Three Reasons Adults Avoid The Dentist

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Regular oral health care is important for all people, regardless of age.  Starting good oral health habits at a young age, and staying consistent with dental visits, can prevent expensive procedures in the future.  Unfortunately, many Americans do not go to the dentist regularly.  There are many reasons a person might avoid the dentist, and most fall into the following three categories: financial reasons, access to care, and personal reasons.

 Financial Reasons  Money is a common reason why many people don't go to the dentist. 

  1. Dental care can be expensive, especially if a person has not been to the dentist for long periods of time and will need extensive dental work. 
  2. Insurance (for those who even have it) doesn't typically cover the entire cost of dental procedures.  For many years, people who depended on the government for health care (Medicaid, CHIP, etc.) were not covered or were barely covered by many practices. 
  3. People don't see dental work as a priority and simply don't want to spend the money, even if they have it available.

Access to Care Many of the reasons people give for not going to the dentist are based on not having proper access to care.

  1. Some geographic locations simply do not have dentists that are accessible to them.  In rural and low-income areas with no public transportation, traveling to get to an office is unrealistic for those without a vehicle.
  2. For those who work, typical office hours of dental practices do not fit in with work schedules. 
  3. Not all jobs offer paid vacation and sick days, so missing work can be impossible for some. 
  4. Missing a day of work as an hourly employee can be financially burdensome.

Personal Reasons  It isn't uncommon to have personal reasons for avoiding the dentist. 

  1. Anxiety about going to the dentist is a real problem for some and plays a huge role in keeping people away from the dentist chair.
  2. Aside from anxiety of the visit itself, others are afraid that the dentist will find something wrong that will result in the need for more care.  
  3. Others simply don't want to put forth the effort it takes to make the appointment and then show up, because they don't see it as necessary. 
  4. Many adults are busy and it is hard to fit a visit to the dentist in. 
  5. It is also easy to put a visit to the dentist off because oral health does not seem to be as pressing and important as other health issues.

Some steps have been made in recent years to make dental care more affordable for everyone.  With the new health insurance requirements mandated by the United States government, dental coverage is likely to be covered in addition to medical coverage.  Issues and kinks in government programs have been worked out, and while the system is not perfect, more practices are accepting the programs.  Access to care is also an issue that the dental community recognizes and is trying to remedy.  Unfortunately, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.  Even with the government and dental community working to make dental care affordable and accessible for all, getting proper dental care is ultimately in the hands of the people. To learn more about why visiting your dentist regularly is important, visit