A recent online poll of 289 general dentists and consumers reported that men were far less likely to visit the dentist than were their female counterparts.* Why should that be? Here are the reasons the poll’s respondents gave for this rather startling figure:
- Approximately 45 percent said that men just did not see a need to visit the dentist;
- About 30 percent said that men were afraid or embarrassed to go;
- Almost 18 percent said that men just didn’t have the time for a dental visit; and
- About 5 percent said that men didn’t visit the dentist regularly, because most of them didn’t even have a regular dentist.
Not so very long ago, most men worked for only one or two employers over the whole span of their working lives, and so perhaps they didn’t need to think so much about how their overall appearance might affect their professional lives. Today, however, the environment is much more competitive. The unfortunate reality is that, with lay-offs and continuing business closures across the nation, middle-aged men seeking positions in higher management have to compete with their much-younger colleagues, and so they’re looking for an edge, and they realize that having a presentable, attractive appearance can give them that edge. Suddenly, looks matter.
Dentists today are seeing more and more men sitting back in their dental chairs for more than just maintenance. Now they’re inquiring about procedures that used to be looked upon as “only” cosmetic dentistry and have begun to consider the serious side of time and money invested in such procedures as teeth-whitening, veneers, Invisalign, and cosmetic bonding.
An impressive smile has value in the business world, and men are seeking a return on investment—in terms of jobs available to them or promotions that open up within an organization. Then, once men get into the routine of regular dentist visits, they begin to see the importance of overall oral health and biannual check-ups.
We dentists are not complaining. Whether they’re concerned about health, good looks, or their careers, it doesn’t matter to us. Whatever their reasons for coming in, we’re just happy to see them, and we’re happy, too, to see that more men are taking care of their oral health than ever before.
*Poll conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.