Replacing A Failing Bridge – Jackie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Jackie had been a long time patient of Dr. Furey. The first time she saw Dr. Elizabeth, it was for a severe toothache. Unfortunately, the ache was coming from the progression of decay on her upper front teeth that were the anchors for her bridge. Saving the teeth wouldn’t be easy, but to do so, Jackie needed root canal treatment and a new bridge.

What did she want?

Jackie was concerned about needing to have her bridge replaced, but wanted to make the best choice for her oral care long-term. Jackie wanted to try to keep her natural teeth, if possible. However, a short time after referring Jackie to have a root canal done, Jackie’s original bridge ended up breaking off and her teeth were fractured at the gum line and no longer restorable. This required Dr. Elizabeth and Jackie to change the course of action and it was decided that an implant bridge would be more stable and predictable long-term than relying on natural teeth for an even longer-span natural tooth bridge.

What was involved?

Since Jackie’s original bridge had fractured at the gum line, Jackie needed an immediate solution to buy time until she could undergo her implant surgery. Dr. Elizabeth fabricated a retainer with a temporary bridge to replace her smile for the short-term. This option also gave the oral surgeon, Dr. Andreasen, access to remove the broken roots and place two implants for the anchors for her new implant bridge. Jackie was able to transition into a temporary implant bridge that hooked into her implants so she no longer needed to wear the retainer all the time. After a few months of healing, Jackie had impressions taken by Dr. Elizabeth and her new implant bridge was finalized.

What does she think?

Jackie was very excited to finish her treatment and move forward with a healthy beautiful smile. She was able to choose which shade she wanted and she wanted a nice bright color for her front teeth. Jackie is so excited that you can now see her front teeth when she smiles! Jackie made a big commitment in going through the implant process, but she knows it was worth it because now she is decay free and is able to trust her implants for eating. Congratulations Jackie!

Eric’s Story – Using the All-on-4® Implant Technique

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?
Eric’s complex medical history and treatment needs led to dental issues like severe dry mouth. Because of these factors and despite good homecare, cavities and decay spread quickly for him and required extensive treatments. Over the course of 10 years he required 9 new crowns and multiple fillings in an effort to save his teeth. It was when Eric had to start having some teeth extracted in 2016 that he and Dr. Elizabeth agreed it was time to find a better-lasting, long-term solution. Based on the records Eric had taken in 2013 and his treatment since, Dr. Elizabeth proposed the All-on-4® treatment concept as the best solution to stabilize the health of Eric’s mouth.

What did he want?
Eric spends half of his time at home in Minnesota and the other half at his home in Maui. Keeping up with complex dental needs and many appointments on top of numerous health problems made coming for consistent dental visits difficult so he wanted to come up with a permanent way to improve his oral health. Eric wasn’t overly concerned with the esthetics of his mouth, but he felt that as long as he was considering doing more comprehensive work that he would like to see a whiter, more even smile.

What was involved?
The process started in August of 2016 when Eric had all of his remaining upper teeth extracted and 6 implants placed by Dr. Karl Andreasen of Momenta Oral Surgery. In March of 2017 Eric took the next step in the process and had all of his lower teeth extracted and 5 implants placed to prepare for his final full-arch prostheses. After each of these surgical appointments, an interim (temporary) prosthesis was placed in order to sustain most of his normal function as well as give him teeth to smile with. Eric’s time in his interim prostheses was extended because his health conditions kept one lower implant from fully integrating.

This implant was replaced and after a successful integration check, Eric was ready to take impressions for his final All-on-4® prostheses in March of this year. He decided he preferred the full zirconia, all porcelain material due to its strength and esthetics and he was able to select the shade for his brand new smile! Eric came in for a try-in 3 weeks later and gave the go-ahead for Dr. Elizabeth to have the lab move to final creation. On May 2nd Eric came back and had both of his new arches placed and left with a brand new set of teeth.

What did he think?
After years of treatment planning, Eric was very excited to have a new and healthy set of “teeth” to chew, smile, and talk with. After looking at the final result he was very pleased with how the entire treatment turned out and said, “I shouldn’t have waited so long!” Eric was leaving for his home in Maui just days after the procedure was done and felt relieved to know he was traveling with a stable and healthy mouth. When asked how he felt about the All-on-4® treatment process Eric said, “It was totally worth it. I have one less thing to worry about!” His especially likes the even white color of his new smile! Congratulations Eric! Thank you for putting your trust in us!

The All-on-4® Technique – Revolutionizing Dental Implants at Eggert Family Dentistry

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are excited to share information with our Eggert Family Dentistry patients about a revolutionary option for full-arch dental implants. We’ve found the All-on-4® treatment is an excellent solution for patients who have a full arch of missing or soon-to-be missing teeth and require a modern way to replace their teeth.

The All-on-4® Treatment Concept Offers Many Advantages
Over traditional dentures, which is the classic way to replace a full arch of teeth, the implant supported prostheses fabricated for an All-on-4® patient allows for great stability because of the anchorage of the implants in the jaw bone. There are fewer implants required to anchor the All-On-4® than if we would replace all of your missing teeth with individual implants so the costs are significantly decreased. It is also almost always possible to place temporary provisional teeth onto the implants the same day as the surgery. These provisionals look and feel much like natural teeth, leaving you to lead a normal life after surgery.

All-on-4® Dental Implants Are Immediately Effective
For many patients, we can place implants and load the temporary prothesis in a single All-on-4® treatment. With All-on-4®, two implants are secured perpendicularly to the jawbone and two implants are secured at a 45-degree angle. The angle of the second pair of implants gives us access to more bone without having to wait for bone grafts to grow. The angulation of the implants allows for the procedure to be done without having to use bone grafts.
If you’re a candidate for the procedure, the All-on-4® treatment may enable you to leave the oral surgery office with a brand-new prothesis that provides immediate improvements to your ability to chew, speak, and flash a beautiful smile.

All-on-4® Dental Implants Are Long-Term
Like other dental implants, the All-on-4® treatment is a long-term solution. It is more cost-effective than individual implants for multiple teeth on the same jaw. And once placed, your prothesis will provide years of confidence, comfort, and self-esteem. It’s no wonder most patients would recommend going ahead with the All-on-4® treatment to others considering the procedure!

Eggert Family Dentistry is looking forward to sharing our experience with the All-on-4® treatment later this month. By coordinating with our tremendous oral surgeons, together we are able to provide this magnificent option. If a full-arch restoration is in your future, schedule a consultation with us to discuss your treatment options, including All-on-4®. We look forward to finding a solution for you!

Your Top Dental Implant Questions, Answered

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Dental implants are becoming one of the most common dental procedures. At Eggert Family Dentistry we are working with our patients to replace missing teeth with dental implants nearly every week. If you’re missing teeth, implants help restore your smile long-term. Most of our patients have a lot of questions about this procedure. Here are some of the questions we hear most frequently.

1. What are dental implants?
Dental implants are medical-grade titanium posts that are placed in the upper or lower jaw by an oral surgeon or periodontist. Implants provide an anchor for replacement teeth. They are very strong. Once implanted, new bone fuses with the device, holding it in place. This process is called osseointegration. Sometimes, dentists can install replacement teeth immediately after placing dental implants. Other implants require osseointegration to be complete before replacement teeth can be installed. This can take up to several months.

2. Who is a candidate for dental implants?
Patients who are missing one or more teeth are likely good candidates for dental implants. Replacing missing teeth can help improve speech, chewing, and mouth comfort. Most patients also enjoy higher confidence and a radiant, complete smile.

3. Will my body reject a dental implant?
The materials used to construct a dental implant are compatible with the human body. It is rare that a patient’s body rejects a dental implant. In most of these cases, the patient is allergic to titanium (which is very rare) or the patient is severely immunocompromised.

Sometimes, a patient’s body will reject a dental implant due to inadequate oral hygiene and care post-surgery. Replacement teeth require the same care as our natural teeth. Regular brushing, flossing, and recare visits will greatly reduce the chance that your dental implants would fail.

Also, occasionally, a bone graft is needed in order to get enough anchorage into the bone by the dental implant. In rare instances, there can be complications with the graft material.

4. How long do dental implants last?
Dental implants can last decades with the proper care. This includes following good oral hygiene habits such as regular brushing, flossing, and preventative care visits to Eggert Family Dentistry. We’ve had patients whose dental implants have lasted the rest of their lifetimes.

5. Will people notice I have dental implants?
Nope! It’s possible you may not even be able to tell which of your teeth are natural and which are the replacement. We design each replacement tooth to match the shape and color of your surrounding teeth so it fits seamlessly with your smile. The only time you’ll see it is on your annual x-rays.

6. What can I expect during my dental implant surgery?
If you’re getting a single implant, the surgery will likely take 30 to 45 minutes. Placing multiple implants can take more time. Once the surgeon places the implant, either a temporary crown or an implant cover is most often placed as it heals and integrates into the body. Most people only need over-the-counter pain medications after implant surgery, if that.

7. How much do dental implants cost?
Dental implants do require an investment. A single implant can cost between $3,000 and $5,000. But remember, they last for decades and can improve your quality of life immensely. Plus, failing to treat the cause of why your tooth is missing in the first place can be much more expensive over the years than fixing the problem now.

8. Will my dental insurance cover the cost of dental implants?
It depends. Some dental insurance carriers will cover at least some of the cost or some of the components of your dental implants. . If you’re considering dental implants, we’ll help you understand what your insurance may or may not cover.

We’d love the opportunity to talk with you further about dental implants and determine if you’re a good candidate. Contact Eggert Family Dentistry today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff.

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.

Hudson’s Composite Bonding Success Story: Congenitally Missing Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A wisdom tooth that never grew in is a good thing—one less tooth to remove! However, being a child with a missing front tooth is quite a different story. Teenage years are often difficult enough without having to worry about appearance. With the emotional roller coaster of being a teen, we need to give our children any excuse to smile!

A congenitally missing tooth is one of the most common dental developmental abnormalities. In fact, roughly 20 percent of adults have at least one tooth that never developed.

Why is that number so high? Well, we’ve all heard of that person who didn’t develop all, if any, wisdom teeth. If you take wisdom teeth out of the picture, the percentage of adults with congenitally missing teeth drops to only 5 percent. Other permanent teeth we see missing are second premolars, upper lateral incisors, and lower central incisors.

Hudson’s Success Story

Hudson Before
Hudson’s Smile Before

Hudson is a 17-year-old patient of ours who never developed his upper lateral incisors. Typically, implants are the treatment of choice to replace missing teeth like this. The golden rule for teenagers is to proceed with implant placement once skeletal growth is complete. Early implant placement, at a time of continuing growth, can lead to unaesthetic final results.

Hudson wore traditional braces to improve and even out the spacing to allow room for implants once skeletal growth is complete. But, what could be done now for Hudson?

Dr. Elizabeth recommended composite bonding, which should last many years and give Hudson a fixed option to replace the missing teeth and keep his teeth from shifting. To even out Hudson’s symmetry, resin composite bonding material was added to his six front teeth to create a natural-looking smile that he can confidently wear until it’s time for implants. Hudson loves his new smile!

Hudson After
Hudson’s Smile After

Don’t let missing teeth affect your confidence. Contact us today to discuss treatment options.

Hudson Before and After
Hudson’s Smile Before and After

Ron’s Story: The Importance of an Even Biting Plane

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Ron came to us first as a new patient after being referred by his daughter who has been a long-time, loyal patient of ours. At the time of his first exam, Ron was missing a number of teeth and many of the teeth remaining were broken down. Dr. Elizabeth noted excessive wear throughout his mouth, a very uneven biting plane, and mild muscle discomfort during the muscle evaluation. Ron constantly struggled with his partial denture dislodging and moving when he moved his nose and mouth in certain directions. Ron later broke a clasp off of his partial and even after an attempted repair and multiple adjustments, Ron was not able to find a comfortable, tight fit with his partial. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Ron go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into underlying causes behind his tooth loss and accelerated wear on his teeth.

What did Ron want?

Ron noticed that his partial denture had become loose and he wanted to be able to speak without dislodging his partial. Ron was also concerned about keeping his remaining teeth healthy. Ron wanted a more even biting surface and wanted things to function better. He wanted to understand what would be a more comprehensive plan for restoring and replacing his teeth.Ron Before

What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Ron’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation results to present Ron 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 Ron’s teeth caused multiple interferences, so he was biting down unevenly causing the breakdown and loosening of his partial. This deterioration was negatively impacting both the aesthetics and function of his teeth. Ron needed a comprehensive plan to even out his biting plane to help distribute his biting forces more evenly.

What was involved?

Ron’s lower partial denture was loose and the remaining six natural, lower teeth had very poor prognosis. They were rather worn and tooth structure was already missing. Those teeth were also getting cavities because of how weak they were due to wear. Ron was presented with multiple restorative and replacement options. Ron decided it was best for him to have his remaining 6 lower teeth extracted and have 2 implants placed in his lower jaw to anchor a new complete denture. We were able to design a new, aesthetically pleasing, better-functioning denture for Ron that stays in place and keeps the function of his jaw and muscles working together better. Dr. Elizabeth worked with a local oral surgeon and a local dental lab to have implants strategically placed to help secure his newly designed smile.

Ron Dentures

What does Ron think?

Ron likes the look and feel of his new implant supported denture. He finds it easy to care for and is glad he went through the steps needed to get there.

Ron After