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What Should You Do Before A Dentist Appointment?

Redbook Magazine’s Sascha Zuger, in a feature on WebMD, wrote, “With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s hard to squeeze in appointments during the week.”

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Moreover, studies show that only an average of 50 percent of the total population actually visits the dentist.

This is both saddening and downright risky considering that assuring one’s dental health is an integral part of assessing the state of one’s overall health.

Early detection of dental problems will prevent further serious complications that can spread to other vital organs of the body.

Whether your dental visit procrastination is ignited by fear or apprehension of the unknown, it is reassuring to know that most dental clinics nowadays are equipped with cutting-edge tools and other amenities that promise to alleviate the source of one’s fear.

Here are ways you can do to prepare for your dentist appointment:

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Giving the brain ample time to rest will soothe the nerves and dispel anxiety. Not only will it invigorate the body and set the person in a good mood, but lack of sleep can impact a person’s cognitive ability in terms of problem-solving, creativity, and judgment.
  • Choose a dentist that you can trust. Dentists should be proficient in managing patient anxiety and should have good communication skills. A practitioner who maintains an open line of communication can bolster patient confidence and will eventually breed to a long-term doctor-patient relationship.
  • Avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages on the day of the appointment. The tendency of sugar and caffeine to perk up one’s energy level can likewise increase one’s anxiety.
  • Verify the appointment. Confirm your schedule at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Initiate dental record transfer. If you’re planning to change your dentist, contact your previous dental office and ask for assistance in transferring your records to your new chosen profession.
  • Organize your information. Be ready to disclose your form of payment, provide your comprehensive medical history, and itemize your current medications and supplements. Take along with you a list of oral health concerns that you want to discuss with your dentist.
  • Confide your dental anxiety. Whatever you do, avoid self-medication prior to the visit. Pain-relief drugs, like caffeinated drinks, will destabilize the chemicals of the brain adversely affecting the anxiety level of a person. So, come clean and don’t be afraid to confide your fears to your dentist.
  • Practice good hygiene. Don’t just focus on brushing and flossing alone before the appointment. Wear appropriate clothes and maintain proper grooming, as it will reflect your character. Remember that a dentist is a health professional. They don’t like a dirty mouth and a spoiled personality.
  • Come early. Avoid rushing and give yourself time to feel comfortable and relaxed with the dental office environment. Take time to know the staff and complete forms.
  • Be truthful with your answers. When a dentist asks you about your oral hygiene regimens, and the past and current dental issues, be straightforward and thorough. As your partner in oral health, the dentist needs to have a transparent and comprehensive perspective of your dental health status, so the right treatment plan can be recommended for you.

Your dentist may perform a comprehensive examination to check for signs of diseases and other potential problems. Expect the following evaluation:

  • Complete screening of the head and neck
  • Examination of the periodontal area and its supporting structures
  • Soft and hard tissue evaluation and detailed documentation
  • Clinical examination of the teeth
  • Bite or occlusion assessment
  • X-rays

As much as your dentist needs your full cooperation, you also need his in-depth professional advice. It doesn’t matter if your dental visit is a dental treatment like cleaning or polishing, routine checkup, or for a more sophisticated procedure, the key to a successful dental visit is preparedness.

25 thoughts on “What Should You Do Before A Dentist Appointment?

  1. Aaron Stephens - January 29, 2016

    I tend to get anxiety about doctor appointments and dentist appointments, so I appreciate the tips about not drinking caffeine before I go. I usually drink coffee in the morning, but I guess I’ll skip when I get my dental clinic appointment. Hopefully, I’ll be more relaxed this time and have no cavities.

  2. Jeff Madison - March 1, 2016

    I appreciate your tip on not just practicing good hygiene before a dental visit. It seems that if you practice good hygiene all the time it would be much better than just before a check up. I have a bad time remembering to floss, I should probably get better at that and not just do it in the weeks leading up to a dental check up.

  3. Nash Rich - June 1, 2016

    I agree that it’s kind of sad that only 50% of the population visit the dentist. I just think of a mouth full of cavities and pain. I know the more I’ve gone regularly, the better my oral health has been. I agree that you should be truthful to your dentist, so he or she can know the best treatment for you.

  4. Kendall Everett - June 16, 2016

    Arriving early to a dentist appointment is a great idea. If it’s the first time going to that dentist, it will be good to get there early to ensure you have time to fill out paperwork like you mentioned. Arriving early may also allow you time to ask additional questions to the dentist.

  5. Maggie - June 21, 2016

    You make a really great point about choosing a dentist that you can trust. After all, if you don’t trust what they are saying, then how can they reassure you about the visit? Plus, I think that having a reputable dentist can help make it easier for you to actually talk about your dental anxiety. You’ll actually want to hear their advice!

  6. Jeff Curtis - June 30, 2016

    Thanks for this helpful post on how to prepare for a dental visit. I really like what you said about choosing a dentist that you can trust. I actually need to find a new dentist for my family since moving to a new area. I will have to try really hard to find a dentist that I can trust. I also like what you said about having your information organized. Thanks for the help!

  7. Justin Knox - July 13, 2016

    Thank you for the help. I have dentist appointment this weekend, and it’s the first that I’ve had in a while. I had not thought about there being information that I need to organize. Do I need to have any medical records with me or anything like that?

  8. Kairi Gainsborough - November 1, 2016

    I think that coming to your dental appointment early is a smart idea, especially if you have kids. They should also get a chance to meet the dentist and the hygienists before their appointment. Plus, I know it always takes me twice as long to get anything done with my two kids around, so I would need extra time to fill out any paperwork.

  9. Shad Morris - November 21, 2016

    I really like that you say to not be afraid to confide your fears to your dentist. Since I tend to have anxiety about going to the dentist, I never like to go. It would be nice for them to know that to ease the fear.

  10. Danni Black - December 19, 2016

    I really like your tip about verifying the appointment. My husband and I have been looking for a new dentist to go to so we will have to keep these tips in mind. Hopefully, we can find something that works for us our kids! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Jay Jorgenson - January 6, 2017

    I had no idea that as little as fifty percent of people visit the dentist. I can’t imagine how many cavities and teeth diseases are accumulating within that other fifty percent. I had a dental emergency a couple of years ago in which I had to rush to the closest dental clinic. It turned out really great for me because I go there just in time to fix my root canal.

  12. Ben Allen - January 27, 2017

    I appreciate the information and tips on how to prepare for dental visits, it was very helpful. I agree that it is important to find a dentist that you can trust, either from experience or finding a dentist that has been referred to you through someone else you know and trust. Finding a dentist can be a hard task at first because there are so many, but it can really pay off in the end.

  13. Tiffany Locke - January 30, 2017

    Taking along a list of oral health concerns that you wish to discuss with your dentist is an excellent idea. I would imagine that having a list would make it easier to remember, and help you be more prepared with your questions beforehand. Being able to talk to your dentists about anything that you wish to know and how to keep your teeth healthy seems like an excellent way to keep your teeth in good condition.

  14. Joy Butler - January 31, 2017

    I agree that it is a good idea to share your anxieties that you feel about dental work with your dentist so that you can figure out a healthy way to overcome them. You dentist probably knows better ways for you to resolve your issues than you do since they have had a lot of experience and training. It seems like a good idea to be open with your dentist so you can have more personalized care.

  15. Xavier Salas - February 1, 2017

    I had no idea that maintaining not only good hygiene, but just getting ready to go to the dentist can improve your experience there. It really does make sense, and I am sure that the dentist appreciates it as well. I also think it is really important to be truthful with your answers as well. It does no one any good when you lie to your dentist. Thanks for the reminders!

  16. Annika Larson - February 21, 2017

    It’s important to have your regular dental checkups, but I think it’s also important to prepare properly. With three little boys, it can be hard to be prepared and organized, but hopefully, these tips will help. I hadn’t thought of avoiding sugary or caffeinated drinks before the appointment, as you mentioned, but I’ll be sure to do that! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Trayson Evans - February 22, 2017

    I thought there would be a different reason to avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages on the day of the appointment. I half expected the article to say that the sugar would weaken the enamel, which is bad when they’re about to be worked on. It makes more sense to me that it would be to help with anxiety. I have found that when I can relax in the dentist chair, it doesn’t hurt as bad.

  18. Dave Anderson - March 16, 2017

    I like how through dentists are before they begin working on your mouth. Because they go through so many different procedures they are able to find out what needs to be done and how to make your smile that much prettier. I think that it would be important to make sure that whenever you have any pain in your teeth to tell your dentist as soon as possible to make sure that it can get corrected.

  19. Jade Brunet - March 31, 2017

    It is good to know that one should verify the appointment at least 24 hours in advance when it comes to preparing for a dental appointment. I also like what was mentioned about choosing a practitioner who maintains an open line of communication. I have also heard that it is a good idea to visit the office before your appointment if it is your first time receiving service from that dentist. This would help you feel more comfortable on the day of your examination.

  20. Ridley Fitzgerald - April 27, 2017

    Thanks for the advice on going to the dentist. I agree that finding someone who knows how to put their patient at ease is important. I get dental anxiety sometimes, so it’s doubly important for me!

  21. Kairi Gainsborough - June 6, 2017

    I think your advice to come to a dental appointment early is so smart. When I am nervous about something, it always helps me feel better prepared and less anxious to show up early. This has worked for me before when giving presentations or going to the first day of class in a new semester, so I’m sure it will help with the dentist. Plus, like you mentioned, it helps to have time to meet the staff and fill out forms!

  22. Afton Jackson - July 7, 2017

    I didn’t realize that getting a good night’s sleep can help you be in a good mood before visiting a dentist. My wife has had a toothache for a while. Hopefully, these tips can help her be ready for the visit so she can get the relief she needs.

  23. Barbera Peters - September 6, 2017

    My husband and me have not been to the dentist ever since we got married which was about two years ago. Neither of us had the time and now that we are trying to find a dentist to make appointments I wanted to see what tips we should keep in mind to prepare for the visit. You mentioned that it is important to organize the information on form of payment, medical history, and current medications. Thank you for the awesome information for me to keep in mind and pass along to my husband.

  24. Easton Memmott - September 13, 2018

    I love when you mentioned that you should get a good amount of sleep before you go to the dentist, because adequate sleep can help dispel anxiety. I get very anxious when I go to a dentist appointment, so I have been searching for ways to get rid of my anxiety. I will make sure to get a good amount of sleep the night before my next appointment, so I can hopefully be less anxious.

  25. Easton Memmott - September 24, 2018

    I like the tip you gave to avoid caffeine and surgery beverages the day of your dentist appointment because avoiding them will help keep anxiety in a lower level. I am going to the dentist tomorrow, so I am trying to prepare to make sure that my anxiety isn’t too major. I will be sure to avoid caffeine and sugary beverages tomorrow before my appointment.

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