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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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!

ICOI Fellowship Press Release

ICOI Fellowship Press Release

Dr. John T. Sledge of Sister Bay, WI- Dentistry by Design earned Fellowship status in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI) on September 21, 2022. To be designated as a fellow of the ICOI, active members are required to attain formal dental implant education and training, display proficiency in surgical and restorative protocols, and pass testing requirements. In addition, select cases and treatments are selected by examiners and critiqued.

Dr. Sledge has long been associated with organizations dedicated to the advancement of implant dentistry and has completed several advanced dental implant training courses. The ICOI is a non-profit, global dental education organization that is committed to improving dental implantology and communicating scientific knowledge about implant dentistry. The organization holds several annual conferences and provides continued support for education and research.

As the owner of Dentistry by Design, a General, Restorative, and Cosmetic dentistry practice in Sister Bay, Dr. Sledge offers Dental Implant procedures such as single-tooth dental implants and anchored dentures to help patients replace missing teeth with results that look and feel as natural as possible.

Dental Implants Explained

Dental Implant

Process of Placing Dental Implants

Dental implants are the closest thing to your natural teeth. Implants can eliminate the need for removable partials or complete dentures, as well as provide support and stability for dental appliances if needed. Our dentist surgically places dental implants into the upper or lower jaw bone and the result is strong, stable, durable teeth that can last for many years.

Reasons for dental implants:

      • Replace one or more missing teeth.
      • Help deter bone loss due to missing teeth.
      • Restore a confident smile.
      • Restore chewing and speech capabilities.
      • Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.

What does getting dental implants involve?


The dental implant process begins with X-rays and impressions (molds). These are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. Dr. Sledge will surgically place the titanium implant into the bone.  After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort for the patient. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.

For more in-depth information on this process and its duration, please schedule a complimentary dental implant consultation at our Sister Bay dental practice by calling (920) 854-5200.



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

Thank You for Your Toy Donations!

We at Dentistry by Design are so thankful to our wonderful patients, staff and everyone else who donated to this year’s Toys for Tots campaign! We were thrilled and honored to be a toy drop-off location this year. All the toys have been picked up and have been distributed to local children. Your generosity has made all of the difference this holiday season!

Thank you!

(Pictured: Dr. Sledge and Cora Sledge)