A visit to the dentist Harley Street is rarely the highlight of the week; for most, it runs the gambit from mildly inconvenient to annoying. But for a significant minority, it can be a daunting proposition. The start of the anxiety train gets rolling before you even pick up the phone to make the appointment. Or begins when opening a letter or a text message and seeing a check-up reminder. The knee jerk response is avoidance, and pretence of – I didn’t see that letter, I can do it next month. Even when an appointment is necessary because of a pressing dental emergency, the priority is to get in and out with the least communication possible, thus losing the opportunity to communicate with your dentist or even fully explore what was actually wrong.
It doesn’t have to go like this, and you may feel awkward approaching anyone else about your concerns when they seem to shrug off dental appointments so easily.
Here are some straightforward, direct tips to aid you in getting through your next appointment and getting the dental care you deserve.
Calling in to book an appointment and confirmation on the day
The first step can be the hardest and luckily, many dental clinics will accept emails or have query forms on their websites if you have concerns about talking on the phone. Either way, have a pen and paper ready to mark down the time and date, as well as the postcode and first line of the address.
The next face-saving way of backing out is to lose that piece of paper, not put it on your calendar and when you miss the appointment say, “It’s not my fault I wish I could have gone to that, but I forgot.” Put the date on your calendar, email it to yourself and set a reminder for the day of the appointment on your phone for the first thing in the morning.
On the morning of the appointment, call the surgery, give your name and ask them when your appointment is. It’s unlikely it was moved or cancelled, but by confirming the time you make the mental commitment to attend later in the day.
Brushing before your appointment
Many patients brush extensively before heading off to the appointment, some due to an attempt to put their best foot forward or a fear of being judged. It is not strictly necessary and if your teeth are in poor condition intensively brushing just before going to a dental appointment is unlikely to make much difference. Some obsessive tendencies can rear their ugly head when it comes to pre-check-up brushing, so just focus on attending the appointment and not on brushing for it.
Talk about the fine details
Your dental practitioner is a professional that you not only pay to carry out your treatment, but to also give you unbiased advice on care. They are not there to judge, only give all their recommendations. Informing them that you struggle with dentists will help as, unfortunately, this is not uncommon and dentists are prepared to address and accommodate your concerns to help you to feel more at ease.