If like me, you’ve been embarrassed by your smile or bad teeth, then you’ll know exactly how it feels to be worried about going to the dentist.
For me, it was more about being scared about what the dentist would say or even confirming what I already knew was true.
Now, if you could see my smile from afar, you’d wonder why I was even concerned. But I knew what my smile really looked like when I smiled too wide; plaque and tartar build-up had gotten so bad, and black pocket triangles had begun to form at the corners of my teeth.
My first sign that something was really wrong was sore and smelly gums.
My gum disease had soared out of control after being diagnosed with the condition at only 18.
And now, ten years later, my teeth had reached a point where they would cause me pain, sensitivity and sometimes, more worryingly, numbness.
I didn’t visit the dentist for ten years, not because I could not afford to go or manage to squeeze it into my busy schedule. But because I didn’t want to be told I would lose my teeth, which in my heart, I knew was going to be an eventuality.
Instead, my approach to preventive care was to wait and see what happened.
However, that all changed when I lost my first tooth.
If your story is similar to mine, or you avoid the dentist because you don’t want to hear bad news, please let my tale convince you that waiting around does nothing but make things worse. So, if you can begin with at least a check-up with a dentist who won’t judge (or huff and be annoyed like my last one), you’ve already made the best first step in protecting your teeth.
My dentists and hygienists at the Perfect Smile changed my outlook, attitude and oral health in ways I never knew possible. Learn more about them.
Questions I wish I had the answer to at the time:
- How do I get over my dental embarrassment or shame? My approach was to be open and honest. Thankfully, people don’t get to meet me over the phone, so I can feel more comfortable about not being judged, and if I think I am, then I can try somewhere else. I spoke to a few local dentists in Hertfordshire until I came across the Perfect Smile. I communicated my concerns and explained beforehand that I was embarrassed and fearful. This allowed them to comfort me and put my mind at ease that everything would be OK.
- How can I be confident with bad teeth? Confidence begins from within, but we all know that sometimes we feel a bit better about ourselves when we get a new haircut or clothes. And the same works with teeth. I knew that by getting my gum disease under control, treating the decay and whitening my smile that I would feel better, and I did.
- What should I do if I don’t like my teeth? If you hate your smile, cosmetic dentistry can be an option. But if that’s not something you want to jump right into, I would suggest starting with general dentistry to get your smile in a healthy place that you feel comfortable with – you’ll be surprised by how much of a difference this can make.
- When is it too late to save your teeth? I went years (almost a decade) without taking care of my teeth (I didn’t floss, I didn’t use mouthwash, and I didn’t brush twice a day). But it’s never too late to start. And by integrating a more rigorous oral hygiene paired with visits to the dentist, you would not believe the fast changes I saw with my teeth and gum health and how in turn, this made me smile more.
Don’t be afraid – the following are myths!
- You should be ashamed of yourself for letting it get this bad. Everyone has their own story, and it’s no one’s place to judge.
- The dentist will make you feel guilty. A good dentist will not guilt-trip you but help you.
- Your mouth will be the worst the dentist has seen. We tend to magnify our problems, a dentist will only have one worst ever, and the chances are it’s not you.
- You can’t afford to fix it. Care is understandably expensive, but the more bad things become, the more costly it will get to fix. Even if you can’t afford to do it all once, you are more than welcome to take your treatment in stages.
- You can wait till your teeth fall out and get dentures. This is a terrible idea. Dentures might seem like an easy fix, but we know from our thousands of missing teeth patients that they are not all they are cracked up to be.
Ready to come back to the dentist? Book an appointment.