Why One in Five Adults Skip the Dentist


Do you avoid the dentist? If so, you aren’t alone. According to estimates, one in five adults avoid going to their dentist, even when experiencing a toothache. With more research pointing toward a correlation between dental health and overall health, it’s important for people to see their dentist regularly.

But first, we have to figure out why one in five adults skip the dentist. Once we understand and address these issues, patients will feel more confident going to their dentist regularly.

The Top Two Reasons Why One in Five Adults Skip the Dentist

There are two basic reasons why one in five adults skip the dentist.

  1. Fears/Phobia

Dental fears are paralyzing. A patient’s fear can be so overwhelming that even if they are in excruciating pain, they avoid the dentist. Why are some people so afraid?

  • Embarrassment: Some people feel embarrassed because they haven’t seen a dentist in years. They feel like they’ll be made fun of or reprimanded because of the state of their teeth. In some cases, patients have been made to feel this way—the experience being so embarrassing that they don’t want to be in such a situation again.
  • A Painful Experience: Another cause of dental fear is pain. People are either afraid that they might have a painful experience, or they’ve actually had one. Such an experience during the childhood years is especially traumatizing and can lead to a life-long phobia.
  1. Finances

Healthcare costs are at all-time highs; this includes dental costs. If a patient doesn’t have insurance or a health savings account, having to pay 100 percent of dental costs out of pocket is something that they just can’t afford.

Even if a patient has dental insurance, it doesn’t mean their coverage is that great. With restrictions, co-pays, and low maximums, dental insurance isn’t always as helpful as we would like it to be.

Why Going to the Dentist is Essential When Experiencing a Toothache

Despite costs and fears, if a patient has a toothache, they need to see their dentist as soon as possible. Not only is likely that the pain will get worse – it can result in a serious medical condition. A tooth or gum abscess can cause severe pain, fever, swelling, and difficulty breathing. Some patients have even ended up in the hospital because the infection traveled to their brain or heart.

While it is important to see a dentist when experiencing pain, it is even more important to go on a regular basis. Going to the dentist at least annually will allow them to find problems before they result in pain. The procedure for a simple filling is less expensive and painful than dealing with an infected tooth.

Lifestyle & Toothaches: How They Go Hand-In-Hand

Going to the dentist is just one lifestyle choice that can protect people from experiencing pain. Other choices that will result in less pain include:

  • Quit smoking. Smoking causes gum disease to progress.
  • Get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep can cause gum disease to progress, too.
  • Reduce or avoid sugar. Sugar contributes to tooth decay.
  • Daily oral homecare. Flossing and brushing each day prevents gum disease and decay.
  • Drink plenty of water. A dry mouth can contribute to dental decay.
  • Invest in an electric toothbrush. These toothbrushes will remove plaque better than a manual toothbrush. They promote gum health and reduce the chance of decay.

Finding a Caring Dental Team is Essential to Maintain Good Oral Health

Over the years, we have found that fear is often more of an issue when going to the dentist than finances. That is why we’ve hired the most caring dental team around. With their kind concern, patience, and gentle care of our patients, they create a stress-free atmosphere that makes our patients feel truly comfortable.

It is with our commitment to this high-level of care—as well as our excellence in dental care—that we serve our patients. We also do our best to come up with a financial plan that our patients find reasonable, and maximize insurance benefits as best we can. It is our goal to overcome the reasons why one in five adults skip the dentist.

Has it been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist? If so, we invite you to contact our office. We can schedule an exam and answer all of your questions. You will find us to be a caring, compassionate group of people who want to help you with all of your dental needs.

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