How to Get Your Stubborn Family Member to Go to the Dentist

How do you get your stubborn family member to the dentist?

When gentle reminders don’t work, arm yourself with facts.

Family life is full of daily challenges, and sometimes living with others seems like a constant struggle.

  • “Please pick up your socks.”
  • “Feed the dog.”
  • “Cover your mouth when you cough.”

Whether the culprit is your spouse or your child, getting someone to do what they should is often surprisingly difficult.

You can’t be blamed for choosing your battles. No one wants to sound like a nag, constantly harping on their loved ones. But when it comes to your family’s health, persistence is important. This is certainly true of your family’s oral health and regular visits to the dentist.

Healthy patients need a professional cleaning and examination from their dentist only twice per year. Although these visits are infrequent, some people are amazingly resistant to the idea of visiting a dental office for any reason and at any time. The best way to overcome this reticence is to identify the reason for their reluctance and to counter it with facts.

Here are some tips from the team at Berrien Dental on how to get your stubborn family member into the dental chair.

For Your Spouse

Adult family members may not act very grown up when it comes time to make a dental appointment. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which they may be reluctant to voice. Anxiety over pain, concern about costs, and desire to avoid negative feedback from the dentist are all concerns that many adults have about dental visits. These are all valid points, so begin the discussion by acknowledging these concerns. Then, use these facts to counter these points effectively.


Dentists have an undeserved reputation for causing pain. This popular belief is largely a holdover from decades and centuries past when dental treatments really were quite painful. However, modern anesthetics, instruments, and techniques mean that most dental care can be delivered in complete comfort.

In fact, Barrien Dental offers many amenities designed to maximize comfort and minimize anxiety. We want your whole family to be at ease and relaxed, and we go to great lengths to ensure everyone has a pleasant visit. With blankets, music, pillows, and more, your spouse may mistake their dental visit for a mini-vacation.


Dental care can sometimes be expensive, but the simple truth is that preventative care leads to lower costs. A dental cleaning is very affordable, especially when compared with a root canal or placement of multiple crowns. By catching problems early, we help your family save money down the line by avoiding extensive and complicated procedures. Regular dental care is an investment that pays off.

Furthermore, if your spouse does need more involved treatment, they do not have to pay all at once. We have payment options available at our Berrien Springs office, and we also accept financing through CareCredit.

Negative Feedback

A recent survey revealed that men are less likely to visit the dentist than women. The chief reason? Fear of “lecturing.” Regardless of gender, nobody likes to be harried, and many patients realize that their at-home oral care is less than stellar.

We understand this. We believe our role is to be our patients’ partner in oral health rather than to act as a judge. While we will gently point out areas where an oral care regimen may be deficient, we will never harass or lecture you or your family members about their dental issues. Our goal is to provide the best dental care possible and to keep you and your loved ones in great oral health.

For Your Child

It is not at all uncommon for young children to be afraid of the dentist, especially during their first few visits. Some of this trepidation is due to being in a new environment. Other times, the anxiety may be because children sometimes associate dental offices with medical clinics, where they receive injections.

From Toddlers

At Berrien Dental, our entire team does their utmost to put our smallest patients at ease. We take extra care with children and demonstrate patience and understanding. You can tell your children truthfully that the dentist is not here to hurt them, but rather to prevent painful conditions from occurring in the future.

To Teenagers

Teenagers and adolescents are a different story from young children. Older kids often avoid the dentist because they just don’t see the point of dental visits. Since teenagers are typically concerned with social status and what their peers think, you can take a divergent approach when advocating for dental visits to your adolescent.

Consider pointing out that tooth decay and bad breath are unattractive and off-putting—so are missing teeth. Dental visits are one of the best ways to prevent these problems and ensure a beautiful smile. Don’t be afraid to appeal to your child’s vanity if it helps preserve their dental health.

Once you’ve laid out your case, go ahead and schedule your family member’s appointment at Berrien Dental. We’ll take excellent care of them.


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