I haven’t been to the dentist in several years…and I’m scared what they will find.

Has worry about “what they will find” kept you from going to the dentist?

Every single week in our dental practice we hear these words on the telephone when a new patient is scheduling an appointment. In fact, that “what will they find” fear certainly keeps many other people from scheduling appointments, or keeping ones they’ve scheduled! So…let’s talk about “what we will find” when you return to dental care after a few years!

Many people avoiding routine dental care do so because treatment hurt at one time or another.

Naturally, the best way to receive dental care is as a routine of dental hygiene (cleanings) and examinations, when the mouth is fairly healthy and being maintained in this state. In “the old days” the recommendation was a dental cleaning and check-up every 9-12 months, and the patients sort of expected that the cleaning would be uncomfortable. Research has shown us that the reason for the discomfort during cleaning was due to the presence of bacteria and inflammation of the gum tissues, which when built up over a long period of time can be significant.  A more modern approach includes visiting the dental hygienist every 3-4 months, with the dentist’s exam once per year.  This allows the hygienist to keep your gum tissues healthy all the time, rather than fighting once a year to get you back to healthy. And…less bacteria means less inflammation means more comfortable dental cleanings! Reducing the levels of bacteria that cause gum disease has whole-body health value as well…everything you eat and drink has to pass through the mouth first, and can collect and transport bacteria into your digestive system.

Some people stop coming to the dentist due to financial concerns.

We completely understand and hear this a lot from our patients.  Many who used to have dental benefits from their employer no longer do, or the reimbursements are lower, putting more of the financial burden on the patient. However, just like oil changes for your car, regular dental hygiene appointments are the best and least expensive maintenance you can do for your mouth.  As well, you will then have a dental professional regularly looking at your mouth and your teeth, and can point out as soon as something looks not right.  This benefits you in the long run, as problems caught early (especially before they cause you discomfort) are usually less expensive and less invasive to fix.

There is a fear that the dentist will “find something.”

This is a bit like finding a lump in your breast and not checking it out because you don’t want to know you have cancer.  Not knowing doesn’t make the problem not exist, it just delays treatment even further.  Interestingly enough, many patients, after avoiding dental care for several years, are often surprised that there is little dental work recommended.  How can this be possible?  I can let you in on a secret…dental visits don’t prevent dental disease, and lack of dental visits don’t create dental disease! The best reason to come to the dentist regularly is to find problems when they are small and minor (read inexpensive and easy to fix) instead of big and major (read expensive and/or uncomfortable), as well as to keep the supporting structures for your teeth (your gums and jaws) in great condition.

If it has been a while since you’ve been to the dentist, you may be surprised at how easy it has become.  It is also quite empowering to fully understand your own dental health as well as how to keep your mouth as healthy as possible.  Are you one of those people staying away from the dental office?  If so…this could be the year you start to take charge of your dental health.  The first step is scheduling…and attending…an appointment.  We would love it to be with us. For more information about how our practice handles new patients, please contact us at info@drandreastevensdentistry.com or 613-271-7091.