5 Reasons Patients Avoid Going to Dentist

Top 5 Reasons Why Patients Avoid Going to the Dentist:
Reason #5 – They are Embarrassed About the Current State of Their Teeth and/or Gums

There are many reasons why patients might be afraid to visit their dentist regularly:

  1. They think their teeth and gums are fine and they don’t need to see their dentist.
  2. They think that seeing their dentist will cost too much.
  3. They think that the dental work will be painful.
  4. They think that dental work will take too much time out of their busy schedule.
  5. They are embarrassed about the current state of their teeth and/or gums.

Today we will look at Reason #5 – They are embarrassed about the current state of their teeth and/or gums.

One of my patient’s friends recently confided to her that she would like to come in to see me for a consultation, but she is too embarrassed about her multiple dental problems. She eats right and has good oral hygiene but, unfortunately, has some bad genes when it comes to her teeth and gums. Cavities, root canals, missing teeth, and periodontal (gum) problems plague her and many of her family members. My patient was surprised that someone who knows they have dental problems would avoid seeing a dentist due to embarrassment; however, this is actually fairly common.

Patients are often shamed by their dentists and hygienists for the condition of their teeth and gums. Oftentimes, this starts from their very first dental checkup as children: “Are you brushing your teeth before you go to bed?” “Have you been eating a lot of candy?” The blaming continues all the way through adulthood: “How often do you floss?” “You probably aren’t brushing with the right toothbrush?” “What kind of toothpaste are you using?” “You must be brushing too hard.” “You must not be brushing long enough.” This can create stress, frustration, and embarrassment for the patient.

It is rare that patients are asked: “Do you have a family history of dental problems?” However, this is a very important question to know the answer to. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), one of the risk factors for developing gum disease is if other family members have had it. Patients often know their family’s medical history, but are unaware of their family’s dental history. Yet, genetics aren’t something you can or should ignore when it comes to your oral health. If you know that you have a family history of gum disease, then it is critical that you tell your dentist (and find a dentist that isn’t going to blame you for your genes). Maintaining good oral hygiene, seeing your dentist every six months, and watching for signs of gingivitis and periodontitis, such as bleeding gums, receding gums, and/or bad breath, can help to prevent gum disease and other serious health conditions that may be related like cardiovascular disease. Remember, gum disease is often painless, so don’t put off treatment just because nothing hurts.

Don’t let embarrassment keep you from staying in control of your health. There have been many advances in the treatment of gum disease today, so don’t put off seeing a periodontist if your regular dentist seems to be unconcerned about your gums. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment of gum disease. Please feel free to post any questions you have about this subject or any other dental questions on our Mission Dental Implant Center Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MissionDentalimplantCenter/