Very few people will deny that having a beautiful smile, particularly in today’s world, is a great asset, socially, professionally and in terms of self esteem. So what might stop an individual who doesn’t have a great smile getting one?
The answer is almost always fear … but fear of what? Do any of the following ‘resonate’?
- Perceived pain of the needle, the drill, hitting a nerve.
- Loss of control.
- Your body being ‘invaded’.
- Time it takes, can’t afford time off work and/or family commitments.
- Costs and not being able to afford, or not prepared to spend money.
- Change: doing anything to the teeth unless ‘ absolutely necessary’.
- Being (financially) ‘ripped off’ by the dentist .
Anxiety and fear usually originate from different sources and reasons, usually previous experiences and take many forms, commonly ’avoidance’ and rejection.
If any of the above applies to you, you don’t have to do anything about it. You may have teeth and a smile that is adequate enough, you may not love it but you don’t lose sleep over it.
You have stopped ‘looking at’ or even noticing the dental aesthetic blemishes, such as the missing tooth, the ugly-looking dentistry , the crooked bite or the different coloured, darkish teeth.
What can you do if you think you do want to do something?
Firstly it is obviously paramount that you recognise and acknowledge whether you have any of the above ‘fears’ and what their origins and reasons may be.
Concurrently or subsequently, you need to find a dentist that you truly can trust. A truly professional and empathic practitioner should even be able to help you with that initial process. Such a dentist would then need to address your own particular fears and concerns, which may or may not be rational (though very real to you) and explain how to deal with or avoid them.
So how do you confirm the trust you may be considering placing in a particular dentist, other than listening, being ‘empathic’, identifying, acknowledging and addressing your concerns?
- You are given the opportunity of seeing the results of many if his/ her own cases on photographs.
- Independent reviews (particularly Google) should be very good. Reviews posted on the practice website can be inauthentic or ‘selected’.
- The dentist has put real thought and time into considering your specific aesthetic needs. He or she provides you with a written report and treatment plan that should include more than one option (where applicable and reasonable).
- You should never feel that you are being ‘hard sold’ or pushed into a particular treatment.
- Try him or her out first on something simple and non-invasive such as scaling and cleaning.
- Consider going to more than one dentist and ‘ compare ‘ experiences.
Don’t be cynical or negative. There are lots of very good, caring and ethical dentists out there who can give you a fabulous smile should you really want that – you just need to go to a little effort, do some research and be prepared to evaluate.
In part 2, I will comment on each of the ‘list of fears and anxieties’ I identified above.