Here's Why People Say, “I Hate the Dentist”
Few will tell you they look forward to a trip to the dentist’s office.
We tend to assume that we've neglected oral health for decades. Each trip to the dentist means immense pain, being unable to enjoy your favorite foods, and a hefty bill for most people.
However, that's rarely the case, and studies show that the more frequently a person visits the dentist, the better they feel about visiting the dentist.
Over the last few decades, there's no denying dentistry has gotten a bad rep. This is partly due to negative media, and partly due to the changing structure of modern medicine. Almost all medical specialties have undergone major changes, especially since the dawning of mass communication through the internet.
This adapting and changing is the nature of any scientific field.
Once upon a time, dentistry was only about removing decaying and infected teeth. It was the last resort for most people, and only the wealthy elite could afford to visit a dentist.
The Etruscans were the first to practice dentistry in a way that is familiar to us today.
Using gold bands, they would wrap their teeth together, soldering the gold with a heated object. This kept teeth from falling out and was really an incredible advancement in dental care for the time period. Eventually, we realized that "bad" teeth can affect other teeth, causing immense pain. The best solution then became removing those damaged and diseased teeth.
100 Years Ago
The 2,000 years prior to modern history do not record many advancements in the dental field. When teeth went bad, they went bad. People carried on, changing their habits and diets to best fit the lifestyle at the times. However, the 100 years have given us more advancements in dentistry than anyone could have ever imagined.
In the last 100 years, we've seen:
- The invention of the porcelain crown
- Mass use & appreciation of nylon toothbrushes
- Introduction of fluoride toothpaste
- Use of electric hand tools in the process of tooth extraction (no more manual yanking and pulling)
- Cosmetic dentistry: this includes whitening, teeth straightening, etc
While dentistry has been around for a very long time, it has become an entirely new adventure over the last several years. When there is rapid advancement in any field of science, it can be expected that the public may take a little while to see the benefits and results of those advancements.
How We Combat the Negative Rep
Following a long history of providing different solutions to remove or delay decayed teeth from affecting the other teeth, dentistry evolved to focus more on preventative care, rather than demolition.
A variety of tools were invented to help with the extraction of teeth. Then, tools and procedures like whitening, fillers, and braces were developed to help people maximize the functionality, health, and physical appearance of their teeth.
In fact, there are those who outright detest dentists have usually been to a dental practice that's outdated, resulting in a negative experience - OR - they have not kept up with their oral hygiene and require a lot of painful, expensive work.
Let's uncover why some people aren’t too keen on dentists.
We combat negative stereotypes with a few simple values, which have kept our practice busy for more than 60 years. In order to provide patients with the level of care and compassion we'd offer our own family members, we have to put ourselves in the patient's shoes.
In doing so, we are noticing a few key things which all patients who fear the dentist have in common. Those are:
1) A fear of breach of privacy
Going by Edward Hall’s theory of privacy, certain space regions necklace every person.
The American anthropologist breaks these spheres down into four categories. He found that the innermost radius of 18 inches denoting intimate space that’s only for pets, family, and close friends. This area is often referred to as "personal space" or more simply, a personal "bubble."
Dentists naturally have to invade such boundaries of personal space as they go about their business. This doesn’t go over too well with most people, as a dental cleaning can be an uncomfortable, and intimate experience.
However, your dentist will always try to make you feel more comfortable by cultivating a personal relationship with you. By observing strict personal hygiene, you will also feel less self-conscious when it comes to breathing in the dentist's face or answering personal questions to avail information about poor hygiene habits.
2) The sounds and smells
People don’t like hospitals for the same reason.
They don’t fancy the dentist’s office because of the lingering smell of antiseptic and drugs in general.
Many people associate the smell of a hospital with decay & the lack of health. Just like cleaning products like Raid get people thinking your home was previously dirty. Have you ever noticed how fancy hotels use floral scents like lavender and cherry blossom?
Yet they look incredibly clean, so you know that someone is just around the corner with a mop, broom, etc.
This is because humans have evolved to lack appreciation for chemical cleansing, as it tells us something was not clean before.
During the course of human nature, our minds learn to associate this smell with diseases and worries. So time spent at a dentist isn’t always pleasant even if you’re only accompanying someone else for the trip. However, we incorporate air purifiers, soothing music, calming features such as a fish tank and live guitar music, played by the doctor himself, to lighten the mood. We use lots of natural products with an organic, or environmentally-friendly base.
In other words, Great Hollywood Smiles never smells like bleach or a typical medical facility. And as a result, patients report warm & natural smells and a sensation of feeling calm and excited to visit. This leaves them feeling like they went to a spa, rather than the dentist.
3) Trust issues
Sometimes, an unpleasant experience can be behind a distrust of dentists.
You may have gone to a careless dentist as a child, failing to recall the experience, but plagued by the trauma that resulted.
These feelings might stem from a dental procedure that went wrong and resulted in severe side effects later on. Alternatively, it could be that you didn’t get the results promised by the dentist and weren't offered another solution.
Maybe you were assured that you would never have to worry about bad breath after a particular treatment, but it didn’t turn out that way?
Either way, having a fear of the dentist is perfectly normal and we're actually happy when patients share their hopes, dreams, and fears. This allows us to pay close attention to you and your families needs, and to make sure you're never left with a bad experience again.
4) Unscrupulous professionals
As with any other field or occupation, there are excellent professionals, and then there are the bad ones.
Movies like "The Little Shop of Horrors" depict dentistry as a cold, cruel practice. However, this depiction was all but literal.
The bad dentists in real life, are usually just sloppy. Their home lives and their work reflect careless habits. They may be money hungry or solely focused on growing the practice, but they wouldn't go to school for so long to hurt you. In actuality, the business of dentistry is a tough one. Most dentists care more about patients than rewards, accolades, or prestige.
Some dentists will come off as dishonest because of hidden financial or personal worries, and it's understandable why you would want to avoid them. Consequently, getting ripped off by past dentists can fester a hatred toward the entire profession and the individuals who practice it.
Our focus is to keep your mouth in tip-top shape and to help you heal from past wounds. These wounds may affect how you view dentistry, and as a result, your oral hygiene.
There’s a general misconception that dental procedures are overly painful when, in fact, anesthesia and pain-killers alleviate nagging sensations. However, it is true that some dental procedures have uncomfortable side effects, like wisdom teeth extraction. The pain lingers for a few days but then dissipates forever. Compared with the pain of leaving wisdom teeth in place, most patients prefer the few short days of discomfort after having them removed for good. This is another reason why some people hate - or rather fear - dentists.
Dentistry Then and Now
You should advisably schedule a visit to the dentist at least twice a year.
With frequent checkups, you'll nip any form of tooth decay and the resultant problems in the bud. These visits are also necessary for the early diagnosis of severe dental diseases. They will ensure that your overall dental hygiene and health is flawless.
Modern dentistry is a lot less scary, and you're more likely to leave the dentist feeling rejuvenated. Like going to a day spa, the dentist's office should be a place for healing and self-care.
Why You Shouldn't Hate the Dentist
Dental health is an essential part of human well-being that no one can do without.
If you don’t like the dentist’s, it’s probably because you haven't found a good fit. There are many good dentists out there who adhere to strict moral codes of professionalism and are equally a joy to work with. You'll learn to trust them, and this leads to a long-term relationship with a medical provider that genuinely cares about the health and longevity of your teeth and your family.