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Has it been a while? A lot of people have been writing in saying that they want to go back to the dentist, but they’re afraid, anxious, or ashamed at how long they’ve lapsed.

When you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, it’s hard to know where to even start. These are my tips.

How to Go Back to the Dentist (If You Haven’t Been in a While)

1. Floss One Tooth

Sounds simple, but it works every time. When I tell my patients this, they laugh, saying, “what difference will that make?” but I say, if it’s so easy, then do it. When you floss just one tooth every day, after a few days you start to notice the tingly clean feeling in between that one spot. After a few weeks of getting into the routine, you’ll start to say “ah, I’ll just floss a few more.”Flossing all our teeth is overwhelming—flossing one tooth isn’t so scary or difficult. And it’s very hard to make excuses when your only job is to floss one tooth!

2. Make It Convenient

Sometimes it feels like cheating if we make things easier on ourselves, but it’s not cheating—it’s a great strategy for starting new habits! Author Gretchen Rubin says, “a lot of times we get discouraged about our habits because we think, ‘Oh, I tried this and I failed. I keep trying to get myself to go the gym and I don’t succeed. So I have no self-control, I have no willpower. What’s wrong with me?’ Whereas in fact if you set it up in a way that’s right for you, you’re going to have much better success.”

3. Make it a Game

Results can be incredibly motivating. For example, if you’re bleeding in one area, see if you can get that area to stop bleeding by focusing your brushing and flossing in just that area. Do this together with your dentist or hygienist. Once you start changing things, noticing results, and taking an active role in changing your health, it can be incredibly fun!

Let’s talk – Come meet us – 865-539-1119 We are located in West Knoxville #knoxvillesmiles  New Patients Welcome!  Dr Donnie Dean is a Cerec Trainer and Mentor – Cerec the One Appointment Crown!