Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

According to a study by international healthcare group Bupa, 42% of the 2000 people surveyed said that their smile is the first thing they would change about themselves and a little over a third of the surveyed group said they’re embarrassed by their smile. What’s more? Orthodontics Limited reports that teeth are second only to weight when it comes to things people feel insecure about. Fortunately, at Eggert Family Dentistry, there are a plethora of ways you can choose to improve your smile. Let’s take a closer look at 5 popular smile-enhancing options that we offer at our clinic!

Tooth Whitening: Over time, due to poor brushing habits and consumption of acidic and richly-hued foods and beverages, teeth become yellowed and dull. Tooth whitening is a safe and cost-effective procedure that brings back brilliance to your pearly whites. While historically triggering nerve sensitivity, today’s whitening agents contain fluoride and other desensitizing agents which reduce the risk of sensitivity. If properly maintained, the positive effects of tooth whitening can last for a number of years. It’s important to keep in mind that anything that can stain a white shirt can stain your smile. Ensuring thorough brushing after consumption of stain-inducing foods and beverages will extend the life of your tooth whitening procedure.

Bonding: This is an effective way to fill in gaps in your teeth – particularly the unsightly gaps in the front of your mouth – as well as whitening yellowing or darkening teeth. The results from bonding are immediate and stunning. As with teeth whitening, however, it is important to practice good oral habits in order to avoid new staining and discoloration from foods and beverages.

Porcelain Veneers: While the term may conjure up images of fragile dolls and china, porcelain veneers are actually incredibly strong and durable. These veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are applied directly to your natural teeth for the purpose of changing their size, shape or color or to repair fractured teeth or improve the appearance of a crooked smile. This entire procedure can be accomplished in as little as two visits with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. Many people choose porcelain veneers simply to feel and look younger with a straighter, whiter smile!

Crowns: Crowns thoroughly cover a tooth in order to give the tooth the protection it needs to function correctly or for the purpose of changing its size, shape or color. We are fortunate to be able to complete crowns in only one visit in our office with our CEREC crown procedure.

Invisalign®: As we’ve highlighted in recent posts, Invisalign® is a fantastic alternative to braces for many teens and adults. With the use of transparent, low-profile aligner trays, teeth can be straightened and improper bites corrected. This procedure is typically more comfortable, less visible and takes less time than teeth straightening and bite correction with traditional metal braces.

If you long for a confident smile and are considering any of these great smile-enhancing options, please contact our office. We would love to consult with you and provide you with a treatment plan that is right for you!

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!

 

 

 

Rebuilding Worn Teeth – Gina’s Story

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?
Gina came to us as an established patient at one of her routine recare appointments. Dr. Elizabeth noted decay around her front teeth and Gina mentioned how she noticed wear on her teeth and she was frustrated that her teeth were deteriorating despite her efforts in caring for them. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Gina go through our records process so she could delve deeper into underlying causes behind her decaying and worn teeth.

What did Gina want?
Gina noticed a lot more wear lately and wanted to keep as many of her natural teeth as possible. She was concerned because she recently needed a root canal for one tooth and needed another tooth extracted because of a vertical root fracture. Gina wanted to take action before other teeth declined. She also wanted her teeth whiter, more even, more uniform looking and wanted things to function better. Gina wanted a conservative, comprehensive plan for restoring her teeth.

Before

What was involved?
Dr. Elizabeth used photos and x-rays of Gina’s teeth along with the results of a thorough muscle and joint evaluation to develop Gina’s plan. The details of the records process revealed that the position of Gina’s teeth caused multiple interferences when she chewed. This is why her teeth were seriously starting to break down.

Dr. Elizabeth and Gina decided that Gina’s best option for restoring her teeth would first require moving her teeth to a better position with orthodontics. Gina worked with Dr. Brian DeVoe, a local orthodontist, until she had an even biting surface. Dr. Elizabeth then worked with a local lab and together they designed a blueprint of Gina’s new front teeth out of wax. This blueprint, called a laboratory wax-up, provided the ability for Dr. Elizabeth to create Gina’s new smile. Gina wanted to be as conservative as possible so it was decided to proceed with three porcelain crowns to remove the decay and to rebuild the worn edges of Gina’s front teeth.

After

What does Gina think?
“It sounded like a lot to do at first with the orthodontics and the crowns, but I knew I needed to do something to address the cause of the breakdown. I definitely didn’t want to lose any more teeth. I am so glad I went to the consultation with the orthodontist and went through with braces. My bite feels comfortable and everything feels so good! I would tell anyone considering getting this done to do it right away.”

The Vital Role of Teeth and Chewing in Overall Health

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

It’s an unfortunate fact of life: sometimes we last longer than our teeth. It’s not uncommon to lose teeth to accidents, decay, disease or deterioration.

Replace Missing Teeth with Implants or Dentures

Dentures have historically been the go-to solution, but dentures definitely are not teeth and satisfaction varies. Some people find them awkward or painful, or have trouble chewing. Luckily, dental implants can provide a tremendous improvement. Implant technology is one of the great advances of the last few decades, and enable everyone to have a full set of functional “teeth” well into an advanced old age.

Why Tooth Replacement is Crucial to Health

If you’re facing missing teeth, why is it important to replace them?

While some people might be tempted to soldier on with missing teeth, this means relying on gum surfaces for chewing; restricting the diet to soft foods; or pureeing foods to make them palatable. We do not recommend these solutions–they may ultimately have negative impacts on the health of your mouth and body.

Jaw and Gum Issues Due to Missing Teeth

When teeth are missing, you have to work harder to chew. Natural teeth have a bite force of 200-250 pounds and dentures have a bite force around 50 pounds. The soft tissue of the gums can’t approach the strength of either. Over time, you’re at risk of suffering irritated, sore, or even infected gums, which will further diminish your chewing ability.

TMJ disorders may also result from the loss of teeth. The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, where your jaw connects to your skull. Disorders of this joint can lead to headaches, tooth grinding, locking of the joint, and pain in the joint. When you are missing teeth, your TMJ has to work extra hard to compensate.

The integrity of the bone in the jaw depends on the resistance it experiences during the act of chewing to maintain its strength. When the act of chewing doesn’t place pressure on the jaw, the bone of the jaw weakens over time, becoming prone to fractures and potentially jeopardizing neighboring teeth.

Gastrointestinal Problems Resulting from Inadequate Chewing

Digestion is a complex process depending on multiple organs. Each organ must do its part for successful digestion. The role of chewing is more than simply mechanical and with missing teeth, things get complicated. Long story short, on a purely mechanical level, digestion depends on small food fragments. Large fragments cannot be properly broken down, resulting in incomplete digestion. This means nutrients are not fully extracted. Undigested food can lead to indigestion, discomfort, irregularity and excess gas.

Dental Implants or Dentures Restore Chewing Function

Chewing is essential for good nutrient absorption and a healthy, responsive digestive system. If teeth problems are interfering with your ability to chew, talk to us about your options. We’ll be happy to discuss a treatment plan, and explore the pros and cons of dental implants or dentures to resolve your issues and ensure your oral and digestive health.

John’s Success Story: Replacing a Failing Bridge

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

John came to us as an established patient at one of his routine recare appointments. Dr. Elizabeth noted decay around the edges of his expansive 6-unit bridge on his upper front teeth.

After further examination, one of the natural teeth of the bridge was showing signs of infection and needed to be removed. Dr. Elizabeth recommended John go through our records process so she could help John plan for a more stable, longer-lasting tooth replacement option for his front teeth.

What did John want his future smile to look like?

John wanted to replace his missing teeth with a stable and long-lasting solution. Dr. Elizabeth noted changes on one of the anchor teeth of John’s front bridge on radiographs, and the tooth needed to be extracted. John wanted to do what was needed to keep his natural teeth healthy and wanted to replace the front teeth with the longest lasting replacement option. John liked the look of his current bridge.

John Before
John’s Smile Before

What did Eggert Family Dentistry do?

Dr. Elizabeth used photos and x-rays of John’s teeth along with the results of a thorough muscle and joint evaluation to present John with the current health of his teeth, gums, and the function of his jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed that the position of John’s bridge and many of his natural teeth caused multiple interferences when he chewed. This means he was biting down unevenly, causing the breakdown of his teeth. This deterioration was negatively impacting the function of his teeth and likely contributed to the failing bridge.

Dr. Elizabeth and John decided that John’s best replacement option for the bridge would involve placing two implants and connecting them with an implant bridge. This made it possible to detach some teeth from his original bridge and allow for easier cleaning.

Before we could start with John’s implants, though, we had to address the instability in his bite. John first wore an anterior deprogrammer to take pressure off his back teeth and relax his muscles so his new bridge could be restored to a more stable, comfortable bite. John then had restorations placed on many of his back teeth to rebuild tooth structure into a better functioning bite. John then had two implants placed in front and wore a temporary bridge during the healing phase. The final phase was for Dr. Elizabeth to fabricate a new implant bridge to replace his front teeth.

What does John think of the results?

“Everything turned out great! I like how it looks and I like how it feels! Everyone comments on how nice it looks. At first, I didn’t fully understand how it was all going to come together, but I trusted Dr. Elizabeth and her abilities and I am glad I did!” John is excited to also have brightened his smile and is considering bleaching his lower teeth. Contact us to schedule your bridge consultation.

John After
John’s Smile After

3 Zoom Whitening Success Stories

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

This spring, Eggert Family Dentistry offered a promotion through this very newsletter and on Facebook for a discounted rate on Philips Zoom whitening. Zoom whitening is an in-office procedure that can instantly whiten your teeth 4 to 10 shades in less than two hours. The appointment consists of four 15-minute treatment sessions, after which we send you home with at-home whitening trays to maintain your bright results.

We had an overwhelming response to this promotion and were happy to see so many of our patients achieve amazing results using Zoom whitening! Check out the testimonials and before and after photos of three lucky patients who wanted to show you what your smile can look like with Zoom!

Alan’s Zoom Whitening Success Story
Alan said that he was hesitant about doing Zoom whitening. He wasn’t certain the results would be worth it. After seeing his results, though, Alan said he would definitely recommend Zoom whitening to anyone considering the procedure, saying, “It was worth it!”
Alan Zoom Before After SmileAlan Zoom Before After Teeth
Roxanne’s Zoom Whitening Success Story
Roxanne told us that before her appointment, she was really excited about doing Zoom whitening. Afterwards, she said she was definitely happy that her teeth looked so “clean and fresh.” Her advice for anyone considering Zoom? “Do it!”

Roxanne Zoom Before & After
Jim’s Zoom Whitening Success Story
Before his appointment, Jim said he was somewhat “leery” of Zoom whitening and wasn’t sure how much of a difference he would be able to see in the shade of his teeth. However, Jim said he was “amazed” after seeing the difference in his smile and was very pleased with his results!

Jim ZoomJim Zoom BeforeThanks for sharing your stories, Alan, Roxanne, and Jim! We’re so glad you’re happy with your Philips Zoom whitening results!

To schedule your Zoom whitening consultation, contact Eggert Family Dentistry today.

Jill’s Invisalign® Success Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A few months ago, Jill noticed her top teeth were shifting and her front teeth were starting to cross over each other. She also noticed more crowding on her bottom teeth, and she was starting to trap food because of it. We compared photos of Jill’s teeth from several years ago with her current smile and confirmed noticeable differences.

Jill’s teeth before (left) and after (right).

What did Jill want from her experience with Invisalign®?
Jill had been considering Invisalign® for some time. Her daughter had used Invisalign® teeth aligners and was very pleased with her results. Jill wanted to unravel the crowding on her own top and bottom front teeth. She imagined a future when she could clean her teeth better, eat without catching food between her teeth, and be proud to flash her beautiful smile.

How did Jill get started with Invisalign®?
First, we took impressions, photos, and x-rays of Jill’s teeth right at our office. Then, we sent them all to Invisalign®. In a short time, we could evaluate the 3D simulation of how Jill’s teeth could move with Invisalign® treatment. Jill was happy with the results of the 3D simulation and decided to proceed with treatment. Over a number of months, a sequence of 22 aligners would gradually move Jill’s teeth into place. Jill came into the office every 6 weeks to ensure her teeth were moving as expected. Small composite attachments were strategically and temporarily placed on the front surfaces of some of Jill’s teeth to help with tooth movements. These attachments easily blended in with her teeth, but were removed once her Invisalign® treatment was complete.

What does Jill think of her Invisalign® results?

Let’s hear it straight from Jill:

“My daughter went through Invisalign® and gave me the encouragement to do it. I understood the procedure and knew what to expect. I’m very happy with the results! I would encourage anyone considering Invisalign® to do it!”

Thanks for sharing your story, Jill! We’re so glad you’re happy with your Invisalign® results!

To schedule your Invisalign® consultation, contact Eggert Family Dentistry today.

A Refreshed Smile – Sarah’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

 

How did this start?

Sarah mentioned at her recare appointment that she noticed areas of recession around her veneers and wanted to have new veneers done to fill in the recession areas. Sarah was happy with the shape of her current veneers but wanted whiter teeth and a brighter smile. Sarah had veneers originally done in 1999. They had held up well but were not providing the youthful appearance Sarah desired. Dr. Elizabeth agreed that new veneers would be placed on her front six teeth for optimal aesthetics and to help her lower teeth match, Sarah would do simple bleaching with over-the-counter White Strips.

What did Sarah want?

Sarah wanted to refresh her smile. She wanted a brighter smile and better looking teeth. She didn’t like the darkness along the gum line of her current veneers. Sarah’s other teeth were healthy overall. Sarah has followed through with past treatment recommendations, and maintains a regular recare schedule with our hygienist to help her maintain optimal dental health. Sarah started with a solid foundation to create a more aesthetically pleasing smile for her without having to address any functional or other biological concerns.

 

Sarah's Smile Before
Sarah’s Smile Before

What was involved?

Dr. Elizabeth used photos and x-rays of Sarah’s teeth. When Sarah came to her preparation appointment she looked in the mirror and discussed the shade she desired for her new veneers, and she noticed when she smiled that she could see dark crowns further back in her mouth and also wanted to replace those at the same time so everything matched. She wanted to be completely happy with her new smile, so Dr. Elizabeth included those teeth for her as well.

What does Sarah think?

“I wanted to look nicer and wanted to have my 17-year-old veneers replaced. I would recommend anyone who is considering it to do it. I think they look lovely and I am so thankful for my beautiful new smile!”

 

Sarah's Smile After
Sarah’s Smile After

Splint and Occlusal Therapy: Ruth’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Ruth came to us as a new patient. She was experiencing frequent headaches, 3-4 times per week or more, as well as frequent neck aches, shoulder pain, back pain, and migraines. In addition, she had ear pain, jaw pain, and was having a hard time sleeping. Ruth was working with her MD to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan to help her manage the pain, which her MD thought was because of a possible pinched nerve. She struggled with the headaches and migraines for years but was now experiencing increasing jaw pain. Dr. Elizabeth noted some tooth wear throughout her mouth and intense muscle discomfort during her muscle evaluation. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Ruth go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into the underlying causes of her pain.

What did Ruth want?

Ruth struggled with upper back, shoulder, head, jaw, and neck pain for years but she didn’t realize the pain could be related to her teeth. Ruth had, however, noticed some changes with her teeth including a space opening up and a loose front lateral tooth. Ruth decided to undergo records because she wanted to be able to eat without worry, she wanted her mouth to function better, and she wanted her teeth to last her lifetime. She also noticed herself clenching often and she was hoping to have that addressed during the process.

Ruth before occlusal therapy at Eggert Family Dentistry

What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Ruth’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation results to present Ruth with the current status of her teeth, gums, and the function of her jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed that the position of Ruth’s teeth, muscles, and jaw joints were causing multiple interferences. This means she was biting down unevenly causing the breakdown of her teeth as well as the jaw, neck, and shoulder pain. It was recommended that Ruth begin splint therapy.

What was involved?

The purpose of her splint therapy was to change the position of Ruth’s jaw to a relaxed muscle position. We were hoping this would improve her headaches and migraines and it did! In Ruth’s case, we also discussed how if we adjusted the teeth to fit together at the relaxed jaw position, she should be much more stable long-term.  Dr. Elizabeth fitted Ruth with a TMJ splint to wear all of the time to create the best possible function between the natural position of her jaw, muscles, and her teeth as they worked with one another.

As soon as Ruth’s muscles reached a comfortable and relaxed position, Dr. Elizabeth adjusted the alignment of the upper and lower teeth and altered the chewing surfaces of some of the her back teeth to remove the painful interferences. This process is called equilibration. Dr. Elizabeth then completed a solid new bite for Ruth with porcelain veneers and crowns on her upper and lower front teeth. The veneers were an important step in completing Ruth’s new bite because the ideal shape of the teeth helps to keep the back teeth from over engaging her muscles. This created harmony among Ruth’s jaw joints, muscles, and teeth as the joints and muscles were placed in a relaxed position and the teeth now come together at the same time. We finally designed a splint for Ruth to wear while she sleeps to keep her teeth, jaw, and muscles in this new comfortable position.Ruth after occlusal therapy at Eggert Family Dentistry

What does Ruth think?

“The presentation was really thorough and really good. I had no idea my migraines were caused by my bite. I got relief from my migraines in the early stages which was fantastic! I’m really happy. Everything was explained very well to me. I would recommend anyone experiencing my pain to come here. I would tell them to definitely pursue the treatment because you don’t have to live with the pain. It is also so nice to have everything looking great!”

Do you wonder if improving your bite may give you relief from headaches, migraines, or even back pain? Call today for an appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry 651-482-8412.

What Is Crown Lengthening?

By: Dr. Elizabeth EggertBefore Crown LengtheningEvery smile is beautiful and unique, but some people are self-conscious about the amount of gum tissue showing in their smiles. Others might need a crown or other tooth restoration, but do not have enough visible tooth for us to complete the fix. In both cases, crown lengthening is a solution.

Crown lengthening is a routine dental surgical procedure that restores smiles or improves them. If you feel your teeth are too small in your smile, it might be that your teeth aren’t actually to blame.  Sometimes, it’s the gum tissue covering the teeth that makes them seem too small. Crown lengthening remodels the contour of your gum line to provide a better balance between tooth and gum tissue. This is an aesthetic use for crown lengthening that helps perfect your smile.

Crown lengthening is also an important tool in restoring very broken down teeth. Sometimes, we get patients who need permanent crowns, but we can’t place the crowns because too little of the tooth is visible above the gum line. Or, there may be too much decay or the tooth may be broken below the gum line. In all of these cases, crown lengthening allows us to gain more access to the tooth to properly place permanent crowns.

What can I expect during my crown lengthening experience?

More often than not, you will see a gum and tissue specialist, called a periodontist, for your crown lengthening procedure. They will review your dental history and your x-rays and set a date for your crown lengthening surgical procedure. We might help the periodontist by placing a temporary crown to protect a broken or decayed tooth. The day of the surgery, you’ll have local anesthetic and the crown lengthening procedure will be completed. The length of the surgery depends on the number of teeth being worked on.

After the surgery, you’ll take medicine for pain relief (usually OTC) and you’ll use a mouth wash to keep the surgical site clean as it heals. The periodontist might even ask you to stick to soft foods and a slightly altered brushing and flossing routine while you’re recovering.  Most often, in less than two weeks, it’ll be time for your stitches to come out and to complete any follow-up procedures.

What are the outcomes of crown lengthening?

We like to let our work speak for itself! Rob and Lola are two happy patients who have completed crown lengthening. As you can see, the results are quite striking. You can tell from their beaming smiles that they’re satisfied with the outcome!

 

Lola Before & After

 

Rob Before & After

If you’re wondering if crown lengthening might be the solution for you, contact Eggert Family Dentistry today. Call (651) 482-8412.