Getting Someone ELSE to Go to the Dentist
Getting your partner to go to the dentist—especially if there is a fear involved—is like pulling teeth (pun intended)! In fact, many couples admit that constant nagging to visit their health provider to address an ongoing issue is a point of stress in their relationship.
However, if bad breath is the issue, we understand why you would want to get that sorted out sooner rather than later! And while we don’t specialize in relationships, we do want to help support all our patients and their partners achieve better oral health.
Couples that practice healthy oral habits are more likely going to be happier and healthier. If you are having trouble convincing your partner to visit the dentist, we have outlined some tips and tricks that we have picked up from patients along the way. Surprisingly, nagging didn’t make the list!
Determine why you want them to visit the dentist
If you’re at the point that you’re frustrated with your partner’s disregard for oral health, it is important to identify exactly what’s bothering you so you can specifically address it instead of making it a more general complaint about the person.
For example, if they have bad breath, a rotting tooth, or receding gums, it’s important to point out the specific problem and why it’s important that the issue be addressed. Avoid ad hominem attacks that deflect from the actual issue, because these can create unnecessary divisions. Have the conversation about what is bothering you in a private location that your partner feels at ease in. Avoiding making them feel attacked or ambushed is important. Once you are able to calmly discuss the problem, focus on solutions that will help your partner and strengthen your relationship.
Make suggestions—not ultimatums
More than 43% of men admit being anxious about dental visits, while three fourths of all adults admit to at least some fear of the dentist.
Fear is a powerful force that can convince you out of doing things—including those that are beneficial. If your partner is experiencing fear or anxiety, that is completely normal. And due to that, it’s important to not make ultimatums or threats that “if they don’t” address their issue, you will force them to go to the dentist or do something equally drastic.
Unlike children, who can be forced to an appointment, it is never advised you do the same to an adult. Offer suggestions on which dental provider to visit, or solicit options from their close friends. Encourage them to discuss their fear with confidants to get an understanding that these feelings are normal. And finally, discuss the overall health risks of not addressing oral health issues. This could include an increased risk of heart disease, complications from diabetes and infections. This conversation should come from a place of love; although, we understand that frustration can also play a major role.
Give them a gift
Dental services can be expensive, especially for cosmetic procedures such as Invisalign. If you know your partner is concerned about the alignment of their teeth, or feels like their teeth could be a few shades whiter for added confidence, then giving them gift of a better smile could be just what’s needed! We have many patients that have been gifted an Invisalign treatment by a loved one and are thrilled with the results and new outlook on life.
Make appointments together
If you are able to convince your partner to make an appointment, consider making one for yourself at the same time! Your partner will be much less likely to back out last minute if you’re going together.
Going at the same time will also serve as a reminder for you both to schedule your bi-annual appointments together. If you have the time, make a full day date out of it. Grab breakfast after, or schedule time to grab a movie. Having something to look forward to at the end will take your mind off the appointment!
Also published on Medium.