"Root canal" is a term that usually instills fear in dental patients. The truth is that this particular procedure is much easier to undergo than it once was, thanks to modern advancements in pain relief and dental procedure. But that doesn't stop people from worrying about having it done.

The best way to ensure your root canal treatment goes to plan and you feel as calm as possible on the day is to prepare. Here are the things you should do leading up to your appointment.

One month before

The best thing you can do in the month prior to your root canal treatment is to read about the procedure. More often than not, people find that simply knowing exactly what to expect can relieve a lot of their anxiety and make them feel calmer when the time comes.

Ask your dentist for some reading material on the procedure, and try to avoid spending too long reading on the internet. In the online space, it's easy to get caught up reading negative stories and opinions, giving yourself a skewed view of the reality. Sticking to dentist-approved information provides a more straightforward, honest account of what to expect.

One week before

In the week leading up to your treatment, make sure you pay particularly good attention to your dental hygiene routine. You should also avoid taking any aspirin, as it can interfere with proper healing. If you need to take it for other medical conditions, or if you're on other regular medication, make time to discuss it with your dentist as early as possible.

The day before

If you smoke, avoid cigarettes for at least the 12 hours before surgery – preferably longer, if possible. You should also avoid alcohol in the 24 hours prior to your appointment. One last thing to check is that you've arranged transport to and from the dentist's office. Some people are safe to drive, while others have difficulty, but it's not worth the risk.

On the day

Some dentists provide antibiotics that need to be taken before a root canal procedure, so make sure you remember to take medication if you've been given any. You may also have been advised to take an over-the-counter pain relief medication. Wear comfortable clothing in case you're in the chair for a long time, and eat any meals as normal. If you're particularly stressed, it can be helpful to have someone with you who can help keep you calm and talk through your worries with.