If you ever ask people about something they dread doing, one common answer is visiting the dentist. In many cases, this is due to either common misconceptions about dentistry or because of a traumatic childhood experience.
Many dental myths have spread like wildfire over the years, but with advances in dental techniques, medical science and quality of care, they are simply not true of modern day dental clinics. Despite this, many patients retain a fear of dentists, so we have put together this article to dispel some of these common myths.
Dentists are scary, and the procedures are painful
Let’s address the elephant in the room before we move on: the reason many patients are anxious is fear of the pain and the experience of being in the chair. While there is no doubt that this experience is not as relaxing as lounging by the pool, it doesn’t have to be traumatic.
Over the years, the dental profession has spent a lot of time looking at ways to make the experience less traumatic, with many clinics offering special help to overcome these fears. Also, if you need any dental surgery done, there are many forms of pain relief available.
There has also been a considerable focus on the overall standard of care, which means dentists will be able to notice your discomfort and will be trained at techniques to put you at ease. Many of them have a great sense of humor!
I feel no pain, so I am not going to the dentist
Gum disease and cavities may not present any symptoms, but that doesn’t mean that they are not causing any problems and extensive damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues. Thorough daily cleaning will minimize these problems, but some issues are difficult to spot with the naked eye.
This is why you should attend regular dental checkups, as the dentists are trained to spot signs of erosion and decay. Also, if they suspect there is a problem, they can order X-rays to see what is going on beneath the surface.
But, I have a healthy diet…
It is a common fact that sugary products such as soda, candy, and chocolate are a major cause of tooth decay, but even if you don’t have these products, there are other foods and drinks that can cause just as many problems.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth feeding on sugars from products that you eat. One of the primary sources of the sugars that the bacteria love the most is carbohydrates which are present in foods such as rice, carrots, bread, and milk. So, even if you have a ‘healthy diet,’ your teeth will still be exposed to damaging substances.
It is only a little bit of blood
If you notice blood while brushing your teeth, it should not be ignored. Unfortunately, many people do, and that is where the trouble can start. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation, which can mean that you have gum disease. In minor cases, simple changes to oral hygiene can solve the problem; maybe you are not flossing enough, or you are brushing your teeth too hard.
However, if the problem is allowed to develop, more severe problems will occur, and not just in the mouth. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, and certain kinds of cancers. By not treating gum disease, tooth loss is inevitable. So, hopefully, you can see that this shouldn’t be ignored.
Okay, so what should I do?
Regular brushing and flossing is a great place to start, and while you are at it, learn to notice what your teeth are telling you. If you notice some sensitivity or bleeding, then it means that maybe you need to change your diet or brushing techniques. This will usually help solve simple problems, but if there is no improvement, then you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Alongside good dental hygiene, you should visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups, as they will be able to give you an up-to-date assessment of your oral health and give you tips to solve minor problems. Even if you have a fear of dentists, you should make sure that you make your appointments, as they are trained to help you and put you at ease, regardless of your reasons for visiting.