A Brighter, More Even Smile – Julie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?
Julie came to us in February of 2016 hoping to replace the bridge that was placed when she was in the 10th grade because it no longer matched her other anterior teeth. She was interested in improving the look of her smile, but it was very important to her to make sure her teeth had a natural appearance. Julie had heard our team was experienced in cosmetic dentistry and was interested in what we could do for her!

What did Julie want?
Julie wanted to start her transformation by achieving a brighter smile with the Philips 2 week at-home system. Her goal was to get a natural-looking white and more consistent coloring in her front teeth. After the whitening, she was interested in getting more even length and spacing in her upper front teeth with veneers and a new bridge.

What was involved?
We started out by taking records to get a better picture of what treatment would be required to reach Julie’s goals. Dr. Michael Furey recommended Julie start with Invisalign to allow for the most even looking smile and then placing veneers on 3 front teeth as well as a new bridge for the other 3 front teeth. Julie received her first set of Invisalign trays in June of 2016. She was great about following the Invisalign treatment plan and schedule, and was able to complete the treatment in 7 months. Julie then met with Dr. Elizabeth to create a plan to place the veneers and bridge. It turned out Julie needed the help of Dr. Alejandro Aguirre to retreat a root canal on her traumatized tooth. After that was completed, Dr. Elizabeth completed the procedures needed for her new teeth.

What does she think?
Julie felt some anxiety and skepticism at first, but knew the work needed to be done to create the look and function she desired. She felt much more confident after meeting with the doctors and team. Julie said, “I’m so glad I did it! You all have helped me get through it! I catch myself in the mirror looking at how great they look. I’m very happy!” Julie has even motivated her sister to go through similar treatment and says she encourages anyone to go forward with it. We are so happy to have worked with Julie. She came to us as a “cosmetic” patient and she now sees us for her recare and maintenance as well. It means the world to us that Julie has placed her trust in us!

When Do I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth and Gums?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Baby teeth are more than just placeholders for your child’s adult teeth. They help young children chew and even speak clearly. Taking good care of your child’s baby teeth lays a healthy, strong foundation for their permanent teeth, too.

Gum Care Starts at Birth
You can start building healthy oral health habits as soon as your little one arrives. Wipe down your newborn or infant’s gums twice a day, preferably just after feeding. Use a soft, moistened washcloth or a bit of damp gauze.

When It’s Time for the Toothbrush
When your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time for the toothbrush. Choose one with soft bristles and a large handle. The bristles and head will be comfortable for your baby, while the large handle is easier for you to handle.

Parents often ask us if it’s okay to use toothpaste for their young children’s new teeth. We recommend just using water at first, and then introduce fluoride-free toothpaste around age 1. When your child can adequately spit into the sink, it is time to start using fluoride toothpaste, generally using the standard pea-sized amount.

Another question we get is when it’s okay to have your kids start brushing their own teeth. If your child can hold their brush themselves, they can start brushing their own teeth—with your supervision, of course! This means mom or dad should ALWAYS follow up the brushing, looking for and pointing out any areas that were missed, especially in the far back. Children really don’t have the dexterity and understanding to fully brush completely alone until age 8-10.

Why Good Oral Care Matters for Kids
Can wiping down your newborn’s gums and brushing your child’s single baby tooth really make that much of a difference? Yes. Baby teeth are susceptible to tooth decay just like permanent teeth are. Brown or white spots on baby teeth, pits in baby teeth, cavities, and other signs of decay can be painful for your child and prevent them from chewing properly.

To prevent tooth decay in young children, we suggest you stick to breast milk, formula, and water before 6 months. After your child is eating solid foods, continue to avoid sugary drinks, including soda and juice. Never put sugar or honey on your child’s pacifier.

A Quick Word on Teething
Teething is a natural process that occurs through age 2-3, when most baby teeth have been pushed through your child’s gums. Erupting teeth can cause discomfort or even pain for your child. If your little one is drooling more than usual, has swollen gums, or a higher than normal temperature, chances are he or she is teething. Alleviate the pain with a cold washcloth or teething ring. Rubbing their gums with a clean finger can also provide relief.

We look forward to seeing your little one for their first dental appointment around their first birthday. We’ll help you build healthy habits and can give you tips on tooth care, teething, and thumb sucking. Schedule your child’s recare visit today.

How to Get a Flawless Floss

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

FlossFlossing guilt. The phenomenon is real. We know flossing is important for maintaining dental health yet many of us don’t incorporate it into our daily routine. Worse yet? At regular dental checkups, according to the American Association of Periodontology, up to 25% of us stretch the truth about our flossing frequency. (As if it isn’t evident by our swollen gums from our hasty, pre-visit floss!) Let’s cut out the excuses and commit to investing daily in our dental health by taking a look at guidelines for an easy and effective floss and addressing some common questions.

• There are two common types of floss – nylon and monofilament. Nylon floss has a lower price point and comes in waxed and unwaxed varieties and different thicknesses and flavors. Monofilament floss, on the other hand, is a single-strand floss that doesn’t shed or tear and is typically made of plastic or rubber. You will often hear us recommend woven floss as our favorite type of floss. Woven floss is made of multiple fibers twisted together and is a very effective way to pick up significantly more plaque.

• Break off 18-24” of floss and wind it around either your middle or index fingers on both hands and secure it with each thumb.

• Don’t snap the floss into place which can be extremely painful and irritating to your gums. Instead glide the floss back-and-forth between your teeth in a sawing motion.

• As you floss, roll the dirty ends of the floss around your finger to avoid reintroducing the plaque and bacteria you’ve already removed.

• When you insert the floss between your teeth curve the floss into a “c” shape around each tooth and slide it up and down. Be sure to target the left, right and back sides of each tooth.

• Out of sight but certainly not out of mind. The back of your mouth is just as prone to plaque buildup as the rest of your mouth. Remember to floss behind the back side of your back teeth!


How about those floss forks?
According to the ADA, floss forks are not as effective as strand floss because it is much more difficult to create the C-shape and curve the floss around each tooth. Additionally, they are not environmentally friendly and cost significantly more per use than traditional floss.

When is the best time of day to floss?
The optimal time of day to floss is right before your last brushing of the day. That way your teeth have the maximum amount of time to enjoy their particle-free environment. But, like we have told many of you before, flossing anytime during the day is better than never flossing!

If you are concerned about your smile and want to ensure proper care, Eggert Family Dentistry would love to help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have!

Gingivitis: An Overview & Prevention Tips

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Gingivitis – inflammation of the gums – is no laughing matter. Typically caused by a bacterial infection, gingivitis is all-too-common and if left untreated can result in periodontitis and tooth loss and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and lung disease. Fortunately, proper care goes a long way in keeping away this unwanted guest. Here’s everything you need to know to identify, treat and ultimately prevent gingivitis.

Plaque, a thin layer of bacteria, forms on and between your teeth every day. This is why daily brushing and flossing is absolutely imperative. If plaque is allowed to sit on or between the teeth it will harden into tartar, or calculus, which forms a layer of protection for bacteria. With tartar as its accomplice, these bacteria can make their way below the gum line, setting up camp and infecting the gums, causing the condition we know as gingivitis.

So what kind of havoc exactly does gingivitis wreak? Unfortunately the list is long, some symptoms of which include:

• swollen, tender, discolored or bleeding gums
• bad breath
• sensitive teeth
• pain when chewing
• pus within the gums
• gums that pull away from teeth
• loose teeth

Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or one of our wonderful hygienists will measure the depth of any pockets around your teeth with a small ruler. This is a good way to check for inflammation of the gums. A healthy depth is 1-3mm. We will also examine your dental x-rays to look for evidence of bone loss.

Many methods of treatment exist for healing gums and teeth from the effects of gingivitis. In addition to regular brushing, flossing and mouthwash, deep periodontal cleaning with a process called scaling and root planing is an effective technique for removing tartar and the underlying bacteria that cause this gum disease. We also have the option to introduce laser energy into the gingival pocket, which has been found to be another way to kill those nasty bugs! There are also a number of effectual antibiotic medications in the form of injected gels, mouthwashes, antiseptic chips and oral antibiotics.

While there are many ways to be proactive in warding off gingivitis including incorporating proper daily dental care and limiting or eliminating tobacco and alcohol consumption, there are also a number of additional risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing gum disease. Some of these risk factors include diabetes, a compromised immune system, crooked teeth, pregnancy and the intake of certain oral medications likeoral contraceptives, steroids, anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers and chemotherapy.

Daily dental care is the best defense against gingivitis. Thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash is a great start. A soft-bristled toothbrush is less irritating on the gums and just as effective as a medium or hard-bristled brush. Also, a diet rich in calcium, essential vitamins and B12 is a great way to bolster the health of your teeth and gums as well as your overall health. Last but certainly not least, regular dental recare visits, including a professional cleaning, are fundamental. Dentists and hygienists have tools to remove stubborn and hard-to-reach plaque and tartar that regular toothbrushing and flossing can’t.

If you’re concerned about your smile and want to ensure proper care, Eggert Family Dentistry would love to help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have!

Quinn’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?
Quinn came to us as a new patient. He was in his second round of braces with his orthodontist, Dr. Liu. Dr. Elizabeth noticed the midline of his front teeth wasn’t quite centered. Quinn also had uneven spacing in his front teeth.

What did Quinn want?
Quinn noticed that some of his front teeth appeared small and left some spacing on the right side of his smile. He was already focused on straightening his teeth, but he also wanted a more even and fuller looking smile. Quinn wanted to make sure that after he completed his orthodontics his teeth would not only be straight, but symmetrical as well.

What was involved?
Dr. Elizabeth worked with Dr. Liu to make sure we were all aiming for the same goal. Dr. Liu set up a plan to move Quinn’s front teeth to center with his upper lip and leave space around his undersized laterals to make Quinn’s smile more symmetrical and broader.

Near the completion of Quinn’s orthodontic treatment, Dr. Elizabeth presented him and his mom with some options to make the undersized laterals broader and showed them a mock-up of how the teeth would look after the procedure. Quinn decided to take Dr. Elizabeth’s recommendation and do composite bonding now, knowing that porcelain veneers will be a good option when he is done growing.

Quinn felt good about the current color of his teeth. Therefore, he could move right into the bonding procedure. The mock-up was used to create the composite veneers in the office in one day. Dr. Elizabeth performed a very minimal preparation on the teeth and made sure the coloring of the composite veneers matched his natural teeth.

What does Quinn think?
Quinn feels much more comfortable with his smile. He likes the fuller look of his front teeth and thinks they look more natural. He was very happy that Dr. Elizabeth didn’t have to make much adjustment to his teeth. He loved that the procedure wasn’t painful at all. Quinn and his mom feel the investment made in Quinn’s oral health and esthetics was well worth it!




Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

How Oral Health and Heart Disease Are Connected

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Did you know that gum disease and heart disease may be connected? It’s true! Your oral health can indicate if other medical conditions exist long before you’re feeling unwell. Gum disease and heart disease may share an even stronger connection.

A Study of Heart Disease Studies
Recently, researchers analyzed the findings of more than 120 scientific studies. Together, they found a connection between gum disease and heart disease. But doctors still aren’t sure if this connection is direct or causal.

This wide-spread data base found gum disease as a risk factor in coronary artery disease, stroke, and diseases involving the blood vessels and arteries. One study found a direct link between gum disease and clogged arteries in the legs.

But despite the findings, there still isn’t a consensus on whether or not gum disease increases your risk for heart disease. What doctors do know is that the bacteria that causes gum disease can spread through your blood stream and into your heart. The bacteria can cause damage and inflammation within the heart. People with gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease are more likely to have heart disease, too.

Gum Disease Symptoms
While doctors may not be certain of a direct link between gum disease and heart disease, we recommend patients don’t use that as an excuse to ignore their gum health. Red, swollen and sore gums that bleed when you floss, brush, or eat are signs of gum disease. So are recessed gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, please contact Eggert Family Dentistry to schedule a consultation.

Preventing Gum Disease
Fortunately, preventing gum disease is easy. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily as well. And if you smoke, stop. Visit us at least twice a year for your recare checkup. Feel free to ask us about the link between heart disease and gum disease during your checkup. Also let us know if you already have heart disease. We’ll take extra care to evaluate your gum health and recommend appropriate treatment.

Ready to discover if your gums are in good shape or may be indicating underlying health issues? Schedule your recare appointment with Eggert Family Dentistry today.


‘Tis the season for choosing just the right gift!

We have received a number of emails, calls and questions from patients about Waterpiks. Waterpiks can make wonderful gifts.

Waterpiks are effective at forcing food particles and flushing bacteria out from in between the teeth and below the gums where floss can’t always reach, the surge of the water is an excellent source of stimulation as well. All of these things aid in healthier gums. Waterpiks cannot take the place of flossing, however, because floss mechanically removes plaque off the sides of the teeth and slides through the contacts between the teeth, a very important action needed to help prevent cavities.

If you have any compromises that don’t allow you to floss like braces or health or dexterity limitations, then the Waterpik can be a very helpful oral hygiene tool. Beware though, They can be messy and just like flossing they do take practice to be successful.

We recommend, floss to loosen plaque and then use the Waterpik to flush away loose plaque & food debris, followed by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.

So by all means add a Waterpik to your daily routine , Santa knows just where to find one!

Teen Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Mouth and Body

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Have you noticed how busy teens are today? In addition to school and a few hours of homework every night, they’ve got soccer practice, dance lessons, and marching band. On weekends, the stress continues with all-day tournaments and a packed social calendar. While being so on-the-go, it’s easy to see how good eating and oral health habits get pushed down the priority list. We’ve definitely seen it with our own teenage boys Peter and Luke!

But building a healthy mouth and body during adolescence is one of your teenager’s most important jobs. The habits they build now will last long into adulthood. That’s why Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff encourage their teen patients to take the time to slow down, make healthy eating choices, get enough sleep, and of course carve out time at the beginning and end of their days to brush and floss.

Here are a few healthy tips to share with your teen.

You Are What You Eat (and So Is Your Mouth)

Food is the fuel our body uses to build muscle, grow healthy bones, and help the brain to function optimally. Your mouth is ground zero for the food you eat. If that food is high in sugar and very acidic, it wreaks havoc on your teeth and gums. It’s not that great for the rest of your body, either, since sugary foods provide little or no nutrition.

The great news is that the foods that are healthy for your teeth and gums are also healthy for your entire body. Whole foods rich with fiber and protein provide excellent nutrition without leaving sugars behind on your teeth. Drinking lots of water helps your brain and body stay hydrated and working efficiently. It also helps wash away any food left in your mouth after eating.

Take the Time to Eat Breakfast and Brush and Floss Your Teeth

Think about it—when you get up in the morning, your body has not eaten for hours! It needs fuel to wake up and get moving. Fiber and protein-rich breakfasts provide great nutrition and keep you feeling full all morning. Try a breakfast burrito or egg sandwich on a whole-grain English muffin.

Morning breath is usually enough of a motivator to brush your teeth in the morning. But after a full day of school, homework, and practice, it’s tempting to collapse into bed without brushing and flossing.

Think about it—all the sugar and food particles from the entire day will sit in your mouth for hours if you don’t brush and floss! All that sugar is a feast for bacteria that causes tooth decay. Yikes!

We encourage our teen patients to create and stick to a bedtime brushing and flossing habit. It only takes a few minutes and goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy mouth. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff may also recommend sealants to support your good habits. Sealants fill in the grooves in the top of your back teeth. These areas are hard to clean and are prone to decay. Sealants help make your job a lot easier.

Has it been awhile since you’ve seen us? Schedule your recare appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff today.

What You Need to Know about Having a Tooth Removed

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Permanent teeth are supposed to last forever. But sometimes, it’s better to part ways with a troublesome permanent tooth than keep it around. Here’s a look at why we may recommend removing a tooth and what you can expect during your tooth extraction appointment.

Why We Might Recommend Removing a Tooth

Damage from trauma or tooth decay is the most common reason we recommend removing a tooth. Sports injuries, falls, and other accidents can cause irreparable damage to teeth. So can severe tooth decay that affects the root of the tooth.

An infection or risk of infection may also cause enough damage to cause us to recommend an extraction. Severe gum disease is another reason we pull teeth. Sometimes, the gum tissue that supports the tooth becomes so infected that the tooth becomes loose and needs to be pulled.

Other times, we may recommend removing a tooth if it is crowding its neighbors. This is especially common for patients who are getting braces. Pulling a tooth may be the best option for properly aligning your smile or allowing other teeth to erupt.

What to Expect during Your Tooth Extraction Procedure

After a consultation with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff, we’ll help you decide if the tooth should be extracted at our office or with the oral surgeon. Sometimes a local anesthetic is enough to numb the area and safely and completely remove the tooth. Other times, you may decide that undergoing IV sedation is best for you.

Once the anesthetic kicks in, we’ll remove your tooth. This can be as simple as using forceps to pull the tooth out of its socket. But sometimes, we have to cut away gum and bone tissue to better expose the tooth so we can remove it more easily.

Once the tooth is removed, we’ll pack gauze into the socket to stop the bleeding. Sometimes, we’ll add a few dissolvable stiches to close the gum edges. During the healing process, a blood clot forms in the socket. If it becomes loose after your extraction, it causes a painful condition called dry socket. If you experience pain in the area of your pulled tooth, come back to see us. We’ll add a dressing over the socket to reduce the pain as a new blood clot forms.

What to Expect after Your Tooth Removal

After your procedure is complete, we’ll share your at-home recovery plan with you. You can expect some discomfort at the site of the extraction for a few days. We’ll recommend over-the-counter painkillers or prescribe a painkiller depending on the extent of the procedure. Applying ice to the site after the procedure can reduce swelling. Avoid spitting or rinsing your mouth for 24 hours after your procedure. This will allow the clot to form and avoid a painful dry socket.

It’s okay to continue to brush and floss your teeth. Just avoid the extraction site. We also recommend patients stick to liquid or soft foods for the first few days to promote healing.

What We Need to Know from You before Removing a Tooth

Removing a tooth is one of the most common and safest dental procedures we perform. But sometimes, patients have an underlying medical condition that may complicate the extraction. If you’re prone to infection, are immunocompromised, have liver disease, have a heart defect, or have an artificial joint or heart valve, please let us know so we can refine our treatment plan.

If you’re experiencing pain from a damaged tooth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. We’ll perform a thorough exam and recommend your appropriate next steps.

Let’s Get Real: Can My Dentist Actually Tell if I’m Brushing and Flossing?

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Short answer: yes definitely!

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can’t count the number of times a sheepish patient owns up to cheating on flossing and brushing between recare visits. Others try to get away with a little white lie—there’s no way Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff can actually tell I’m not flossing, right?

We’ve all had times in our lives when we let flossing fall off our list of good habits. But dental professionals can tell just by the state of your mouth whether or not you’re brushing and flossing regularly.

Gum inflammation often gives you away.

Regular flossing removes the plaque that builds up between your teeth and along the gum line. If you’re not flossing regularly, plaque will build up in these areas. It doesn’t take long before the plaque causes inflammation along your gum line.

There’s another way to tell, too. When we check your gums during your recare visit, inflamed gums often bleed a lot more than healthy gums do. If your mouth’s a bit of a bloody mess during your visit, this will change when you start flossing regularly.

Plaque and tartar are two of our key informants.

The plaque buildup that eventually causes gum inflammation is a key indicator that you’re not brushing or flossing adequately, even if your gums aren’t inflamed yet. So is tartar (or calculus), which is plaque buildup that has calcified on your teeth. That means it’s been there a while, and you’re going to need our help removing it.

Flossing or using a water flosser regularly can remove the plaque buildup from between your teeth and prevent tartar and inflammation.

You’re not the first patient who’s tried to pull a fast one on us.

Remember when you were a kid and it seemed liked your mom always knew when you were lying? “I wasn’t born yesterday,” she might have said to you. We often think the same thing during our recare visits. You’re not the first patient who’s tried to pull a fast one on us. Just like mom, we’ve got your number!

At Eggert Family Dentistry we love all our patients, which is why we are so passionate about teaching you good brushing and flossing habits. We may give you a friendly reminder to start flossing, but it’s only because we care about your oral health. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment with our caring dental team.