In an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Kim Kardashian convinced NBA player Lamar Odom, who was then her brother-in-law, to finally go to the dentist. His teeth were aching, it had been six to seven years since his last visit, and yet he still needed to be persuaded. “He is so afraid to even get a checkup or a teeth cleaning,” Kim said in the show.
She booked the appointment for him. Lamar finally got the treatments he needed: a wisdom tooth extraction, a root canal, and fillings.
Everyone has a Lamar in their life (in some instances, it may even be you)—friends or family members who keep putting off their trips to the dentist even though they know they need it.
How can you convince someone in your life to finally go? Here are some suggestions.
There are different reasons you might want to tell your friend that they need to go to the dentist. Maybe their teeth are in terrible shape or they have bad breath or they have been complaining about pain. Regardless of the reason, you have to tackle the subject with tact and sensitivity. Admonishing them for the state of their teeth isn’t the way to go. If they feel attacked, they might shut down and not listen.
Most people who put off visits to the dentist do so because of fear. Dental phobia is real issue that a lot of people grapple with. Talk to your friend about what they’re afraid of and really listen. Be patient. Let them open up to you. Share your own experiences. Assure them that continued advancements in technology have made dental appointments more and more comfortable for patients.
Help them find the right dentist
You will want someone who will be patient with your friend, who can talk them through the treatment and offer assurance. Ideally, the dentist they go to should have a light touch. Some dentists have such magical hands that you wouldn’t even know they’ve already done an injection. We are proud to say that our dentists at BrightSmile Avenue are experienced in dealing with patients who have dental phobia. Our dentists are known for their light touch too. “I actually asked if having a light touch is a requirement to become a dentist at BrightSmile Avenue. Four of them treated me on different visits and they all had that in common. Their touch was so light I actually ended up falling asleep in the chair several times,” said Catherine, a patient who had gotten a crown and root canal in June.
Go with them
Offer to go with them. Having someone familiar there offering support can make the idea of stepping into a dental clinic less daunting. Promise to treat them to ice cream after—that would give them something to look forward to.
Make sure they bring earphones. Some patients like listening to music while getting treated as a way of distracting themselves. Some even read or watch Netflix while they’re in the chair.
Make it a habit
Getting them to go to one dentist appointment is just the first step. It needs to become a habit. Make it your twice-a-year date with them to get your teeth cleaned together. Think of it as spa day—but for your teeth! The more often they go to the dentist for painless visits, the more comfortable your friend will be in booking their own appointments and actually showing up for them.
Ready to make an appointment? Call us at +6326212556 (BGC), +6327992784 (Banawe) or +6322969239 (Makati).
I used to be afraid of the dentist, because of a not good experience when I was a child, but now, I enjoy cleanings; having a dentist who is calm and friendly is important indeed.
Thanks for sharing that we should be gentle when trying to convince loved ones to visit a dentist because having a dental phobia is a real issue. I knew there are people afraid of going to a dentist, but I didn’t know there’s a real medical condition for that fear. I have a friend who doesn’t visit the dentist regularly. I’ll try to talk to him next time I see him, and I’ll try to be extra sensitive about the topic. Thanks for this!