Some people fear dentists and the whole dental experience. Maybe it’s thinking about the drill that bothers them, both its feel and sound. Perhaps they have not had a dentist look at their teeth in many years, and they feel shame about their condition.
What you need to remember is that a dentist won’t judge you because of your hygiene. It’s their job to take care of you. As for fearing dental treatment, the longer you go without getting your teeth cleaned, the higher the chances you’ll lose them and have to get dentures as you get older.
If you decide to conquer your fear or trepidation and see a new dentist, that’s excellent. As you select the right dentist for you, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
You Want Someone with Experience
Some people go to dental schools if they don’t have very much money. You can often get dental students to work on you for free. However, if at all possible, you’re better off going to a dentist with lots of prior experience.
Getting the right diagnosis is vital with oral hygiene, and if you see a dental school student for treatment, they might not know what’s going on with you. Aside from that:
- They might make a mistake, exacerbating the situation
- They probably won’t be very confident in what they’re doing
When you go to a dentist, ideally, you want someone who has been in business for many years. They can use that experience when they look at you, especially if you’re in pain, and you require more than just a simple cleaning.
You Want Someone Who Went to an Accredited University
When you look into your dentist’s background, you should check first to see if they attended and graduated from an accredited dental school. There are many different ones, but some of the most famous include:
- New York University
- The University of Michigan
Of course, since you don’t know very much about dentistry, if you see that your dentist graduated from a university or academy you never heard of, you might not know how good of a school that is.
One way you can check to be sure of your dentist’s qualifications is to see if they belong to the ADA. The ADA is the American Dental Association.
Dentists recognize it as the most prestigious organization for dental advancement. If your dentist does not belong to them, that’s a red flag, and you might want to go elsewhere.
You Should Get Along with Them
Much like when you see a doctor, you want to have at least somewhat of a rapport with your dentist. You don’t need to be friends with them and spend the holidays together every year, but you need to trust them and feel okay with being in the same room with them.
You might not always like some medical professionals’ dispositions, and your dentist might be an example of that. For whatever reason, they may rub you the wrong way. Perhaps they seem brusque and dismissive when you talk about pain or something that’s bothering you.
If that’s happening, then you always have the option of seeing someone else. Your dentist works for you, and you don’t have to use them, any more than you have to use a particular doctor, car mechanic, or frequent a specific restaurant.
If one dentist’s personality doesn’t work for you, then hunt for a different option. There are a ton of dentists out there.
They Should Take Your Needs Seriously
Related to this is the question of whether your dentist takes what you have to say seriously. If you’re in pain or discomfort, your dentist needs to recognize that. If you come to them and talk about what’s bothering you, they need to realize that it might not be the easiest thing.
As we mentioned before, some people don’t feel comfortable around dentists, and the very act of coming in to see one might take a lot of courage on your part. If your dentist isn’t kind and attentive, you almost certainly need to go elsewhere.
They Should Instruct, But Not Preach
There is nothing wrong with a dentist telling you that you’re engaging in harmful behavior. For instance, if you’re smoking, your dentist might ask you to quit because of what it’s doing to your gums and teeth. If you’re eating too many sweets, they’ll probably warn you about that as well.
However, while a dentist can certainly advise you, ultimately, your life is yours to live. You don’t need a sermon every time you go to your dentist’s office.
If you already know smoking is bad for your teeth, or you’re eating too much candy, you shouldn’t have to listen to a long lecture. Once you’re an adult, you can engage in whatever activities you want, even if they harm you. Don’t let your dentist tell you otherwise, even if they’re warning you for your best interest.
They Shouldn’t Take a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Your dentist should also understand that every patient is different. For instance, maybe you have gum sensitivity. To avoid pain, they might need to numb your gums with a topical anesthetic before cleaning your teeth.
You might also be so afraid of tooth cleaning or cavity drilling that you don’t want to be conscious while the dentist does it. If so, they should feel okay about giving you some gas to put you out while they enact the procedure.
You don’t want a dental professional who won’t listen to your concerns and work with you to accommodate you. One negative dental experience, and it might take years to muster the courage to come in again.
In the best circumstances, the first dentist you see will work out great for you. Other times, you may have to try a couple of different options before you find one who seems to fit your needs and personality best.