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The Age Old Question

The age old question that dentist ask each other is WHY do only 20% of the population go to the dentist or, more importantly, WHY do 80% opt to not see the dentist regularly. I thought I would share some of the myths my colleagues and I have heard over the years.

“If it doesn’t hurt, don’t fix it.” People will arrive at my office with a tooth that just swelled and started hurting or one that just fell out when they were eating. Now the latter is okay if it is a baby tooth but not if it is the teeth you were given to last a lifetime. They never know why because it never hurt before, well, maybe a little tinge here or there and they did bleed when I brushed but it didn’t really hurt. We treat our car better than our teeth. Most people would never think to not change the oil or not take it to a mechanic if they hear a knock or a ping because it has to last for a long time.

“It costs too much.” Undoubtedly if the person has not been to a dentist in a long time and comes in when their mouth is falling apart, it can become fairly expensive but to maintain a healthy mouth is probably less than the average person spends on entertainment throughout the year. As with that preverbal car analogy it is cheaper to get the oil changed, tires rotated, pings fixed, than to buy a new car.

“I want false teeth anyway.” This is a sad myth because people usually think that once they get a set of dentures their problems are over and they will never have mouth pain again. Most learn quickly this is not the case, they can’t chew as well, food doesn’t taste the same, and since their mouth is always changing the denture does not always fit properly. Unfortunately by the time this is discovered, they have already lost their teeth and cannot go back.

“The dentist hurts.” People who wait until a tooth becomes infected and keeps them up at night seem to associate their pain with the dentist when in reality it is the lack of dental work that has caused their pain. The dentist today has many ways to make the visit as comfortable as possible. Our office offers headphones, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), education, and patience. We are very proud of our success with patients with dental phobias and the fact we are seeing anew generation of kids that not only think coming to the dentist is fun but are needing less dental work.

“I just do not like dentist.” Man this one used to really get me because I thought I was a very nice guy. Just kidding, I know why people say this and it has nothing to do with the person but with an uncomfortable experience they have had. The good news is dentistry has improved dramatically in the last ten years. No longer is dentistry a drudgery that you have to endure. And if it really is a personality thing then you need to seek a dentist and office you can be comfortable in. Back to the cars, not everyone wants a Ford so that’s why there’s Chevy and etc.

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