People are afraid to go to the dentist because they think it could result in unnecessary treatment. It’s a valid concern. My advice:
The best way to get over fear is to get informed and ask lots of questions. The initial examination is perhaps the most important visit. In our office, we take time to get to know the patient and really listen to them.
I find it very helpful to visually show patients what is going on. With the advent of digital technology, I use a video monitor any areas of concern. This takes away the guessing or doubt of weather or not any treatment is necessary.
Find out Your Options
Hopefully we don’t find anything that needs work but if we do, I give my patients options and one of them is always to do nothing. The majority of dentists have their patients’ best interests at heart. In any profession, there are those that are more concerned with the bottom line. It’s unfortunate that this occurs but I feel that by truly doing what’s best for the patient, by building trust, and by being honest, this fear can be over come.
What should someone do if they feel they could be getting false info/advice from their dentist?
This goes for any field, but do make an attempt to ask more questions about the risk and benefits of the treatment with the doctor or the office staff. The patient ultimately has the final say in doing anything and if it doesn’t feel right, I’d definitely say get a second or even a third opinion. A relationship between a doctor and the patient is a sacred one, especially in dentistry. A trust has to be established and if it isn’t, the patient needs to find a place where they can feel comfortable.
As humans, we tend to want to fix things when they break. How does dental care differ?
Preventative Care is Crucial
Our mouths are a constantly deteriorating environment. An analogy I use is that it’s like a road that gets a lot of high traffic…it eventually wears down. Cracks and potholes develop, making for a very bumpy ride! The same thing happens in our mouths—fillings wear down, they start to leak, bacteria seeps into areas that it shouldn’t go, and teeth start to rot from the inside.
Waiting Too Long Could Means Worse Problems
The main idea with dental care is to fix something before it hurts because when it starts to hurt, it’s usually too late. When it hurts, it usually means there’s something serious going on. We want to prevent that late night emergency when no amount of pain medication helps with the pain of an infected or broken tooth. It’s an extreme visual but it’s very true and it happens more often than it should. Emergency room doctors get a tremendous amount of visits from patients for this reason.
Dental Work Does Not Last Forever
A huge misconception about dental work (fillings, crowns, veneers, root canals) is that they will last forever. Unfortunately they don’t. There’s no product or service in our society that has such a high expectation for success like dental work. On top of that, dental work, such as fillings and crowns, undergo an immense amount of torture every time our teeth come together to chew.
Preventative treatment saves time, money, and pain.
Doing anything in dentistry at an early stage saves people time, money, and helps prevent pain. Often times the pain is even emotional pain; emotional in the sense that when someone loses a tooth, he/she identifies that with getting old or not taking care of themselves. Guilt is ever present of not doing something as well. This happens especially with parents when their child needs multiple fillings or develops that not-so-fun abscess. It’s a great sign when something isn’t hurting. That usually means that it can be fixed simply versus a more complicated procedure—such as when there is a lot of pain or if the tooth is cracked or broken.