Root Canal Myths vs. Facts: Debunking Common Misconceptions

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Many patients have a great deal of anxiety around root canals. This is usually because they’ve heard stories over the years about the pain and suffering others have had to undergo before, during, and after their root canal treatments.

Luckily, that’s all they are: stories. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we want to dispel the root canal myths and give you the facts. Without further ado, let’s break down the most common root canal myths so you can put those anxieties to rest and feel good about your upcoming root canal treatment.

6 Common Root Canal Myths

Myth #1: Root Canal Treatment is Painful

Fact: While this may have been true decades ago, we are pleased to report that modern medicine and anesthesia has come a long way since then! As such, a root canal procedure shouldn’t be any more disagreeable than a filling. Furthermore, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth are very experienced in pain management and will make sure your procedure is as comfortable as possible.

Myth #2: Root Canal Treatment Causes Illness

Fact: Be careful what you read on the internet or see on the streaming networks! This misinformation is based on a poorly researched study conducted about a century ago that claimed root canals could cause illnesses, and has since been debunked. Currently, there is no scientific evidence linking root canal treatment with the development of disease in other parts of the body.

Myth #3: If My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt, I Don’t Need a Root Canal

Fact: While it’s true that most infected teeth cause toothaches, there are cases in which an infected tooth presents with no pain. That’s why it’s important to make regular appointments with Eggert Family Dentistry—Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert are trained to be able to test the tooth and detect when a root canal is needed to save the tooth, even if there is no initial pain.

Myth #4: It’s Better to Pull a Tooth Than Have a Root Canal Treatment

Fact: Saving the natural tooth is always your best option, as no artificial tooth replacement, even implants, will truly be able to look or function as well as a natural tooth. Root canal treatment has a high success rate and once treated, it’s highly likely that your tooth will continue to last a lifetime! Furthermore, root canal procedures only take a couple short appointments, while implants can be a larger time commitment.

Myth #5: Root Canals Remove the Roots of the Tooth

Fact: The root is what anchors your tooth to the jawbone, and so the root is never removed during a root canal treatment. Instead, the infected or inflamed pulp of the tooth is removed so that the root of your tooth can be healthy again.

Myth #6: Root Canals Require Multiple Long Appointments

Fact: At Eggert Family Dentistry, you can expect the entire root canal procedure to take about 90 minutes with a total of two visits. The first visit will be the main root canal procedure, and the second visit will be when we will fit a permanent crown or other restoration to protect the treated tooth and restore your bite.

Need a Root Canal Procedure? Schedule an Appointment

If you believe you have an infected tooth, it’s important that you have it treated as soon as possible to relieve your discomfort and prevent the spread of infection. At Eggert Family Dentistry, our patients enjoy successful, comfortable root canal procedures thanks to the compassionate care of Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert. To schedule an appointment, call our office at 651-482-8412, today!

Understanding Tooth Loss: Common Risk Factors and How to Protect Your Smile

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

No one wants to lose their teeth. Unfortunately, many people lose at least one adult tooth in a lifetime for a variety of reasons. But, seeing as it can impact both oral health and quality of life, it is helpful to understand the factors that contribute to tooth loss in order to adopt proactive strategies that help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come.

Let’s explore the common risk factors associated with tooth loss, as well as some practical tips on preventing tooth loss. We’ll also take a look at the various treatment options available at Eggert Family Dentistry to restore and replace missing teeth.

What Is Tooth Loss?

Tooth loss refers to the condition in which a person loses one or more of their natural teeth. Tooth loss can have significant effects on a person’s oral health, as well as their ability to bite, chew, and speak properly. It can also impact one’s self-esteem and overall quality of life. Treating and preventing tooth loss is important not only for maintaining a healthy smile, but also for preserving oral function and overall well-being.

Common Causes and Risk Factors of Tooth Loss

  • Gum Disease: Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common risk factor for tooth loss. When plaque and tartar build up along the gum line, bacteria can infect the gums, leading to inflammation and loss of the supporting bony structures for the teeth, eventually causing tooth loss if left untreated.
  • Cavities (Tooth Decay): Untreated tooth decay can result in cavities, which, when left untreated, can progress and reach the inner layers of the tooth. Severe tooth decay can cause tooth infection or abscess, leading to tooth loss.
  • Teeth Grinding: The habit of grinding or clenching teeth, known as bruxism, can exert excessive pressure on the teeth, leading to enamel wear, fractures, and tooth loss over time.
  • Injury or Trauma: Accidents, sports injuries, or other forms of trauma to the mouth can cause immediate tooth loss, or damage that may eventually lead to tooth loss if not promptly treated.
  • Dry Mouth: Saliva plays an important role in neutralizing acids, remineralizing teeth, and washing away bacteria. Not having enough saliva in the mouth increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss.
  • Diabetes: Poor blood sugar caused by uncontrolled diabetes weakens the immune system. A weak immune system will find it harder to fight off infections of the gums, accelerating gum disease and potentially leading to tooth loss.
  • Smoking: Tobacco use significantly increases the risk of gum disease by reducing blood flow to the gums, making smokers more susceptible to tooth loss.

How to Prevent Tooth Loss

Hygiene Habits

Make sure you brush and floss and floss your teeth regularly. That means brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Additionally, make sure you’re maintaining a regular schedule of dental appointments with Eggert Family Dentistry so Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert can monitor your oral health.

Lifestyle Choices

It should come as no surprise that you need to avoid tobacco consumption in all forms if you want to have a healthy mouth. Other lifestyle changes might include wearing a night guard for bruxism, consuming fewer sugary/acidic foods and drinks, and talking to your medical doctor about treatments for diabetes or high blood pressure to make sure your overall health is being taken care of.

Protective Measures for Sports

If you or a loved one engage in any kind of contact sports, mouth guards are a must. A properly fitted mouthguard can protect your teeth from trauma and prevent tooth loss if an accident happens. Additionally, if your sport allows it, wear a helmet! [DO WE HAVE A PREVIOUS MOUTHGUARD BLOG YOU COULD LINK HERE?]

Treating Tooth Loss

Thanks to modern dentistry, tooth loss doesn’t have to be permanent! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we can recreate the look and feel of your natural teeth using implants or dentures.

Implants are anchored in the bone and they help preserve bone mass in the jaw. Once they are established, you can care for them just as you would your normal teeth, with brushing and flossing. The feel of chewing and speaking will all feel completely familiar. Implants are built to last a lifetime, and they almost always do.

Bridges use the neighboring teeth as anchors to fill in a “tooth” where the natural tooth is missing. Bridges can be a good option if the neighboring teeth also need reconstruction or if the bone isn’t healthy enough for an implant.

Dentures or Partial Dentures are another solution and can be less expensive than implants, however, they may need to be replaced multiple times in a lifetime as the shape of the jaw, mouth and adjacent teeth change over time.

Suffering from Tooth Loss?

If you’re experiencing tooth loss, booking an appointment with Eggert Family Dentistry can be the first step towards restoring your smile. With our compassionate care and expertise, Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will evaluate your oral health and determine the best treatment options for you. Whether it’s dental implants, bridges, dentures, or other restorative solutions, we can tailor a treatment plan to meet your unique needs. Give us a call today at (651) 482-8412!

Are Sports Mouthguards Worth the Investment?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

School Has Started – and so Have Fall Sports

It seems like summer just started, but alas, school time is here and so are the fall sports that go along with the season change. We want to make sure you included a sports mouthguard in your “back to school” shopping when getting what you need for your athlete.

What Is a Sports Mouthguard?

A sports mouthguard is a piece of clear (or sometimes very colorful) plastic that’s typically worn over the top row of teeth during sports. A mouthguard may also be worn on the bottom teeth, which can be very helpful for people who wear braces or have fixed dental appliances like expanders.

Mouthguards are considered essential equipment for sports that involve body contact or flying equipment, like football, hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, and even tennis. However, sports mouthguards can also be beneficial for skateboarding, mountain biking, or other sports where falls could result in mouth injuries. Mouth guards can also prevent dental injuries for people who grind their teeth during sports.

Benefits of a Sports Mouthguard

The biggest benefit of sports mouthguards is that they can prevent a variety of dental injuries and trauma, including:

  • Soft tissue damage, such as biting the tongue, cheeks, or lips
  • Tooth fractures, including root fractures, broken teeth, or chipped teeth
  • Knocked out teeth
  • Tooth displacement
  • Jaw fractures
  • In addition, although medical research is inconclusive, some evidence suggests that sports mouthguards may absorb enough impact between the upper and lower jaws to help reduce concussions.

Mouthguards can also help people save money by preventing the costly need for dental repairs.

Types of Sports Mouthguards

When you are choosing a sports mouthguard, there are three main options to choose from:

  • Stock mouthguards: Stock mouthguards are the cheapest and most easily available mouthguard options. Although they come in different sizes, they often don’t fit well. And, a mouthguard that’s too loose or too small can do more damage to your teeth and gums. Finally, these inexpensive mouthguards tend to be made from cheaper materials, making them prone to breaks and tears.
  • Boil-and-bite mouthguards: Boil-and-bite mouthguards are also relatively inexpensive and are easily available. Because the mouthguard is boiled to soften the plastic so it can be formed to better fit an athlete’s teeth, the fit is better than what a stock sports mouthguard provides.
  • Custom mouthguards: Custom mouthguards are the safest, yet most costly, option available. Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert use impressions of your teeth and mouth to create a mouthguard that fits your teeth perfectly. A custom mouthguard is also the only way to create a precise fit around bridges, braces, and other dental restorations.

Contact Eggert Family Dentistry to Get Fitted for a Custom Sports Mouthguard

When you’re trying to determine which costs to prioritize, remember this: custom sports mouthguards may be more of an investment than the options available online or at retail stores, but they also provide a better fit and are made from stronger material. Finally, investing in a sports mouthguard is considerably less expensive than paying for emergency dental treatment after a preventable injury. Unfortunately, once an injury occurs, it becomes a life-long journey to address the tooth/teeth/or bones involved. In this case prevention is definitely key!

If you’re interested in getting fitted for a sports mouthguard, contact Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff today. Call our office at 651-482-8412 to schedule your appointment.

Tooth Swelling: What Causes It and What Can Be Done About It?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Swelling of your teeth or gums can be painful. It can make chewing and swallowing difficult, and in some cases the pain can be so severe that it disrupts your life. Tooth and gum swelling can also be signs of a potentially serious dental issue, and shouldn’t be ignored or left untreated.

The good news is that good oral care and regular exams by your dentists at Eggert Family Dentistry can help prevent tooth swelling and the various conditions that cause it.

Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms and causes of gum and tooth swelling, as well as the ways Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth can treat the underlying issues and get you back to feeling your best.

Symptoms of Tooth and Gum Swelling

Swelling and pain can often come on suddenly. Pain can range from mild to severe, and can be constant and throbbing or may come and go. With tooth or gum swelling, you might experience:

  • Swelling around a single tooth or in larger areas inside your mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw or face
  • Painful chewing
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods
  • Pain in your head, ears, or jaw

In some cases, tooth pain and swelling can be accompanied by a fever or even trouble breathing or swallowing. If this happens, it’s important to receive care immediately.

Common Causes of Gum and Tooth Swelling

There are a wide range of underlying issues that can cause swelling of the teeth and gums. These include:

Tooth Abscess

Caused by a bacterial infection, a tooth abscess can present at the tip of the root (periapically) or on the side of the root (periodontally). You can also experience an abscess in your gums (gingival). An abscess in a tooth typically follows a cavity or dental injury of some kind, as cracks in the teeth provide a pathway for bacteria to enter. If you have a tooth abscess, you may experience:

  • Throbbing toothache that may spread to your neck, ear, or jawbone
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Face or neck swelling
  • Painful biting or chewing

Always seek dental treatment from your professionals at Eggert Family Dentistry for an abscess. Even if it drains on its own, you should still visit us to make sure the infection hasn’t spread. We can help you treat the abscess by draining it and may prescribe antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. In some cases a tooth extraction or root canal may be necessary.

Irritation From Wisdom Teeth

As wisdom teeth come in, you may experience some swelling and pain. This can happen if wisdom teeth are impacted (trapped beneath your gums). It can also happen as they break through the gums, leaving spaces where bacteria can cause a gum infection and painful swelling. The solution in this case is typically removal of the wisdom teeth.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease. It commonly causes swollen, red, and irritated gums that may bleed when you brush your teeth. Gingivitis can be addressed with improved oral care and avoiding sugary food and drinks, but you should also have your dentist do a thorough examination. They may recommend additional treatments.

Dental Injury

Dental injuries can also cause swollen teeth or gums. Dental trauma is a common occurrence that can happen to anyone. Some of the dental injuries we see often are:

  • Lost crowns or fillings
  • Damaged braces
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Partially dislodged or knocked-out teeth

Learn more about dental trauma in our recent blog, including ways to avoid it and what to do in an emergency.

Medications or Allergic Reaction

Some medications can have side effects that include tooth or gum swelling. If you think your swelling and pain could be caused by medication, check with your medical doctor to determine if that is a common side effect.

Some people may also react to certain ingredients in their toothpaste or mouthwash. If you notice irritation of your teeth or gums after brushing your teeth or using mouthwash, stop using it and switch to a different brand or type to see if it clears up. If not, consult with your dental professionals at Eggert Family Dentistry to determine if another issue could be the cause of the irritation.

In addition to the above, tooth or gum pain and swelling can also be caused by tooth decay, a loose filling, or various medical issues, including a vitamin C deficiency, sinus infection, mouth sores, or problems with the jaw.

What Is the Treatment for Tooth Swelling and Pain?

Swollen or painful gums or teeth can be a serious issue, and it’s important to treat it as such.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, the first thing you should do is reach out to our office so Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth can determine your best course of action — especially if your symptoms last more than a couple of days.

We will ask a series of questions and do a thorough examination to determine the cause of your pain and swelling and can then recommend the best treatment. Questions will include information about your dental history and the details of the pain — when it started, what it feels like, what other symptoms you’re having, and so on. We will also take x-rays to determine the extent of the issue.

The treatment will depend on the root cause of your swelling. We may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat the pain and target any infection.

In addition, there are a few things you can do at home to care for yourself and minimize your pain. These include:

  • Rinse or gargle with warm salt water to help rinse away any bacteria.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol can help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Eat easy-to-chew foods and avoid very hot or very cold beverages.
  • Lie with your head propped up on a pillow. Lying flat can make dental pain feel worse.
  • Hold a cold compress against the side of your face to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

It’s important to note that while these things will provide some relief, they won’t solve the underlying issue causing your tooth or gum swelling. Visiting your dentists at Eggert Family Dentistry will still be necessary for a full recovery.

If you aren’t able to get in to see us right away, and your tooth pain and swelling is accompanied by a fever, facial swelling, or trouble breathing or swallowing, you should visit the emergency room for treatment.

Preventing Tooth and Gum Swelling

Luckily, most of the issues that cause tooth or gum swelling can be prevented with good oral care and regular exams with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff here at Eggert Family Dentistry.

Excellent oral care includes brushing after meals with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, and flossing daily with traditional dental floss or a water flosser. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary foods and tobacco products will also help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Keep Tooth and Gum Swelling at Bay by Scheduling Your Next Dental Appointment

Whether you are currently experiencing swelling or pain in your teeth or gums, or it’s simply time for your regular recare visit, take the time to schedule your next dental appointment now. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff, call our office at 651-482-8412.

List Join

Fixing a Fractured Front Tooth – Tim’s story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Tim broke his front tooth while playing football at the community center on the weekend. His father called our office emergency line and described what had happened. It sounded like the tooth was still in his mouth, but a large portion of it was broken off. Dr. Elizabeth asked Tim’s father to put the fragments they could find in some water and meet her at our office. She was able to meet Tim and his father within an hour to assess and address the situation.

What was involved?

Upon examination it was noted 2/3 of Tim’s natural tooth was broken off. The tooth was slightly mobile, but there was minimal bleeding. He was having minimal pain, except when the tooth touched cold water or air, and there were not any cuts in his mouth or face. Although the fracture was substantial, it luckily did not go into the nerve of the tooth.

The fractured part was in 3 pieces, but using her dental skills, Dr. Elizabeth was able to piece them back together like a jigsaw puzzle. Using filling material, she was able to bond the pieces back together, making it look almost as if the tooth had never been broken.

It was recommended that Tim take ibuprofen for the first few days to reduce any inflammation inside the tooth and the tissues surrounding it. He was also instructed to have a softer diet for a few weeks and to not use that tooth for biting into things.

As you can see from the after photos, the tooth pieces fit back together extremely well. The tooth does naturally stick out slightly, which could have contributed to it fracturing when it was hit. Tim has been following up with an orthodontist to develop a plan to move the teeth into a more ideal position and therefore keep them safer from potential future trauma.

After a trauma like this, it is important to follow the tooth over time. Depending on the injury it is typical to reevaluate the tooth over a period of weeks and months to make sure that complications aren’t developing. Even though the tooth nerve didn’t seem to be irreversibly damaged after the accident, it can sometimes deteriorate over time and eventually need a root canal.

It has been over 2 years since Tim’s accident and his tooth is still doing well. Because of how large the fracture was, the repair won’t last forever, and the tooth will likely need to be repaired again, probably multiple times, during Tim’s life with more filling material or even a crown or an implant. However, the longer the initial repair lasts, the better it will be for the tooth long term.

Tim and his dad were very appreciative of how quickly he was able to get in right when this trauma occurred and get it repaired. Great job by them remaining calm and gathering all the pieces, and great job by Dr. Elizabeth putting them back together again.

Common Dental Trauma We See During Summer & Ways to Avoid It

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Minnesota weather is finally starting to get warm, and we’re seeing signs that spring and summer may finally be here. As we move outside, go on vacation, and get more active, it’s still important to stay safe. If you have kids, you can help prevent dental trauma by encouraging them to wear mouthguards during summer sports and enforcing calmer play around pools.

Common Summer Dental Trauma

Whether it’s a game of baseball, a car accident, or jumping on the trampoline, dental trauma can happen to anyone. At our office, the most common dental trauma Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff see include:

  • Lost crowns and fillings
  • Damaged braces, brackets, or wires
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Partially dislodged teeth
  • Knocked-out teeth

How to Avoid Dental Trauma

For kids, the best way to prevent dental trauma is to encourage safe playing utilize the appropriate sports equipment, and maintain regular check-ups with your dentists at Eggert Family Dentistry.

Encouraging safety with sports and around the water is the most important step in preventing dental trauma. We know it can be hard to stop kids from running around the pool, but it’s easy to knock a tooth out from slipping on the pool deck or diving into the bottom of a shallow pool.

Wearing a mouthguard during summer sports can also help prevent dental trauma. When an opponent checks your child on the soccer, football, or lacrosse field, a mouthguard can make the difference between a bruise and a knocked-out tooth.

Finally, trampolines can be a great way for kids to release energy, but take care to limit the number of kids jumping at the same time. The most common cause for fractured teeth during jumping is when kids bump into their buddies and their teeth get in the way.

Steps to Take if You Have a Dental Emergency

If you suffer from dental trauma, the steps you take before you get to our office are important.

If your tooth is fractured, stabilize the portion of your tooth that’s still in your mouth. Then, control any bleeding by biting on a washcloth or towel. If you have the parts of your tooth that came out, keep them submerged in water or milk.
If your entire tooth came out, it’s important to handle your tooth by its crown (the part that you see in the mouth), not the root. It’s okay to rinse your tooth with water, but you shouldn’t wash or scrub the tooth. If you’re able to put your tooth back in its place correctly, do so. Then, bite gently on a towel to help control the bleeding and keep the tooth in place.

Regardless of the dental trauma you experience, time is of the essence. Call us right away because it may be important to see you within two hours.

Schedule Your Next Dentist Appointment

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are here to support you. Although we hope you never have to come to our office for a dental emergency, we’re prepared if you do. To schedule your next appointment or to let us know you’re coming after a dental trauma, call our office at 651-482-8412.

List Join

 

Why a Fitted Mouth Guard Provides the Best Protection

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A fitted mouth guard is the best way to protect an athlete’s teeth and mouth area when playing sports throughout the year.

Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth always recommend to parents of our sports-playing patients that a custom-fitted mouth guard is the best way to protect their kids’ teeth, jaws and general health. This is especially important in traditional high-contact sports like hockey, wrestling, and football, but it’s also true in other sports like baseball and gymnastics in which an errant move may cause a dentofacial injury that is disastrous for the teeth or jaw.

Many athletes rely on the one-size-fits-all or boil-and-bite mouth easily found at sporting goods stores and online, and they are definitely an improvement over no protection.

However, the benefits of custom mouth guards are worth the investment. Your child has just one set of adult teeth, and keeping them intact should be your priority. The longer they can go in life without requiring dental reconstruction, the better. In addition, the cost of a custom set of mouth guards is far more economical than multiple dental visits.

Better Fit

When you get a custom mouth guard, it’s molded exactly to your child’s teeth and jaw. When you choose an off-the-shelf guard, it’s generally bulky and fits far from perfectly. It’s probably uncomfortable to wear and hard to speak around. As a result, kids tend to not wear them for the entire length of the game or competition or they play with them during competition rendering them ineffective.

In contrast, a custom-fit mouth guard is much more comfortable and easy to speak with. This seriously increases the likelihood that your kid will wear it for the duration of their athletic event.

Improved Breathing

One of the most common complaints kids have about one-size-fits-all mouth guards is that they interfere with breathing, especially during intense exertion. It’s no surprise that athletes object to this problem, because it’s hard to perform at your best when your respiration is impaired. Research indicates that custom mouth guards don’t interfere with breathing. In fact, some research suggests that custom mouth guards may actually improve athletic performance. When kids complain that they can’t breathe well while wearing a store-bought mouth guard, upgrade to a custom-made one

Better Protection

The American Dental Association strongly encourages athletes of all ages to wear mouth guards and reduce the risk of orofacial injuries. Studies support this. A 2018 meta-analysis established that mouth guard users are 82-93% less likely to suffer dentofacial injuries. A study of college athletes showed that custom mouth guards provide the best protection against injury while playing contact sports.

The ADA states that the most effective mouth guards share these qualities:

  • Cover the user’s teeth on one arch
  • Are properly fitted to the user’s mouth
  • Are accurately adapted to the user’s oral structures
  • Stay in place comfortably and securely

Stock mouth guards don’t meet these criteria, but custom mouth guards do.

Help your kids graduate into adulthood with a healthy, intact set of teeth. Please talk to Dr. Elizabeth or Dr Jeff about getting a custom mouth guard to protect your athletic offspring’s dentofacial health.

List Join

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.

All About Dental Extractions

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

We’ve probably all heard and used the phrase, “It’s like pulling teeth to _____,” meaning that it’s hard to get cooperation from the “patient” when it comes to a certain task. In reality, while a dental extraction is an important procedure that requires careful prep, planning, execution and recovery, it’s not one patients need to dread. Let’s take an up-close look at dental extractions and what patients can expect from them.

Some scenarios that necessitate a tooth extraction

Trauma to a tooth, severe tooth decay and crowding are three primary reasons teeth are extracted. Also, if a person is immunocompromised and has a tooth that runs a high risk for infection, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff may choose to pull that tooth prophylactically.

Why it’s critical to disclose your medical history prior to a tooth extraction

For some patients, their health history makes them more prone to infection or complications from infection. In these cases, antibiotics are prescribed before, during and after an extraction procedure. Some of these health conditions include congenital heart defects, liver disease, artificial joints and a weak immune system.

What you can expect prior to and during a tooth extraction

  • Prior to an extraction, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff administer a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the tooth.
  • Once the area is sufficiently numb, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff gently move the tissue away from the tooth and then hold the tooth with a tooth forceps, rocking it back and forth until it becomes dislodged.
  • Once the tooth is removed, you will bite on soft gauze to control any bleeding. This also encourages a clot to form over the extraction site.

Post-procedure protocol

Following an extraction, there is a certain protocol that must be followed to encourage proper healing of the extraction site.

  • You will bite on gauze for 30 minutes to help the clot form. You may need to use gauze again in the first 24 hours should the area start bleeding.
  • As soon as possible, apply ice to the affected area in 10-minute increments to keep swelling down.
  • Take care not to dislodge the clot by avoiding forceful rinsing or spitting and avoiding brushing and flossing the extraction area for the first 24 hours.
  • 24 hours after the extraction, rinse mouth with warm salt water 2-3 times each day for a few days. This encourages the tissue to heal faster.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking through a straw or eating solid foods for at least 24 hours after the extraction procedure.

When to call Eggert Family Dentistry

Some discomfort and bleeding following a tooth extraction is perfectly normal and can be managed with Over The Counter pain medications, gauze and ice. However, if pain or bleeding become severe or if you develop a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, excessive swelling, a cough or shortness of breath, contact Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff immediately.

Within 1-2 weeks, the extraction site starts to feel more normal as new bone and gum tissue grow in. Keep in mind, however, that the bone is still healing and changing for 6-8 weeks following an extraction.

If you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of dental extractions or think you might be a candidate for an extraction, contact Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff at 651.482.8412.

Preventing Dental Injuries with a Mouthguard

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Mouthguards provide a tremendous amount of protection for your aspiring athlete. From protecting your child’s mouth against structural damage to the teeth and jaw to preventing lacerations to the cheeks, tongue and lips, mouthguards are an investment well worth making! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recommend mouthguards for football, hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, basketball, baseball/softball, soccer and all other contact sports your child might be participating in.

When purchasing a mouthguard for your child, it’s important to recognize that all mouthguards are NOT created equal. Mouthguards available over-the-counter are generic plastic trays that fit sloppily in your child’s mouth, providing only a minimal level of protection. They are typically made of thicker plastic which can inhibit clear breathing and speaking. On the contrary, at Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth can create custom mouthguards that securely “hug” your child’s teeth They are more comfortable and provide optimal protection for your child’s pearly whites. On account of their lower profile and custom fit, your athlete won’t have to spend any time worrying about breathing and they are much easier to speak with. In fact, they will pop their mouthguard in and won’t give it a second thought. This allows your child to keep their focus where it truly belongs – on the big game!

A lot of adult athletes enjoy the comfort and protection of a custom athletic mouthguard as well. With more and more adults participating in life-long sports like hockey and basketball, it is especially important to keep that one set of adult teeth fully protected!

If you are interested in learning more about our custom mouthguards at Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Jeff or Dr. Elizabeth would love to speak with you. Contact us anytime at 651.482.8412!