A Full Mouth Reconstruction – Mike’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How Did this Start?

Mike had been a long-term patient of Dr. Furey when Dr. Elizabeth took over his care in 2016. Up to that point, Mike had talked with Dr. Furey about the need to restore his mouth due to the severe erosion that was occurring throughout. Starting in 2016, his canines were starting to decay in addition to the erosion weakening the tooth structure. Mike was also starting to have pain on a lower left tooth due to an infection in his tooth. Mike’s case had a lot involved because we were not only dealing with erosion, but his bite and jaw anatomy have likely been contributing to the erosion on his teeth. This meant that the most predictable way to restore him back to health would involve jaw surgery and restoring all his teeth.

Mike had long been functioning with a deep bite meaning that his tongue and airway were working with space restrictions. It is thought that oftentimes deep bites will increase acid production in the mouth and be a source for erosion. Mike had previously been diagnosed with sleep apnea and had been using a CPAP machine for many years. Sleep apnea is often caused, at least in part, by a restricted airway.

What Did Mike Want?

Mike stated his goals for his teeth were “that they work and I don’t lose them.” He was noticing jagged edges and that his upper canines were especially worn. He thought the wear was due to the fact that he caught himself grinding his teeth during the day and night. He didn’t realize that the erosion may be part of a larger whole health issue. Mike had many options to consider and while he understood that jaw surgery may be the best way to improve his overall airway, in the end he decided against surgery. This meant that Mike needed to open up his deep bite and complete restorations on all of his teeth.

What Was Involved?

In order to open up Mike’s bite, a laboratory wax-up was completed. This helped create a “blueprint” of how the teeth would look with the new restorations. After Mike approved the wax-up, he started by getting his infected tooth extracted. This allowed some time for healing before an implant was placed in that same area. Mike’s progress was slowed up somewhat due to complications he had with his heart and having to undergo surgery, as well as the COVID shut-down, however, after 4 years, Mike was finally on his way to protecting his teeth with new restorations.

All of his teeth were worked on and prepared for crowns or veneers. Mike underwent preparations of the upper teeth one day and of the lower teeth another day. He spent time in temporary crowns and had to start getting used to his new bite. At first, he said “it feels kind of like a mouth full of marbles.” But, then as his muscle adjusted, he thought his bite felt good.

What Does Mike Think?

Before he started his treatment Mike stated he was “apprehensive about it.” The work in general made him apprehensive. It was a big decision, but he understood that his teeth were at severe risk if nothing was done. He did not want to “lose all those teeth.” Mike reports now he is “very happy with the results and I like them a lot!” He likes having the smooth surfaces of his new crowns rather than the rough, sharp edges from the erosive wear pattern on his natural teeth. He admits that he wishes he would have done the work sooner and that it hadn’t taken him so long to make a decision. If talking to someone considering getting this type of treatment done, he would tell them to “do it sooner than later. Be patient and follow the recommendations given by Dr. Elizabeth.”

Mike’s final results are an improvement in that he doesn’t have such a deep and restricted bite and the enamel that was eroded away has been replaced by strong porcelain. Unfortunately, without undergoing jaw surgery, Mike’s teeth will still be at risk due to jaw movements Mike makes to keep his airway more patent. Mike will still have to maintain his treatments for sleep apnea and he will likely still have dental work to do in the future should his teeth break down the road. Mike’s case is a good example of why we like to take time with kids and teenagers, making sure they are developing adequate room in the mouth for a good airway and skeletal structures, trying to prevent compromise before it occurs!

How Much Do You Know About Plaque, Your Teeth’s Biggest Enemy?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

I hear the word “plaque” frequently but what exactly is it?

Plaque is a biofilm in your mouth—a sticky, invisible colony of both good and bad bacteria. Because these bacteria multiply rapidly, they’re always in your mouth, even after you brush your teeth. The problem arises, however, when you consume sugars or carbohydrates. The bacteria feed off of the sugars and produce acid in the process.

What are signs of plaque that I should watch out for?

The acid produced by the plaque begins to eat away at your tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to tooth sensitivity and eventually tooth decay. When plaque is left untreated, it can build up on your teeth and turn into tartar (also known as calculus)—a hard yellow calcified deposit. Other signs of plaque include chronic bad breath and tender, swollen gums, gingivitis and periodontitis. In even more serious cases, plaque can lead to tooth infections or abscesses and eventual tooth loss.

How can I prevent plaque from building up in my mouth?

There are a few primary ways you can keep plaque from getting the best of you (and your mouth)!

Limit sugar and carbs. Sugar is plaque’s best friend and your mouth’s worst enemy. It’s the catalyst for plaque’s production of enamel-eating acids. Because carbs break down as sugar, they are just as much to blame. When you choose to limit the intake of these foods, you don’t give plaque as much opportunity to create this acid in the first place, promoting a better bacteria balance and oral microbiome.

Brush and floss frequently. If you eat sugars and carbs, which most people do, preventative care is important. Make sure to brush your teeth and floss between them twice a day and after consuming these foods. This helps remove food particles from your mouth and discourages the destructive chain reaction of acid production, enamel erosion and tooth decay.

Swish with mouthwash. It’s easy to brush and floss but not take the process any further. When you swish with fluoridated mouthwash afterward, you dislodge any residual food particles. Plus, the fluoride repairs and strengthens your enamel which may already be eroding due to past exposure to sugar-producing acid.

If I notice plaque or tartar, what do I do?

Reducing sugars in your diet in addition to stepping up your oral hygiene game can combat plaque buildup before it becomes a bigger problem. A thorough polishing by one of our hygienists during your recare visit will also help reduce plaque on and in between your teeth.

If you notice tartar forming from plaque that has built up over time, you will not be able to remove it on your own. Again, a recare visit and routine cleaning at Eggert Family Dentistry will help! Using our special plaque and tartar removing tools, we can give your mouth a fresh start…before your teeth are compromised and your gums become infected!

Give us a call today at 651.482.8412 to set up your next appointment!

5 Helpful Tips for Preventing Tooth Enamel Erosion

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Tooth enamel plays a critical role in overall dental wellness. Its hard, translucent coating protects the crown of the tooth from bacteria that could compromise its integrity and lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. 

Fortunately, most enamel erosion can be prevented. In this post, we’re going to share five main ways you can preserve your enamel so it can help keep your smile healthy and strong for life.

Causes of enamel erosion and preventative measures

In order to know how to prevent enamel erosion, it’s important to understand what causes it.

enamel erosionCause: One of the biggest enamel-eaters starts because of sugar. When we consume sugary foods, the bacteria in our mouths break it down by producing acid. Not only does this acid break down the sugar but it also breaks down our enamel. The more frequently sugar is consumed, the more the enamel breaks down and the less protected your teeth are. Sugary foods can be anything from candy and energy drinks to even options considered healthy like sweetened yogurt and granola.

Tip #1: Prevent enamel erosion by limiting the consumption of sugary foods and beverages. If you do consume them, be sure to brush and floss an hour afterward to rinse your mouth and get any residual sugar out from inside, on or in between your teeth.

Cause: In our American diet, sugar or some form of sugar, is in nearly every mass-produced food. You can work to limit sugar by consuming more whole foods and choosing pure water to drink.

Also, keep in mind, soft drinks are a double whammy because they contain both sugar and acid.

Tip #2: Prevent enamel erosion by limiting the consumption of acidic foods. When you indulge in acidic foods or beverages, brush and floss an hour afterward to clean out your mouth so acid doesn’t linger and cause enamel damage. You don’t want to brush and floss right after consumption of food and drink with acid because the acidic pH environment will allow your toothbrush to abrade the enamel away quickly. If you wait at least an hour, your saliva has a chance to neutralize your mouth.

Cause: Some foods and beverages are highly acidic. When consumed, the acids in foods such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate or your morning coffee, eat away at your enamel. In addition to acidic food, gastric acid reflux or upper airway based laryngeal/pharyngeal acid reflux will increase acid in the mouth.

enamel erosionTip #3: Prevent enamel erosion by making sure you’re using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that, when added to toothpaste, mouthwash or your municipal water supply, helps remineralize lost calcium and phosphate ions and reinforce your teeth’s first line of defense, reducing chances of damage and decay.

Cause: Saliva helps neutralize acids in your mouth as well as rinse your mouth when you eat and drink. In some cases, medications can lead to a condition known as xerostomia or dry mouth. It can also be a naturally occurring phenomenon where a person’s salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to rinse their mouth frequently. In these cases, bacteria feed off food particles and sugars hanging around in their mouth, causing a rise in acidity and leading to more enamel erosion.

Tip #4: Prevent enamel erosion by keeping your mouth from becoming dry.

There are some easy ways to protect enamel and increase saliva production.

  • Sip water throughout the day. Bring a water bottle along to work or school to make hydrating easy.
  • Suck on sugar-free candy. This increases your mouth’s saliva production and helps rinse bacteria.
  • Chew sugar-free gum. This increases saliva production while at the same time helping to dislodge food particles and clean the surface of your teeth. All of these factors work towards preserving enamel and keeping your teeth strong.

Cause: Oftentimes, people ignore preventative care and consume large quantities of sugary and acidic foods and use chewing tobacco. Others binge drink which can lead to vomiting and ensuing enamel erosion. Then, when they start noticing tooth sensitivity or tooth decay, they finally make a dental appointment.

It’s important to remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Tip #5: Prevent tooth erosion by visiting Eggert Family Dentistry for regular cleanings! At your recare visits, we will polish your teeth to clean up your enamel, often lifting minor surface stains. We can also treat your teeth with fluoride to strengthen your enamel. We will assess the condition of your enamel and if it’s starting to wear away, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will recommend the best course of treatment: bonding, crowns or veneers.

If you’re noticing tooth sensitivity, tooth discoloration, cracks, chips or indentions in your enamel or if it’s time to get in for your next recare visit, give our office a call at 651.482.8412.

 

Not All Halloween Candy Affects Teeth the Same: What Is the Best and Worst?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Halloween is right around the corner. As parents, we know the drill. Our kids put copious amounts of time into choosing the perfect costumes, rally their friends and map out plans of attack to collect the most possible candy in one evening. We’re caught somewhere between, “That sounds like the most epic Halloween ever, kids!” and “No child’s teeth can handle all that candy!”

In light of this pre-Halloween parent panic, we thought it would be helpful to take a little time to explain how different types of candy affect teeth differently.

Halloween candy worst offenders

Some candies are particularly problematic for dental health.

Hard sugar candy

halloween candyCandy on a stick, such as lollipops or rock candy, is meant to be enjoyed over time. Because it lingers in your mouth, it increases the production of saliva. However, instead of the saliva doing its job and rinsing bacteria out of your mouth, it only spreads the sugar around. Additionally, your mouth produces acid in an attempt to destroy the sticky sugar that then coats your teeth. The acid and sugar team up to break down tooth enamel and, with repeat exposure, can result in tooth decay.

Another threat to teeth from hard candy is the temptation to bite down on it, hence the candy we fondly know as “jawbreakers.” Biting down on hard candy can easily result in broken or chipped teeth and sometimes upset the jaw muscles so much, pain results.

Chewy candy

Just like candy on a stick, chewy candy lingers in the mouth. It gets stuck in your molars and between your teeth. If you’ve ever eaten Laffy Taffy, Sugar Babies or caramels, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Gummy candies or fruit snacks might seem like safer bets but they aren’t any better. They still contain sugar and get trapped in your molars and small crevices between your teeth.

Oh, and watch out for those delicious caramel apple suckers. Between the caramel, hard sugar candy and the fact that they’re meant to be savored, they can really wreak some dental havoc.

Sour candy

You might be wondering where sour candy fits into the picture. Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, Sour Skittles…kids LOVE sour candy and love to challenge themselves and their friends to eat large quantities of it or hold the sour candy in their mouths for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, sour candy attacks your teeth from two angles. Sour candy is both sweet and acidic. The sugar sticks to your teeth while the acid breaks down your enamel. Many sour candies are also sticky, further exacerbating the ill effects.

Does this mean your children can’t eat the hard and sugary, chewy or sour candies they rake in on Oct. 31? Not necessarily. However, armed with a little knowledge, you can avoid passing them out to the neighborhood kids and explain to your children why it’s important to limit their consumption of these sticky stinkers. Then remind them to brush and floss their teeth afterward to clean their mouths and remove any lodged sugar.

Halloween candy best choices

Sugar-free hard candy

Like its sugar-laden counterpart, sugar-free hard candy encourages the production of saliva which rinses bacteria from your mouth. However, sugar-free candy doesn’t cause the production of acid or stick to your teeth—a win for your pearly whites…and your sweet tooth!

Chocolates

One of the most popular categories of Halloween candy are chocolates. While many have sticky centers like Twix, Rollos or Snickers, others like Hershey’s bars and Nestle Crunch dissipate quickly in your mouth, making them more dental-friendly than almost any other candy.

Sugar-free gum

While it’s not technically considered candy, sugar-free gum—much like sugar-free candy—helps your mouth produce saliva which rinses your teeth and helps ward against destructive bacteria. If you’re looking for a healthy option to hand out at the door this year (and don’t want to be the neighbor handing out mini bags of baby carrots!) consider giving out packs of sugar-free gum. Almost all kids love to chew gum, it’s allergen-friendly and will help cleanse their mouths from all the sugary, sticky, sour madness.

If you haven’t already, give us a call at 651.428.9691 to schedule your family members’ recare visits. Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Jeff and our hygienists are here to help you keep your teeth clean and enjoy a healthy smile for life.

Journey to a Confident Smile – Lia’s Story Continued

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Lia’s story started with us a few years ago when she replaced a congenitally missing tooth.  She knew that was just the beginning of her journey and she had years of multiple treatments ahead.

Lia before

We are happy to show you the final results as we take you through Lia’s story once again!

Lia After

Lia was a beautiful 16 year old when her journey started.  Dr. Elizabeth bonded composite where tooth #7 was missing.  Lia decided to replace the missing tooth with composite until her skeletal growth was complete and was ready for a more permanent solution.  Lia recently had an implant placed at the site where her composite bonding was. Knowing the implant was a more permanent solution, and Lia now entering her college years, she took this opportunity to brighten her smile like she always wanted to do.

Lia After

In Lia’s case, we chose to create her beautiful smile by adding 3 veneers to match her new implant crown.  Lia always wanted a big, confident smile.  She now has a smile she loves to show off!

 

Do You Think Your Wisdom Teeth Should Be Removed? Watch for These Common Signs

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Which dental procedure comes up most in conversation? You guessed it—wisdom teeth extraction. Upwards of 90% of U.S. adults have had their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their teen or early adult years. If you happen to be in the minority and still have your wisdom teeth, you’re surrounded by friends and family who live without that notorious third set of molars. Indeed, wisdom teeth removal is one of the two most common oral surgical procedures.

If you need your wisdom teeth removed, it’s critical to do so promptly so they don’t cause major damage to your bite…or your overall health. Here are five common signs that it’s time to make an appointment with an oral surgeon:

Sign #1: Pain and sensitivity in the back of your mouth

As wisdom teeth develop and move up towards and through the gum line, they can put a tremendous amount of pressure on existing teeth. If you or your child begin to experience pain, throbbing or sensitivity behind your 12-year molars, your wisdom teeth probably require attention.

Sign #2: Irritated gums in the back of your mouth

As wisdom teeth begin to emerge, they cause a flap of gum tissue to form behind the last molars. This tissue easily becomes irritated and inflamed. Gums may also bleed easily.

Sign #3: Tooth infections in the back of your mouth

Brushing your gums where your wisdom teeth are erupting can be challenging for several reasons:

  • This area is way in the back of the mouth and can be hard to reach with a toothbrush
  • The gum tissue is particularly sensitive as wisdom teeth erupt
  • The flap of gum tissue that forms at the site makes it hard to clean gums thoroughly

Consequently, bacteria often become trapped in the gum tissue and cause infections in the teeth and gums. This bacteria can also lead to halitosis, or chronic bad breath.

Sign #4: Jaw stiffness

As teeth emerge, especially if they’re coming in crooked or sideways, they will put pressure on the rest of your teeth. This pressure can make your jaw stiff and cause undue discomfort when talking, chewing or yawning. Also, swelling around the jaw can accompany jaw stiffness. Left untreated, a misaligned bite can lead to TMD.

Sign #5: A change in teeth positioning and bite

If you start to notice that your teeth are moving out of alignment, particularly if this is in combination with any of the signs above, you’ll want to consult with an oral surgeon right away. Unaddressed for too long, your once beautifully-straight teeth can become permanently misaligned and require dental or orthodontic intervention to remedy.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we advocate for your oral health. One way we monitor your wisdom teeth is through routine x-rays of the area. If we foresee an issue with wisdom teeth eruption or we see evidence that they’re causing problems in one of many ways, we will refer you to our most trusted oral surgery colleagues for a consultation.

As always, we’re here to serve your dental needs and the needs of your loved ones! We can be reached at 651.482.8412.

I Have an Underbite. Why Should I Treat It and What Are Common Treatment Options?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Misaligned teeth can negatively impact a person in several ways. From low self-esteem to problems with teeth and gums and systemic issues, pursuing treatment to realign teeth has many benefits.

One culprit of misaligned teeth is the underbite, dentally referred to as a Class III occlusion. While not as common as its counterpart, the overbite, underbites affect 5-10% of the population.

What causes an underbite?

An underbite occurs when the lower jaw protrudes past the upper teeth when a person’s mouth is in a resting position and can be slight, moderate or severe. With an underbite, teeth don’t line up properly. The bottom front teeth don’t rest behind the top front teeth and the molars don’t stack up neatly.
While this bite is commonly genetic, it can also happen as the result of injury to the jaw, or in childhood from extended use of a pacifier or bottle or from thumbsucking.

An underbite is one of the leading causes of TMD.

If left untreated, what complications can occur?

In addition to low self-esteem, there are a number of physical issues a person with an underbite may deal with:

  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Difficulty forming words properly which can result in lisping or slurred speech
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cranial discomfort in the form of headaches, jaw pain and/or earaches
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Bacteria buildup in the mouth which can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis
  • Misshapen face

Treatment options for an underbite

If you come into our office with an underbite, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will recommend one of a few courses of treatment:

Reverse-pull face mask: A type of headgear, this device helps pull the upper jaw forward by attaching to metal bands on the back of the upper teeth.

Upper jaw expander: Also known as a palatal expander, this device is placed on the roof of the mouth and widened each night. It helps to widen the dental arch and realign the jaws. It’s often used in combination with another common treatment option: braces.

Braces: Braces can contribute to underbite correction by aligning and closing gaps between teeth.

Surgery: In the case of a severe underbite, jaw surgery may be required.

Depending on which treatment option Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff decide is best to correct your overbite, they may refer you to an orthodontist or oral surgeon and work alongside them to help you achieve your perfect smile.

Is an underbite making you feel self-conscious and leading to other uncomfortable or worrisome issues? Give us a call today at Eggert Family Dentistry to set up a consultation! 651.482.8412.

 

Crossbites: Everything You Need to Know to Regain a Healthy Smile

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

You’ve heard of an overbite and an underbite but have you ever heard of a crossbite? Perhaps not. However, crossbites are fairly common, affecting upwards of 16% of the population. In this post, we want to take a little time to explore this form of malocclusion so you know how to identify it, how to treat it and why treatment is important.

What is a crossbite?

A crossbite occurs when teeth are misaligned in such a way that the upper teeth fit behind the lower teeth when your mouth is at rest. If the crossbite affects the front teeth it’s referred to as an “anterior crossbite.” If the crossbite affects teeth in the back of the mouth it’s called a “posterior crossbite.”

What causes a crossbite?

There are several reasons why a crossbite can develop:

  • Genetics
  • Thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Delayed loss of baby teeth and growth of adult teeth

What are symptoms that can result from a crossbite?

You may experience jaw pain or TMD, headaches, neck and shoulder pain or cranial tension stemming from any form of malocclusion, including a crossbite. Also, because teeth don’t line up properly, they can wear unevenly. They can also be difficult to brush well, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease. In severe cases, a crossbite may affect facial structure and cause issues with sleep apnea.

How are crossbites treated in children and adults?

A crossbite can be treated at any stage of life. However, because a child’s jaw is still developing, in many cases a palatal expander accomplishes the task. These expanders widen the upper palate so the upper teeth can sit properly against the lower teeth. Braces and orthodontic headgear are also common solutions for children with crossbites.

For adults, braces can also be effective, however, for adults with severe crossbites, surgery is often the best path forward.

In some cases, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can treat your mild crossbite with Invisalign orthodontic treatment or they can restoratively mask a crossbite by bonding, crowning or reshaping your teeth for a more even bite. However, in the case of a severe crossbite, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff will likely refer you to an orthodontist and perhaps an oral surgeon for a consultation.

If your bite is misaligned, we recommend you come into our office for a consultation. The benefits of correcting an underbite, overbite or crossbite go far beyond aesthetics.

We would love to share our knowledge and experience with you so you can achieve a healthy smile with lifelong benefits! Give us a call at 651.482.8412.

Why Limiting Juice and Soda Is an Important Part of Helping Protect Your Toddler’s Teeth

Frequently, we hear how bad sugar is for our bodies. It can lead to weight gain, blood sugar issues and even diabetes. But how often do we consider the effects of sugar consumption on our oral health…or on our child’s oral health? In this post, we’re going to look specifically at how sugary beverages wreak havoc on your toddler’s teeth and what you can do to prevent it.

Craving sugar is normal

While we may tend to villainize sugar, as humans we are biologically predisposed to crave sugary foods and beverages during times in our lives when we need more calories. This is especially true of babies and adolescents whose bodies are growing rapidly. Not only does sugar satisfy a craving and provide the calorie boost growing bodies are looking for, but it has been widely recognized to help reduce pain.

However, sugar isn’t without its pitfalls and should always be consumed in moderation.

How sugar affects your toddler’s teeth

When your toddler consumes sugar, it’s often in the form of fruit juice and in some cases, soda. But what actually happens to your child’s teeth when they drink a sugary beverage?

Everyone’s mouth contains bacteria. When this bacteria comes into contact with sugar, it immediately begins to break it down, forming plaque and producing acid. Because sugar is sticky and it adheres to the surface of your toddler’s teeth, this process happens right up against their tooth enamel. The acid eats away at the enamel and removes important minerals from their teeth. Without diligence, this process leads to tooth sensitivity, tooth decay and cavities.

So, what can be done?

Preventative measures to keep your toddler’s teeth healthy

There are several things you can do as a parent to protect your toddler’s teeth against the harmful effects of sugar:

  • Avoid fruit juice, even 100% or natural type juices
  • Definitely avoid giving your toddler fruit juice or even milk before bed
    Put a straw in any sweet beverages your toddler drinks
  • Teach your toddler the importance of brushing and flossing regularly
  • Help your toddler (and actually any child up to at least age 8) brush their teeth thoroughly 30-60 minutes after they consume fruit juice or soda
  • Provide water as your child’s primary beverage and encourage frequent hydration to rinse their mouth
  • Have children drink white milk; flavored milk of any kind (chocolate, strawberry, banana, etc) is full of sugar
  • Limit or avoid sugary drinks and foods

Last but not least, schedule regular recare visits for your child with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff at Eggert Family Dentistry! 

To make an appointment for your child’s next visit, give our office a call at 651.482.8412.

At What Age Should I Schedule My Child’s First Dental Visit?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There’s a lot to keep track of as a new parent. Don’t let your baby’s dental health fall through the cracks! Your baby’s first tooth probably won’t erupt until they are close to six months old, but it’s never too early to get their first Eggert Family Dentistry visit on the calendar.

Baby teeth are important too!

We believe that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and we know that tooth decay can affect any teeth above the gumline. That’s why Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your baby have their first dental visit six months after their first tooth erupts or definitely by the age of 1.

Baby teeth have several important jobs and require the same level of care and vigilance as adult teeth.

Baby teeth are responsible for:

  • Helping children chew properly
  • Holding space for adult teeth
  • Speech development

What will we discuss at my child’s first dental visit?

When you bring your baby in for their first dental visit, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will take a peek in their mouth and check all erupted teeth to make sure they’re healthy. Then they will discuss basic baby and toddler oral care, address the negative effects of sippy cups, pacifiers and thumb-sucking, tell you what dental milestones you can anticipate and advise you on how your baby’s nutrition impacts their oral health. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will also give you follow-up instructions so you know when to come back for your baby’s next visit and what to do in the meantime.

How do I prepare my child for their first dental visit?

If you’re proactive and your child’s first dental visit happens during their first year of life, they may not have stranger danger yet. This is a huge advantage and can set you up for a successful initial visit. If your child is a bit older, they may be warier of strangers and feel unsettled in a new environment.

To prepare your child for their first visit, you can:

  • Look online or go to your local library to find books or videos that help young children learn about brushing and caring for their teeth and visiting the dentist.
  • Talk positively about the dentist office and your child’s upcoming visit. Your positivity is contagious!
  • Bring along their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. A little dose of familiarity can provide them with comfort in this new environment.
  • Incentivize. Tell them about the prize they’ll get to pick out or offer to take them to their favorite park after their visit.
  • If your child is a little older and hasn’t had the opportunity to visit the dentist yet, bring them along with you to your next visit. This will help familiarize them with the sights and sounds of the dentist office. They will also be able to watch as Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff and one of our hygienists clean your teeth and examine your mouth.

Our team at Eggert Family Dentistry love working with children and we know good oral health starts young. If there’s anything we can do to help make your child’s first experience at our office a success, please let us know in advance! To schedule your child’s first appointment, call our office at 651.482.8412.