You know that it is recommended that you visit the dentist twice a year. But, maybe life has made you busy and you have neglected your dental appointments. Or maybe, you don’t have dental insurance and cannot justify spending the money on your teeth- besides, they don’t hurt! Whatever the reason for not visiting the dentist, years have gone by and deep in your brain, a little voice begins telling you, “Go to the dentist.”

There is one problem, however. You are embarrassed. Why? Well, because you know you haven’t been taking care of your teeth properly. You don’t brush for two minutes twice a day. You don’t floss nearly as much as you should. And you know that the second you open your mouth, your dentist is going to notice everything that you have been neglecting (even if you floss and brush like crazy a week before your appointment). Knowing this, you cancel your appointment. No one wants to be embarrassed!

You are not alone. In a recent study, 47% of the people surveyed said that embarrassment has caused their dental phobia because people don’t want to admit their failure, especially of something that they do have control over. In fact, of these people, many of them state that the embarrassment of their teeth has affected their self-esteem to the point that they don’t want their teeth looked at by an expert or their friends and family, causing them to hide their teeth in every day situations.

The dentist’s office is an uncomfortable intimate setting, where either the dentist or the hygienist has to invade your personal space and enter your mouth. Now add in the feeling of knowing that your teeth are probably a wreck, and all you want to do is run and hide.

The thing to remember about this problem is that your dentist sees many people just like you on a daily basis. His job is not to judge you, but instead to recommend ways to help you get your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful. This concept is often hard to digest. However, with guidance from your dentist and his staff, your teeth can too be healthy and something that you can be proud of.

Getting over your embarrassment is the first step toward making your smile healthy, which will eventually lead to you being more comfortable with your dentist, ultimately trusting the knowledge be or she is giving you.

Additionally, it is important to remember that through being embarrassed we learn many important life lessons. In this example, you will probably be more aware of the health of your smile. Once it is healthy, you will be more likely to want to continue to take good care of it. Through extra TLC and a healthy smile, you will see your confidence rise. It is funny how something as simple as a smile can have so many psychological implications on one’s overall health!