatment plan is substantial.
Interest Free Finance – many dentists run their own interest free plan for amounts up to $5000. This could be for as little as $99 per week.
Fully managed credit with interest – for example Mac Credit. For more substantial treatment plans up to $25,000+. Credit approval required.
09: I have other priorities.
These days we all have so many responsibilities and financial challenges, that it is hard to prioritise. Regular visits to the dentist – because it’s not our favourite thing to do – get easily pushed to the back of the queue. Perversely we are more aware than ever of how dental health can impact on our overall health and well-being with bad oral hygiene and lack of dental management often directly responsible for some cases of heart disease, diabetes, oral and stomach cancers to name but a few unpleasant outcomes.
What to do: Good oral hygiene and dental management habits are worth their weight in gold. Little and often (regular 6 monthly check-ups) will help you stay on top of any problems, which will save you time, money, anxiety and discomfort further down the line. Find yourself a good dentist, build a trusting relationship with them and visit them regularly.
10: I don’t know which dentist to go to.
The best way to find a good dentist is through recommendation or reputation.
What to do:
- If your friends and family are happy with their dentist a referral is as good as anything, or simply ask people who seem to have lovely teeth?.
- You can search Google, Bing or the Yellow Pages to find dentists in your local area, and it’s worth looking at those who aren’t at the top of the listings.
- Look over their websites; find out what they cover, do they specialise, what is their approach to patient care, do they use the latest technology? Have a look at their Treatment List etc.
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can also be a great source of information, particularly as a cross-reference. Facebook pages can normally provide insights into practice culture, attitudes of staff, patient reviews and ratings.