Tips for people with dental anxiety

If you get sweaty palms, a quickened heart rate and an impending sense of doom every time you approach the dentist chair, you’re not alone. Many people fear the dentist, and the process of having any kind of dental work done can induce a lot of anxiety and stress for some people. At Lindsten Family Dentistry, we know that not everyone enjoys coming to see us (although WE always love seeing you!) Here are a few pointers for calming your nerves if you’re not as excited about your trip to the dentist as we are:

Plan ahead for your appointment
When coming to see us, plan your appointment for a time you’ll have a little bit of spare time before to prepare yourself. Don’t leave yourself feeling rushed and flustered just before your appointment, as this will only increase your anxiety. Just before your appointment, you can do whatever helps you relax: listen to music you find soothing, or try some breathing exercises to help you feel calm and relaxed.

Watch your food and drink intake
Before an appointment, try to avoid high sugar foods and high caffeine drinks as these can make you feel jittery and add to your growing nerves. Instead, try having a cup of chamomile tea- it is known for its soothing properties.

Talk to us about any concerns
We see nervous patients every day, and if you talk to us prior to your treatment about anything you are uncomfortable with or anxious about, we can tailor our care to help you relax more. Our dental team want to make your dental visits as pleasant as possible, so rest assured there’s no better team to place your trust in.

Use distractions
We agree that it can be hard to distract yourself when someone has their hands in your mouth, or if a handpiece is running near your ear, but you can try diverting your attention to something more enjoyable. If you find music relaxing, you could bring headphones with to wear during your dental appointments. Sometimes just making small talk with your dental assistant or hygienist can be enough to take your mind off things, so let us be your distraction!

In extreme cases
If none of these tips work and you still feel like a trip to the dentist is an insurmountable challenge, then why not give nitrous oxide a try? Nitrous, or “laughing gas” as many people call it, does not put you to sleep, but does help to relax you and take the edge off a bit. Usually this is just enough to make the dental appointment possible.

Dental injuries in children (and how to prepare)

No parents want to see their child hurt. But as anyone who has a bouncing baby, tumbling toddler or active adolescent knows: Accidents happen, including dental accidents. Nearly 50% of children will have some type of injury to a tooth during childhood, many of which are preventable. Injuries most often occur after a fall, motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or fight. In most cases, tooth and mouth injuries are not life threatening. Rarely, a child may develop serious complications. The best thing any parent can do in this situation is to be prepared.

When to seek help

Many parents wonder if their child should receive medical attention after a tooth or mouth injury. Children with any of the following symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Depending upon the particular circumstances, this may be done over the phone, at the dentist’s office, or at an emergency department:

  • If there is pain, tenderness, or sensitivity (to hot/cold or pressure) in a tooth
  • If there is a broken, loose, or missing tooth after trauma
  • If there is bleeding that does not stop after applying pressure for 10 minutes
  • If there is pain in the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
  • If there is difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • If there is an object stuck in the roof of the mouth, cheek, tongue, or throat (do not attempt to remove the object)
  • If there is a large or gaping cut inside the mouth, or on the face
  • If the child could have a puncture in the back of the throat
  • If there is a cut on the lip that extends through the lip’s border, into the surrounding skin
  • If the child is weak, numb, or has blurred vision, or slurred speech
  • If the child develops a fever or other signs of infection after a mouth or tooth injury (localized redness, pus, increasing pain in area); signs of a more serious infection may include neck pain or stiffness, inability to open the mouth completely, drooling, and/or chest pain.
  • If the parent is concerned about the child’s condition
  • If a tooth is lost or knocked out of the child’s mouth, quickly place the tooth in milk or even a sports drink. Only place the tooth in water if it is the only liquid available. Many times if the tooth is placed back in the mouth and stabilized by a dentist, the tooth can be saved! Timing is critical in these cases, so don’t wait to contact your dentist.

The parent or child should try to describe how the injury occurred. If there is any reason to suspect that another adult or child intentionally injured the child, this should be discussed with the healthcare provider. During the physical examination, the clinician will examine the child’s mouth, throat, head, neck, and body. Depending upon the injury, some children will need an imaging test (x-ray, CT scan, MRI). The imaging test can help determine if there are fractures in a bone, damage to the root of a tooth, damage to a blood vessel, or if the child has swallowed or inhaled a foreign body. Not every child with a dental or mouth injury will require an imaging test. The treatment needed will depend on the location, and severity, of the injury. The healthcare provider will likely recommend follow up appointments to monitor healing of the injured area.


One of the ways that parents can reduce the chances of mouth and dental injuries during recreational and sports activities is to have the child wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards can significantly reduce the risk of mouth injuries and the incidence of concussion and jaw fracture in athletes. There are 3 types of mouthguards: Stock mouthguards, Self-adapted mouthguards, and custom-made mouthguards. For the latter option, please contact our office for more information on having one made. Mouth injuries can also be prevented by teaching children not to put anything except food or drinks in their mouth. It is also important that children learn to sit while eating and drinking, particularly while using a straw or eating food on a stick (eg, popsicles, lollipops, corndogs). Eating in a car can also lead to injuries, especially if the child is in a seat where an airbag could deploy.

Information provided by:

The BIG deal about LITTLE teeth…


February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the American Dental Association wants you to “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile!”

20161201_ncdhmposter_lgThis month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers and many others. The ADA and dentists across the country also celebrate “Give Kids A Smile Day” on the first Friday of every February by providing free oral health care to children.

Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children to get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. To access free online resources that can help you with teaching children about good oral health, visit, click on Public Programs, and then click on National Children’s Dental Health Month.

For more tips on how to achieve optimal oral health, visit


Acidic drinks blamed for rise in tooth erosion

People’s teeth are wearing away at a faster rate than ever, dissolving under a blistering acid attack that they’ve brought on themselves, dental experts say. Dental erosion, the loss of the protective enamel on teeth, is reportedly on the increase in the US. The condition occurs when enamel is worn away by acids in the mouth, leaving teeth sensitive, cracked and discolored. “Tooth erosion is a chemical process of tooth destruction, not to be confused with tooth abrasion, which is a mechanical process of tooth destruction,” said Dr. Melvin Pierson, a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry in Sicklerville, NJ. One study, for instance, found dental erosion in about 30 percent of a group of 900 middle school students across the country. Pierson said those results, published in 2008 in the Dental Tribune, confirmed the suspicions many dentists had harbored. In a survey of dentists taken before the study, nearly half said they thought tooth erosion was on the rise. Why is this happening? Experts blame what people are drinking and how they’re drinking it, for the most part.


Soft drinks, sports drinks, wine, fruit juices and teas all contain high amounts of acid, said Dr. Edmond R. Hewlett, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, and an associate professor of restorative dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dentistry. “When we’re talking about erosion, it’s clearly acid that’s causing it,” Hewlett said. “In soft drinks, especially cola soft drinks, one of the main ingredients is phosphoric acid. That’s the same acid we use in dentistry to roughen tooth enamel before applying a bonding agent. We use it like sandpaper.” The sugar in most of those drinks also plays a role. When bacterial plaque on the teeth absorbs sugar from drinks and foods, it excretes an acid that eats away at tooth enamel. “If you are eating sugary foods, the acidity of the plaque on your teeth increases precipitously,” Hewlett said.

Other things can contribute to dental erosion, too. Medications such as Aspirin can cause erosion, as can conditions such as acid reflux disease or eating disorders associated with chronic vomiting, which expose the teeth to gastric acid. Pierson believes that dental erosion also is increasing because people are not getting enough fluoride. Many people are eschewing fluoridated public water sources in favor of bottled water, which might not contain fluoride. “Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel. Erosion is an attack on the enamel,” Hewlett said. “You have something that’s going to help protect it and strengthen it when it’s under attack.” He recommends that people who aren’t drinking public water use a fluoridated toothpaste and mouth rinse.

— Principal Insurance Group

Presi-Dental Tales: Strange but true facts


Presidents have been an important part of our democracy, ever since the first election in 1789. As presidential history was recently made once again, let’s look back at some fascinating dental-related facts about a few of our past commanders-in-chief:

1. George Washington never wore wooden dentures. Tooth decay and tooth loss plagued George throughout his adult life. He had his first tooth pulled at 24 and had only one tooth remaining at inauguration. Mount Vernon, Washington’s estate, says his troublesome teeth made the president self-conscious and reluctant to speak in public. While it’s true he wore dentures, they were never wooden. He had many pairs made from different materials including: Hippopotamus tusk, elephant ivory, bone, gold wire, copper screws, lead, and even human teeth.

2. Abraham Lincoln was embalmed by a dentist. Dr. Charles DeCosta Brown was originally a physician who moved to New York to study and practice dentistry. He took an interest in embalming and was appointed an official government embalmer during the Civil War. Days after his death, Lincoln’s body began a 1,600 mile journey from Washington D.C. to Springfield, IL. Public viewings of the body were held in major cities. Brown traveled with the president’s body, re-embalming it when necessary.

3.  Ask what your teeth can do for you…  You should never use your teeth as tools, but in this case, we definitely think it’s okay. John F. Kennedy’s first mission during WWII did not go well. While on patrol in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean, his boat was destroyed. One of his crewman was badly injured and unable to swim, or even float. With heroic effort, JFK swam for five hours towing the crewman to safety, using only his teeth.

4. Ulysses S. Grant carried a toothbrush into battle.  Legend has it that during the Civil War, Grant went into battle for 6 days with no more than a toothbrush he carried in his breast pocket. Unfortunately, his later affinity for cigars took a toll on his mouth and overall health. Our 18th president was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1884 and died the following year. Today, oral cancers and cancers of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue strike approximately 40,000 a year.

5.  The story behind Teddy Roosevelt’s “Walrus” mustache:  As Teddy approached early adulthood, he made a conscious decision to grow a “walrus mustache” to cover his very prominent, but attractive set of teeth. Still, that didn’t stop people from referring to them as “squirrel teeth.” This didn’t bother Teddy much, and surely didn’t stop him from smiling, as he was well known for his broad grins. Another Roosevelt with a tooth tale was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was actually missing his two front teeth. Though he was never photographed without his dental aid, his son reported that his father often misplaced it and spent a good deal of time trying to relocate it.

6.  Brush twice a day and remember me…  President’s often express their friendship and respect with gifts. Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson are known to have received electronic toothbrushes, complete with the presidential seal. Why toothbrushes? His response was that he wanted people to think of him right away when they wake up, and right before they go to bed.

7.  Grover Cleveland had top-secret oral cancer surgery…on a yacht.  Near the beginning of his second term in 1893, Grover faced 2 major issues. Nationally, the country was entering a depression. Personally, a bump in Grover’s mouth was diagnosed as being cancerous. To prevent nationwide panic, a clandestine plan was hatched. On June 30, Cleveland boarded a yacht in New York Harbor, along with 6 doctors. In a surgery preformed the following day, surgeons removed the cancerous tumor from his mouth, along with 5 teeth and part of his upper left jaw. Four days later, Cleveland got off the yacht in Cape Cod and finished recovering at his summer home. He was later fitted with a rubber prosthesis that helped him speak normally again.

8.  Dwight D. Eisenhower: Dental emergency or UFO cover-up?  On February 20, 1954, Dwight was eating chicken wings in Palm Springs, CA when the crown on one of his front teeth popped off. He spent his Saturday night at an emergency dental appointment, and the unexpected trip led to many false reports, including one that said he had died of a heart attack. It also birthed a UFO conspiracy, because many believed the dental visit was a cover up for a secret meeting between Eisenhower and aliens at Edwards Air Force Base.

9. The President doesn’t go far to visit the dentist.  In fact, the dentist comes to him! In the early 1930’s, the Hoover administration set up the first dental office in the White House. President Barack Obama told Jimmy Kimmel he first learned about it when he thought he had a loose crown. “Got the whole chair- everything is all there, set up in the basement,” he said. The original office was little more than a dentist chair, but today it is as modern as any other dental office.

Thanks to the American Dental Association (ADA) for these interesting facts!





Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!


Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? For our staff that means one thing: Reminding you that your teeth are an important part of your body and keeping them clean helps keep your mouth and your body healthy. By taking care of your teeth, and visiting our office on a regular basis, you can have healthy teeth and an attractive smile throughout your entire life. We encourage you to check out the American Dental Association website as well,, which provides pointers on keeping your mouth clean and healthy. Remember the 4 components of good oral health maintenance:

1) Brush for 2 minutes, 2 times per day.

2) Floss daily. Yes, every day!

3) Rinse with mouthwash to improve oral health.

4) Chew sugar-free gum after eating to help fight tooth decay.

Has it been six months since your last visit to our office? If the answer is yes, we encourage you to give us a call at (815) 398-3900 to set up an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Top 10 dental myths debunked!

dental-myths-debunked-headerMyth #1: Sugar directly causes tooth decay.

Fact: We’ve all been told that sugar is bad for you and will rot your teeth. Unchecked sugar intake will lead to cavities, the real culprit in tooth decay is the oral bacteria feeding off the sugar and producing acid. It is the acids from these bacteria that break down tooth structure and cause decay. While these bacteria can feed off of any carbohydrate, simple sugars are the most easily broken down into acid and the most harmful.

Myth #2: Aspirin placed next to a tooth will help a toothache.

Fact: Aspirin is actually very acidic, and when placed next to a tooth will burn your gum tissue and cause a painful ulcer. The aspirin needs to be swallowed to help ease the pain.

Myth #3: You will know when you have a cavity.

Fact: A dentist can detect a cavity long before it causes you any pain or discomfort, which is why regular dental checkups are so important. Sometimes these cavities are seen visually or detected by use of dental radiographs (xrays.) It is important to catch cavities early, before they cause discomfort, because once a cavity is large enough to cause pain, a root canal is typically necessary.

Myth #4: It’s not as important to take care of baby teeth because they will eventually fall out.

Fact: It’s important to teach your children early on about good oral hygiene, and about good dental habits like brushing, flossing and/or rinsing, because neglecting baby teeth now can cause early tooth loss, which can in turn cause problems with their mouth and bite later on.

Myth #5: Whitening your teeth damages the enamel.

Fact: Over-the-counter whitening products contain mainly hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which work as oxidizing agents to remove surface stains. These products when used in moderation are safe. Ask our office about the whitening options we offer that are safe, more convenient, and even offer ingredients to help prevent whitening-related tooth sensitivity.

Myth #6: Mouthwash with alcohol works better.

Fact: Your dental mouthwash should not contain alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and can change the PH balance of your mouth. Saliva protects your teeth, and drying out the mouth can increase the risk of cavities by reducing the amount of saliva.

Myth #7: Don’t brush your teeth if your gums are bleeding.

Fact: Bleeding of your gums is often caused by a buildup of plaque or food debris, which is caused by not brushing often enough. It’s best to try a soft bristle brush and brush often, but gently. If your gums continue to bleed, see your dentist.

Myth #8: Brushing teeth more than once a day can harm my enamel.

Fact: As long as you are using a soft bristle toothbrush and not being too rough on your gums and teeth, then brushing your teeth after every meal is ideal. Not brushing enough will always cause more harm to your teeth than brushing “too often.”

Myth #9: Kids get more cavities than adults.

Fact: This may have been true in the past, but thanks to fluoride in tap water, cavities in school-aged children are on the decline. Conversely, cavities are on the rise in senior citizens because many medicines are drying out their mouths, leading to less saliva to protect their teeth.

Myth #10: Poor oral hygiene only affects the mouth.

Fact: Brushing not only helps protect your teeth, but can help protect your heart too. Inflammation from periodontal disease has been linked to greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and that can lead to a heart attack.

Thanks to our friends at WebMD for this awesome info!