What You Should Do and What to Avoid Before a Dental Appointment

Regarding your dental appointment, preparation is vital. Most patients know the basics, like punctuality, brushing, and flossing. Nevertheless, there are other considerations before visiting your skilled dentist. Some activities and habits can adversely affect oral health or hinder your appointment’s success. Here is a guide on what to do and avoid before your visit to achieve a brighter smile and optimal dental care.

Prepare The Questions You Want Ask Your Dental Healthcare Provider

Your dental visit is a chance to take control of your oral health and guarantees healthy gums and teeth for a lifetime. So, ensure you maximize your time in your dentist’s office by asking questions. These questions include (and are not limited to) the following:

How Could You Prevent Gum Disease?

Around 47% of Americans have mild, moderate, or serious gum disease. Gum disease is a severe dental issue affecting gum tissues and the bones supporting your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease could lead to tooth loss and negatively impact your general well-being. Your dentist should give you tips on how to care for your teeth.

What is the Condition of Your General Oral Health?

The dentist should explain any serious oral health issues correctly. Nevertheless, you should learn more about urgent issues in the mouth and their consequences for your oral health.

Requesting that your dentist provide you with a summary of your general and oral health will assist you in managing your daily oral care more effectively.

Things you must aim to understand include:

  • Your gums’ appearance
  • Whether you are flossing and brushing appropriately
  • Whether there are areas you should improve, like potential cavities or weak teeth

Your objective must be to leave your check-up/visit knowing your oral health condition and what you should focus on in the following months.

What Do Tooth Sensation, Pain, and Discoloration Mean?

Ensure you raise concerns or issues about your oral health, especially if you suffer from tooth sensitivity, are concerned about the look or color of your teeth, or experience dental pain.

Do not dismiss any early warning signs. Address all your dental issues with your physician to develop a practical treatment plan.

Which Foods Cause Bad Breath?

You are what you eat regarding your oral health. Depending on your unique oral health, some foods could cause significant problems for your dental well-being, so you should ensure you understand the foods to focus on based on your dental health needs. Although it might be challenging to eliminate all harmful foods and beverages from your diet, it is crucial to understand the foods you should take note of to reduce the risk to your dental health.

What Type of Toothpaste and Toothbrush is Suitable for Me?

It could seem trivial, but the dental care tools you use daily could significantly affect your oral health. For example, although bristled toothbrushes effectively remove stains and plaque, they could damage your gums and teeth if you do not exercise caution.

With the wide range of toothbrushes and toothpastes available, it is wise to obtain recommendations from your dentist on what suits you best.

Food Guidelines Before Your Dental Appointment

Whether you should eat and what to eat before your treatment is always a concern to many patients. Here is what you should do and avoid:

Avoid Drinking Sugary Drinks

Drinking sugary drinks before your dental check-up could affect blood tests during dental appointments. These dental tests give dentists vital details like blood cell count and glucose level and are beneficial in administering proper dental care. For example, if you suffer from an autoimmune disease or diabetes, a complete set of blood tests will provide the dentist with additional measures and steps to take during oral treatment. Furthermore, extensive pre-dental examinations help address particular concerns, depending on the kind of treatment you are receiving or the location of your mouth where the treatment is happening.

Sugary drinks increase glucose levels in the blood, lowering your mouth’s pH levels, which might alter dental test results like plaque analysis. Consequently, avoiding sugary foods and drinks before a dentist visit could ensure that your dentist conducts the tests accurately and safely.

Avoid Eating Foods or Drinking Beverages that Make Your Teeth Sensitive

Certain beverages, foods, and temperatures lead to tooth sensitivity, manifesting as discomfort or pain. Avoiding foods and beverages that make teeth sensitive keeps you comfortable during your visit and allows your dentist to analyze your current dental health status precisely.

When You Cannot Eat Before Your Dental Procedure

Dentists advise some patients to avoid eating for a few hours before their visit. If you are scheduled for blood tests, anesthesia administration, and surgery, this might apply to you. With anesthesia, the body’s reflexes temporarily stop, and the food in the gut can result in vomiting and nausea. On the other hand, minerals and nutrients in beverages and foods can change your blood test levels.

Consult with your dentist if you are unsure whether to avoid food before the visit.

What to Eat Before Your Dental Surgical Procedure

Consider eating a protein-rich meal as the last meal before your surgery. It will help you avoid feeling hungry before your treatment; proteins will keep you full for hours. It will prevent you from being tempted to eat unhealthy foods and sabotaging your preparation endeavors. Protein-rich foods include eggs, dairy products, nuts, fish, lean meat, and legumes.

After eating, your body breaks down proteins into amino acids that form the body’s regulatory processes, like hormones and enzymes. Eating protein-rich foods before treatment ensures the body has enough nutrients for tissue repair and wound recovery.

How to Stay Relaxed and Calm Before Your Appointment

It is normal to dread your dental visit, mainly if your previous experience was terrible. However, avoiding your dentist can adversely affect your dental and general health. Here are guidelines for relaxing and enjoying your dental appointment.

Speak With Your Qualified Dentist

While your dental healthcare provider is there to assist you effectively, you should address any concerns with them. Inform them of your fears and previous negative experiences. It will help them understand your concerns and needs and offer appropriate care.

Additionally, communication will enable you to feel less anxious and more in control during the dental appointment.

Practice Relaxation and Deep Breathing Techniques

One way to reduce your anxiety is by practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and visualization. Before your dental visit, sit and relax, shut your eyes, and breathe deeply. Slowly inhale via the nose and exhale via the mouth.

Take Advantage of Distraction Methods

Distraction techniques like playing games on the phone, reading a book, or listening to an audiobook or your favorite playlist can take your mind off your dental procedure, reducing anxiety. It could also cause the time to elapse quickly, so you do not feel like you have been waiting for hours.

Consider Rewarding Yourself

Consider rewarding yourself for overcoming your fears and receiving dental care. You can buy yourself your favorite meal or go on a trip. The reward will make you proud of yourself and make your future dental appointments manageable.

Consider Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry involves using medications, like oral sedation, intravenous sedation, and nitrous oxide, to help patients feel relaxed and calm during dental visits. Please consult your dentist beforehand to see if sedation dentistry is your best choice.

What to Wear

You should wear comfortable clothing that you do not care much about. You want to be comfortable and relaxed while your dentist pokes around your mouth, and you do not want to worry about your clothing getting dirty or damaged. While your doctor will try their best to avoid messing with your clothing, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Being comfortable is essential, mainly if you know you will spend a lot of time in your dentist’s office.

Ideal, breathable outfits include the following:

  • Bottoms — Pants with elastic, jeans
  • Tops —Loose, old shirts, t-shirts, or sweatshirts
  • Hoodies

Moreover, ensure you wear something you can easily remove. That is why wearing a light hoodie and a T-shirt is better than a winter hoodie. The latter will not make you more comfortable if the office becomes too hot.

You should not wear formal clothing or suits.

You should also carry accessories that will make you comfortable. For instance, you can bring a lip balm to prevent your lips from drying during your dental procedure.

Leave jewelry, piercings, watches, and valuables at home.

Do Not Wear Makeup

While wearing makeup can be part of your everyday routine, it can affect your dentist's operations. For instance, your dentist must hold your face for minutes during a dental filling procedure. The beauty product can be transferred onto the medical equipment if you wear heavy makeup. The mess can hinder the efficiency of medical tools or jeopardize your treatment. Applying little or no makeup ensures you receive world-class dental care.

Avoid Using Tobacco Products and Smoking

Using tobacco products or smoking can have adverse effects on your dental health, including causing bad breath, staining teeth, and increasing your vulnerability to oral cancer and gum disease. Avoiding tobacco products or smoking ensures you have a healthier and cleaner mouth.

Smoking lowers blood flow, slowing down your body’s natural recovery process. After dental treatments like dental implants and extraction, a smoker might experience an increased risk of complications and longer recovery durations.

If you are a smoker, consider discussing quitting strategies with your doctor to improve your oral health.

Clean Your Teeth

A dental appointment does not mean you can be lax with your dental hygiene. Although dentists see different oral issues daily, be respectful and save them from having a filthy experience by using mouthwash, flossing, and brushing your teeth before the appointment. No doctor wishes to clean out food debris before getting to the job.

Additional Tips on How to Prepare for Your Dental Appointment

The proper preparation could make a substantial difference in guaranteeing a hassle-free and smooth dental visit. Other vital tips to help you prepare for your dental appointment include the following:

  • Plan your dental appointment early— Scheduling your appointment one day prior helps you get a convenient time and date that aligns well with your routine and permits the dental practice to plan your check-up efficiently.
  • Observe punctuality — Dentists have tight schedules. Hence, it is advisable to arrive for your dental visit early. If you are late, the doctor could cancel your appointment slot or schedule it forward to avoid inconveniencing other patients. Try to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before your scheduled check-up time.
  • Collect your oral care records — These records will give your dentist a summary of your dental health situation, including any existing issues, current medications, and previous medical procedures. These medical records will assist your dentist in determining the proper treatment approach for you. Where applicable, you can provide some recent dental diagnostic imaging not older than six months and a referral letter from your previous physician.
  • Confirm your insurance coverage — Assessing your dental health insurance coverage before your dental appointment is crucial. Knowing what the insurance covers will enable you to factor in any out-of-pocket expenses and make the appropriate financial arrangements ahead of time.
  • Create a list of your dental concerns — Before a dental visit, allocate time to write down the issues you are experiencing. Whether your issues are gum pain, tooth sensitivity, or gum pain, voicing these concerns enables the dentist to provide dental care tailored to your preferences and needs.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the treatment — If you drive to your dentist’s office, you need someone to pick you up, mainly after sedation dentistry. That means making arrangements with a relative or friend to drive you home afterward.

Contact a Competent Dentist Near Me

Preparing for your dental visit involves more than just arriving on time. Instead, it involves careful consideration and planning to ensure a productive and successful appointment. By complying with the above-mentioned tips on what to do before your visit and the pitfalls to avoid, you can maintain optimal, lasting oral health and maximize your dental experience. If you have any concerns or questions about your next visit, please contact Dr Joseph Goodman, an experienced Beverly Hills-based dentist, at 310-860-9311. We are committed to helping you have a comfortable and successful experience and can educate or guide you on the steps to take before your treatment.



Dr. Joseph M. Goodman, DDS Beverly Hills Center for Cosmetic Dentistry Advanced Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry. 2nd Floor at 241 1/2 S. Beverly Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90212