There are lots of negative notions out there when it comes to dental work. The statistics tell us that 5% - 8% of people entirely avoid going to the dentist out of fear and more than one in five only go when it's absolutely necessary because of the major anxiety it causes them. The truth is though, that seeing your dentist does not have to be a bad experience. Methods and technology have greatly advanced since that rotten dental encounter you had as a child.
Today, when you see a quality dentist who fully understands and emphasizes the importance of patient care - it's possible to get that desired dental work completed "dread" free.
We've put together a list of common myths and important truths you need to know when it comes to seeing your dentist. Read on as we bust familiar, undesirable tales you've probably heard and confirm some really positives aspects about dental work.
- Myth: My teeth aren't hurting, so I don't need to see a dentist. This myth is busted! The two most critical elements to maintaining your dental health are a consistent oral hygiene routine and regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist. Early stages of gum disease and shallow cavities frequently present with no pain or visible symptoms. However, these types of issues can quickly develop into major dental problems if they are not addressed. See your dentist regularly to ensure a healthy, bright smile and to save yourself the headache (or toothache!) and expense that comes with more serious dental troubles.
- Myth: Going to the dentist is terrifying! Many patients put off seeing a dentist because of the extreme anxiety they feel when it comes to getting any work done on their teeth. The good news is: dentists now offer many techniques to make your visit a much more pleasant experience. From relaxation exercises, to in-op movies, to sedation dentistry- there is a way to make certain that your dental phobia is kept in check. The key is to be up front with your dentist and his/her staff. Let them know of your apprehension from the get-go, and you can work together to develop a strategy that will make your visits to the dental office terrific instead of terrifying!
- Truth: I can afford to have a beautiful smile. Have you always hoped for a straighter, brighter smile but felt like cosmetic dentistry was out of your reach? The truth of the matter is, there are MANY options when it comes to restoring or rebuilding your smile. Professional whitening, bonding, implants, veneers and straightening techniques are just some of the procedures your dentist might recommend. And, and honest conversation with your dentist about your wants and your budget will probably result in a timeline, solution, and payment option that meets your needs.
- Myth: I don't need to take care of my teeth. If they wear out, I will just get dentures. Our dentists and assistants are consistently surprised how often they hear this phrase come up in their practices. While dentures can be a good solution to missing teeth in some circumstances, they are certainly not an equal substitute for your natural teeth. Even quality dentures require a lot of maintenance and can lead to issues like: problems eating and speaking, gum irritation, and infection. If you have a choice, the better one is certainly to take care of and preserve your natural teeth.
- Myth: You should just expect a painful experience at the dentist office. Let's be honest. Your average patient surely doesn't look forward to a dental deep-cleaning over a dinner and a movie date. However, just because going to the dentist isn't your favourite thing, it doesn't have to be an agonizing experience. Technology and technique are constantly improving to yield more effective, efficient, and painless procedures. Do your research and see a dentist that has best technology and who makes patient care and comfort a high priority in their practice.
- Truth: My dental health is linked to my overall physical health. Research continues to show that your dental health is directly related to major elements of your physical well-being. Bacteria that start out isolated around the teeth can quickly move to other parts of our body and cause serious health issues even outside of the mouth. Conditions like asthma and stroke have both been connected to gum disease and oral and pharyngeal cancers are most likely to be detected by your dentist during a routine oral exam - just to name a few. Make your dental health a priority and the benefits will extend far behind a pearly white smile!
- Myth: There's nothing I can do about my stained teeth. Tooth discoloration can happen for a number of reasons. Some of the most common offenders include thinning of the enamel, staining from foods/beverages, discoloration as a side-effect from a medication, tooth injury, and smoking. There are loads of options to help you achieve a brighter, whiter smile. If over the counter remedies haven't produced the results you've hoped for, talk to your dentist about professional strength whitening with custom trays. Power teeth whitening is another method many dentists use to whiten teeth. It produces dramatic results (usually consisting of laser procedures as well as a specialized at home routine) and can remove stubborn stains, like those caused from tetracycline, that were once thought to be permanent.
- Myth: I'm too old for braces. Did you know that over a million adults in the United States currently wear braces? You don't have to be a teen to reap the benefits of straightened teeth. Misaligned teeth can mean more than just a cosmetic problem. Left untreated, malocclusion can result in higher instances of tooth decay, gum disease, speaking issues, chewing problems and even headaches. If you think braces might benefit you, talk to your dentist or orthodontist. If the thought of metal in your mouth makes you self-conscious, there are now much less conspicuous ways to straighten teeth. Clear ceramic braces, lingual or concealed braces or "invisible" braces which consist of a series of clear, removable aligners that work to straighten teeth are all more discreet options that produce great results.
- Truth: There is a dentist out there that can meet all of my dental needs. As an informed consumer, you can certainly find a dentist that is able to provide the dental care you are looking for. Check out websites, read reviews and even call practices to find the right match of technologies, services and patient experience that will best benefit you. You can even utilize an online dental marketplace, such as Brighter, that allows you to conveniently and smartly compare many dentists in one stop. And, as price transparency becomes more and more common in the field, you can find not only the quality services you are searching for, but also feel confident that you are getting the best value for your money.