5 Tips for Overcoming Dental Anxiety

 

Millions of people experience a phenomenon known as dental anxiety, which can prevent them from seeking the essential oral health care everyone needs. Dental anxiety is a real problem, and if you suffer from it, you know how crippling it can be. While it seems like your anxiety is telling you to ignore the dentist, we want to encourage you to confront your fears with new knowledge and helpful tools to cope.

  1. SPEAK UP ABOUT YOUR FEARS

The most important step in addressing your dental anxiety is to speak up. Don’t hesitate to tell our team member as you’re scheduling your appointment about anything that makes you nervous or uncomfortable.

2. AGREE ON A SIGNAL 

Some patients feel anxious because they can’t talk or move once the dental procedure starts. That’s why we suggest agreeing on a signal, such as raising your left hand.

If at any point you feel anxious or uncomfortable during your appointment, just make the signal and we will pause to let you take a break.

3. BRING A DISTRACTION 

Do you have a favorite podcast or playlist? Bring your headphones so you can listen to something that will distract your mind and help you relax during your visit. A stress ball or fidget spinner can also be helpful. 

4. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS 

Before your dental visit, take 5 minutes to sit in a comfortable space. Breathe in slowly for four counts, then breathe out for four counts. Repeat 5 times.

5. ATTEND REGULARLY 

Even though anxiety may tempt you to skip appointments, getting regular care can lead to better outcomes overall. When your dental concerns are dealt with right away, you won’t develop serious problems that may require invasive or uncomfortable treatments.

If dental anxiety has kept you from seeing a dentist in recent years, your next step is finding a dentist you trust. When you’re ready, schedule a non-invasive exam first, then work your way toward the more extensive treatments you may need. We want every patient to receive the dental care necessary for a healthy life!

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A CAVITY

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE A CAVITY

According to the National Institutes of Health, the most prevalent health condition after the common cold is tooth decay. It’s more than likely that if you haven’t already had a cavity, you will develop at least one in your lifetime. So, how do you know if you have a cavity?

Well, depending on the severity of your tooth decay, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Here are some of the accompanying symptoms that go along with tooth decay.

  • Nothing (in the early stages)
  • A toothache or spontaneous tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain (slight or severe) when eating something sweet, hot, or cold
  • Staining (brown, black, or white) on the surface of your tooth
  • Visible holes in your tooth. Those holes are cavities
  • Pain when biting down

The best time to catch a cavity is in the early stages, when there are few, if any, symptoms. Keeping your twice yearly (or more) visits with us will ensure we catch them in time. 

We will let you know the best course of treatment for your particular situation. The recommendation could be as easy as watching and waiting to see if we find any tooth decay in the very early stages. Or, if you are symptomatic, we may have to formulate a more in-depth treatment plan. 

As always, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss at least once a day, and try to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet. These steps will help you be proactive in preventing cavities. Even better, your teeth will thank you for it!

You can request an appointment here. Our team at Dentistry by Design is here for you. Please call with any questions or concerns. (920) 854-5200

Beautiful Smiles Rely on Healthy Gums

Your oral health goes beyond just teeth. Gums play a big part in a healthy and beautiful smile.

It is the gums that hold the teeth together in the perfect way and protect them by providing armor underneath. Even when your teeth are disease-free, you need to constantly care for gums for long-lasting teeth. 

Tips for Healthy Gums:

Good oral hygiene goes a long way when it comes to maintaining healthy gums. Some of the things patients should add to their oral care routine include:

Brush Twice a Day

Brushing at least twice a day is essential to keep gums healthy. Patients should not only focus on teeth when brushing. The gums and tongue should be cleaned as well. This removes plaque buildup and bacteria from teeth surfaces.

Floss Daily

Using floss at least once a day is just as important as brushing. Dental floss should be used to clean the spaces between teeth and keep them healthy. Failing to do so daily still leaves teeth and gums susceptible to decay.

Use a Mouthwash

An antibacterial mouthwash goes a long way when it comes to oral hygiene. It helps to clean the spaces brushing and flossing cannot reach, and it kills some of the bacteria in the mouth. A good mouthwash also helps to re-mineralize teeth and freshen breath.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

Dentists are trained to detect early signs of gum disease. If you go to your dentist regularly, they are more likely to be able to catch signs of gum disease early and treat it before it causes serious damage. Professional cleanings are also the only way you can remove tartar. Tartar leads not only to tooth decay but also gum disease. Your hygienist is trained to remove this tartar to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Healthy teeth rely on healthy gums to keep them in place. Take care of your gums to maintain a beautiful, functional smile that lasts a lifetime!

Learn more about the ways to take care of your gums at Dentistry by Design Sister Bay. Request an appointment with us for a check-up. Call our office at (920) 854-5200 or book an appointment online.

What Type Of Dental X-rays Will I Need And How Often?

Recently we had a new patient mention that they enjoyed our dental practice and the service they received, but felt like we took more x-rays and intraoral pictures then they had in the past. This got us thinking that may be other patients share this feeling, so we felt it was important to take some time to explain why we do what we do.

As trained dental professionals we know how essential x-rays and intraoral pictures are to making an educated diagnosis. Through x-rays we can see your bone, roots, in-between the teeth and also detect any possible abnormalities such as oral cancers or blocked arteries depending on the x-ray we take. In order to know what is going on in areas we can’t see with the human eye we need these images to best serve the needs of our patients.   

So what type of x-rays can you expect to receive at Dentistry by Design and how often? That depends on if you are a current or new patient. We follow the ADA recommendations for x-rays and as an existing patient at our Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay or Algoma practice it is recommended to have the following.

Bitewings are taken yearly and are the small tabs that you bite on that holds the x-ray film in place.  These x-rays help us see between the teeth and catch possible issues in areas that may not be detected by a general oral exam.

FMX, otherwise known as a full mouth series, is also a type of x-ray you can expect to receive every 5 years depending on the patient.  An FMX consists of 18 different pictures of your teeth achieved by biting down on films that are placed inside your mouth similar to the bitewings.

Panorex (Pan), which is a Panoramic x-ray, is also done every 5 years depending on the patient.  This involves biting down on a straw-like appliance while a scanner rotates around your head taking one image.  Should you need to see us for a dental emergency it is our protocol to take another Pan of the affected area to identify the source of the problem, but this is case specific.

In some cases we will also take pictures of your teeth with our intraoral camera.  This is a tool that our dentist can maneuver inside your mouth to get different angled images of your teeth and gums. These images are displayed during an appointment on a monitor screen in either the exam room or consult room for our patients to see.  This comes in extra helpful when showing a crack in a tooth or separation between a filling and tooth.  It is also helpful to show before and after’s of restoration procedures like changing out a metal amalgam filling to composite resin filling (tooth colored).

For new patients x-rays can be transferred upon their request from a previous dentist to our office. If they are good quality and have been taken in the past 5 years, chances are we won’t need to take them again. However, if we feel they aren’t the quality we need we will take new ones to get a clear picture of the current state of your oral health.  For new patients that require updated imaging, they will receive an FMX and a Pan as part of our new patient special and going forward be under the recommendations listed above as a Dentistry by Design patient.

When talking about x-rays people understandably want to know how much radiation they will be subjected to.  To give you an idea, according to the American Dental Association, a FMX full mouth series is equivalent to a couple days of environmental radiation exposure. To reduce exposure even more we use a lead apron and sometimes a lead thyroid collar. A great resource on this can be found on the ADA website https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/x-rays .

We hope this article provides clarity on the use of x-rays at our Dentistry by Design practices. Remember not everyone’s needs are the same when it comes to your oral health so x-ray frequency, recall frequency, and the like, may differ.