What Should You Do Before a Dentist Appointment (And What To Avoid)

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Feeling nervous about dentist appointments is normal, and you’re not alone. Most people feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do beforehand. But knowing how to prepare for the next dentist appointment might help you relax. 

Preparation is vital, so you should know the answers to frequently asked questions.Be sure to continue reading in preparation for your next dental appointment. 

an illustration of a dental office with a dentist and patient discussing an x-ray

When You Can Eat Before Dentist Appointments

To eat or not to eat, that is the question. In many cases, you can eat before your dental appointment, with a few conditions, of course. 

You can eat before your dental appointment if it’s a routine checkup and cleaning. As long as you brush your teeth afterward, you can go about your daily dietary schedule. Brushing and flossing after eating help eliminate food particles stuck between teeth, which makes your local dentist’s job easier. 

What Foods Should I Avoid Before Going to the Dentist?

Some foods are better for your dental health than others. While you can eat almost anything in your daily routine, avoiding some foods on the day of your appointment is best. 

Usually, it’s best to avoid eating the following foods before going to the dentist:

  • Sugary drinks and foods
  • Food that gets stuck between your teeth, like popcorn or toffee
  • Food containing food coloring, 
  • Foods and drinks that are too hot or too cold, and
  • Anything that makes your teeth feel sensitive. 

These foods can lead to plaque buildup, gum infections, tooth stains, and sensitivity. By avoiding these foods, you help make your dentist’s job easier.

You might also want to read this: Why sugar is really bad for you and your teeth!

a woman holding a hug cup cake on one hand and a large tooth on the other, trying to decide what to eat before her next dentist appointment

When You Can’t Eat Before Dentist Appointments

Although many can eat before their next session, some are not so lucky. Some have to avoid eating for a few hours before seeing the dentist. But how do you know if it applies to you? 

Avoid eating if you’re scheduled for dental surgery, anesthesia, and blood tests:

  • With anesthesia, your body’s reflexes stop temporarily, and food in the stomach can cause nausea and vomiting.  
  • The nutrients and minerals in food and drinks can alter the levels of the blood tests. 

Ask your dentist if you’re unsure whether you should avoid food before your appointment. They will tell you everything you need to know before going in. Here’s more information about what to expect on your next deep cleaning at the dentist.

How Many Hours Before Dental Surgery Should I Stop Eating?

Now that you know not to eat before some dental appointments, the next question is how long you should avoid food. 

It’s best to avoid eating food at least 5 hours before dental surgery or anesthesia. That gives your body enough time to metabolize the food in your stomach and prevent anesthesia-related complications. 

What to Eat as My Last Meal Before Dental Surgery?

You might not have thought about this, but your last meal before dental surgery is crucial. The same goes for dental appointments that might last a few hours. And the last thing you want to do is get hungry while your dentist works on your teeth. 

Eating a protein-rich meal as your last meal before dental surgery is best. It includes chicken, eggs, fish, soy, legumes, etc. Increasing the protein will help you feel satiated for longer, ensuring you don’t get hungry too quickly. 

How to Make Your Teeth Look Good Before a Dentist Appointment?

When you prepare to go to the dentist, it’s natural to want your teeth to look as good as possible. No one likes the embarrassment of having food stuck in their teeth or plaque on the surface. 

a woman using an electric toothbrush and smiling while looking in the mirror making her teeth look good before next dentist appointment

You can make your teeth look good before a dental appointment by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. Brushing and flossing will eliminate any food particles stuck between the teeth, and mouthwash will freshen up the mouth. 

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to make your teeth look good the day of. The best way to ensure good-looking teeth is by keeping up with oral hygiene daily. That includes brushing, flowing, and using mouthwash. The more you do this, the better your teeth will look at the next dental appointment. 

What NOT to Do Before a Dentist Appointment

Like any other appointment, there is a list of things you should not do, whether for your own sake or your dentist’s. You make your and dentists’ jobs easier by not doing certain things. 

It is best to avoid doing the following before your dental appointment:

  • DO NOT brush or floss excessively. 
  • DO NOT forget to check if your medical insurance covers the visit.
  • DO NOT put on too much makeup
  • DO NOT keep any medical history from your dentist. 
  • DO NOT drink alcohol beforehand. 
  • DO NOT take painkillers. 
  • DO NOT smoke before the appointment. 
  • DO NOT be afraid to ask your dentist questions for clarity. 
  • DO NOT drive yourself to the dentist (if you’re getting anesthesia). 
  • DO NOT go to your appointment if you’re sick. 
  • DO NOT forget to take your dental gear, like retainers or mouth guards. 

There might be other things you should avoid doing, depending on your dentist. The best way to know these things is to ask your dentist. It’s better to ask too many questions and be informed than not ask enough. 

What NOT to Wear Before a Dentist Appointment

Going to the dentist isn’t a time to impress people around you, meaning there is a dress code to keep in mind. While you might be tempted to put on your best outfit, remember that some clothes are not practical.

Do not wear tight, expensive, or uncomfortable clothes at the dentist. You will probably be lying down for a while, so wearing something comfortable and inexpensive will make you feel more at ease. 

At the same time, dentists try their best to keep their workstations clean, but accidents happen. If you don’t want an accidental spill on your clothes, it’s probably not the best outfit to wear on this day. 

How to Relax and Calm Yourself Before Dental Work

For some reason, many people get nervous before dental work. While knowing you are not the only one experiencing this stress doesn’t help alleviate it. So, how do you relax before seeing your dentist?

You can calm yourself before your dental appointment by doing the following:

  • Try deep breathing exercises to eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed.  
  • Tell your dentist you’re anxious. They will help you cope with this stressful experience. 
  • See if you can take a friend or family member with you for moral support. 
  • Making morning appointments help get it over with and avoid overthinking. 
  • Being on time gives you time to settle in and avoid the stress of being rushed. 
  • Come up with a hand signal with your dentist indicating you’re nervous. When they see that signal during the appointment, they can stop and reassure and calm you down. 

Think about anything else that might put you at ease when you’re nervous. The more effort you put into calming yourself down, the better the dental experience will be. 

The Bottom Line

Although you might be nervous before a dental appointment, you can ease the tension by being prepared. Knowing the answers to the frequently asked questions will help you better prepare for your next visit. 

Remember that everyone is different, and you might have more questions than we covered. If that is the case, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. The more questions you ask to inform yourself, the easier the appointment will be for you.

If you live in the area and are looking for a dentist in Ellicott City, reach out to our office by clicking the button below and filling out a quick form, or by calling (410) 740-9400.

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