Remember every sitcom or movie you’ve ever seen where the main character has to go to the dentist, and it’s this horrible, terrifying experience with lots of screaming and drill noises and startled looks in the waiting room?
Lies! It’s all lies, I tell you!
It’s Practically Painless.
Somewhere along the line, people thought it would be funny if dentists were scary, so the myth has been perpetuated through Hollywood and mainstream media. Well, the gag has gotten old. And worse, it’s frightening people away from seeking the high quality, professional dental cleanings and dental exams they actually need.
Are you thinking about that tray full of sharp metal objects? Yes, those picks are metal. And yes, they’re pointy. But tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, harder than fingernails and even harder than bone. The metal hooks and picks are there to get little bits of food and plaque off your enamel, not dig into the enamel itself. In the right hands (i.e. your dentist’s hands), they’re perfectly powerful and painless.
Your Dentist Is a Nice Person.
Movies like Little Shop of Horrors and Marathon Man make dentists appear to be sadistic weirdos. Well guess what? Those types of guys get weeded out pretty early in dental school, and courteously asked to seek alternative employment.
If you experience anything even remotely approaching pain during a professional dental cleaning, for Pete’s sake say something! Options range from, “Pardon me, but I’m experiencing a modicum of discomfort,” to “Ouch!” Your dentist wants to know when and if it hurts. It will help them A) avoid causing you pain and B) find out if there’s an actual, deeper problem with your teeth.
If You Avoid the Dentist, Later on It Will Hurt. A Lot.
Am I saying that having a professional dental cleaning is as fun as a day at Six Flags? No. The scraping and picking can be a very aggravating noise, given how loud it sounds in your own head. (And the fluoride treatments can taste… interesting.)
But untreated problems have this funny habit of getting worse, and in many cases (like gum disease), you won’t even know you have a problem until it’s too late, and you need hours of expensive cosmetic dentistry to fix it. Your dentist can find these problems and nip them right in the dental bud, before they get the chance to ruin your mouth.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, make that appointment today. It’s nowhere near as scary as the TV wants you to think, and you’ll feel more confident and willing to smile. Remember: you’ve got nothing to lose but a lifetime of dental pain and embarrassment. References: Kirkland dentures