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What To Wear To The Dentist: Dress Code

Updated: May 15, 2023

Dental product splatter is a common occurrence at the dentist, so what are the dos and don'ts for how you should dress when going to the dentist. Our long island city dentist will lay out a dress code for you when you go in for your dental appointment.

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Mishaps that may occur

Clothing accidents and mishaps are common occurrences at the dentist because there are many dental products that are prone to splatter or spillage. These dental materials may accidentally splash onto your clothes, which would require you to go back home for an outfit change. This would certainly hamper your plans if you had an engagement shortly after your dental visit.

Your dentist and dental hygienist is not purposely trying to dirty your clothes, otherwise they wouldn't have put the dental bib on you in the first place! The purpose of the dental bib is to help protect your clothes from any potential splatter or spillage.

Patient with a dental bib

Even with the bib on, it can still get messy at the dentist because certain dental materials can splash, spill, drip, spray, and ooze. We will go through some of the potential causes that may dirty your outfit of the day.

Water spray

Quite a few dental equipment have the ability to spray water and sometimes it just sprays out of control and onto your clothes.

  • Air/water syringe

  • Dental drill

  • Ultrasonic scaler - this is the piece of equipment which your dentist uses to remove plaque and tartar.

  • Prophy jet - polishing machine that sprays water

Splash and splatter

The polishing paste at the end of your cleaning is highly prone to splatter and may splash onto you quite easily. This is because your dentist will put the polish onto a spinning rubber cup that rotates at thousands of rpm. It is inevitable that some of it will splash onto your clothes and your hair but most of it will stay on your teeth.

If you check out the video above, you can see how the material just flies everywhere. The material will stay on your teeth but it'll also go elsewhere. It is not uncommon for our dental cleaning staff to find the polishing paste on our office walls and floors! That is how potent the splatter can be.


There are too many dental products to count, which come in liquid form. Liquid dental products when being transported from the bottle and onto your tooth has the potential to drip before it reaches your tooth. It may drip onto your shirt quite easily. Here are a few common products, which drip.

  • Dental bonding

  • Tooth conditioner

  • Hemostatic agents

  • Fluoride treatment


Once again, a lot of dental materials come in liquid form so it isn't unusal for there to be spills from time to time. Staff can accidentally knock over things or drop them resulting in a spill. Thankfully the materials aren't toxic or hazardous to us!


The most common oozing culprit would be dental impression material, which are used to capture a mold of your teeth. This material will ooze out but its viscosity isn't quite as thick as honey. After a couple of minutes it will turn hard and set. Before then, it can ooze onto your clothes quite easily. Just a word of caution because if it gets onto your clothes, it is nearly impossible to get off!

The Dos - What to wear

What you should wear are very comfortable clothing that is easy to move in and also disposable if possible. What we mean by disposable clothing is if your shirt does get dirty, you wouldn't be upset about it. Your dentist will try their best to keep you dry and clean but sometimes it is just impossible.

Another reason to wear something comfortable is because if the dental appointment takes longer than an hour, you don't want to be laying in the dental chair in uncomfortable clothing.

Good outfits

  • Tops - old t-shirts, shirts you don't care for, anything comfortable

  • Bottoms - jeans, pants with elastic

The Don'ts - What not to wear

What you shouldn't wear are uncomfortable clothes or clothes that you would make you upset if they get dirty. Typically you shouldn't wear very expensive clothing to the dentist due to the possibility of them getting dirty.

Bad outfits

  • Suits

  • Formal dresses

  • Formal wear

  • Going out outfit

  • Clubbing outfits

Tips for prevention

The best tip that we can give you is to bring a change of clothing. It'll help a lot if you bring an extra t-shirt to wear for your appointment which you can change into before you sit in the chair. This way if it gets dirty, you wouldn't care!

Also if you anticipate having an event to go to, you may want to schedule your dental check up earlier so that you have time to change afterwards. You can always go back home and switch to a new outfit and then go out.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact one of our dentists in long island city! We'll give you advice on what to wear and what not to wear. However, we don't get asked this too frequently so you may be one of the few.



David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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