The California Dental Society recently suggested that about 30% of Californians don’t routinely visit a dentist! That is an alarming statistic, to say the least.
I see it all too often: a patient who, for one or more reasons, avoids the dentist. Whatever the reason, it is usually legitimate – but it can also be overcome. And I’m not suggesting that anxiety, money, time or denial can be discounted – but neither can avoiding the dentist be taken lightly.
Is there a solution? Like most other things in life, if there’s a will, there will usually be a way.
Do you have anxiety? Aside from the more aggressive approach of sedation dental techniques, have you considered finding a dentist who understands your concerns and, perhaps, has a calm demeanor?
Is money the problem? First of all, ask your dentist about financial options. More often than not, an office can provide you payment plans and, in some cases, interest free payment plans. If you’ve explored financial options with your dentist, but finances are still an issue, consider going to a dental school in your area to learn about their low-cost alternatives. Granted, a student in training will perform the procedure, but it will be carefully supervised by a well-trained dentist. Finally, remember that prevention is always cheaper than treatment: compare a $100 regular cleaning to a $1000 deep cleaning, which could be required to prevent progression of periodontal disease; and compare the relatively minor cost of a filling to that of a root canal and crown, both of which could be necessary once the decay has progressed into the nerve chamber of the tooth.
Are you just too busy, and can’t find the time? There’s no denying it, we are all busy these days, which is why you need to simply schedule an appointment without thinking too much about it. You’ll have plenty of time to cancel it later, but at least you’ll have it on your calendar.
Denial is a tougher problem to deal with, as it requires education, which requires coming to the dentist to obtain. The answer here is to find a dentist who uses digital x-rays and intra-oral cameras, and ask him or her to explain your dental health, tooth-by-tooth. After seeing things on a large monitor, you can make an informed decision about the dentist’s suggested treatment plan.
So, what’s keeping you from the dentist?