Objectives: To study the effect of providing written information prior to periodontal treatment on the pain experience during periodontal probing. Materials and Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to the experimental or control condition and had to read the accompanying information. Information was manipulated to enhance perceptions of control. Anticipated pain (Numerical Rating Scale, NRS), dental anxiety (short version of the Dental Anxiety Inventory, S‐DAI), and the Dental Control List were filled out before treatment; the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and experienced pain (NRS) were filled out after treatment. Results: No significant differences were found in anticipated or experienced pain. However, the experimental condition evaluated treatment as less negative (MPQ‐evaluative scale, F(1,55)=11.56, p<0.001), and scored lower on most measures. Subjects experiencing a discrepancy between desire for control and felt control showed the highest anticipatory distress (S‐DAI, F(3,53)=6.32, p<0.001; anticipated pain, F(3,53)=3.28, p<0.03). Conclusion: Providing patients with written information prior to periodontal probing can alter the pain experience. Future research will be aimed at strengthening the impact of information.