Dentist Visits are Worth the Pain


Confession: I do not like going to the dentist. Every time I move to a new place I have to find a new dentist near me, and every time I drag my feet because I don’t like having people work on my mouth.

But I go anyway. Partly because I know it’s the right thing to do and partly because family members pressure me to do it. Even so, I’m not alone in my hesitance. Only 64% of Americans visit a dentist every year despite the recommended schedule of once every six months.

The reality is that dentists do good, important work. Almost 3/4 of adults believe that having an unattractive smile can hurt their career prospects. Conversely, millions of people believe that having a nice smile can help their career prospects – it’s one of the first things people notice when they meet you.

For me, these are things worth knowing when I’m trying to find a dentist near me. Remarkably, it feels like there’s always a dentist near me because of different specialties: Cosmetic dentistry, pediatric dentistry, family dentistry, restorative dentistry – each of these seem to have offices near my house.

One of the most common tasks for dentists in recent years has been teeth whitening. In an average year, Americans spend almost $1.5 billion on teeth whitening products and procedures. Sometimes these are store-bought strips to put on your teeth overnight, while other times they’re something resembling invisalign braces. In either case, this is an enormous industry that thrives off of that same 75% of people who believe that an unattractive smile hurts their future livelihood. Similarly, 32% of people admit that they’re concerned about how their teeth look.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Wanting to look good is far from a crime. Having white teeth is something to strive for, and while not everyone will get there, it can’t hurt to try. In fact, one study reported that over 80% of people who received teeth whitening from a dentist were able to see the improvement. What’s the only thing better than wanting to improve yourself? Seeing the results. Knowing that it might make my smile a little brighter is enough to get me out of the house to schedule that visit.

I just have to sift through these user-reviews a little longer.

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