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Dental scare tactics



Well-known member
Apr 27, 2021
I started going to my current dentist a year ago after five years of avoiding the dentist. I’ve posted in this forum before about my root canals and crowns journey. Things went well and I’ve continued checkups every six months and cleanings every three (due to periodontitis). I love my hygienist. However, every time I see the dentist he gives me “the lecture” about my need for orthodontics. Yes, I have crowded teeth that would benefit from braces, but I suffer from anxiety disorder and simply can’t undergo the numerous extractions needed followed by braces. It’s hard enough to go for regular checkups and cleanings. As nice as he is, this dentist insists on lecturing me about getting braces at every visit and he uses scare tactics. At my last visit yesterday, he told me “if you don’t do this now, you will end up toothless.” He has made numerous comments intended to scare me and it’s getting old. I’m 54. I’ve lived with crowded teeth my whole life. I choose not to undergo orthodontics, but I would like to continue regular dental care. How do I get this dentist to back off the lectures? Or do I just have to continue to say no and get lectured every six months? I appreciate any input.

Hey Laura,

this sounds like a challenging situation. You have come along a long way, finally getting back on track with dental care and it seems that you're generally happy with your hygienist and even with the dentist, until his suggestions for braces come in. I'd be very upset if anyone told me I'd end up toothless.
There are two ideas that pop into my mind reading your post: you could either kindly tell him what you told us and ask him to make sure not to bring up the topic of orthodontics in the future as this makes you uncomfortable and won't change your decision anyway. I'm sure they could just put it into your file so that he sees it every time you come in and can make sure not to talk about it. Another idea may be a bit more radical: to change dentists - is there anyone else in the practice that you may feel comfortable with?

All the best wishes
What a tricky one. Either he believes that what he is saying is correct, or else he's lying. If it's the former, then a second opinion is probably in order... if it's the latter, then you may find it hard to stay with him, as being lied to would make it pretty much impossible to trust him...

I can understand wanting to stay with the same hygienist... here in the UK, you can access hygienists independently, regardless of which dental practice they work for (so you can see a hygienist in one practice, and a dentist in a different practice). From everything I've read here though, that doesn't appear to be the case in the US (can someone enlighten me :)?).
@Enarete I think you’re right. I have to be more assertive with him. I guess it’s all part of overcoming my dental fear. Well, I have six months to work out my strategy! Thanks for your input, it means a lot to me.
@letsconnect In the US, hygienists work for specific dental practices. Now I wish I was in the UK! It sounds so much more logical to me. Yes, trusting dentists is part of my problem and stems from a bad experience with an orthodontist in my youth (sadly, he used the same kind of scare tactics). Thanks so much for your input, it certainly is helpful.
@letsconnect And in Canada the hygienists work for a specific dentist, so you are tied to both together, but we also have stand-alone hygienist businesses, with no dentists attached to them, and these are almost always a less expensive option.
Laura ,
I understand what you are going through , my dentist would always do the same thing , no I never got them done . Don't worry about the scares , they won't happen . Mine would tell me by the time I was a adult I would have nothing left and would've toothless .( I'm 17 ) . I guess all I can say it change dentist . It a process to fine one that doesn't do that but, there out there . I found mine after going to one again and making it seem like I had a lot that needed to be done . try calling or asking before hand to make sure .
Best of wishes to you 😊
@Mckenziesavey Thank you for your kind words! Because I have HMO insurance, I’m limited in dentists that take the plan. If I can’t get this one to stop hounding me, I will consider changing insurance and then changing dentists! What a shame…
I get that I had to change mine just to find some on half way knowing what they are doing ,Which can be a hard task , but I'm sure you will you find some one . It is a shame that they just keep on even know we arent going to change are mind. If you are open to different ones after you try your current one , I use dentquest which most accept that one , so ... I was recommend that one by my doctor because she was on to me on about getting in but, could never find one with out traveling 3-5 hrs . I sill travel but only 2 hrs so it not that bad .
Good luck...