Understanding Dental Anxiety & How To Overcome It | Kenilworth Dentist

Dental anxiety is a common concern that affects individuals of all ages, preventing many from seeking the dental care they need. The fear of dental procedures can lead to postponed appointments, deteriorating oral health, and unnecessary discomfort. In this blog post, we’ll explore the roots of dental anxiety and provide practical tips to help you overcome it, ensuring a positive and stress-free dental experience.

Understanding Dental Anxiety

  • Identifying the Causes:
  • Dental anxiety can stem from various sources, including past traumatic experiences, fear of pain, or a general unease about the dental environment. Identifying the specific cause of anxiety is crucial in developing effective coping mechanisms.
  • Open Communication with Your Dentist:
  • Establishing open communication with your dentist is key. Discuss your fears and concerns, allowing your dentist to tailor their approach and create a comfortable environment. Many dental professionals are trained to work with anxious patients and can adjust their techniques accordingly.

Coping Strategies for Dental Anxiety

  • Relaxation Techniques:
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation before and during your dental appointment. These methods can help alleviate stress and keep you calm throughout the procedure.
  • Gradual Exposure:
  • If your anxiety is severe, consider gradual exposure to dental settings. Visit the dental office without undergoing any procedures, allowing yourself to become familiar with the environment. This step-by-step approach can desensitize you to the anxiety triggers.
  • Use of Sedation Dentistry:
  • In some cases, sedation dentistry may be an option. Discuss with your dentist the possibility of using sedatives to help you relax during the appointment. This can range from mild sedation to general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the procedure and your level of anxiety.

Building a Positive Dental Experience

  • Choose a Supportive Dental Team:
  • Look for a dental team that specializes in treating anxious patients. A supportive and understanding dental team can make a significant difference in your overall experience. Read reviews, ask for recommendations, and choose a dentist known for their compassionate approach.
  • Regular Dental Checkups
  • Regular dental checkups can prevent the development of dental issues, reducing the need for extensive procedures. By maintaining good oral hygiene, you can minimize the frequency and duration of dental appointments, potentially easing anxiety.

Dental anxiety is a common challenge, but it shouldn’t prevent you from receiving essential oral care. By understanding the root causes of anxiety and implementing practical coping strategies, you can transform your dental experience into a positive and stress-free journey. Open communication with your dentist, relaxation techniques, and a supportive dental team are essential components of overcoming dental anxiety and maintaining optimal oral health. Remember, your oral health is a crucial aspect of your overall well-being, and addressing dental anxiety is a significant step toward achieving a healthy and confident smile.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

A Closer Look At The Anatomy of The Human Mouth | Kenilworth Dentist

The human mouth is a marvel of biological engineering, serving a multitude of essential functions that go far beyond mere communication. This intricate structure plays a vital role in our ability to eat, breathe, and express our emotions. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the anatomy of the human mouth and the various components that make it such a versatile and indispensable part of our bodies.

The human mouth consists of several distinct components, each with its unique functions. Let’s start with the most visible part: the lips. Lips are not only essential for facial expressions, but they also protect the delicate tissues inside the mouth from external factors. Just behind the lips, the cheeks form the walls of the mouth, helping to keep food within as we chew and swallow.

Inside the mouth, we find the tongue, a muscular organ responsible for tasting, moving food around, and aiding in speech. The tongue is covered in tiny bumps called papillae, which contain taste buds that allow us to perceive different flavors. It is a highly flexible and agile muscle that plays a pivotal role in forming various speech sounds.

The roof of the mouth is divided into two parts: the hard palate at the front and the soft palate towards the back. The hard palate provides a stable surface for the tongue and helps in the initial stages of chewing, while the soft palate is involved in closing off the nasal passages during swallowing to prevent food or liquid from entering the nose.

The floor of the mouth is home to the sublingual and submandibular salivary glands, which secrete saliva. Saliva contains enzymes that aid in digestion and lubricate food for easier swallowing. It also helps maintain the health of the oral cavity by neutralizing acids and preventing tooth decay.

Speaking of teeth, they are integral to the mouth’s functioning. Humans typically have 32 teeth, including incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Each type of tooth has a specific role in breaking down food. Teeth are anchored in the jawbone and are responsible for the initial mechanical breakdown of food before digestion begins in the stomach.

Behind the teeth, you’ll find the pharynx, a muscular tube that connects the mouth to the esophagus, allowing for the passage of chewed food and liquids into the digestive system. This area also plays a crucial role in preventing choking by sealing off the trachea during swallowing.

The human mouth is a remarkable and complex structure, responsible for vital functions such as eating, speaking, and breathing. Its various components, including the lips, cheeks, tongue, palate, salivary glands, teeth, and pharynx, work together seamlessly to support our daily activities. Understanding the anatomy of the mouth can lead to better oral health and a deeper appreciation of this incredible biological marvel.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

How IV Sedation Can Help People Through Their Dental Anxiety | Kenilworth Dentist

If you experience a physical reaction to the idea of certain stimuli being triggered by going to the dentist, you may have dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is common among kids and adults alike. When dentists perform restorative procedures, there are typically a variety of sedation options available to the individual. The two main ones are nitrous oxide and intravenous (IV) sedation. The inhalation of nitrous allows a patient to relax, but IV sedation can guide the patient into a deeper relaxation and in some cases, lull them to sleep.

Whether someone has had a bad experience at the dentist or not, IV Sedation can help put you at ease when the need for a dental procedure arises.

The following are the benefits of utilizing IV sedation for sleep dentistry.

  • Administration of the drug is provided by a ___ and tailored to the patient’s needs
  • The results of IV sedation are reliable and the most effective means of sedation
  • If you are particularly sensitive to your gag reflex, IV sedation will relax the reaction, but your dentist may recommend nitrous oxide
  • In contrast to general anesthesia, IV sedation is safer and allows you to retain consciousness.
  • Due to the amount of control, your practitioner has with the dosage of IV administered, your recovery time is shorter than with oral sedation.

Remaining consistent with your oral health in your daily life, as well as with regular check-ups, are the best way to avoid unfavorable experiences at the dentist. If you do enter into a restorative process, discuss your concerns with your dentist to see if IV sedation may be right for you.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

A Guide to Cavities: What You Need To Know | Kenilworth Dentist

Cavities are part of health and hygiene discussions from the moment we begin brushing- or throw a fit about it. Cavities are preventable and treatable; it’s important to be aware of what causes cavities and how dentists treat them. Here are some top things to know about cavities, and how they re treated.

How Do Cavities Happen?

Sugar– While sugar doesn’t cause cavities, like citric acid, it contributes to the likelihood you may develop one. Sugar is a harmful bacteria’s favorite food, so the longer sugar lingers on your teeth, the more likely that bacteria will begin to eat it. This weakens your enamel and creates opportunities for that harmful bacteria to hang around and cause a cavity.


Acidic Foods– Citric acid contained in lemons, limes and oranges also pops up as an ingredient in processed foods. Citric acid and others weaken teeth and put enamel in danger of erosion which in turn creates crevices for bacteria to stick and become a cavity. It would be difficult to avoid citric acid, so the best thing you can do is consume water throughout the day and keep the intake of acidic foods to a minimum.

Children and Cavities

Believe it or not, children are not more prone to develop cavities than adults, but there are factors that may put children and elderly individuals at more risk for tooth decay. Children tend to crave and eat sugary foods while doing a poor job brushing their teeth. The elderly tend to take medication that reduces the amount of saliva they produce thus reducing the neutralization properties of saliva. Drinking water throughout the day and regular dental visits can help both children and their grandparents to reduce the chances harmful bacteria may cause a cavity.

How Are Cavities Treated?

If you wake up to a toothache or notice black spots on a tooth, you may have a cavity. Cavities are a common occurrence and dentists have several means of treating them. Treatment options vary depending on how advanced the tooth decay has become.

Simple Decay- Fluoride treatments and fillings are viable treatment options if the cavity is in its early stages. Your dentist will apply a solution to the decaying tooth to kill harmful bacteria and place a filling where the cavity was to seal the area to prevent further decay. This is a fairly simple and painless method for cavity removal, as well as the most common treatment option.

Serious Decay- If the cavity has progressed beyond the ability for a fluoride treatment to remove the bacteria, crowns, root canals and tooth extraction are a dentist’s next line of defense. Crowns are custom coverings for decaying teeth; typically made from porcelain, they work to strengthen your effected tooth once the bacteria has been removed. If the decay reaches the inner tooth, or pulp, your dentist will remove the pulp, medicate it to clear any infection and add a filling. Tooth extraction is a last resort option when the decayed tooth is beyond restoration. Your dentist may recommend a bridge or implant for the gap.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

How Smiling Effects Your Relationships and Overall Well-Being | Kenilworth Dentist

There is no official evidence supporting the adage “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile” but there is evidence to support the positive effects of a smile. Everything in the human body is connected, and smiles have real-life implications for our physical and mental health. Friends may even encourage one another to smile during difficult times; that is because even a fake smile produces real endorphins.

It is important to note however that there are individuals who experience smile anxiety and may hesitate to share in this exchange. Smile anxiety occurs when an individual becomes reluctant to smile in public because he or she dislikes, or is embarrassed by, the aesthetic appeal of their smile. There are many factors that may cause someone to feel this way including trauma, decay, or the way in which their adult set has grown.

Smiling and Our Relationships. People who smile more often are seen as being more approachable, likable, creative, and productive. Smiling can also have a “ripple effect” as one person’s expression of joy can cause an onlooker to also feel joy and smile too. The next time you are out with friends, or a loved one could use a pick-me-up, remind them of their positive attributes and share a smile with them!

Smiling and Our Health. When we smile, our brains release neuropeptides and neurotransmitters that alleviate the stressors of our day. The most common hormones associated with these results are dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Dopamine and serotonin are “happy hormones”, acting as antidepressants. Endorphins offer mild pain relief; together, they have been shown to reduce stress and our heart rate. A smile a day can go a long way to making us feel better and look out for the world with a positive attitude.

It’s important to retain gentle kindness if you know a loved one struggles with the appearance of their smile, though there are several means of restoration your dentist may accommodate.

For more information, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

The Care You Provide To Your Baby Teeth Is Important | Kenilworth Dentist

Our babies and children may never acknowledge the benefits caring for their teeth at that age have on their adult teeth later. Yet, their health will always be better off from early interventions in proper oral hygiene. “Baby teeth” are the precursor for adult teeth, they are the placeholder and it’s important they be maintained for gum health and reduction of harmful bacteria.

Oral hygiene for our children begins the day their first tooth breaks through the gum. With a damp, soft cloth, lightly wipe your baby’s gums after feeding. Once more prominent, you may begin using a soft toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste twice a day until preschool age. At that age, the amount of toothpaste that can be safely used increases to the size of a pea.

When your child is at that age and able to brush on his or her own, it’s important to keep an eye on them. Many children find the process of brushing their teeth to be boring or unimportant, but this is an important age to develop good habits. Singing toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste help encourage kids to find the process more enjoyable and help guide them towards brushing their teeth for two minutes. Another great way to encourage your child is to brush with them and show them how to get to their molars, the back of their teeth, and the front.

Tooth health matters from the day they appear, so parents who take their children’s oral hygiene seriously and encourage good habits aid the child’s adult teeth later- even if they don’t know it yet.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

Debunking Fluoride Misconceptions | Kenilworth Dentist

Believe it or not, fluoride is a controversial mineral. Proponents of fluoride tout its ability to aid in the fight against cavities and tooth decay. Opponents say fluoride is a harmful neurotoxin that has been pumped into our community’s water without express permission by the people.

While trace amounts of fluoride have been added to public water for decades, it has yet to cause widespread neurological issues. According to smiledentalcenterct.com, “research has shown that by adding fluoride to public water supplies, tooth decay-related conditions decline by 25 percent among adults and children.” The addition of fluoride is meant to be a public health benefit, rather than a source of controversy.

As with anything, there is such thing as too much fluoride; two dental visits a year and drinking community water, however, isn’t likely to cause harm. Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis that changes the color of tooth enamel and is likely to impact children ages eight and younger as their teeth grow in. As a result, it is not recommended to give children fluoride toothpaste- especially as they develop the motor skills to properly brush and not swallow the paste.

A dentist may dissuade a patient from using fluoride toothpaste if they experience an allergic reaction, or if the individual feels strongly about the amount of fluoride in their daily lives. Fluoride-free formulas offer the same cleaning power and is recommended over not using toothpaste; the difference is that on average, fluoride formulas reduce the number of cavities and occurrence of tooth decay one may experience over their lifetime.

In general, trace amounts of fluoride in drinking water works to improve the oral health of our communities and the use of fluoride toothpaste is safe for adults. The decision to use fluoride toothpaste lies with the individual, but he or she may need to take extra steps such as mouthwash and flossing to ensure they receive the cavity-fighting benefits normally provided by fluoride formulas.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Does Mouthwash Contribute To Oral Health? | Kenilworth Dentist

Mouthwash is advertised to kill bacteria and give you fresh breath, but that isn’t the whole story. Mouthwash reduces the bacteria in your mouth and reduce the amount of plaque it forms. Regular use helps prevent periodontal disease, and those with fluoride work to reduce cavities when used as directed. 

Mouthwash isn’t exactly the first thing a dentist will mention when reviewing your regimen, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Mouthwash, after proper brushing and flossing, can provide peace of mind to individuals who struggle to keep cavities at bay, despite their best efforts.

Is mouthwash safe for children?

Children under the age of 6 should not be utilizing mouthwash, as they are likely to consume it. Once your child has developed the muscle reflexes necessary to swish and spit the wash, with adult supervision, they can begin to incorporate it into their care routine.

What ingredients in mouthwash make it effective?

The bacteria-fighting active ingredient(s) in mouthwash are what make it an effective addition to your routine. Ingredients such as cetylpyridinium chloride, zinc gluconate, or quaternary ammonium are commonly found in washes. Just one of these will provide the bacteria-fighting benefits that enhance your routine.

Are natural mouthwashes effective?

Some people advocate for fluoride, and others want little to do with it. Many brands make natural alternatives, utilizing essential oils or harvested ingredients like garlic as an astringent. Whatever the formula, natural mouthwashes have been shown to be effective at preventing gum disease without adding to the rise of antibacterial-resistant bacteria.

While mouthwash isn’t going to make or break your oral hygiene, it is a great way to round out your routine. Mouthwash may bring you peace of mind between visits or be an effective way to keep bacteria at bay for cavity-prone teeth.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

How To Make the Most of Your Dental Visit | Kenilworth Dentist

To make the most of a dental visit, we all know it’s important to brush and floss prior to the appointment, but we should also be using our time during the appointment wisely. Here are the things you should be keeping your dentist informed of to make the most out of your visit.

Share Health and Lifestyle Changes:

It may seem odd to consider your dentist an individual you need o keep up-to-date on your lifestyle habits or changes, but it can tell them a lot about how to best care for and advise your oral care routine. If you haven’t been totally honest about things like smoking or flossing habits, it’s important to begin sharing these things for your own ability to maintain your oral health.

If you make changes to your lifestyle, such as reducing or increasing medications or the consumption of coffee or nicotine, it’s important to let your dentist know. These seemingly nominal changes can have a huge impact on your oral health over time. The acid in coffee may weaken your enamel over time, whereas reducing consumption may allow it to remain intact. The potential impact of nicotine from cigarettes or chewing tobacco on your oral health is another important thing to share so your dentist can look for signs of change.

Discuss Your Concerns:

It’s important to remember that your dentist is on your team; they are open to answering your questions with knowledge and experience. If you have any concerns about your teeth, gums, or jaw, or are experiencing any pain it is important to share that with your dentist. It’s easy to turn to the internet for answers to these concerns, but lifestyle habits among other things are factors your dentist can consider with you. If any of the following apply to you, it is important to discuss them with your dentist before they potentially get worse:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sores in the mouth that do not heal
  • Sensitivity or pain
  • Clenching your jaws
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Problems with brushing or flossing

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.

Good bacteria and harmful bacteria coexist, and certain behaviors can advance one or the other. In general, a good oral care routine and healthy eating will keep the harmful bacteria at bay without any serious issues.

Here are some things you should know about the bacteria that exist within your mouth.

Helpful Bacteria

lactobacilli bacteria can fight several kinds of harmful bacteria and may help restore a healthy balance in your mouth. This bacteria can be found in some types of chewing gum and people with gingivitis may be asked to use it every day by their dentist.

Streptococcus Salivarius helps suppress oral pathogens like Streptococcus Pyogenes and Streptococcus Pneumonia that cause infections and autoimmune disorders. It also provides immune support to help reduce symptoms of oral and respiratory viral infections while crowding out other potentially harmful oral pathogens.

Harmful Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans is specifically found on tooth surfaces and difficult-to-clean areas like pits and fissures on the teeth. It feeds on the sugars and starches you eat, leading to the formation of cavities. This bacteria is the main cause of tooth decay in humans because it produces enamel-eroding acids and thrives in a low pH.

Periodontitis is a serious inflammatory disease that affects the tissues and the alveolar bone that support the teeth. While this disease is caused by several types of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis is strongly linked to it.

Even though the bacteria we carry with us doesn’t identify itself as helpful or harmful in ways we can easily identify, we can maintain a good oral care routine. The next time you consider skipping your twice daily brush and floss, consider the after effects harmful bacteria can have over time. It’s better to maintain your routine after a long day than navigate the treatment of resulting issues later.

For more information regarding dental exams, contact Drs. Freund and Waterloo today at 847-251-8990 or visit www.villagedentalpc.com.

Drs. Chad Freund and Cathy Waterloo proudly serves Kenilworth and all surrounding areas.