Toothbrush Hygiene and Replacing Your Toothbrush after Illness

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

It’s commonly recommended that you replace your toothbrush after you’ve had a contagious illness like a cold or the flu.

The idea behind this advice is that lingering germs on the toothbrush could re-infect you, so starting with a fresh toothbrush will help you stay healthy.

What do you think? Fact or myth?

We’re here to come down on the side of MYTH. While we do want you to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis, avoiding your own germs is not a good reason.

Why (Your Own) Germs on Your Toothbrush Are Not a Problem

Here’s the deal.

The very act of recovering from an illness demonstrates that you’ve got an immune system and it’s doing its job. Your immune system has produced specific antibodies to fight off whatever is causing your illness. You’ve got those antibodies within you, actively fighting this illness, so even if there are lingering cold or flu germs on your toothbrush, they won’t make you sick again. Since you are brushing at least twice a day (right?), it’s not like your body can’t keep up with the few germs or viral particles on your toothbrush.

Now, if you happened to share a toothbrush or toothbrush holder with someone while you were sick, it’s a good idea to replace all those toothbrushes. This isn’t for the sake of the recovering person, but for the sake of the other folks.

Only someone who is severely immunocompromised might have a reason to worry about reinfecting themselves with their own toothbrush, and that’s still a long shot.

This is even true for some of the more serious contagious illnesses. For example, a study demonstrated that even people with strep throat don’t leave significant germs on their toothbrushes.

Proper Toothbrush Hygiene

Here are recommended best practices for your toothbrush hygiene, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). If you have any questions, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are happy to answer your questions too. You can also read our article on 8 Bad Brushing Habits.

  1. To avoid cross-contamination, keep everyone’s toothbrush separate.
  2. Don’t share your toothpaste or toothbrush.
  3. Rinse your toothbrush after use to remove food particles and toothpaste.
  4. Let your brush air-dry upright in an exposed container. Moisture invites bacteria to breed, so don’t cover it.
  5. Don’t soak your toothbrush in disinfecting solutions or mouthwash. This can actually lead to the spread of germs if multiple people use the same solution.
  6. Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if it starts to look worn.

Why Are Toothbrush Bristles Colored?

Have you seen the blue colored bristles on some toothbrushes? The reason for colored bristles is actually two-fold. First, the colored bristles serve as an indicator of when it’s time to replace your brush. When the blue has faded, toss your brush and get a new one. Second, the blue bristles on kids’ toothbrushes indicate where and how much toothpaste to apply. Kids can be over enthusiastic about applying toothpaste, and you don’t really need very much to get the job done.

While we want you to replace your toothbrush regularly, there’s no need to overdo it and send an extra piece of plastic to the landfill before its time. Keep on brushing, stay healthy, and we look forward to seeing you at Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, Minnesota. Give us a call today at 651.482.8412 to set up your next appointment!

Four Ways Drinking Water Benefits Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

We bet you’ve heard and read about the importance of drinking water for your health. Some authorities recommend six glasses per day, some recommend eight glasses per day. Some propose that we drink at least half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight. That translates into at least 80 ounces (10 eight-ounce servings) for someone who weighs 160 pounds.

There are many ways in which drinking water and staying hydrated contribute to your health, but drinking water also offers critical benefits to your oral and dental health as well.

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff want to encourage everyone to drink plenty of water every day, for both their overall health and their dental wellness. This advice applies to children as well as adults.

How Does Drinking Water Benefit Oral Health?

Water Washes Away Food Particles

Even when we can’t brush, we can rinse food particles away from our teeth and gums by drinking water. Getting those particles away from our teeth and gums is a victory, but if we wash them away with soda or fruit juice it kind of defeats the purpose, right? Instead, rinsing with water leaves no sugar or material behind for bacteria to eat. It also dilutes the acid in your mouth, obstructing tooth decay. Rinsing with fluoridated water has the added benefit of lightly coating your teeth with a defensive layer that helps remineralize any damage to enamel.

Water Discourages Dry Mouth

mouth breathingYou may not realize that tooth decay thrives in a dry mouth. This is because saliva contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate, which help discourage tooth decay. Drinking water helps promote more saliva production in your mouth, which is more ammunition in the battle against tooth decay.

Fluoride Fights Tooth Decay

One pivotal way that water strengthens teeth is due to the added fluoride. We’re lucky to be in the United States where fluoride is added to municipal water in nearly every jurisdiction. Fluoride is a natural cavity-fighter and promotes strong teeth. In kids, it strengthens the tooth enamel in their developing teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. Fluoride in combination with saliva helps prevent plaque.

Water Discourages Bad Breath

Morning breath and general bad breath is often caused by a dry mouth. Drink water throughout the day, and you will promote saliva production, which helps discourage the unwelcome stinky bacteria working in the mouth.

How to Start a Healthy Water Habit

Make it easy for yourself and your kids to drink plenty of water. Keep a jar or bottle of water on your desk and by your bed. When it’s cold out and you need a hot “pick-me-up,” switch to unsweetened herbal tea to stay hydrated. Treat yourself and your kids to a special water glass so you can appreciate your water drinking experience all the better.

As always, your healthy water habit isn’t a “Get Out of Brushing Free” card. You still need to brush and floss to keep your mouth and teeth healthy, and come and see Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff for regular recare exams.

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

Reducing Sugar for Dental Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

‘Tis the season for sweet treats.

The period from Halloween through New Year’s Eve is a national sugar-fest, starting with trick-or-treat candy, ramping up to a pie bonanza on Thanksgiving, and then embarking on a whole month packed with candy and baked goods at the office, at parties, and exchanged as holiday gifts.

Is Sugar the New Smoking?

While we don’t expect many people to give up sugar entirely, we do want to urge moderation. Some folks are calling sugar “the new smoking,” as it does have negative effects on our health, from dental cavities to weight gain to inflammation.

Here’s how sugar promotes cavities. It’s not actually the sugar itself that corrodes tooth enamel. Actually, the sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in the mouth that make up plaque. When these bacteria eat sugar, they generate acids that destroy tooth enamel and can then get into deeper layers of the tooth. This results in cavities and tooth decay, and can ultimately contribute to tooth loss.

Choose Recipes with Less Sugar

One way to pursue moderation in sugar is to change your cooking habits and seek out new recipes that deliver less sugar.

Experiment with your own recipes. When baking, try reducing the sugar and see how you like it. Sugar does play an important role in the texture of baked goods, but in many cases you can cut the sugar by a quarter cup or a half cup and still have an excellent result. Foods that don’t depend on sugar for structure are even better for experimenting, such as ice cream, baked custards, pumpkin pie, and similar treats.

If you don’t have time for playing “test kitchen” at home, seek out recipes that use natural alternative sweeteners. If those sweeteners are maple syrup, agave or honey, those ingredients are often sweeter than sugar, so you can reduce the amount in your recipe. Those ingredients also have the benefit of having some nutritional content, in contrast to plain white sugar.

Any reduction in your sugar consumption has a health benefit from both a dental and an overall perspective. Eating less sugar keeps your teeth healthier, stabilizes your energy levels, improves your heart health and more. You don’t need to totally eliminate sugar from your diet to benefit from reducing your consumption.

Keep Brushing and Flossing!

Of course, reducing sugar doesn’t reduce your obligation to brush and floss. Keep up your brushing and flossing routine even if you start eating the cleanest diet around, and make regular recare appointments with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff for routine exams and professional cleanings.

Give us a call today at 651.482.8412 to set up your next appointment! We look forward to seeing you soon!

The Love of Food and Fellowship Couples Well with Preventative Dental Health Care

By: Shelly Tretsven, Eggert Family Dentistry Hygienist 

I am a foodie, I confess. As a dental hygienist I have had the opportunity to talk about nutrition, recipes and good eats with patients for over 30 years. Food is truly a universal language.

The holiday season is upon us which is a great opportunity for good food and good company.

Food and Oral Health:

Food provides the nutrients for healthy bodies and healthy mouths. It’s important to eat a well balanced diet of protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of water. Your food choices matter in the preventative care of your oral health. For starters, digestion begins in the mouth, simple carbohydrates like sugar and starches are broken down in the mouth by the  bacteria in your plaque and their bi-product is acid. That acid is responsible for the breakdown of your tooth surfaces resulting in a cavity. It can also irritate your gum tissue, resulting in gingivitis or periodontal disease. Another thing that can happen with too much acid in the mouth is erosion. Erosion is the wearing away of tooth structure from an acid source, primarily in the form of foods and beverages. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, coffee, alcohol, soda, and even carbonated water are some of the top rated foods for causing erosion of the teeth.

Reduce or modify the consumption of acidic foods by eating them with meals and coupling them with a more neutral or neutralizing food like nuts, eggs, cheese, meats, vegetables, and whole grains when eaten between meals. A good snack choice might be fresh fruits and vegetables or a pairing of pickles and cheese, fruit with yogurt, a medley of nuts or coffee and tea with cream.

The holidays are here and it’s really difficult to manage all the above rules and information when so many delightful foods are before us. But, we can try and maybe not miss out as much as we think. Here are a few suggestions for you:

The trend toward charcuterie boards is wonderful for when guests arrive. A beautiful display of whole foods is a great option and can minimize acids if you choose right! If you keep in mind the yin yang of high and low pH foods, you can provide great healthy choices.

Another idea is to serve lean roasted meat or fish or roasted veggies, but probably skip the potatoes. To make things more interesting, don’t forget the seasoning because that counts! Also, whole grain breads and sourdough can replace white dinner rolls. Sourdough bread is low in gluten, is a prebiotic that feeds healthy bacteria in your stomach, and is more digestible.

Finally, holiday desserts can be fresh fruit pies or tarts, drizzled with heavy cream instead of sweet whipped cream.

Consider baking with ⅓ less sugar for most of your cookies this season and try butter substitutes like beans, apple sauce, avocado and more.

Or, try this recipe. Yum!

Have a happy and joyous holiday season with your loved ones!

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.