Procrastinators, this one’s for you…
You know who you are – you routinely put off things that you’d rather not do and often keep putting them off until they simply can’t be ignored. Sometimes you may not even snap into action until it’s too late. Sound familiar?
If so, you might be one of the many American adults who avoids going to the dentist for years on end. Maybe you missed one 6-month checkup and meant to reschedule but just never did, or maybe you have a slight phobia that keeps you away.
Whatever the reason, you probably grow increasingly worried about visiting the dentist with every passing year. The more time that passes, the more you worry about what will happen when you finally do go.
But instead of imagining a dreadful scene, I’d like to quell your fears and give you a more realistic idea of what you can expect.
1. Kindness & Understanding:
You’re not the first, nor will you be the last person to avoid the dentist for a while. Obviously dentists recommend against this practice, but we understand and we won’t lecture you or lay on a heavy guilt trip.
In fact, if you let your dentist know that you’re feeling worried or scared, he or she will likely do everything they can to put you at ease.
If you ever do visit a dentist who treats you with anything but kindness and understanding, then you should look for another dentist. Negative feelings are not a required part of a dental visit, so be sure to find an experienced professional who makes you feel comfortable.
2. A Refresher Course in Oral Hygiene:
There’s a good chance that your dentist or dental hygienist will offer a little lesson in brushing and flossing since it’s been a while since your last pro consultation. And though you might think you’re an expert at these activities that you’ve been doing your whole life, you’d do well to pay attention, ask questions and get some tips on how to take the best possible care of your teeth.
You’d be surprised by how many people brush and floss religiously but do not do so correctly. Make sure that you’re not one of them by even asking if you can demonstrate the way you brush and floss while you’ve got a professional there to observe and correct your technique.
3. A Deep Cleaning:
One of the most common consequences of not visiting the dentist for a long time is gum disease. When you get your checkup, the hygienist will measure your gum pockets, which are spaces between your teeth and gums where bacteria and plaque can form. If left untreated, these pockets can grow as the gums pull away from the teeth.
When pockets are measured at more than 5 millimeters in several places, your dentist will probably recommend that you have a deep cleaning (known as scaling and root planing). This is a common procedure that you should not fear as it simply involves removing tartar and plaque from the roots and surfaces of your teeth.
But you should keep in mind that this sort of treatment can easily be avoided by having twice annual professional cleanings at your dentist’s office.
There’s also a good chance that you may have a couple cavities if you haven’t had a dental checkup in some time. While having cavities filled isn’t exactly fun, it’s another standard procedure that you should not dread or fear.
Cavities occur in your teeth when bacteria are left there to become acids that wear away the enamel and work their way deeper and deeper into teeth. This process results in a hole in the tooth.
To stop the damage from getting worse, your dentist will remove the decayed part and fill in the hole with a composite resin. This all takes less than an hour and local anesthetic ensures you won’t feel any pain.
5. A Renewed Commitment to Dental Health:
The best thing you can almost certainly expect after visiting the dentist after a long time away is a renewed commitment to caring for your teeth. You’ll undoubtedly feel glad that you got it over with and received the necessary treatments to restore health.
And, most importantly, you’ll make a solemn promise to yourself never to let that much time between dental checkups pass again. With regular exams and cleanings, you can ensure that any dental health issues will detected and nipped in the bud before they become serious problems.
See? Not so bad, is it? If you’ve been avoiding the dentist for too long, now is the time to rectify the situation and get the dental care that you need to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.
She is also an avid blogger who loves sharing her expertise and advice for preventative care with readers in a variety of online publications. For more, visit www.1MagSmile.com.
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