Overcoming Obstacles at the Dentist

Category: Dr. Advocate's Insights

Dr Advocate Avatar IconBy: Dr. Advocate
Updated: August 25, 2022

Overcoming Obstacles at the Dentist | Woman in waiting room deep in thought

Visiting the dentist can be troubling. Most individuals would prefer sitting on the beach or couch. These obstacles are understandable and possible to overcome. So let’s take a closer look at ways to manage your oral health.

1. Previous traumatic experiences

Unfortunately, many patients have had one or more traumatic experiences that negatively impacted their dentistry view. For example, lack of empathy from providers or unexpected pain from procedures may color an individual’s view of dental care.

These experiences are real and can lead to dental aversion.

A meaningful way to overcome these obstacles is to acknowledge that such a response is expected. Also, discuss these experiences with your dentist so they’re willing to help you overcome these challenges. Dentists desire their patients to be understood and comfortable, so inform your dentist that you may need frequent breaks to catch your breath or relax jaw muscles. Deep belly breaths through your nose can ease the tension when it’s difficult to breathe through your mouth. Ask your clinician about anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) options, including oral conscious sedation or nitrous oxide.

Recommended Reading: Five Qualities of a Great Dentist

2. Scheduling conflicts

Most individuals have work commitments during regular business hours; however, depending on where you live, some dental practices open as early as 7 am and close as late as 7 pm. Some dental offices are available on Saturdays to accommodate patients unable to schedule during the week. In addition, advances in technology have allowed patients to establish care through online patient portals. If you have dental insurance, verify the dental practice is within your preferred network.

Benefits of the patient portal:
  • Complete and sign documents
  • Schedule visits
  • Communicate with the dental team
  • Communicate with dentist
  • Add and verify insurance
  • View treatment notes

3. Fear of unknown dental issues

Fear of the unknown keeps many patients away from the dentist. Rather than finding out what problems they may have, some individuals avoid dental care because of potential issues and feel pressured to fix them. Remember that early detection limits your chances of more expensive dental treatment. Also, if a dental issue is discovered relatively early, less invasive treatment may be possible. It’s better to deal with a problem sooner than deal with the pain later. At that point, you may feel pain in your mouth and your wallet.

Remember that early detection limits your chances of more expensive dental treatment.

Related: Check out Best MDA Recommended Products

4. Financial burdens

Financial burdens can be a real obstacle, especially after taking the leap and establishing care at a new dental practice. Before your first visit, evaluate your financial situation for realistic expectations if any treatment is needed. Unfortunately, dental work can be costly, so it’s best to have a financial plan before starting treatment.

Questions to consider:
  • Do I have insurance?
  • Do they take my insurance?
  • Are payment plans available?
  • What treatment is absolutely needed?
  • What happens if I do nothing?

5. Pain and discomfort

Although it’s last on the list, it’s first on everyone’s mind.

Pain is avoided at all costs because humans respond to pain to protect our bodies from harm. The mouth contains many nerve fibers that leave it feeling sensitive and vulnerable. Local anesthesia is efficient and capable of blocking the pain response to complete treatment. Inform your dentist or dental team member if adequate anesthesia is not achieved.

Final thoughts

Overcoming obstacles at the dentist will allow you to focus on your dental concerns and learn how to manage them. However, don’t let your fears keep you from regular dental treatment. Research shows that poor oral health correlates with systemic issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. So take the first step and schedule an appointment to become a dental patient for life.

Recommended Reading: 10 Habits for Improved Oral Health

The more you know, the more healthy habits you can develop – saving you and your family from avoidable and potentially expensive dental procedures. Talk to your dental professional for more suggestions on improving oral health and check back for more blog posts and relevant information. Please share this site and let us know what else you’d like to know!

Dr Advocate Avatar IconAbout the Author

Dr. Advocate is an actual board-certified dentist with clinical practice experience and a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources presented in layman’s terms with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.