Protect Your Teeth During Sports With a Mouthguard

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

If you play sports, please consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 10-20% of all sports-related injuries are maxillofacial injuries, relating to the mouth and all the connecting regions. The ADA recognizes “the preventive value of orofacial protectors, endorsing their use by those who engage in recreational and sports activities and encouraging widespread use of orofacial protectors with proper fit, including mouthguards.”

While the risk of injury is obvious in classic contact sports like football, boxing, wrestling, lacrosse, and hockey, the ADA also advocates a mouthguard when participating in limited-contact sports like baseball, gymnastics, racquetball and surfing. 

A well-fitting mouthguard will protect your dental health in a variety of ways. While it can’t guarantee that you’ll suffer zero dental damage, a mouthguard is almost certain to reduce dental injuries.

Benefits of Mouthguards

Mouthguards prevent teeth from being knocked out: Having an intact tooth knocked out is no fun. In some cases, it can be retained, but it will require substantial dental attention.

Mouthguards can prevent teeth from fracturing: It may be possible to save a broken tooth, but it will require a substantial filling, a crown, and likely a root canal. If it can’t be saved, an extraction and implant will be needed.

Mouthguards can protect soft tissues: When you suffer an unexpected impact, it’s easy to accidentally bite your tongue, cheek or lips. A mouthguard will help prevent this.

Mouthguards can protect against tooth displacement: Sometimes, an impact can loosen a tooth so that it stays in the socket, but is moveable. When you’re wearing a mouthguard, the force of the impact is distributed over several teeth, reducing the likelihood of displacement. Teeth can be displaced laterally (forwards or backwards) or can be extruded (down).

Mouthguards can prevent jaw fractures: By serving as a shock-absorber, a guard can help prevent the jaw from fracturing—a serious injury that may require surgery.

Mouthguards may help reduce concussions: Evidence is not conclusive, but it’s possible that the padding between the upper and lower jaws can absorb some of the impact that causes a concussion.

In Case of Dental Injury

Should someone suffer a dental injury during sports or any other activity, follow these guidelines:

If a tooth is fractured, stabilize the portion of the tooth retained in the mouth and control the bleeding by gently biting on a towel. Retain all tooth fragments and keep them submerged in water or milk.

If an entire tooth —root and all—is knocked out, handle the tooth by the crown, not the root. You can rinse it gently with water, but do not wash, sterilize, or scrub it. If possible, place it back in the socket (the correct way) and then bite gently on a towel. If not, transport it to the dentist.

In both cases, time is critical and you should be in the dentist’s chair within two hours.

Wear a Mouthguard for Sports

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff love seeing you, but we hope you never have to come in for treatment after a preventable dental injury! Take care of your teeth, please. Wear a mouthguard for sports.

Ortho Treatment: Benefits Beyond Cosmetic With Invisalign

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Only a lucky few are born with straight, perfectly aligned teeth. The rest of us have to see Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff, for help restoring teeth to a healthy alignment.

Esthetic concerns often bring patients into Eggert Family Dentistry to talk about tooth alignment. However, even beyond esthetics, it’s important to know how critical good alignment is to overall dental health.

Dental alignment procedures like Invisalign may improve your smile from a visual perspective, but they also correct issues that may lead to serious dental health problems.

What issues can be improved by Invisalign and corrected with dental alignment?

Discourage Tooth Decay

When teeth are misaligned, they do a much better job of harboring bacteria, which leads to plaque buildup and tooth decay. This is because overcrowded or crooked teeth leave inaccessible nooks and crannies where bacteria thrive. When it’s challenging to access all the exposed tooth enamel with a toothbrush or floss, the area is much more prone to tooth decay.

Improve Periodontal Health

Periodontal health refers to the conditions of the periodontium, or gum tissues. Periodontal disease is disease of the gums. Crowded and overlapping teeth permit plaque and tartar to build up on tooth surfaces underneath your gums, since they’re difficult to clean. Teeth with wide gaps between them are also problematic, because exposed gums are more vulnerable to periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is easily addressed in its early stages, so regular dental exams are an important preventative measure. When it progresses, it may cause serious tooth mobility, tooth and bone loss, and infection.

Fix Malocclusion

Malocclusion refers to poor alignment as the teeth of your upper and lower jaws meet. One person out of five suffers malocclusion, which encompasses three categories:

  • Class I – when teeth are overcrowded, too far apart, or twisted
  • Class II – when the lower jaw is too far back, resulting in an excessive overbite
  • Class III – when the lower jaw is too far forward, resulting in an underbite

Unaddressed malocclusion puts undesirable stress on the teeth. Difficulty chewing, worn, cracked, or broken teeth, chronic pain, TMJ issues, teeth grinding, and speech problems are among the problems that can result.

Invisalign: A Discrete Yet Effective Alternative to Braces

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we are here to help prevent these problems by treating your tooth alignment problems with Invisalign.

If you are presenting any of these issues, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will give you a thorough exam to identify where your ideal bite should be and evaluate whether Invisalign can restore your ideal bite.

Invisalign is a clear alternative to braces. It is subtle and unobtrusive, yet effective. Patients wear clear, custom-made trays, or aligners, about 22 hours a day, removing them to eat, to drink anything but water, and to brush and floss. They are easy to get used to as they gently realign teeth. Every few weeks, you advance to a new set of aligners. Over the course of treatment, usually one to two years, your teeth gradually move into their improved location.

Invisalign is suitable for both teens and adults.

If you have any dental issues that might be resolved by improved tooth alignment, talk to Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. They will be happy to consult with you on the best strategy to help you enjoy a new, beautiful smile as well as improved oral health.

Orthodontics For All Ages

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Orthodontics is defined by Merriam-Webster as a branch of dentistry dealing with irregularities of the teeth (such as malocclusion) and their correction (as by braces).”

When we hear “orthodontics” we often think “teenagers.” While teens are the biggest consumers of orthodontics, orthodontic treatment can correct your bite at any age.

Orthodontics For Adults

While kids’ teeth will generally respond faster to orthodontic correction, adult teeth can also be moved to improve your bite as well as to improve your esthetics. A few famous adult faces have sported braces in recent years, including Tom Cruise and Faye Dunaway.

Invisalign and other clear aligners are a welcome option for adults who want to improve their dental alignment, but are hesitant to have a tin grin 24/7. (Yes, we want to look younger. But not like that!)

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign is a system that moves teeth using clear aligners, flexible custom-molded devices, which gradually move the teeth over the course of many months. Users will get a new set of aligners every one to two weeks. During the first few days, the aligner compels the teeth to move into a new position. For the remaining time in that aligner, the bone in the jaw adjusts for the new location, building up bone to help support the tooth in its new location.

Many adult Invisalign users prefer the discreet appearance of these clear plastic aligners, compared to traditional metal braces. For some people, the fact that it can be removed for special events such as delivering presentations, getting pictures taken, or eating corn on the cob is a big part of the appeal. However, it’s vital to wear them for the recommended 22 hours per day in order to get satisfactory results.

Invisalign is gentler and less invasive than traditional braces, so there’s less discomfort involved. It’s also easier to care for teeth with Invisalign than with traditional braces: Just remove the aligners and brush and floss as you normally would.

Maybe you had braces as a kid, and your teeth have drifted back into poor alignment. Maybe you didn’t have braces as a kid because you didn’t need them then, or because of financial considerations, or the options at the time made you too self-conscious.

Whatever the reason, we encourage you to decide for yourself. If your teeth and bite aren’t exactly what you wish they were, maybe we can help. Ask Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff the next time you’re in for your recare appointment, or call our administrative team and make an appointment to really understand your options.

Invisalign® – Kyle’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Where did Kyle start?

During one of his routine recare visits, Kyle mentioned to Dr. Elizabeth that he had frequently noticed himself clenching his teeth throughout the day which was causing jaw pain and tooth sensitivity. Kyle also mentioned he was interested in doing Invisalign® to help fix some minor crowding of his front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth discussed the importance of stabilizing his bite prior to doing any orthodontic treatment to help ensure the best results through splint therapy.

What was involved?

Kyle began his treatment with splint therapy. He wore a TMJ splint approximately 20 hours a day and came in multiple times to see Dr. Elizabeth and re-evaluate his progress. After wearing his splint consistently for about three months, Kyle noticed significant improvement in his symptoms and Dr. Elizabeth determined he was ready to move forward with Invisalign®.

We sent impressions, photos, and x-rays of Kyle’s teeth to Invisalign® where they created a 3D simulation, called a Clincheck, to show how his teeth could move with Invisalign® treatment. Kyle was very happy with the simulation, which showed a significant improvement to his crowding, and decided to move forward with Invisalign®.

Kyle’s case was expected to consist of 18 aligners that he would wear for one to two weeks at a time. As part of his Invisalign® treatment, Dr. Elizabeth slenderized some of Kyle’s teeth to create more space for his teeth to better alleviate his crowding. Kyle was very consistent in wearing his aligners as instructed, but as he progressed through his treatment Dr. Elizabeth noticed that some of his upper teeth weren’t moving as quickly as his Clincheck had projected. Dr. Elizabeth discussed this with Kyle and he opted to send his case back in for a refinement, which ended up extending his treatment by an additional 22 aligners. After his Invisalign® treatment was complete, Dr. Elizabeth made minor alterations to the biting surface of some of Kyle’s teeth to remove interferences and even out his bite. This process is called equilibration and will help to prevent Kyle’s new smile from further wear.

What does Kyle think?

Kyle had very realistic expectations about his treatment beforehand and understood that correcting his bite wouldn’t be a quick process. Although his treatment ended up taking longer than initially expected, Kyle said the results were well worth it. In addition to the cosmetic improvements to his smile, Kyle noted his bite feels better as well, saying “I don’t have any pain now that my teeth are in the right spot.”

Implants Versus Dentures

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Thanks to modern dentistry, loss of a tooth – or many teeth – doesn’t have to be permanent. With a small investment of time, money and skilled expertise, it’s possible to replace teeth with implants or dentures.

When our patients are facing the loss of one or more teeth, they come to us for counseling on the best path forward. We consider it part of our customer care to walk them through the options and make sure they understand the pros and cons of each option. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff love helping our patients understand the best choice for their individual circumstances. Here’s a quick summary as a starting point.

Implants: The Pros

The best part about implants: They feel and behave like your original teeth. You care for them in a similar way, so you likely don’t need to embrace any fresh routines or invite any new bottles or tubes into your bathroom cabinet. They will prevent neighboring teeth from migrating, so they preserve your bite. Because they are anchored in the bone, they help preserve bone mass in the jaw, Once they are established, they nearly take care of themselves. The feel of chewing, the nuances of speaking, the sensation when you run your tongue along the inside of your mouth – these will all feel completely familiar. Implants are built to last a lifetime, and they almost always do.

Implants: The Cons

Dental implants can take awhile from start to finish. Typically, it’s about six months between initial surgery and final placement of the abutment and crown. There is usually some healing time of the implant which will continue to leave you toothless for awhile. If, however, the missing tooth is in the front of the mouth, we can place a temporary tooth for cosmetic reasons. Depending on your situation, implants may cost more than other options.

Dentures: The Pros

Dentures can be crafted and placed in a shorter time period than implants. They don’t usually require surgery, but sometimes bone recontouring can be necessary to get the denture to fit just right. The initial cost of dentures is lower than most implant replacement options; however, they may need to be replaced as the shape of the jaw, mouth and adjacent teeth change over time, so in the long run may end up costing more.

Dentures: The Cons

Dentures will never feel like your natural teeth. They must be removed for cleaning, and because they can trap food, cleaning is extra important. Denture wearers may have to forgo some of their old eating habits such as corn on the cob. Because they don’t help preserve bone mass in the jaw, denture wearers are likely to experience ongoing jaw bone deterioration, which may prevent them from being a candidate for implants at a later time. Subsequent bone loss may contribute to a sunken appearance of the lower cheeks.

We hope this summary helps you understand your options. We look forward to evaluating your personal situation, and helping you embark on the tooth restoration program that fits your needs. Call us today at 651-482-8412 for your exam and consultation!

Teeth Replacement Options

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Choosing the right tooth replacement method should start with an exam and a dialogue with your dentists, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff. They are happy to take the time you need to understand the variables of your available options, including dental health, overall health, how long it will last, how long it will take, and financial impact. We want to help you choose the treatment that makes the most sense for your situation and bring you the greatest satisfaction.

Replacing Teeth with Dental Implants

Dental implants consist of three components. A titanium post is fixed into the bone where a tooth was. The jaw bone grows back around the implant, holding it firmly. When the implant has integrated with the bone, an abutment is fitted on the implant, and then a crown is attached to the abutment.

Implants help keep adjacent teeth and your entire mouth more resilient to deterioration. When a tooth is lost, a few things begin to take place that may not be easily evident to the eye, but can have significant negative consequences for both health and appearance. Tooth roots not only help hold teeth in place, they are also essential in maintaining health in the adjacent gums and supporting bones.

Thus, tooth loss can cause bone loss in the jawbone. This is a problem because it can interfere with the integrity of the roots and stability of nearby teeth. This bone loss is also responsible for the “sunken” appearance of the lower cheeks which we see in people who have lost back teeth. Because this bone loss is gradual, it causes people who wear dentures to find that their dentures are increasingly hard to fit and keep in place, over time.

With an implant, bite function is fully restored to as good as new. Neighboring teeth are prevented from shifting. The jaw bone is much more stable and stays where it belongs. Additionally, implants look and feel like your own teeth, and you care for them just the same as your regular teeth. Plus, the longevity is unmatched, with them lasting many years.

The comfort, function and appearance of a dental implant explain why they have become so popular.

Replacing Teeth with All-on-4® Dental Implants

All-on-4® Dental Implants are a relatively new dental reconstruction. In a way, they are a hybrid of implants and a bridge. With this technique, four (or more) implants are placed in the jawbone and an entire arch of reconstructed upper or lower teeth are affixed to the four (or more) imlants. This is a more comfortable, stable and long-lasting option than traditional dentures. Plus, they look and feel just like “real” teeth.

Replacing Teeth with Fixed Bridges

A fixed bridge fills in the gap caused by one or more missing teeth by using surrounding teeth as anchors. A bridge can be a fairly quick way to replace teeth, but since it relies on the neighboring teeth, the integrity of these anchor teeth is reduced. Bridges can also be more difficult to keep clean than other tooth replacement options because food will trap under the “fake” teeth.

Replacing Teeth with Removable Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are able to replace one or more teeth in an arch They consist of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base and often a metal framework, which is supported by the gums and teeth. They are removed for cleaning. They are more comfortable and secure than full dentures, and usually cost less than implants or bridges.

Replacing Teeth with Full Dentures

Full dentures are an entire set of artificial lower and upper teeth, held in place by suction. They are removed for cleaning. When they’re brand new, they may feel awkward and speaking and eating might require practice. Over time, they may stop fitting properly as bone mass degrades.

To learn more about your tooth replacement options, call us at Eggert Family Dentistry, 651-482-8412.

Why It’s Important to Replace Missing Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Everyone wants a full set of strong, healthy, functional teeth. They enable us to eat and enjoy a wide variety of food, chew that food to get maximum nutritional benefits from it, and speak clearly. And hey, they also just look good. When you’ve got a full smile of clean healthy teeth, it’s easy to feel confident when you’re talking, eating, and laughing.

Most of us start off with a full set of 32 teeth, and many of us have our wisdom teeth removed during elective surgery, leaving us with 28 teeth to take care of. However, due to a variety of reasons, many of us loose at least one tooth by middle age, and by age 65, one in four people in the U.S. has lost all their teeth.

Causes of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is caused by many factors.

Injuries such as falls or sports accidents can cause tooth loss. Even without immediate tooth loss, sometimes there’s sufficient trauma to the jaw bone and gums that a tooth sustains hidden damage in the nerve and root, which may take months or years to become obvious or fully abscess.

Periodontal disease may cause tooth loss. With this condition, the architecture supporting the tooth, like the bone, ligament, and gums, is damaged or destroyed. When this occurs, a tooth becomes loose and painful and often can no longer be saved.

Tooth decay results from bacteria converting the starch and sugar that accumulates in your mouth into acids, which damage the protective layer of tooth enamel and cause cavities. Some teeth are inherently prone to increased cavities due to deep grooves which trap food, tight and misaligned places which are hard to clean, or thin tooth enamel.

Excessive wear from clenching or grinding your teeth can also put a lot of stress on the teeth, causing structural damage in the form of cracks or fractures. As strong as teeth are, this structural damage compounds over time and occasionally an abscess will form from bacteria accumulating in the crack or the damage will be so severe there is no longer any way to save the tooth.

Extra acid in the oral environment will attack the hard enamel surface of a tooth. The enamel goes through a chemical process that is like dissolving. With this thin and weak enamel, the tooth is more prone to excessive wear or decay and can be lost as mentioned above. These extra acids can be from food or drink, acid reflux disease (including GERD), or systemic problems in how your body gets air and breathes.

Many Reasons to Replace Missing Teeth

When you lose a tooth, there are many reasons to replace it.

First, there’s your confidence and self-image. If you’ve got a visible gap in your smile, you are likely to smile less. You may be self conscious when you eat or laugh. In some cases, you may have trouble with a few sounds as you speak.

But beyond just your winning smile, there are other concrete and medical reasons why it’s important to replace missing teeth. Each tooth plays a crucial role in your mouth’s function. A missing tooth can shift your bite pressure onto other teeth, and over time, neighboring teeth may migrate into the space the missing tooth once occupied. Missing teeth also invite plaque to build up in hard-to-clean spots, which can encourage gum infections that might lead to further tooth loss. Also, the bone which formerly anchored the tooth will start to deteriorate and diminish, which can jeopardize neighboring teeth.

Eggert Family Dentistry and Tooth Restoration

Deciding whether and how to replace a missing tooth is a personal choice each person should discuss with our dental team. If you have experienced or are anticipating tooth loss, please come in for a consultation. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff will be more than happy to explain your options for restoring your beautiful smile, and to help you understand why your tooth was jeopardized and how to improve the conditions for your remaining teeth. Call us today for an appointment, 651-482-8412.

Two Amazing Implant Stories! Candy and Joan’s Stories

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

This month we are excited to share two amazing implant stories. We have been waiting patiently for both of these cases to finish over the course of a few years, but it’s been worth the wait. We want to thank Candy and Joan for allowing us to share their stories!

How Did This Start?

Both Joan and Candy came to us with a history of trying to do the right thing for their dental care, but they had both experienced at least one dental trauma years before. Joan was involved in a motor cycle accident in 1968 where she lost one of her front teeth and started down a path of needing multiple dental interventions. When we started this process with her in 2015, she told us “I hate my teeth. I hate how they aren’t in the right position. I hate how yellow they are. I hate the recession around my bridge. I like to smile, but not the look of my teeth.” She described wanting nicer looking teeth that are strong and allow her to eat without a problem. She wanted the self-confidence that comes with a beautiful smile.

Candy started her journey at age 10 when, unfortunately, she underwent her first tooth trauma, breaking a front tooth. After a series of other injuries and dental treatments done to try to save her teeth, she came to us in 2013 with multiple root canal treated teeth and some teeth that had been replaced by bridges. Candy was very concerned with the recession of her gums and that kept her from smiling too broadly. She also thought that her current dental restorations were too long, she wanted to see them a different shape.

What Was Involved?

For Joan, there were many teeth we could save, but due to the accident, she had lost a lot of bone supporting the teeth holding an existing bridge and those teeth could no longer be saved. We needed to figure out a way to “grow” bone. While bone grafting has come a long way over the years, getting vertical growth of bone with grafting alone isn’t predictable. Therefore, Joan underwent orthodontic treatment. Dr. Brian DeVoe, her orthodontist, was able to change her bone levels by orthodontically moving the front teeth down, therefore, in a sense, “growing bone.” Orthodontic tooth movement also helped straighten Joan’s previously crowded teeth.

When Joan was finished with her orthodontic treatment, Dr. Karl Andreasen, her oral surgeon, bulked up the bone horizontally with a bone graft, before placing implants a few months later. During this interim time, Joan wore both a retainer filled with fake teeth and a temporary implant bridge.

Candy had some difficult decisions to make. Because of the history of trauma to many of her teeth, the teeth were getting more and more unpredictable to save. She had to decide if putting more time, energy, and money into the teeth themselves was going to give her an outcome she would be happy with. Candy originally thought she wanted to save all the teeth that were possible to save. However, after consulting with Dr. DeVoe, an orthodontist, Dr. Dylla, a periodontist, Edgar Jimenez, a dental lab technician, and Dr. Andreasen, an oral surgeon, she and Dr. Elizabeth decided that implants would be a more predictable way to provide the function and esthetics she desired and would likely be a longer-lasting solution, as one of her goals was to “not have to deal with these teeth again.”

Candy worked with Dr. Andreasen first and prepared for the All-On-4 technique in which all of her upper teeth were removed and 4 implants were placed the same day, along with a transitional fixed plastic prosthesis.

While her implants were integrating, Candy elected to undergo Invisalign for her lower teeth to help improve their stability as well. Her Invisalign treatment took 6 months and, in the end, her lower teeth were in a better position as the planning started for her final All-On-4 prosthesis.

What Do They Think Now?

Joan is so happy with her outcome. Her teeth never stop her from smiling anymore. And, as an added bonus, she used to get a headache almost daily, but after her orthodontic treatment, she rarely is affected. Joan told us she knew it would be a lot of effort to get her to her final result, but it was worth it. She told us if she was talking to someone else who was thinking of going through a similar treatment, she would tell them “Do it! Even though it is hard and it takes a lot of effort, even if it’s a pain along the way, it’s worth it, every second of it!”

Candy thought her transitional prosthesis looked ok, but she was excited about the prospect of having complete control over how her final prosthesis would look. She and Dr. Elizabeth had many conversations about what she wanted and all this was conveyed to the lab technicians working on her case. She got to choose the color, the shape, the width, the length, and the arch form of her new smile. It took a couple try-in appointments where the teeth were set in wax and could be adjusted to meet Candy’s ideal specifications, but in the end, the lab was able to provide just what she was asking for.

Candy is happy to be finished with her treatment and says “I am happy with the outcome for sure!” Candy’s treatment took longer than expected due to some minor complications with the tissue surrounding her implants and the need for tissue grafting. Her interim prosthesis held up well though. Candy knew it would be an investment in time and money, but would tell others thinking about going this route “it’s worth it and I’m glad I did it.”

 

Up-close and Personal with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

This month, I again cannot pick just one Wonder Woman to recognize from our team. Every day lately I am in awe at how amazing these women and men are that I get to work with. They all deserve a major award, yet unfortunately they will have to settle for a heartfelt THANK YOU in our newsletter.

The closure due to COVID-19 has been tough. The reopening has been tougher. I started the year realizing 2020 was my 15-year anniversary of starting Eggert Family Dentistry. I had hopes of grandeur, thinking maybe we could rent out the Vadnais Commons, have a band and food and get our patients and team together to CELEBRATE! It has been a lot of work over the years, but we were “making it.” We had a lot to celebrate.

Then the world turned on a dime. I was told I had to close my business. But, not really close, I had to stay available for emergencies so that people would stay out of the emergency room, but I couldn’t run my business how I need to in order to pay my employees. This meant that nearly all of our wonderful team members had to be put on a temporary lay-off and we had to rely on the government and unemployment benefits to take care of their families.

Dr. Jeff and I did the best we could to address emergencies during the mandated closure. The CDC made it seem like we might die if we saw patients or we might be the reason someone else might die if we turned out to be an “asymptomatic carrier” of COVID-19. Unfortunately, dental disease just doesn’t stop because another disease takes priority. We dealt with a number of calls at all hours and saw people as needed. We’re still getting calls every weekend and even now that we’re back open, we’re finding it very difficult to keep up.

I had a patient ask me the other day “How was your vacation?” He meant during the closure. He meant well. He was just trying to make conversation. He did not mean to downplay the severity of what is happening. I unfortunately am so sensitive right now that I almost started crying as this nightmare has been the farthest thing from a vacation. Trying to keep a small business afloat during this has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do (and I’ve had 5 natural births!).

Our business is like a lot of other service-based industries. We rely on revenue coming in so we can keep up with our payment obligations. When there is no revenue coming in, there are still payment obligations. We have been lucky in that we have been able to secure some of the government-based aid options. We have applied for all that is available and time will tell how it all pans out. But, even with the government help, the future is unpredictable and the work never stops. Luckily, we had been saving, but not saving for a rainy day like COVID-19, saving for big equipment purchases, for things that are expensive to replace and upgrade. Highly specialized dental equipment wears out over time and is necessary to keep us up and running, but unfortunately comes at a high cost. With revenues down over 33% so far for 2020, we are having to make some difficult choices when it comes to maintenance and upgrades. We’ve also been working to talk to the dental insurance companies about how their reimbursements haven’t been keeping up over the last many years and that if they won’t raise the allowed amounts for our dental procedures, we won’t be able to provide the service you all deserve. We are currently in a situation where many dental procedures require a 40% adjustment of our fees. With the challenges we face due to COVID-19, adjustments like that cannot be justified.

We don’t want your sympathy, but we would love your empathy and support. This has been amazingly draining on small businesses like ours. I feel extremely lucky that we are even open. I feel extremely lucky that patients are “mostly” scheduling. It definitely could be worse. I called to see about going to my favorite restaurant the other day and they still aren’t open. The governor gave them the “ok” to open over six weeks ago and unfortunately, they must not be able to justify the expenses they face to be open.

How can you help? Schedule to come see us, commit to your appointment and show up, accept that we may be running behind and that we will give you the same attention we gave the patient the hour before should you need it too, accept that we need to collect your credit card information at this time prior to your appointment, accept that things are different, but we are doing the very best we can for you, and please be nice!

Our main goal is to provide you with the same care and attention that we always have. We appreciate you as our patients and we look forward to again serving you soon!

Over-the-Counter vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

The relatively low cost of teeth whitening combined with its track record of proven results makes it a popular choice. In 2018, over 40 million Americans whitened their teeth – either at home or professionally. But are all teeth whitening methods created equal? Let’s explore the facets of both so you can decide which method is right for you!

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

Strips: Because hydrogen-peroxide coated strips can be purchased for under $40, they are a popular go-to for people who are looking for whiter teeth. However, the strips do not provide excellent coverage for the crevices of teeth and the part of the teeth along the gum line and in between the teeth may be missed. Extreme tooth sensitivity is common and they only whiten teeth from two to four shades.

Toothpaste/Mouthwash/Gum: While these are certainly the most affordable option, they are best used in combination with other methods as they only whiten teeth by removing surface stains and typically the results aren’t very noticeable.

Professional Teeth Whitening
At Eggert Family dentistry, we offer KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching, Zoom Whitening, at-home trays with Opalescence bleach, and convenient Opalescence Go!.

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching: 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.

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 into the teeth. Follow-up includes sensitivity management with a special gel and at-home whitening trays.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we also offer our patients professional, at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options.

Opalescence Go! is similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options and comes with a convenient tray and strip application process, helping to better address the nooks and crannies.

Prior to all of our whitening treatments, we will assess the best bleaching system for you during an office visit with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff and a thorough professional cleaning with one of our hygienists.

If you’re interested in whitening your teeth and would help choosing the best route for you, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert would be more than happy to speak with you. They can be reached at 651.482.8412.