Here’s my suggestion. Above the dentist chair there should be a sign fixed to the ceiling. On it are various commands, each with a little light next to it. For example: ‘Open Wide’, ‘Rinse Please’, ‘Relax a Little’ and ‘Brace Yourself for Pain, Starting…NOW!’. So whatever the dentist wants you to do, or wants to prepare you for, they communicate via a little pressure pad that makes one (or more) of the appropriate lights blink. Meanwhile, you’re laying back on the chair, with huge, big-muffy seventies-style headphones on, cranked to 11, listening to your tunes of choice. Of course, I am way ahead of my time, and thus have to sit here typing this feeling sad and sorry for myself, trying to blunt the afternoon’s quotient of trauma with Chivas Regal.