Get the most out of your dental appointment.

When was the last time you looked forward to going to the dentist? We won’t hold it against you if your answer is “never,” especially if you have dental anxiety or need to bring your children along for their own appointments — which, while you love them, isn’t always the best dentist experience. However, what if we told you there are steps you can take to improve your entire family’s experience at the dentist? The truth is you make the entire visit more enjoyable for you and your children by taking steps to reduce the stress it can cause.

Here are 10 ways you can make your dental visit as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

1. Choose a family dentist you trust.

If you have kids, choosing a family dentist you trust can greatly improve your experience during appointments. While pediatric dentists can only treat your little ones, family dentists can treat your entire family, and your kids won’t age out of their care, so family dentists are dedicated to your family’s oral health for the long haul. As a result, you won’t have to search for a new dentist when your child becomes too old to continue seeing their pediatric dentist; they can continue seeing the dentist they already know and trust and who’s already familiar with their oral and overall health history.

In the short term, it minimizes confusion by cutting down on how many dentists’ names and office locations you need to remember. Plus, choosing a family dentist like Dr. Lang means you’ll have direct experience working with your family’s dentist as a patient, so you can rest easy knowing he’s giving your children excellent dental care.

2. Schedule appointments for the whole family at once to save trips.

Another short-term benefit of seeing a family dentist is you can schedule appointments for your entire family on a single day. If you can make this work with your schedule, it saves you the time and stress of taking off of work for multiple dental appointments per treatment cycle. It also cuts down on confusion since you’ll no longer have to keep everyone’s appointment date and time straight in your head. It simplifies your entire family’s dental care, allowing you to get all of the necessary appointments over with in a single day and at a single location.

3. Check with your dentist for special check-in procedures.

In light of COVID-19, it’s wise to check with Dr. Lang before your appointment to make sure you’re aware of the latest check-in procedures when you arrive. This way, you won’t be caught by surprise and can arrive fully prepared for your appointment and the new procedures your dentist may have implemented. You may want to take the opportunity to ask about this when you schedule your appointment over the phone, but if you forget or schedule your appointment online instead, you can call our office to ask at any time.

4. Read fun books to your children.

While many children are nervous at dental appointments, being scared of the dentist isn’t a foregone conclusion; you can prepare your little ones for their dental appointments and build a positive association with the dentist by reading them fun books on the topic. If your children know what to expect from a dental appointment and are comfortable around Dr. Lang, they’re much less likely to be fearful, which will make their appointment go more smoothly.

5. Plan to arrive early.

It’s always a good rule of thumb to arrive at an appointment early, but it’s especially true if you’re bringing your kids along for their appointments as well. Scrambling to get to an appointment on time is stressful and embarrassing, often raising your anxiety levels before your appointment has even started. Building a buffer of time into your schedule reduces the stress of arriving on time and can prevent you from being late, even if there’s bad traffic or your kids aren’t ready when they were supposed to be. Your experience at the dentist will be more enjoyable if you aren’t arriving with already-frazzled nerves.

6. Avoid caffeine before your visit.

Caffeine can make you jittery and more anxious, especially if you drink a lot of it or if your anxiety levels are already increased. If you suffer from dental anxiety, it’s wise to stay away from caffeine before your dental appointment. This won’t erase your fears, but you’ll probably feel calmer throughout your appointment, making it a much better experience overall.

7. Bring things for your kids to do in the car if there is a wait-in-car policy.

To limit the contact between patients and minimize the number of people in the building at one time, many dentists are implementing a wait-in-car policy. This policy is exactly what it sounds like: You wait in the car instead of the building until your dentist is ready to see you. Since your kids won’t have access to the toys, TV, or activities in the waiting room, it’s wise to plan ahead and bring toys or activities they can entertain themselves with while they wait in the car.

8. Write down all of your questions before your appointment.

It can be hard to remember all of your questions for Dr. Lang in the moment, so it’s a good idea to take time before your appointment to write down all of the questions you’d like to ask him. This ensures you won’t forget anything and helps you get the most out of your appointment.

9. Be honest with your dentist about any anxiety or dental issues you’re experiencing.

It’s always best to be honest with Dr. Lang about the issues you’re struggling with, whether it’s dental anxiety or a sore tooth. Having an open, honest discussion about these issues allows Dr. Lang to take steps to help. If Dr. Lang is aware you’re struggling with dental anxiety, you can work together to find ways to lessen it, like listening to music during your evaluation or discussing hand signals you can use when you need a breather. Additionally, being open about issues like tooth sensitivity helps him catch and treat issues early, which saves you from steadily worsening pain and major treatments. These discussions will help Dr. Lang give you more specialized care, giving you the best experience possible from your appointment.

10. Plan a reward for your kids afterward.

You may want to plan a reward for your children after their dental appointments, especially if they suffer from dental anxiety. Anticipating a reward gives your kids something to look forward to if they do a good job, so it often encourages them to behave better at the dentist. Plus, the reward is a good way to spend time together as a family and relax after completing a round of dental appointments!

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be a struggle to get through or an appointment you avoid. Implementing even a few of these tips can help dental appointments go more smoothly for you and your children, lower your anxiety levels, and allow you to get the most out of each visit. In the long run, this will benefit your entire family’s oral health, keeping you healthier and happier.