I HATE going to the dentist. I have had some very bad experiences and it's led to a lot of phobias.
As a result, I have some serious dental issues that I've been trying to take care of. I have found a dentist that I do actually like but one of my teeth had a problem he couldn't handle. FOUR other dentists later (I was referred to one specialist who referred me to another and so on) I finally got the tooth pulled today. Normally when I need a tooth pulled, I have to be knocked out (the one time I wasn't was one of the Very Bad Experiences I mentioned earlier.) But since I just recently stopped working and I have a long road to go with my dental work, the money was just not there for me to cover the $250 for the anesthesia so I had to go through it with the local anesthetic instead. The dentist was awesome and let me listen to my ipod while he was working which actually helped.
But what helped the most was just a very simple little thing. The assistant cupped my face in her hand a couple of times - just held her hand on my jaw on the other side while asking if I was okay. That touch calmed me down so much. It surprised me -- it seems like so few people are willing to touch other people these days.