Keeping our patients’ teeth and gums healthy and smiles bright is something we love to do. And while we do a great job of it, and do our best to keep dentistry friendly and fun, there are many folks out there, those who have yet to discover North Seattle Dental, who are fearful any time they hear the words “dentist” or “dental appointment”. These words may create a sensation similar to the sound of fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. That’s because many people people have a fear of visiting the dentist. In fact, some studies show that almost 60% of people have some sort of dental fear.
Granted most cases of dental fears are minor, but there are still many people who suffer from a more serious dental anxiety or dental phobia that will prevent them from regularly visiting a dentist, or, worse yet, avoiding dental visits altogether. As dentists, we understand that for these sufferers, these fears are very real. Unfortunately, when these fears interfere with regular preventative dental care appointments, like dental exams and cleanings, it puts the patient at a higher risk for dental decay, gum disease, and much more serious dental issues down the road, like premature tooth loss. These are all issues that can be prevented, and they can also be much more costly to try to remedy.
There are many things we can do to help our patients who do suffer from dental anxiety, or even dental phobia, so that they may experience dental care that’s less stressful, and more friendly. We just have to work in a plan to reduce the excuses to receive dental care. That said, here are 5 of the most common excuses we hear from patients, who just don’t want to keep their dental appointments.
Top 5 Excuses to Not Visit the Dentist
- My teeth don’t hurt, so I don’t need to visit. An analogy could be applied to a car maintenance. If it’s running OK, why take it to a mechanic for a tune up or oil change? Actually by not coming in regularly, you are promoting the risk that something is going to get worse, and when it does, it’ll probably cost more to repair. Your regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings will help your dental team keep your teeth, and gums, healthy or alert them to any dental issues, like cavities that arise, so that these can be treated early before they develop into anything worse.
- I have more important things to do…(like clean my toilet). Once again, we get that some patients just don’t share our enthusiasm for dentistry. And many of you could think of 10 other things you’d rather be doing than visit us. But by taking the hour or so to interrupt your regularly scheduled day to make an appearance with us, you are doing something pro-active to take care of your teeth and your overall health. By taking the time to visit us a couple of times a year for your preventative dental care, you will also be saving yourself from visiting us more often, and for longer time periods, if you wind up with gum disease.
- My insurance doesn’t cover my treatment in full. While most dental insurance plans cover teeth cleanings and exams, most patients may incur some out pocket expenses to cover fillings or crowns. Cleanings and annual check-ups will definitely help you to keep more serious dental issues at bay. But should a cavity come up, and you need a filling, it’s still better to get this work done sooner, even if your insurance leaves you with an out of pocket expense. Why? If you wait, and the tooth decay gets worse, having a filling may no longer be an option. And instead you may need have a crown, or worse yet a root canal, or an extraction and a dental implant, which could incur a much higher out of pocket expense. When you do need to have dental work done, it’s better to get it done sooner to avoid possibly paying more money in the future for more serious dental treatment.
- It’s going to hurt, so why visit. Regular cleanings and exams should not be painful, unless you have a physical issue like gum disease, or tooth decay. If you experience pain during cleanings, please alert your hygienist or your dentist. If you do have gum disease, there are things that we can do to make your teeth cleanings and exams more comfortable.
- I’ve had a bad experience in the past. If you had an unpleasant dental experience from your past, and it still makes you anxious about visiting your dentist, please do let our dental care team know when you make your appointment with us. If our dentists are aware of your previous experiences, or fears, they can work with you to create a more positive experience, where you feel less anxious and more comfortable. This may include offering you tips to reduce your fears or providing you with dental sedation options. Don’t let a bad dental experience hinder you from keeping your teeth healthy. Dentistry has come a long way, and continues to evolve every year. Thanks to continued improvements in our technology, we’re doing our best to take the pain out of our dental procedures.
No matter what the excuse, it’s important to not jeopardize your oral health, or your overall health, by skipping your regularly scheduled preventative care appointments as they draw near. Our dental staff and dentists are here to ensure that you have the most comfortable, painless dental visit possible. And we’re also here to help you keep your teeth, gums and smile healthy for life. That’s our job. If you need a little extra TLC when you schedule your visit with us, please let us know – just call us at (206) 524-1000 or when you schedule online.