Dental care and dentist visits are not what they used to be. As a result, regular visits to the dentist and improved personal dental hygiene have increased. Consequently, increased dental care in the office and at home has improved overall health. That does not mean dentist visits are routine for everyone.
Over the years, dentists, dental care, and oral health has made great strides. Beginning with dental products like the invention and availability of products such as toothbrushes fluoride toothpaste, and waxed dental floss, significant milestones have been passed. Then, new high-tech dental equipment (including digital x-rays) and dental innovation in procedures have changed the tenor of dental visits.
Why People Avoid Dental Visits
Despite these impressive dental innovations, people still struggle with fear, preconceptions, cultural, and economic challenges. Although not everyone has the same reason to avoid dentist visits, there are commonalities. Here are some of the most frequently given reasons:
- Parents are not all aware of the importance of pediatric dentistry. Some parents think that since children lose their baby teeth going to the dentist is unnecessary. They don’t see the point of treating cavities if they will lose that baby tooth.
- There aren’t enough dentists in their area. For instance, families living in rural areas may have to travel a long distance to see a dentist.
- Families have economic challenges, or no dental insurance. Lack of funds is one of the top reasons given for avoiding dentist visits.
- Fear of the dentist is real, especially in older populations. They remember painful visits and therefore put off seeing a dentist until there is a real emergency. In fact, 80% of Americans have some level of dental anxiety.
- Language barriers can also affect the dental visits. It’s important to realize that the diversity of people in America has changed. For some, finding a dental office with a bilingual staff is important.
- Personal dental hygiene suffers, especially for those struggling to make ends meet. One in 5 children in the US don’t have enough food, let alone supplies like toothbrushes. The result of this can be embarrassment over the condition of one’s oral health.
You Can Resolve the Problems
Besides the care and concern of a local, personal dentist, there are organizations out that advocate for good oral health practices and dentist visits.
For example, America’s Tooth Fairy (www.americastoothfairy.org) offers parental education about oral health. They also reach out to teach children how to establish and maintain healthy oral care routines.
From time to time, some mobile dentists come to communities and schools. In addition, special dental clinics as well as dental schools help families afford dental care. Another resource for low-income families is the SmileDrive.org who helps supply toothbrushes.
On the other hand, language barriers are more difficult to overcome. The wide variety of languages present in a community may be greater than translation services. However, some dental materials and
information can be purchased in different languages.
Other Reasons People Avoid Dentist Visits
There are less obvious reasons people avoid dentist visits.
For instance, some are physically uncomfortable. It could be the chemical smells, the sounds of drills and other equipment, or feeling exposed in a dental chair.
On the other hand, fear and worry keeps patients away from the dentist. Some might be worrying that a serious problem exists, or they feel embarrassed. Others are fearful and worry about pain. Still others procrastinate for fear that they don’t have the time and availability to take off work to go to the dentist.
Recently, the question of safety due to Covid-19 kept people away from the dentist. But in order for dentists to take up their practices, the American Dental Association (ADA) established disinfectant protocols to keep surfaces clean and uniform and equipment requirements to prevent spread of the virus.
But as Franklin Roosevelt said when he was inaugurated in 1933, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The dental profession and dentists individually do everything they can to ameliorate the fears and reasons to avoid dentist visits. In short, don’t put off dentist visits. They are an important part of every human being’s overall health and wellness.
Let Danville Family Dentistry be part of your family oral hygiene routine ad dental health. Contact us at 317-745-4400 for an appointment. Or you can visit our website to schedule an appointment online. Rest assured that you will find everyone at Danville Family Dentistry committed to making your visit as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.