Believe it or not, some people actually like going to the dentist. While no one is likely to go so far as to say that they enjoy getting their teeth scraped or being lectured about flossing more often, for those fortunate enough to have good teeth and regular dental care throughout their lives, there is little in the way of traumatic dental experiences.
It helps to know your dentist and hygienist well. That way, a visit to the dentist’s office can include not just a cleaning and an exam, but a friendly chat about families and the local goings-on. When you leave the dentist’s office after a cleaning, your teeth will feel so nice and smooth that you may find yourself vowing to floss every day and even trying to use the funny little rubber tip you were given to massage your gums. Like many a New Year’s resolution, these promises not last long, but for a little you can feel virtuous.
A Vicious Cycle
Some people have a very real fear of dentists and so they don’t go for regular checkups and cleanings. Without semiannual cleanings, they are likely to develop more cavities and gum disease, which leads to a need for more extensive and painful treatments, which reinforces their fear. It’s a vicious cycle and a dangerous one. Without regular dental care, your teeth and gums will deteriorate, and before you know it you’ll being fitted for dentures while you’re still in the prime of your life.
Break the Cycle
If you want to break that vicious cycle, start by taking good care of your teeth at home. Brush your teeth twice a day with an electric toothbrush and floss daily. Next, get a recommendation for a good dentist. Ask your friends and colleagues to recommend someone who has a pleasant manner and friendly, skilled hygienists. When you call to make the appointment, let the reception staff know that you are apprehensive and would appreciate an opportunity to sit and talk with the dentist briefly before having a cleaning and exam. A good dentist should be willing to accommodate this request and will be happy to speak with you about the methods he or she uses to help minimize patient discomfort during dental checkups and cleanings. For example, some dentists offer patients headsets with a choice of music to distract them during the procedure. if you will need a deep cleaning, you may be able to get sedation to help you relax and prevent pain. More involved dental work may involve local anesthesia or heavy sedation, and the dentist can explain how each of these methods works.
If you’ve been putting off visiting the dentist, don’t do it any longer. Remember, the longer you wait, the more chance there is that your teeth will deteriorate. The sooner you face your fears and get back on track with good dental care, the sooner you will have healthy gums and shiny white teeth, and that’s certainly something to smile about.