Working within a dental practice we hear patients on a regular basis express their concerns for a relative or a friend that simply just refuses to see the dentist. Whether it is because of fear, finances or principles it can be extremely frustrating.
Speaking from my own personal experience my husband falls into the three categories above not only did he not want to spend money on dental treatment he believes dental treatment should be provided on the NHS but I think the truth is he is just petrified. The battle was difficult but worthwhile in the end!
What did it take to get him to the dentist?
Simply education! Fortunately working within the dental profession I was able to slowly educate him on the benefits of prevention rather than fix. Taking him back to school was the only solution, diagrams of treatment procedures explaining advantages and disadvantages along with cost comparisons really helped to put things into perspective for him.
Quite simply he learned to realise that a large majority or dental treatment can be prevented if you attend your 6 monthly dental recall exam appointments and allow yourself to be educated on how to prevent dental problems in the future. Extracting a problem tooth seems like the quick, cheap and easy fix option but it’s usually not until a little while after the tooth starts to be missed and many patients then start to ask about tooth replacement options which are a lot more expensive than if you attempted to save the tooth in the long run and sometimes it can be too late to achieve the patients desired outcome.
My husband attended for an initial appointment with one of our specialist dentists for a one-hour comprehensive assessment meaning he could take his time in learning all the basic foundations in maintaining good oral health and addressed all his concerns regarding his teeth. These appointments can sometimes be overwhelming as there is a lot to take in which means you may find yourself only capturing a small amount of the information given. This can add to your anxiety or put you off returning, so always make sure you take the time to ask questions, make notes and then go away for a few days read over your report and make sense of the consultation in your own time. By following these steps, you can be assured you will end up making a fully informed decision regarding your dental treatment and feel confident in your dental care. Remember it is not up to your dentist, it is up to you!
My husband did exactly that and slowly but surely came to his own decision regarding his dental care. Following the advice he was given by our specialists the time allocated to his appointment and the amount of information given to him was incomparable to a normal routine 15-minute NHS check-up. He has since taken up a comprehensive treatment plan and feels in full control of his dental health making improvements and breaking habits each day. Conscious sedation is available for any treatment he is anxious about and he is very keen to get started. It was a breakthrough!
There is light at the end of the tunnel.