How to face dental embarrassment

Has your oral health gotten to the point that you’re embarrassed about going to the dentist? You’re not alone. Up to 20 percent of people avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety, sometimes because they’re embarrassed about the condition of their mouth.

Avoiding checkups, cleanings, and regular care because you’re ashamed to go to the dentist could leave you worse off in the long run. It’s important to face your dental embarrassment before serious damage is done to your oral and overall health.

Common reasons for dental embarrassment

There are many reasons people may be embarrassed to go to the dentist. Let’s break down some of the most common concerns and ways to face them.

  • Fear: My teeth will be the worst my dentist has ever seen.

Reality: A dentist generally sees 8-12 patients every day, which adds up to thousands of patient visits every year.  Many of those patients come in because of problems like decay, chipped teeth, and gum disease. Your teeth are like many others the dentist sees, and the dentist’s job is to keep teeth healthy and fix any issues they might find.

  • Fear: I don’t want my dentist to lecture me.

Reality: Most dentists are pretty understanding. Whether it’s financial constraints or not having enough time, dentists understand why people avoid appointments. They’re happy to help and want to keep you coming back so your smile stays healthy!

  • Fear: My dentist will judge my lifestyle.

Reality: Dentists understand that everyone is different, and no one is perfect. Whether you’re a smoker, a night grinder, or don’t brush often, the more they know about your habits, the better they can help you.

Tips to overcome dental embarrassment

Dental embarrassment doesn’t need to be a part of life. Try these tips to feel more comfortable when visiting the dentist.

  1. Communicate your concerns. Explain to your hygienist or dentist why you’re embarrassed before your visit. Sharing your concerns with the dental staff will help them adapt their treatment to your needs and put you at ease while you’re in the chair.
  2. Think of the benefits. Addressing issues with your teeth is the only way they’re going to get better, and the rewards go deeper than just your smile. Your mouth is an important part of your overall health; taking care of your teeth is the foundation to a healthy body.
  3. Try relaxation techniques. Even after you’ve mustered your courage, walking through the dental office door can be stressful. Approaches like deep breathing or calming music can help keep you calm for your appointment.