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Advice to help my husband go to the dentist

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goose87

Junior member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
3
Please can somebody help me.. actually my husband.
My poor husband, he has the worse teeth I have ever seen. I've 'googled' rotten teeth, and the images that have come up are no where near the state of his.

His teeth have all broken and rotted away over the past few years, he's been left with black stumps. Rarely he feels pain when he breaks more of a tooth off. He's a constant avoider of all things, but this has got to a point... well, it's just not ok anymore. He needs to do something about his oral health. I'm really scared.

I am not sure what my husband's problem with dentists are, we've been together for 7 years and it's still a subject he does not wish to talk about. I believe it has to do with a feeling of loss of control - he would always prefer to be doing something/anything else than be at a dentist (who wouldn't). Several years ago he cancelled appointments for all of his top teeth to be removed, because the public dentist (in South Australia) expected him to be without teeth for 3 months before he could have false teeth. Fair enough I say. But he didn't voice his concerns either, I would have if I had of known.

A couple of weeks ago he suffered quite bad facial swelling, causing his eye to close a little. I took him to the Dr, secretly knowing that I thought it would be a problem with his teeth but not saying anything. Dr after a quick look tells him he has a bad tooth abscess, puts him on 2 different antibiotics with orders to go to public dental emergency after the weekend. Needless to say my husband made up excuses not to go to the dentist, saying the antibiotics would fix it and he had more important things to do. He was supposed to go on a second course of meds but didn't fill out the script. This was a couple of days ago, and now he's in pain.

What can I do to convince him that it's time to go to the dentist? I've been calm, supportive, angry, demanding at different times. I've been the one making appointments for him, to not saying a word about his teeth for several years in hope he would gain the courage to do it himself. He would never admit that he had a problem, I don't think I could get him to talk about it to anyone either..

I'm sorry for the long post. Please please can someone offer advice :cry:
 
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tabatha7

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2010
Messages
908
Location
US
First of all, I completely understand his avoidance of the dentist. I think everyone here does. You could tell him that he could just have a consultation where he will just discuss it with the dentist. Nothing wrong with talking is there? Tell him dentistry has come a long way. He can be sedated where he won't know anything. It does sound though like he really needs to go if he is having absesses and infections.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,958
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
http://www.sadental.sa.gov.au/

It might help him go along if you could arrange sedation in advance or even GA for extensive treatment should he really need full dentures.

If you can afford private care, it should be possible to find a dentist who will work with him. A denture made by a specialist prosthodontist is likely to serve him better than a public health supplied one (at least if it is similar to UK)

As someone else said either way, just a chat can't do any harm but if he is pain and needs immediate care, it is best that some kind of sedation is available as he likely must have had some traumatic trigger for his avoidance down the years.

Stay with him and ensure he is adequately anaethetised (that he is properly numb) before letting anyone work on him...another bad experience won't help.
Your medical doctor could prescribe valium or similar to help him get there in the first instance?
Good luck you are not in an easy position.
:grouphug:
PS Looks like a call to Adelaide Dental Hospital might be in order.
 
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goose87

Junior member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
3
Thanks for your advice guys. He knows that there has been significant advancement in the field of dentistry, unfortunately the waiting list here for any GA is 2 years though. He doesn't see that he has a need to go so I can't get him for a talking consultation, or meds from a Dr to help sedate him beforehand. I think I will call Adelaide Dental Hospital and ask what they can do to help.
 
TerrifiedWoman

TerrifiedWoman

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2010
Messages
843
Location
Iowa, USA
Hi Goose. I'm going to be honest with you..from the perspective of someone that has been exactly where your husband is..me. I honestly doubt his teeth are much worse than mine were. So to answer your question about what can you do to convince him it's time to see a dentist..........nothing. That's probably not what you want to hear..but it's the truth. There is absolutely nothing anyone could have said or done to me to get me to a dentist until the day I finally looked at myself in a mirror and couldn't take what I saw looking back any longer. I'm 56..and had not been to a dentist in over 50 years. Did I know I should go? Of course. Did I HATE my ugly teeth? Yes..with a passion. But until I made up my mind I truly HAD to go to a dentist..there was nothing anyone else could have done to get me there. My husband had tried..over 30 years ago. My Mother had tried numerous times. The anesthesiologist when I had gallbladder surgery had looked in my mouth prior to the surgery and informed me he wasn't sure he could establish an airway without knocking out what remained of some of my teeth and nicely said "You really should get your teeth fixed." Gee..ya think? And it was still two years before I made the first appointment. I now wear dentures and for the first time in decades can smile with pride. I always say my only regret is not going to a dentist YEARS ago..but as they say..hindsight is 20-20.

I have no idea if you could get your husband to come to this forum to read..but if you can..point him to the Journals section. There are SO MANY people just like him here. Reading those journals is what finally gave me enough courage to make the call....but only because in my heart I already knew I had to do it. I can't guarantee reading some of the journals would help your husband..but I guess it couldn't hurt. (I have a long one..detailing from my first appointment until now.) But really..until HE is ready..there's no amount of begging you can do to get him there. Just support him and be there for him..and hopefully he'll eventually make the call. Good luck! :XXLhug:
 
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goose87

Junior member
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
3
*sigh* thanks TW, I know deep deep down that this would be the case. I read your blog - hugs to you on being able to take action. I think that my husband's teeth look worse than yours did in the photo your provided, not that I think is a particular relevant point. It doesn't really matter, because he still is not ready to go. I get blamed for not taking him to a dentist from family, friends and medical professionals. Obviously if I could... I would.
 
TerrifiedWoman

TerrifiedWoman

Well-known member
Joined
May 13, 2010
Messages
843
Location
Iowa, USA
Don't blame yourself..and boo to people who do. Your husband isn't a child you can force to do something and people should realize that. I don't think people could have got me there even if they'd tied me up and tried to drag me.
Hopefully he'll face his fears..preferably sooner rather than later for his own sake. I wish I could tell everyone in the world who needs dental work how good it feels to FINALLY do it....but even then a lot of them wouldn't go.
In my case I was the same way with medical doctors for years. Only went when something absolutely forced me. I've worked past that as well..thank goodness.
I'll keep my fingers crossed that your husband finds his courage..because that's what he really lacks right now. I'm sure he looks in the mirror and hates his teeth just as much as I did and probably is not only afraid..but ashamed. That really held me back..I was SO embarrassed to open my mouth for a dentist. I figured he'd scream and run!

Hang in there.....
 
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