Dentally Delayed by a Decade: Why You Shouldn't Fear the Dentist if You Haven't been in Years
If it has been a while--a long while--since you last paid a visit to a dentist, the thought of going back after all these years might leave you somewhat apprehensive. This will be especially true if your only memory of a dentist consists of having 4 teeth removed and spending the next few hours stemming the flow of blood and drool.
As well as that, there is the fear of what the dentist might discover. Has your dental health deteriorated massively over the last decade? Then there is the embarrassment, and the fear of being scolded by a stern-faced dentist about to get busy in your mouth. This is understandable. However, you needn't worry. Modern dentistry--and dentists--have come a long way since your last visit.
If you haven't been to the dentist in a decade or more, the following advice can help you to overcome any fear you might have about returning to the dentist's chair.
Modern Dentists Understand You
It's not that dentists of 10–20 years ago were cold, merciless machines. Things were simply different back then. Teachers and parents were more strict, and dentists would lecture you and scold you for missing a 6-month check up. However, nowadays, dentists tend to be more understanding and thus not so ready to scold you should you have avoided them for 10 years.
There are now also dentists specifically trained to deal with patients with dental phobia. If you fear how a dentist might treat you after all these years, ask around, do some research online, or get recommendations from family and friends. You'll be surprised just how many friendly dentists there are nowadays.
You'll Barely Feel a Thing
Even if you are in pain because one or more teeth are infected, and you require at least one or more of those dreaded root canals, the pain will be minimal. The worst part of the pain is generally the small and short-lived prick of the needle as the local anaesthetic is injected into your gums.
The pain you are feeling now because of your toothache is far worse than what you will feel as your dentist treats the issue.
Your Dental Health Might not be That Bad
Unless you have several teeth rotted to the gum-line, and several others that are almost as bad, your oral health probably isn't anywhere near as bad as you imagine it is. As long as you have brushed your teeth at least once a day, you may only have several small cavities that need filling. Good genes, and sheer luck play a part in dental health, not just excellent hygiene and regular dental cleanings.
However, even if your teeth look less than good, dentistry has come on in leaps and bounds over the last 10 years. Likewise, dentists also understand that finances are a bigger issue than ever before. Something can be worked out, whatever your needs are. You just have to be honest and brave enough to take that first step.
If you haven't been to the dentist in many years, remember that now is a better time to go than at any other time in the past. Dentistry is more humane than ever before, and dentists have seen it all before too. Do some research first, call a few dental practices, and even get to know the dentists themselves and that will go a long way towards lowering any anxiety you may feel.