Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder – Lizzie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Lizzie’s parents are longtime patients of Dr. Elizabeth and brought Lizzie in for her first visit when she was a year old. As Lizzie grew older, Dr. Elizabeth began to notice signs of what she suspected to be Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) is a disorder characterized by improper tongue, jaw, and lip positioning during swallowing, feeding, and speaking.
Patients with OMD often have signs like malocclusion, mouth-breathing, tongue thrust, and airway obstruction. They may also have symptoms like headaches, malaise, fatigue, anxiety/depression, and pain. Dr. Elizabeth noticed that Lizzie was developing an open bite and had a non-tongue based swallowing pattern (she often uses her lips and teeth for swallowing). Dr. Elizabeth talked with the parents about helping to remind Lizzie to put her tongue up to the roof of her mouth to swallow and to keep her lip and teeth away from each other when swallowing. As Lizzie got older, it was still difficult for her to swallow with her tongue up. Dr. Elizabeth recommended that she start Myobrace® treatment and myofunctional therapy to address her symptoms.

patient highlight

Figure 1: Lizzie’s open bite: her tongue sits forward. She is developing a narrow upper arch.

What was involved?

Lizzie’s Myobrace® treatment will involve moving through a series of oral appliances that each function to address different aspects of OMDs, including habit correction, arch development, and dental alignment. Before starting her Myobrace® treatment, Lizzie came in for a short appointment with Dr. Elizabeth to take initial photos and learn how to wear her appliance. Dr. Elizabeth talked with Lizzie about the importance of wearing her appliance every night while she sleeps and for at least two hours each day. In addition to wearing the Myobrace® appliance, Lizzie has undergone myofunctional therapy with us to further correct some of the habits contributing to her OMD. During these sessions, which we offer both in-office and via Zoom, our hygienist Lea showed Lizzie different exercises to help her retrain her orofacial muscles so she can achieve a normal resting position for her tongue, lips, and jaw.

What have Lizzie’s results been?

Lizzie is still in the early stages of her treatment. She has been striving to keep her Myobrace® in at night and has been working through myofunctional exercises. She feels that her nose breathing is improving and is confident she will continue to put forth the effort for her treatment. Oftentimes, Myobrace® therapy takes many months or even years. The theory is that the slow training and continuous practice of positioning the muscles allows the facial structures to develop naturally and stay that way. We are excited to see where Lizzie will go through this journey with us.

A Brief Overview of Myobrace®: What It Is and How It Works

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

As our kids’ teeth erupt, we keep a watchful eye on alignment and spacing, wondering if they’ll need braces. If their teeth seem misaligned or crowded, we make a mental note to speak with their dentist about it at their next recare appointment and consult with an orthodontist at some point in the future. 

But how many parents know that there is a proactive approach to helping their child achieve a straighter, healthier smile…and one that they can begin much earlier? 

This treatment is called Myobrace®.

What is Myobrace®?

Unlike traditional orthodontic treatment that forces erupted permanent teeth into the proper position, Myobrace® unlocks natural growth and development by promoting correct facial and jaw growth. This preventative treatment is gentle and works by helping kids break bad oral habits and through the use of an intra-oral appliance. 

Who is Myobrace® for? 

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff recommend beginning Myobrace® treatment for children as young as five. This allows them to work with your child from an early age to break bad habits that cause improper jaw and facial development. Some of these bad habits include thumb sucking, mouth breathing, reverse swallowing and tongue thrusting. 

When your child completes their Myobrace® treatment, they will be able to breathe naturally through their nose, rest their tongue in the proper position, swallow correctly and keep their lips together comfortably.

When children begin the Myobrace® treatment, they may have only baby teeth or just a few permanent teeth. That’s ok. Believe it or not, it’s actually beneficial. Early intervention yields the best results! Ultimately, this treatment is typically administered over the course of two to three years and is recommended for kids ages 5-11. 

Steps in the Myobrace® process

Note: Your child will wear a different custom appliance during each step of the Myobrace® process. 

Step #1: Education

Your child will begin their Myobrace® journey with habit-correction therapy. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will teach them how to nose-breathe as opposed to mouth-breathe, how to properly rest their tongue and lips and how to swallow correctly. Curbing bad oral habits at a young age when their jaws are still developing is the first step towards preventing misaligned and crowded teeth. 

Step #2

Arch development: If your child’s jaws are too narrow, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff may recommend an appliance called a BioBloc or the Farrell Bent Wire Systemto widen their upper palette. This device will help make ample space for the teeth and tongue. 

Step #3

Alignment: This step helps align your child’s teeth when the last of their permanent teeth are coming in. It ensures that teeth find their proper position. 

Step #4: 

Retention: Did you know that 90% of orthodontic patients experience structural relapse once retainers are complete? The final step in the Myobrace® process, this step solidifies your child’s results so you don’t have to worry about your child losing all the progress they achieved. 

The intra-oral custom appliances are removable. For best results, children must cooperate with the process and prioritize the use of these appliances a few hours a day and overnight. In many cases, Myobrace® helps a child avoid the need for braces down the road or drastically reduces the length of time they will be in braces. 

Do you think your child may be a candidate for Myobrace®? Give us a call to set up an appointment and learn more! 651.482.8412.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder(OMD): What Is It and How Does It Present?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

You may have heard the term orofacial myofunctional disorder but how much do you know about it? If you’re like most people, probably not much. Surprisingly, it affects a large percentage of the population. It’s estimated that 38% or more than 1 out of 3 people are affected by OMD.

Defining Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder 

Orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is a disorder of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. 

There are several causes of OMD:

  • Thumb or finger-sucking, cheek or nail-biting, bruxism, tongue, lip or cheek-sucking
  • Extended use of a pacifier or sippy cups
  • Tongue-tie 
  • Neurological deficits and developmental delays

OMD can also be hereditary.

Symptoms of OMD include:

  • Insufficient nasal breathing or oral breathing
  • A habit of resting with the lips apart
  • A forward-resting positioning of the tongue
  • Tongue thrust
  • A restricted nasal airway due to enlarged tonsils/adenoids, deviated septum and/or allergies
  • TMJ 
  • Headaches 
  • Airway obstruction

OMD affects the body in many ways

OMD can cause dental problems

Because swallowing requires the cooperation of many muscles simultaneously, people who are diagnosed with OMD often have a difficult time swallowing. In some ODM cases, when swallowing, the tongue doesn’t press on the hard palate but instead is thrust up into the front teeth and out to the sides, putting undue pressure on the teeth. This can result in a misaligned bite which makes biting, chewing and swallowing difficult. 

When the tongue pushes against the back of the front teeth it can create a gap between the upper and lower sets of teeth. This gap is referred to as an open bite. 

OMD can affect facial appearance

Since OMD is characterized by improper muscle function in the jaw, the effects are often visible.

Physical observations may include: 

  • A sluggish face and weak, parted lips
  • A tight chin  
  • Facial grimace

OMD can cause sleep issues

An open airway requires proper positioning of the soft tissues of the mouth. When a person struggles with OMD, the soft tissues frequently obstruct the airway, causing mild or moderate sleep apnea.

OMD can affect speech

Once again, because of improper positioning of the tongue and lips, many people have a difficult time articulating sounds and may speak with a lisp. 

Eggert Family Dentistry can help! 

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff have experience identifying OMD and helping devise custom treatment plans for each of our clients. 

If you’re interested in talking with us more about OMD and are wondering if you could benefit from OMD interventions, give our office a call at 651.482.8412. We’re here to help you achieve a confident, healthy smile and wellness for life!

5 Ways Mouth Breathing Can Affect Your Teeth and Oral Health 

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

According to the 2015 “About Last Night” survey, mouth breathing affects 71% of Americans. But just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s not something to be concerned about. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of mouth breathing and its effect on oral health. 

Common indicators of mouth breathing

Do you or your loved one snore? Snoring is one of the most obvious signs of mouth breathing. Additional red flags include:

  • Dry mouth and lips in the morning
  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • Crowding of teeth
  • Frequent colds
  • Frequent sinus or ear infections

But the effects of mouth breathing don’t end with these bothersome symptoms. 

Mouth breathing negatively impacts the teeth

  • Mouth breathing can cause teeth to wear down.

Although there are several reasons for worn teeth, when nighttime breathing is obstructed by the tongue or throat tissues, our bodies enact a defense mechanism—we clench our teeth in an attempt to open up our airways. This clenching, also known as bruxing, causes teeth to wear down over time. 

  • Mouth breathing can cause tooth decay.

When we mouth breathe, our mouths dry out. This means that the saliva that helps us wash harmful bacteria out of our mouths during the daytime hours isn’t bountiful enough to do its job while we’re sleeping, leading to a buildup of bacteria that erodes our teeth. 

Add this to the fact that a dry mouth can’t maintain proper PH levels and becomes increasingly acidic which also contributes to tooth erosion and decay. 

  • Mouth breathing can create an “open bite.”

An open bite occurs when the tongue is thrust into the front teeth in order to open up an obstructed airway. Over time, the upper front teeth push forward far enough that they no longer contact the edges of the lower front teeth. 

Mouth breathing negatively impacts the tongue and gums  

  • Mouth breathing can cause gum disease.

Not only does a dry mouth wreak havoc on teeth but it also causes problems with the gum tissue. When saliva isn’t present to do its job washing the mouth of harmful bacteria, this bacteria can build up along and under the gum tissue, leading to gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can cause gum disease and result in a host of issues throughout the body. 

  • Mouth breathing can cause a scalloped tongue.

When the tongue puts forward pressure on the front teeth, it can develop a semi-permanent imprint of the teeth, resulting in a scalloped appearance.

In some cases, a child’s jaws don’t develop properly and there isn’t enough room in their mouth for their tongue. Not only can this lead to a scalloped tongue but it can result in an elongated facial structure. 

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we have experience diagnosing and treating mouth breathing. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff apply their knowledge and experience to find the right interventions to restore and protect your oral health. If you’re concerned that you or your loved one is dealing with the harmful effects of mouth breathing, give us a call at 651.482.8412 to learn how we can help!

What Can I Expect at My Recare Visit During COVID-19?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Most people understand the importance of regular dental visits for maintaining good oral health. Oral health has a run-off effect on a person’s overall health as well. Gum disease can easily creep in and, when left untreated, can lead to heart disease, stroke or even death. Sadly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have been avoiding the dentist for fear of catching or transmitting the virus. Our team at Eggert Family Dentistry wants you to know the facts about our COVID-19 safety measures and what you can expect at your visit as well as answer some common questions so you can feel comfortable coming in to see us!

Safety measures at Eggert Family Dentistry

When you visit our office, you can be assured that we are:

  • Keeping up with the latest CDC and OSHA guidelines
  • Running HEPA air scrubbers to remove particulates from the air
  • Disinfecting all surfaces regularly throughout the day
  • Providing hand sanitizer
  • Mandating face coverings for all our patients
  • Mandating PPE such as face shields, long gowns and high-filtration respirator masks for our team members.

Important instructions for your visit

Throughout the last year, we have been maintaining some infection control protocols of stricter magnitude, out of an abundance of caution. We know these measures have been keeping our patients, as well as our team members, safe from COVID-19. While we are happy to see so many members of our community able to get vaccinated, we wanted to review the current protocols as change can only come slowly and only as the virus continues to decrease in our state. Therefore, when you come in to see us, you will still notice the COVID-19 protocols we have in place.

In addition to asking that you wear a mask to your appointment, we will:

  • Have you wait in your car and text us upon arrival since our reception area is still closed due to the need to socially distance. When possible, you may also be asked to come into our building and wait in the hallway near our door.
  • Ask you to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire. You will see that you can save time in our office by filling out your survey electronically prior to your appointment. See your email for details.
  • NO LONGER take your temperature prior to entering the office unless requested by you. It has been decided by the CDC that temperature screening is not an accurate tool.
  • Continue to ask that you don’t bring guests along with you to your appointment unless it’s absolutely necessary. This continues to minimize contact with other people.

FAQs about your recare visit during COVID-19

I would like to see that things have been wiped down—the community pen, the electronic pen, the handles of the chairs, etc.

“Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, our office followed strict infection control guidelines that would have prevented the transmission of the novel coronavirus (or any other virus) to our patients or staff. In an abundance of caution, we have increased the frequency and thoroughness of our sanitizing procedures and we are following safety procedures recommended by the Center for Disease Control, American Dental Association and OSHA. Our cleaning procedures include the electronic pen and the chair handles. We also either wipe any touched pens or ask you to take home any pen you use.”

I am concerned that the risk of virus transmission is too high for the benefits associated with a routine checkup.

“Our hygienists have streamlined their protocols so that patients can return to their recare intervals which are key in maintaining health and well-being. There are many articles noting that those with the highest levels of inflammatory diseases are the most at risk for contracting COVID-19. We are happy to be able to provide high-level dental care to reduce whole-body inflammation and keep you at your healthiest.”

How will I be safe if my mouth is open?

“All patients coming to the practice will be asked to wear a face covering, limiting the particles in the air. Patients will be ushered directly to a clean and sterilized treatment room. All clinical team members will be protected with eye protection, a tight-fitting respirator mask, a surgical mask to eliminate contamination and often a face shield. This will mean that, if your mouth is uncovered, it will be your particles in the air. In addition, we have HEPA air-scrubbing units in the clinic area to eliminate particles in the air.”

I am concerned that dental tools are being used on multiple patients. What are you doing for safety and sanitizing?

“We have always maintained a high level of cleanliness and sterilization in our office, our operatories, and with our dental instruments, or tools. In addition to our new high powered instrument washer to remove debris, we use an autoclave to sterilize our instruments which destroys all forms of microbial life, including viruses and bacteria. The autoclave accomplishes sterilization by using steam under pressure. All instruments that are placed into the autoclave are completely sterilized at the end of the complete sterilization cycle and we ensure that the sterilization indicators prove that before using the instruments on another patient.”

To see our full list of FAQs, visit this link on our website.

If you have any questions about our COVID-19 safety measures or to get on our schedule for your next recare visit, contact us at 651.482.8412!

Exploring the Oral Health and COVID-19 Connection and How Dental Care Can Help!

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

For over a year now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been nervous about going out in public and maybe have even been choosing to put off routine dental care. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we now have had nearly a year to refine our infection control practices, specifically as they relate to COVID-19. We are happy to report that our abundance of precautions have been paying off to make your experience in our office extremely comfortable and safe.

It’s especially important to us to maintain an environment where our patients feel at-ease. While we have seen a vast majority of you this last year, we wanted to share the latest links between COVID-19 and your dental health and urge those of you we haven’t seen back yet to give us a call today! We know now that recent studies show a connection between oral health and COVID-19 complications. Let’s take a closer look.

The link between periodontitis and respiratory conditions

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a gum infection resulting from poor oral hygiene that causes bacteria to build up under the gums. Periodontitis is commonly linked to tooth loss as well as severe conditions such as cardiovascular disease and certain respiratory conditions.

Findings from the CDA Journal (California Dental Association)

One primary COVID-19 complication is respiratory distress which often leads to pneumonia.

Because periodontitis is linked to respiratory conditions, researchers have been exploring the possible link between periodontitis and COVID-19-related respiratory complications.

In an October 2020 journal article, one study found that, when oral bacteria is aspirated into the lungs, it can increase the risk of pneumonia, COPD and COVID-19-related respiratory complications.

The study states, “Successful control of periodontal inflammation can be beneficial to the lungs, possibly decreasing severity and risk of COVID-19 respiratory problems.”

Findings from the British Dental Journal

A team of British researchers suspected that there is a connection between COVID-19 infection and a person’s bacterial load. In a June 2020 study, they explored the connection between a high oral bacterial load and COVID-19 pulmonary complications.

They also wanted to find out if putting a greater emphasis on an individual’s oral health could reduce ensuing CoV-2 complications.

This research team concluded that good oral hygiene is especially effective in preventing airway infections in seniors. Additionally, people with periodontal disease are at a much greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which contribute to severe COVID-19 side effects.

“Oral hygiene [should] be maintained, if not improved, during a SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the potential risk of bacterial superinfection.”

The ADA addresses the oral health and COVID-19 connection

In a February 12, 2021 article on the ADA website, they reference a study from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology that concludes that people with severe gum disease are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 complications.

Indeed, there is mounting evidence to suggest that good oral health helps protect people against some of the severe effects of COVID-19.

If you’ve put off your recare visit or dental work this past year, don’t wait any longer. Give us a call at 651.482.8412 to set up your next appointment. We can’t wait to see you in our office and help you get back on the path to optimal health and wellness! We are so grateful for the increase in vaccinations in our community as more of you have been returning. We will see the rest of you back very soon!

In Spite of COVID-19, Dentist Appointments Are Safe: Here’s Why

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

According to the ADA, dentistry is an essential medical service. Dentists are responsible for maintaining systemic health by evaluating, diagnosing, preventing and treating oral diseases. Consequently, during the pandemic, dental professionals are working hard to ease patients’ fears about coming into the office and they’re taking steps to ensure that it continues to be a safe experience for everyone.

There’s no evidence of COVID-19 transmission in dental offices.

During a 2020 NPR interview, Dr. Michele Neuburger, Dental Officer for the CDC’s & COVID-19 Response Team, stated “There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmitted in a dental office so far. And that includes follow-up by the CDC of false news reports suggesting such infections.”

Similar findings have been reported by industry experts throughout this past year. We are also EXTREMELY proud to note that there is no evidence of any COVID-19 infection stemming from our office.

Unfortunately, there’s still been an increase in the number of people who’ve delayed routine dental care or elective procedures for fear of contracting COVID-19. This has led to an increase in tooth loss and gum disease which, over time, could lead to more serious systemic health issues such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and even death. We are so happy to see most of you back, including a slew of recent “returnees” because of the rapid increase in vaccinations. We want share the latest information to encourage and guide the few of you remaining who are taking it just a little slower.

Dentists are used to working around infectious diseases.

Rest assured. COVID-19 isn’t the first infectious disease dentists have encountered. HIV, hepatitis, influenza, strep throat…these are just a handful of viruses that dentists ward against every day. Dental professionals wear scrubs, masks, and latex-free gloves to protect themselves and their patients. And our precautions have only increased since the pandemic began.

Offices are implementing increased safety measures.

The ADA released additional guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including reduced use of aerosols and dental dams and an increase in the use of high-power suction for hygiene procedures.

Eggert Family Dentistry is working hard to keep you safe!

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recognize the importance of routine dental care and following through with recommended procedures to keep your teeth, mouth, and body in optimal health. That’s why we’re going the extra mile to make sure each one of our patients feels comfortable when you come in for a visit.

Our protective measures include:

  • Paying close attention to the evolving CDC and OSHA guidelines and continuing to make our practice safe for all those we are honored to serve.
  • Running HEPA air scrubber units in the office to remove particulates from the air, including germs like viruses.
  • Personalizing arrival procedures to guide you directly from your car or the hallway of the building to your treatment rooms to eliminate contacting surfaces and promote social distancing.
  • Requiring the use of a face covering and social distancing protocols.
    Providing a hand sanitizer station.
  • Wiping surfaces regularly in the administrative areas and between each patient in the clinical areas.
  • Continuing to keep the reception area and restroom closed.

If you’d like to learn more about what we’re doing to keep our office clean and safe or if you’d like to get on our schedule for your next appointment, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

3 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A chipped tooth is no laughing matter. Depending on the severity of the break, a chipped tooth can be embarrassing and extremely painful. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we have three options for repairing a chipped tooth: bonding, veneers and crowns. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three options.

Dental Bonding

One of the biggest perks of dental bonding is the ease of the process. Dental bonding can be completed in a single appointment. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff apply a putty-like composite resin to your tooth and then sculpt and shape it before curing and hardening the material with an intense blue light. Once polished, composite bonded restorations have a smooth and shiny finish, blending in well with the natural teeth.

Dental bonding is an effective way to repair and reshape a cracked tooth and is also used to correct gaps in teeth or cover up stains. Dental bonding usually lasts for 5-10 years and is a cost-effective solution that helps restore your natural smile.

Check out Lia’s story about her experience with dental bonding here!

Veneers

Sarah's Smile After

Veneers are a stunning option for cracked teeth as well as stained, gaping, and misaligned teeth. They consist of a thin porcelain shell that covers your existing tooth. Applying veneers is a little more labor-intensive process than dental bonding and requires 2-3 visits to complete. At your first visit, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will discuss the result they hope to achieve with the veneers. Then, they prepare your teeth for the custom porcelain overlay and take an impression of your prepared teeth. This impression is then sent to a dental lab where your veneers are fabricated. In the meantime, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will fit you with an attractive temporary solution. The veneer preparation process takes 2-3 weeks. Once your custom veneers are created, you will come back into our office where we will polish your teeth and bond your veneers in place. We work hard to make sure they feel like natural teeth and that you love the results.

Take a look at Katie’s story to learn how porcelain veneers transformed her smile!

Crowns

A crown is an excellent option for repairing a severely cracked or damaged tooth. Commonly made from 100% porcelain, crowns restore the integrity of a damaged tooth more than dental bonding or porcelain veneers because they “cap” or fully encompass the entire tooth. They facilitate chewing and can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth for a flawless appearance.

Creating and placing your custom crown will take 1-2 visits with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. A local anesthetic will ensure your comfort while your tooth is prepared for the crown. In many cases, we can take a CEREC scan of your tooth and fabricate your custom crown in our office the same day! Sometimes, however, a lab fabricated crown may still be the better choice for your situation. If that is the case, we will take an impression of your tooth and surrounding teeth and send this impression into one of our trusted labs where they will fabricate your custom crown. This process usually takes 2 weeks. In the meantime, we will fashion a temporary crown for you to wear.

When we fit your crown, we use a cement bonding agent to ensure that your crown stays securely in place. Crowns usually last 10-20 years with proper care.

Read Mary’s story to learn how crowns dramatically improved her smile!

Do you have a chipped tooth that needs to be repaired? Give us a call at 651.482.8412 to make an appointment and discuss your options!

5 Ways to Improve Your Smile This Year

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

We’re already a few months into this new year. Maybe you’ve intended to tackle cosmetic dentistry work in the past few years but haven’t made it a priority. Make 2021 the year! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we offer many cosmetic dentistry procedures. Here are a few of our services that we think might pique your interest:

Teeth whitening: Over time, teeth become stained from certain foods, beverages, medications and smoking. Eggert Family Dentistry has many great options to help restore your pearly whites. We provide professional-grade strips and whitening trays that are more effective and gentler on your teeth and gums than their over-the-counter counterparts. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff also offer the Zoom and KöR Whitening procedures. Zoom is performed in a single, two-hour appointment. We apply a professional whitening gel to your teeth and activate the gel with an LED light which allows the gel to better penetrate the teeth. KöR bleaching is the most effective whitening system on the market and is backed by scientific research to bleach even the previously-thought-impossible-to-bleach tetracycline stained teeth.

Invisalign®: A low-profile alternative to metal braces, Invisalign uses retainer-like tooth aligners made from BPA-free medical-grade polyurethane thermoplastic to move teeth. While this option isn’t for everyone, it can be an excellent choice for people with mild to moderate gaping or crowding and helps to discreetly straighten your smile.

Read a couple of Eggert Family Dentistry Invisalign® success stories here!

Veneers: Porcelain dental veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that cover the front of teeth. Veneers dramatically transform chipped, misaligned, discolored or worn teeth. They can also be used to close unsightly gaps. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff custom make dental veneers that compliment your skin tone, facial features, and personality and feel just like natural teeth. This process takes two or three visits and the results last for many years.

Read Katie’s Story here to learn about the transformational power of veneers!

ICON: Sometimes teeth develop white or brown spots. This can happen for several reasons. If your teeth were exposed to too much fluoride as a child, you eat foods that stain teeth or smoke cigarettes or in some cases, if you suffer from Celiac Disease, these unsightly spots may occur. Fortunately, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff offer a minimally invasive treatment that reduces the appearance of these spots. During an ICON treatment, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff infuse teeth with a resin that lightens teeth without the need to reshape or remove enamel in any way.

Read Chauncy’s story here to learn more!

Tooth replacement: Losing permanent teeth can happen from trauma to the jaw, from gum disease or from tooth decay. Regardless, it can be an awkward situation and one that most people want to remedy as quickly as possible. If you’re dealing with missing permanent teeth, you have some excellent options. These options include dental implants, bridges, partial dentures or full dentures.

Dental implants: With dental implants, a titanium post is fixed into the bone where the tooth was and the jaw bone grows back around the implant, holding it firmly in place. Then, an abutment and crown are fitted on top of the implant.

Bridges: Just like it sounds, bridges “bridge” a gap caused by missing teeth and use the neighboring teeth as anchors. These false teeth can stand in for one or more missing teeth. However, bridges can cause stress on neighboring teeth and food can get trapped underneath them, making cleaning more difficult.

Partial dentures: Partial dentures or “partials” replace one or more teeth. These false teeth attach to a plastic base and often have a metal framework. They are fairly comfortable and easy to remove for cleaning.

Full Dentures: Full dentures are full sets of upper and/or lower artificial teeth that are suctioned into place and removable for cleaning. While they can take some getting used to, they start to feel more normal over time. Full dentures will eventually become loose as bone mass degrades.

If you want to learn more about different tooth replacement options, read our post here!

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we have an abundance of experience and are passionate about helping our patients achieve a more confident smile. If you’re interested in learning more about which cosmetic dentistry procedure can help you achieve your goals, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

Tips for Whiter Teeth Between Your Recare Visits

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

It’s not disputed that whiter teeth lend themselves to a more attractive smile. Statistically, more than 66% of Americans recall attractive features about someone more easily than they recall unattractive features. Thus, a white smile and straight teeth leave a stronger impression than a dull smile and crooked teeth. In fact, Americans make the unconscious assumption that people with straighter, whiter teeth are more intelligent, even though there is no basis for this. These findings demonstrate the power of a brilliant smile to make a lasting impression. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your dull smile, there are quite a few avenues you can pursue to regain and maintain a whiter smile this year.

Tooth discoloration prevention

The biggest investment you can make in your dental health is in the way of prevention. There are several things you can do to prevent tooth discoloration:

Avoid foods and beverages that stain teeth: Many foods are intensely pigmented, have substantial tannins or are highly acidic and easily stain enamel. Avoid or limit the consumption of berries, red wine, tomato-based products, dark chocolate, coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary treats. If you consume these, wait a half an hour to let your saliva start the neutralization process and then brush your teeth thoroughly.

Quit smoking: It goes without saying that smoking is bad for your lungs and can lead to many forms of mouth, throat and lung cancer. But did you know that tobacco also lodges in the crevices of your teeth and causes staining? Kicking the habit is an investment in many facets of your health.

Eat healthy: Not only is it helpful to reduce or eliminate certain foods, beverages and tobacco from your diet, but it’s also important to make sure you’re consuming a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. Calcium is found in several vegetables and dairy products and helps strengthen enamel. Vitamin D is also important because it helps your body absorb calcium. Phosphorus works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Potassium, vitamins C, K and A contribute to dental health as well. In addition, incorporating crunchy fruits and veggies into your diet can keep your teeth clean and staying hydrated with plenty of water each day keeps bacteria from building up in your mouth and causing tooth decay.

Practice daily dental care: The single best way to prevent tooth discoloration is by brushing and flossing faithfully each day. Brush in the morning and evening (more often if you eat sugary, acidic, or highly pigmented foods) and floss at least once a day. Additionally, you can incorporate a daily swish of fluoride mouthwash to cleanse your mouth from residual food particles and bacteria and keep enamel strong.

Cosmetic whitening solutions

In a perfect world, we would all make lifestyle choices that ward off tooth discoloration and enjoy white smiles without intervention. However, for many reasons—some that are out of our control—our teeth become dull and stained. Fortunately, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff have some excellent cosmetic procedures that help restore the white smile you long for.

Professional home trays: Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff offer professional at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than that in over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide kits. Professional at-home trays are also safer and more effective than over-the-counter options.

Zoom Whitening: Another popular option we offer at Eggert Family Dentistry is Zoom Whitening. Zoom Whitening is performed in a single two-hour appointment and lightens teeth anywhere from 4-10 shades! Professional whitening gel is applied to your teeth and activated by an LED light which helps the gel penetrate the teeth. Follow-up includes sensitivity management with a special gel and at-home whitening trays.

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching: Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are also proud to offer the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching system. The most reliable and effective bleaching system on the market, KöR restores your teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen and can whiten teeth up to 16 shades! The oxygen from the whitening gel is absorbed deep into the tooth, dissolving stain molecules and changing how the tooth reflects light. Most people experience little or no sensitivity with this treatment.

If you want to keep your teeth sparkling white between visits, avoiding or limiting enamel-staining foods and beverages, eating healthy, pursuing daily dental care, and avoiding tobacco are smart choices. If you’re looking to brighten up your smile, talk to Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff about our professional whitening services. Either way, make sure you prioritize your bi-annual recare visits at Eggert Family Dentistry. Teeth that are freshly cleaned and polished are more resistant to discoloration. If you’re interested in learning more or to schedule your next visit, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

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