Looking after yourself and your oral health is particularly important, especially as our teeth are so important to us aesthetically as well as practically. However, it is common for people to be nervous when visiting the dentist – whether that is discovering you have a cavity or you are worried about your lack of flossing. ‘Dentaphobia’ as it is colloquially named or dental anxiety is more common than you would think, resulting in missed, avoided or cancelled appointments. Many people worry that going to the dentist will cause them pain, that they have no control or that they feel embarrassed over the state of their oral health.

However, despite these worries, it is imperative that you visit the dentist regularly and many dentists will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. Therefore, we have put together a brief guide of common misconceptions about dental treatment and visiting the dentist in general. This aims to not only ease your concerns but also to give you some education about what really happens when a dentist is treating you.

Dental treatments include:

  • Bridges

  • Canals

  • Fillings

  • Root Canal Treatment

  • Scale and Polish

  • Braces

  • Wisdom Tooth Removal

  • Dental Implants

  • Dentures

  • Fixing Broken Teeth

  • Teeth Whitening

  • Dental Veneers

“You need to have a complex daily dental routine”

One of the reasons why we put off a dentist appointment is because we fear our daily dental care is not as good as it should be. However, this is not the case.

We are often captivated by the need to have a ‘Hollywood smile’ and coupled with being inundated with advertisements for in vogue tooth cleaning and whitening products, you can understand why sometimes we feel like our teeth are not as good as they should be. However, you don’t need an expensive electric toothbrush, stellar toothpaste, and premium brands of flossing to have optimum dental health. In fact, our daily brushing routine can be fairly simple and beautiful teeth can still be achieved.

To achieve pearly whites, simply just brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, then, rinse your mouth with mouthwash. Flossing your teeth also is highly recommended as it removes the buildup of bacteria in between your teeth.

You may find that you are experiencing sensitivity in your tooth and gums, therefore make sure you get a sensitive toothpaste and an alcohol-free mouthwash.

Other ways to limit the chances of tooth degradation is to reduce your sugar, alcohol and smoking intake.

“It is difficult to get hold of an after-hours dentist”

Health issues certainly aren’t time efficient, we can

become ill at any moment and, sometimes, this happens during ‘unsociable’ hours, and this is also in the case of teeth. You may wake up in the middle of the night with an excruciating toothache, or your teeth could get broken from you playing sports in the evening. If this is the case, then it is most likely that you will need to see an out of hours or emergency dentist. Yet, this is not as difficult as one would think.

Many NHS dental surgeries or private dentists are extremely accommodating, often holding later opening hours or early morning emergency appointments. This is because they know that accidents and emergencies do happen and that some people’s lifestyles simply don’t just fit into the daily rigmarole of 9 to 5 work.

First and foremost, if you need to see a dentist immediately, then contact your dentist to see if any emergency appointments are available; if not then they can advise you on the next steps. You may find that you can see the dentist the next day or that there are weekend slots. Furthermore, they can also advise on maintenance – especially if you are in a lot of pain.

If you find that your case is urgent then ring 111 as they can direct towards the nearest out of hours service. Only go to accident and emergency if you are experiencing severe pain, heavy bleeding and injuries to the face, mouth and teeth.

Emergency dentists are expensive”

Another reason why people let dental problems fall to the wayside is simply because they have to pay to go to the dentist, and that this will be costly if you need to see an emergency dentist. However, if you are concerned about finances then you may be eligible for free dental care.

Emergency dental appointments start from as little as £21.60, and they are free for children under the age of 18. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of seeing an emergency dentist. If you are in severe pain and discomfort that you are unable to eat, sleep, or go about your day then you probably need to see an emergency dentist as it could be something quite serious like an infection or abscess. Furthermore, you will probably want to see an emergency dentist if you’re teeth have been knocked out. Though you will need to anticipate costs, many dental surgeries offer treatment plans where you can pay in monthly instalments – an affordable way to always keep your teeth in good nick.

“You need to go to a specialist practise for cosmetic dental procedures

Whilst it is true that there are many practises that cater specifically to cosmetic dental procedures, many NHS and private dentists will offer cosmetic dental procedures for higher fees alongside their standard treatments. Cosmetic dental treatments cost more simply because they are deemed unnecessary and are only performed for aesthetic purposes. However, it is undeniable that having a cosmetic procedure can boost your self-esteem.

Cosmetic dental treatments include:

  • Dental veneers

  • Teeth whitening

  • Dental bonding

  • Dental crown

  • Dental implants

“I only need to see my local dentist when I have a problem”

This is a misconception that certainly needs to be quelled. It is recommended that you see your dentist for checkups ranging from 3 months to 24 months. When seeing your dentist, they will advise you on when you should come in next for your checkup. You are more likely to see the dentist regularly if they notice a problem, you have a history of tooth problems or when your children have baby teeth.

It is important to see your dentist regularly, simply because they can spot any minor problems quickly – before you have even noticed them yourself. Especially as these may develop into major problems that could cause you pain and burn a hole into your purse. Furthermore, they are trained in detecting the signs of oral cancer, which they will look for in your regular dental checkups.

That being said, if you do notice any problems after your checkup, then you shouldn’t wait until your next checkup to address it. Solving any dental issues as quickly as possible will most certainly help you in the long run.

“Dental treatment will hurt”

One of the main misconceptions of dental treatment, and one of the causes of dental anxiety, is that dental treatment hurts – hence why people avoid going to the dentist. Due to advances in dental treatment and dental technology, dental treatments do not hurt. With some procedures you may experience some mild discomfort, so communicate with your dentist to let them know of any concerns that you have. Some dentists can offer you numbing cream and anaesthetic gel to give relief. Furthermore, your dentist will advise you on aftercare after your dental procedure, which can include taking standard widely distributed painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Furthermore, if pain does appear during your dental treatment, it is most likely due to the original problem itself like an abscess or infection. Or, you may have overly sensitive teeth which as mentioned before, the dentist can cater to your needs.

If the fear of pain is paralysing you from seeing the dentist, make sure you speak to someone you trust and ask if they can accompany you to your dental appointment. They can also communicate this with your dentist, so your dentist can make you feel as comfortable as possible.

Riverside Dental Practise: Local Dentist and Surgery in Stirling

Here at Riverside Dental Practise, we offer a variety of dental treatments as well as cosmetic procedures for both NHS and private patients. Our family friendly dentists can put you and your family at ease, offering them quick and comprehensive treatment as well as tips to keeping your teeth in good condition.

We can offer dental checkups, dentures, tooth whitening, veneers, fillings, emergency dentist service, crowns, bio clear and bridge work. We also offer an affordable monthly treatment plan for private patients, so you can have the work you want to be performed but also be able to easily go about your daily life. Contact us today to find out more.