Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Dental appointments - Son Refuses to Go - Anyone Else?


My son refuses to go to the dentist. He used to go every six months.
Now he brushes his teeth once in a while and never flosses.
Does anyone have this problem with their family member?


Mine won’t go either. He has large gaps between his bottom front teeth where the gum has receded.


I have an appt set up for my son next week.

He’s never refused to go, but he gets nervous & shaky. That makes our family dentist nervous about doing a lot of work on him. She has a son with an anxiety disorder & feels like it’s asking too much of him to be in her chair week after week for her to do the work a little bit at a time.

And, when he’s got appointment after appointment stacked up for other things and isn’t doing well, I’m not good about getting him to the dentist.

So, he needs a lot of work right now. We’re going to our teaching hospital’s medical department this time. They have an office where only the faculty practices set up specially for people who are anxious about going to the dentist. They should be able to do everything from cleanings to fillings to implants in the same office & handle any sedation if they decide he needs it.

He went to a regular sedation dentist a couple years ago & had about 1/3 of the work he needed done at that time. It went well, but he “heard” the dentist says something to him that made him a little paranoid about going back, so we didn’t finish it up.

I’m hoping it goes better this time because your dental health can affect both your mental and physical health too. Part of me wonders about us letting that dental work go a few years ago - if he’s got some hidden infection that made things get so much worse over the past 18 months. I guess we’ll see if anything improves if we can get everything done this time.

He says he wants Invisaligns after he gets all his other work done, so he’s apparently OK with it all.

I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m a little nervous about it myself.


My son also refuses to go. I was happy I recently got him to get his eyes examined but his motivation was that he wanted to get contacts lenses again.


I had trouble with my son for awhile, he will go to the dentist now but he has lost 3 adult teeth not in the front but if he smiles wide you can see the gaps, I even got him to go have a partial made because at first he said he wanted one and then when we got it he said there was no way he could wear it because it was way too uncomfortable and he wasn’t willing to wait out the process of getting use to it. When he would get angry or upset about going to the dentist I just wouldn’t take no for an answer, I sometimes think I became more of a bother to him or more of an aggravation by hounding him than he was willing to put up with so he just went to keep the peace…I still say whatever works is okay by me.


I have an implant in place of an adult tooth - the one right behind my upper incisor.
Our dentist insisted I get a partial made during the implant process because 1. I should use it to retain the space and 2. I wouldn’t want to walk around with a missing tooth.

It fit OK, but everytime I would try to talk, my tongue would be bothered by the piece in the roof of my mouth.
I felt like I was talking with a lisp and I just didn’t like it .
I didn’t use it enough to get used to it either.

Luckily, I’m not vain. I figured if people thought I looked funny without that tooth, they could just look elsewhere.


He says he wants Invisaligns after he gets all his other work done, so he’s apparently OK with it all.

Yes, there is a growing amount of evidence that poor oral health effects your overall health. Even though I know this and work for a dentist, my son still will not go regularly. Fortunately he has not had many issues needing dental care…

I can tell you though a good dentist will not do Invisalign until all necessary work is done. So if that is his motivation that is wonderful!


Unfortunately my son won t go to the dentist anymore. The caseworker kept making appt.s for him and he said he would go, but would always cancel. He brushes his teeth about once a week and never flosses. He really had great looking teeth, they are now they are grimy and yellow. He said the last couple of days that his jaw and tooth have been hurting, so maybe that will motivate him to go. Hope so.


Another worry, many infections can start in the mouth, with my son being immune suppressed, its always a concern.

I wish I could pressure my son by

Unfortunately that sort of pressure would send my son into a psychotic rage. Glad it works for you and some others, some of us are in trickier higher risk situations.


In case anyone reading hasn’t experienced their loved one in a full blown psychotic rage - I’d just like to say -they are not as fun as they sound. All joking aside, they are dangerous and we should never knowingly put ourselves in danger.


I don’t apply my “pressure” in a conflicting way, it amounts to constant gentle reminders with small doses of humor added all of the time…he doesn’t feel any real conflict so he stays stable but my constant quiet reminders, comments, jokes, reading health articles out loud… etc…irritate him just enough or maybe it is more like sink into his subconscious-- I don’t know for sure…but it’s not too much emotionally…if that makes any sense…it is a very light footed verbal dance on my part. If I were mean or very forceful or if I were to yell or get upset all of my son’s stability would quickly unravel. That is a big no no for me-I wouldn’t risk that, Sometimes after a few days of this constant gentle “talking on the importance of the subject” I will take a break for a few days and there has been many times that at the end of that break my son will pop up with this brilliant idea that he thinks is his own like “I need to go to the dentist” (for example) …not relating it to the 2 weeks that I talked on the subject almost non stop but in a light -humorous and conversational manner. (when I get a win like that I will say I didn’t take no for an answer-makes me feel victorious)


I am glad that works so well for your son. My son would be HIGHLY irritated on gentle, quiet reminder #2. I have to spread my “campaigns” far apart. But one thing I do know about my son, the slightest thing I say, sticks with him.

As I communicated to his psychiatrist, he takes everything in, even if he responds negatively initially. For our situation, a comment made to my son in May may get a results months later.

Even prior to the scz emerging, he would take a long time to make decisions. We used to comment that he rarely made a poor decision, his sibling would point out, that as long as he took to make a decision he should have good results. Like everything else, scz has made that more so.


@hope - maybe you can text your son just once that you read it’s important to take care of your teeth because dental infections can spread without warning to other parts of the body.

It’s true, and you can just present it as a fact, and maybe it will work since he does know he has to take care of himself because of his transplant.

Maybe share a link like this one?


Thanks, its been a while and sharing an article link could not hurt.


My son’s oral hygiene has gotten very lax with this illness. He will go to the dentist, fortunately. Takes anti-anxiety meds before going. Would prefer nitrous oxide, if he has to have any cavities filled.


Yes, my husband just started about 2 months ago - not brushing his teeth or taking a shower (except maybe once a week). He’s been diagnosed with sz for over 15 years but always brushed and showered. He says he’s too tired or doesn’t feel like it. If I tell him he’s starting to smell (nicely), he’ll eventually shower. But I have to pick my intervention carefully. I read this is very common-the not showering/brushing. Hard to keep up with all the little surprises sz has for us all.


People diagnosed with schizophrenia often don’t take care of their teeth.


I try to make a conscious effort to take better care of my teeth because I know this. At one point in time I had several cavities and gingivitis. I did just go to the dentist yesterday I no longer have gingivitis and I had no cavities.


My son had a root canal & temporary crown today.
He did really good. It wasn’t his favorite thing to do, but he wasn’t overly nervous.
In fact, his blood pressure was so low I teased that if it went any lower we wouldn’t know if he was alive.

On the way home, out of the blue, he said “what if they put a tracking device in my tooth”

I asked if he was serious or messing with me - and he started laughing & said just messing with you.

He jokes about all kinds of stuff now, but I have to admit I was a little scared for a minute.


Wow this is good ! He’s keeping you on your toes :smiley: