I’ll revisit a message that I received from a patient last year in a moment. Frankly, it’s a common problem that I’m asked to treat and I get similar ones weekly. It encompasses a variety of problems (from neglect; to last of treatment; to a general fear of dentists). Here it is:
“Today, I have approximately 3 abscessed teeth & many black & cracked/cracking teeth. It very painful to even move my mouth. I’m not sure if dentist is where I should be with these dental emergencies. I’m petrified of dentist, yet I need some serious help with these issues. Can you please call me & advise what to do.”
For this potential patient, the advice is easy: See a dentist IMMEDIATELY. At the end of the day, you are in charge of your own mouth. No matter what has passed, there is no time like right now to begin working on the situation.
Here’s what I wrote before:
It is disheartening when someone allows their mouth to deteriorate to the described condition – especially since the person went on to note that they have dental insurance. Not all dental insurance is great or even good and, in some cases, doesn’t pay for itself, but for this person, even the slightest inducement to see a dentist should be a positive.
What’s the lesson here beyond the obvious of not letting problems develop through neglect?
It is that YOU are in control of and must be in control of your mouth. Many people find excuses or lie to themselves about why they shouldn’t go to the dentist. The problems for this potential patient didn’t begin last week, last month or even last year. However, this behavior has to change.
Of course, anxiety about seeing a dentist is a real issue faced by many people (a number who had terrible experiences as a child at a dental office), but this can be dealt with by the dental office giving careful, detailed explanations about what happens at a check-up and the support to get the prospective patient in for treatment and then for the doctor to make sure his or her patient is at ease.
So, do not delay! If you haven’t seen a dentist for a check-up and cleaning in more than six moths, then schedule one soonest.