Years Since Your Last Dental Visit? No Lectures Here!

Posted on Jan 29, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It’s not unusual to see a new patient who has not had dental care for years — sometimes ten years or more. I occasionally have these patients share that one of the reasons they’ve avoided care is dreading the lecture they’ll get. While this is often an unfounded perception, a ‘lecture’ by a Dentist or his/her staff tends to be a turn-off, particularly to those who have avoided care because of fear.

Trying to guilt an adult into dental care often has the opposite effect. Lectures and making patients feel ‘bad’ about their failure to maintain a healthy mouth typically causes one to feel belittled. This is unfortunate since it is difficult enough to motivate fearful adults into a dental office in the first place.

If you haven’t seen a dentist in years, you should know that the percentage of American adults who have dental fear is about the same as those with some level of gum disease. The first stage, gingivitis, is typically resolved with conservative periodontal therapy. Gingivitis is not only due to insufficient oral hygiene. It can also be caused by stress, smoking, age, genetics, hormonal changes, pregnancy, conditions such as diabetes, certain medications, and some diseases.

As dental caregivers, it is not our job to judge, but rather restore patients to optimal oral health. We know each person deserves to be respected since the step to receive much-needed dentistry can be a major one for many. This is especially true for adults who have high fear or anxiety associated with dental visits. The most important thing is to regain good oral health. The sooner this occurs, the bigger the savings in time and expense versus treatment necessary for advanced problems.

Ready for respect, TLC, and a terrific smile? Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange a consultation.

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