What To Do Before Your Next Dentist Appointment (And What To Avoid)

dental pain

Going to the dentist isn’t the most exciting activity. For some, it can even be stressful and anxiety-inducing. But knowing what to do before seeing your dentist might help calm your nerves. 

Read this article to learn the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding dentist appointments. As with many things in life, preparation is key!

Can You Eat Before Dentist Appointments?

If you’ve been to the local dentist before, you might know that some appointments are lengthy. So, thinking about food before going to your dentist is natural. But can you eat before a dentist appointment? Or should you wait until afterward? 

You can eat like normal before most dentist appointments, except for some foods. However, if you have a dentist appointment involving anesthesia, it’s best to avoid food and drinks 3-5 hours beforehand. 

When You Can Eat Before a Dentist Appointment

Typically, if you’re going for a routine dental checkup, you don’t need to avoid food. You can eat as you usually would and brush your teeth before you go. 

However, it’s best to avoid certain food types before seeing your dentist, like foods that: 

  • Get stuck in your teeth
  • Have food colorings
  • Contains sugar
  • Are too hot or cold

If you avoid these foods on the day of your routine dental checkup, you can avoid unnecessary pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, some people need anesthesia for more serious dental work. In that case, avoiding foods before going to the dentist is best. 

When You Can’t Eat Before a Dentist Appointment

Some people need more work done on their teeth that might require general or local anesthesia. The most common procedures require tooth extractions, tooth fillings, gum disease treatments, and crowns. 

It’s best to avoid eating foods approximately 5 hours before getting anesthesia at your dental appointment. It helps prevent nausea, vomiting, and other anesthetic-related complications. 

Eating a protein-rich meal like eggs a few hours before your appointment will help you stay satiated, which will help prevent hunger and dizziness during the procedure.

Are There Things to Make Your Teeth Look Good Prior To?

Although dentists are used to seeing teeth all day, it’s natural to want your teeth to look as good as possible! This is why it’s also important to choose the right dentist. But how do you make your teeth look good beforehand?

To make your teeth look good before a dental appointment, do the following:

  • Brush your teeth: It will freshen up your breath and remove food and stains in the mouth. 
  • Floss after your last meal: Some food gets stuck between teeth easily, and flossing will remove them. 
  • Drink enough water: Staying hydrated will prevent a dry, sticky mouth and produce more saliva, your mouth’s natural rinsing agent. 
  • Rinse your mouth with mouthwash: Using mouthwash containing fluoride can help eliminate tougher stains and freshen your breath too!

Doing these things before your appointment will remove excess food particles, foul breath, and recently-formed stains. However, there is no such thing as a quick fix!

Your dentist will see if you’ve been flossing or brushing appropriately, even if you did so the day of. So, it’s best to keep up with proper dental practices daily to keep up with your dental care. 

What NOT to Do or Wear!

Apart from eating and making your teeth look good, there are other things to consider. Some might seem obvious, and others might not have crossed your mind. Whatever the case, there are a few things you must not do or wear at your next dental appointment. 

Before dentist appointments:

  • DO NOT forget to take any dental gear along, like mouth guards or retainers. 
  • DO NOT wear tight or uncomfortable clothing.
  • DO NOT wear expensive clothes that you don’t want to get dirty.
  • DO NOT put on too much makeup.
  • DO NOT keep your medical history from your dentist.
  • DO NOT show your dentist pictures of your ideal teeth (everyone differs!)
  • DO NOT smoke before your appointment. 
  • DO NOT drink too many caffeinated drinks. 
  • DO NOT take painkillers.
  • DO NOT only improve your dental care routine before seeing your dentist. 
  • DO NOT forget to check what your health insurance covers. 
  • DO NOT go to your appointment if you’re sick without checking if it’s okay. 

It sounds like a lot, and if you’re unsure whether some things are acceptable, don’t be afraid to ask your dentist. They will tell you whether you can do or wear certain things at your next appointment. It’s better to ask than to stay in the dark. 

How to Relax and Calm Yourself Before Dental Work!

If you’re nervous before seeing your dentist, don’t worry! It’s natural to feel your nerves creep up beforehand. You’re not alone. Luckily, there are ways for you to relax before your appointment. 

Relax and calm yourself before dental work by doing the following: 

  • Tell your dentist you’re nervous: They can help calm your nerves if they know you’re stressed. 
  • Agree on hand signals with your dentist: It can help show your dentist when you’re most stressed, signaling that they should stop or help calm your nerves. 
  • Consider morning appointments: Scheduling an appointment prevents anxiety from building up throughout the day.
  • Be on time: Being late for an appointment can make you more anxious. 
  • Take a loved one with you: Having a support system by your side might help.
  • Ask if light sedation is an option: Some people with increased stress levels can opt for it if their dentists approve. 
  • Practice going to your happy place: Visualize a situation where you’re most relaxed, like the beach. If this doesn’t work, consider playing music. 

There are many other stress-relieving practices you can do. So, think about what helps you relax and whether you can incorporate that before and during your dental appointment. 

The Bottom Line

Most people experience nervousness before a dental appointment, and it’s usually because they don’t know what to expect. However, knowing what to eat, do, wear, and calm yourself should be less nerve-wracking. 

The key to the success of your dental appointment lies in the preparation. And if you’re unsure of something, ask your dentist. They want you to be calm and comfortable for both of your sakes during your appointment.