5 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Anxiety about Going to the Dentist

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

little kid patient afraid of dentist while visiting dental clinicNearly a fifth of children are afraid of going to the dentist’s office. What about your child? If your kids are scared or anxious about going to see the dentist, here are some tips to help them overcome their fears and confidently take a seat in the dentist’s chair.

1. Start Them Young

The best way to reduce or eliminate fear of going to the dentist is to make it part of your child’s wellness routine early. We recommend your child’s first visit happens before his or her first birthday. When a visit to the dentist is a normal and expected part of your child’s life, anxiety and fears dissipate. Plus, regular preventative dental care can help reduce emergency trips to the dentist down the road.

2. Start a Conversation

Kids do best when they can predict what’s going to happen to them. Before you leave for your child’s visit to the dentist, start a conversation. Describe what will happen during the visit and who they’ll meet. Talk about what they may see, feel, hear, or taste. You don’t have to be overly specific, but provide enough information so your child feels comfortable, not apprehensive. Explain to your kids why your family goes to the dentist and how it’s necessary for a healthy life.

3. Encourage Them to Relax

Once you’re at the office, help your kids relax. Practice taking deep breaths and remind them to breathe while they’re in the dentist’s chair. Use positive words instead of focusing on the negative. Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Jeff, and Dr. Furey are great at using positive phrases like “I’m going to check your smile” or “I’m going to count your teeth” to put kids at ease.

4. Bring Some Distractions

Favorite toys or comfort items can be helpful as long as they don’t interfere with the dentist’s work. Tell your dentist what your kid likes to do so he or she can tailor conversation to your child. Some dentists may even give kids a game to do while their teeth are being cleaned, such as counting the ceiling tiles. Of course, the cartoons the kids can watch at our office are always a hit.

5. Reward Them for a Job Well Done

We don’t recommend bribing your kids to come to the dentist, but it can be effective to reward them for brave behavior. Stickers, pencils, and temporary tattoos are fun and inexpensive rewards. If your child is particularly fearful, reward your child throughout the visit, not just at the end. Fear and anxiety can make a trip to the dentist miserable for you and your kids. That’s why it’s important to prepare kids for their visit before you even step in the door. It’s also important to find an experienced dental team, like those of us at Eggert Family Dentistry. To book your child’s next visit, request an appointment today.

The Power of a Smile

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

The Power of a Smile

closeup portrait of attractive caucasian smiling woman brunette isolated on white studio shot lips toothy smile face hair head and shoulders looking at camera tooth

“I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish,” Mother Theresa once said. We’ve all had our day brightened by a smile. But a smile is more than just a sign of happiness. Research has shown a smile can have lasting effects on our wellbeing. A beautiful smile can also make a positive and memorable first impression.

What the Research Says
Several studies have looked into the power of a smile. Researchers at UC Berkeley measured the width of smiles in yearbook pictures. Students with the widest smiles were generally more happy, more inspiring, and enjoyed longer and more fulfilled marriages than their peers with narrower smiles. A Wayne State University study measured players’ smiles on baseball cards from 1952. They found the span of a player’s smile predicted how long he lived. You guessed it—the wider the smile, the longer the life, on average.

Scientists have found that we smile in the womb and that a smile is a universal facial expression—even people in tribes isolated from the rest of the world smile. When others smile at you, it’s tough not to return the favor. In fact, it’s physically more difficult to frown when you see smiling faces around you.

Smile to Make a Memorable Impression
Cracking a smile is also a powerful way to make a great first impression. A study by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found nearly half of American adults consider a smile the most memorable feature of someone they’ve just met. Your smile is more memorable than what you’re wearing and even what you say.
However, those surveyed reported a smile full of crooked or stained teeth was not as attractive as one with straight, white teeth. A less-than-perfect smile also led people to believe that the smiler lacked confidence.

What can you do if your smile is less than perfect? Contact Eggert Family Dentistry today. Our focus is creating “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles” and we are dedicated to providing the cosmetic dentistry you need, such as veneers, whitening, and full mouth reconstructions.

How a Smile Impacts Confidence – Richard’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Richard came to us first as a new patient last winter needing comprehensive care and a restorative plan to fix teeth that were breaking down. At the time of his first exam, Richard had many teeth throughout his mouth that had lost fillings, fractured or cracked and he knew things were starting to break down. Dr. Elizabeth also noted a decent amount of decay contributing to the breakdown and we recommended Richard go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into underlying causes behind his lost fillings, cracked, and broken teeth.

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What did Richard want?

What did Richard want? Richard had noticed his teeth were starting to break down. He was losing fillings and his teeth were breaking. Prior to seeing Dr. Elizabeth, Richard would “patch” his teeth when things were broken, but he wanted to take a more comprehensive approach to prevent further damage. He wanted to have his teeth healthy again. Specifically, Richard wanted his teeth to function better for him long into the future. He had many broken teeth, decayed teeth, and wanted to know what he should do.

What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Richard’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation results to present Richard with the current health of his teeth, gums, and the function of his jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed that in addition to the decay, the position of Richard’s teeth caused him to bite down unevenly. This was accelerating the breakdown of his teeth. This deterioration was negatively impacting both the esthetics and function of his teeth. It was hard to get Richard even to smile. Richard needed a full mouth reconstruction to rebuild what had broken down and bring his teeth back to a healthier state.

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What does Richard think?

“I think the process is amazing. You guys have been the most impressive part about this process – making something that isn’t pleasant a fun thing to do. I would most certainly recommend Dr. Elizabeth and her team if someone I knew was considering getting this done.”

Look at how Richard smiles more easily now. It is amazing how a smile can change your confidence!

Doing What’s Best For Your Baby – Caring for Baby Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Caring for Baby Teeth

Ah, your child has reached another milestone. A new tooth. Now it’s time to focus MORE attention to good oral hygiene!

Little cute newborn baby child first milk or temporary teeth smiling face white isolated

As your infant’s teeth start to appear, usually at six to eight months of age, it’s time to move from a washcloth to a baby toothbrush. By continuing to practice healthy habits, you can prevent or reduce tooth decay in infants and children.

It’s all about getting your baby used to teeth brushing as part of the daily routine.

Tips for brushing an infant’s teeth:

  • Look for a small brush with a small head and large handle
  • It’s best to use a non-fluoride toothpaste until your child can effectively spit out the excess, usually around age three
  • Only a tiny smear of toothpaste is needed for babies and use a pea-sized amount for children
  • The easiest way to brush a baby’s teeth is to have the child sitting on your lap with his or her head in the crook of your elbow
  • Brush the teeth gently, with circles on the front and back surfaces
  • Gently massage the gums

All children, even babies, should brush at least twice each day. You should brush for your child until about age four, but it is okay to give your child “a turn.” Children from four to eight year of age should be supervised when brushing and flossing, and should be helped at least once per day.

It’s important to know your child’s teeth and gums. Signs of baby tooth decay include pits or brown, black, or white spots on the teeth. Your child should be seen at Eggert Family Dentistry for a dental “well visit” by age one.

At first, teeth-brushing may be a struggle. Just try, try again. Make it fun by singing, counting, or telling a story – it shouldn’t be a battle. Again, it’s all about creating healthy oral habits that will last a lifetime.

Doing What’s Best For Your Baby – Avoiding Tooth Decay

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Avoiding Tooth Decay

Did you know that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease? In fact, dental issues result in the loss of 51 million school hours every year. Horrible, right?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is a very important reminder of how to take care of your baby’s teeth. Not only do those first teeth help your child to chew and talk, they are placeholders for permanent ones. If baby teeth are ignored, they can be lost to tooth decay. This can seriously affect the spacing of permanent teeth.

You already know about taking care of your infant’s gums and about brushing your baby’s first teeth, but there are other healthy habits that can help to prevent childhood tooth decay:

  • Don’t ever put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or anything “sweetened.” These liquids feed bacteria in the mouth and can cause “baby bottle tooth decay.”
  • Only fill your baby’s bottle with formula, breast milk, or water.
  • Begin to wean your baby from the bottle as he or she begins to eat more solid food and can drink from a cup. Your baby should be finished with a bottle by age one.
  • Follow meals with a drink of water to wash off the teeth.
  • If your tap water isn’t fluoridated city water, ask your pediatrician about testing your well water for fluoride. It might be appropriate for your child to have fluoride supplements depending on the levels.
  • Regularly check your child’s teeth for white, black, or brown spots.

And, of course, there’s sugar. Children who eat sweets every day have nearly twice as much decay as those who eat sugar less often. Check sugar levels in baby foods and dilute juice with water. Also, provide naturally grown food as much as possible. You’d be surprised how much sugar is found in processed and boxed food items.

Healthy habits, along with a trip to Eggert Family Dentistry, will prevent cavities. Bring your baby to see us by the age of one. It is always best for us to develop a relationship BEFORE there is a problem!

Doing What’s Best For Your Baby – Caring for Gums

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Caring for Gums

Closeup Portrait of a smiling baby boy

Did you know that children are also at risk of developing gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums?

If you’re caring for an infant, with or without teeth, it may seem like you can wait on oral care. But that’s not so! It’s equally important to start taking charge of your child’s oral health before teeth appear.

A toothbrush isn’t required, just a washcloth and some tender loving care.

  • Use a soft, moistened washcloth or a piece of gauze
  • Cradle your baby with one arm
  • With your index finger around the washcloth, gently wipe your baby’s gums

Wiping the gums will remove bacteria, food debris, and sometimes yeast. It is a good habit to practice doing this at least twice per day.

Teething

Your baby’s teeth will generally begin to appear between four and seven months during a process called teething. Teething can make babies feel uncomfortable and fussy. Teething is usually completed before your child’s third birthday, but in the meantime, this period can be difficult on both you and your baby!

Teething symptoms include:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Increased drooling
  • The desire to chew on things

To help relieve discomfort, you can try these methods:

  • Gum rubbing – use a clean finger to rub the infant’s gums
  • Chilled teething rings or a cold washcloth to chew or suck on
  • Use of a pain reliever – such as infant acetaminophen. Always talk to your pediatrician about the use of pain relievers and teething gels. Do not give your infant baby aspirin, as aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome.

If your baby has a fever, or is unusually irritable or inconsolable, call your pediatrician.

We all want what’s best for our children. By following these simple steps, you can transition easier from gums to teeth.

A KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System Success Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Whiter teeth can make a profound change in your appearance, your confidence, and your life!

The KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System whitens teeth dramatically, and is considered to be the most reliable and effective bleaching system. It works by restoring your teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen. The oxygen from the whitening gel is absorbed deeply into the tooth, dissolving stain molecules and changing how the tooth reflects light. KöR can often lighten teeth sixteen shades or more.

Have you tried other bleaching system and are you cautious about pain? Look no further. In most cases, the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System produces low, to no, sensitivity. Typically, most patients have no discomfort at all!

Marianne is our latest KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System success story. Marianne has a vibrant personality and wanted dazzling teeth to reflect her zest for life. Through the very simple KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System process, Marianne went from:

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to:

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The process is easy:

  • First, we’ll examine and take impressions of your teeth
  • Your bleaching trays are fabricated directly by KöR
  • When your trays are ready, we apply a conditioning formula to your teeth in-office
  • You then leave our office with an “At Home Kit:” your trays, KöR bleaching gel, and desensitizer
  • You will use your trays nightly until we love your new shade
  • The best news is that with your custom maintenance program, you can permanently keep your pearly white smile

Whether your teeth are dull from coffee, tea, red wine, or EVEN tetracycline staining, the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System is right for you. This process is perfect for ages 14 and older, and is entirely safe for your teeth and gums. Unlike so many other ill-fitting bleaching systems, the trays used in this process are thin and perfectly form-fitting. You’ll even forget they’re in your mouth. Bleach is sealed inside the tray, preventing gel from leaking into your mouth.

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful, healthy, and natural looking smile, Eggert Family Dentistry can help. Give us a call today and start moving toward a brighter looking tomorrow! 651-482-8412

Lia’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

“Smile and the world will smile with you.”

Lia’s Story  

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

Why is that number so high? Well, we’ve all hear 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%. Other permanent teeth we see missing are second premolars, upper lateral incisors, and lower central incisors.

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!

This month’s Case of the Month features Lia. Lia is a beautiful 16-year-old patient of ours who never developed one of her lateral incisors. Her goal is to smile big… and with confidence.

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Typically, implants are the treatment of choice to replace a missing tooth. However, 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 results.

In Lia’s case, we chose to use a resin composite bonding material to create a beautiful smile that she can confidently wear until it’s time for an implant.

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Don’t let missing teeth affect your confidence. Give us a call today to discuss treatment options.  651-482-8412

An Ounce of Protection

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A helmet and shoulder pads, or other pads, aren’t the only protection needed for sports. Make sure the athlete in your family also wears a mouthguard.

Boy putting in his mouth guard
Participation in youth and adolescent sports has grown steadily over the years. And, unfortunately with this growth we have seen a direct correlation with injury to teeth.

Did you know that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard? A custom-fitted mouthguard helps to absorb and spread the impact of a blow to the face, which could otherwise result in a mouth or jaw injury. Many times dental injuries end up requiring time off of school or work for lengthy dental treatment, and can be painful and even disfiguring. The cost of an injury to your athlete’s teeth or jaw can far exceed the small investment of a custom-fitted mouthguard.

We recommend that your athlete wear a mouthguard in sports with impact or collision, and that it’s worn during both practice and competition. Sports to include are acrobatics, baseball, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, snowboarding, soccer, softball, squash, surfing, tennis, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wrestling, and some track and field events.

Mouthguards vary in price and style. They typically cover the upper teeth and also safeguard the soft tissues of the tongue, lips, and cheeks. Your mouthguard should be comfortable, resistant to tearing, and resilient. It should fit properly, be durable, easily cleaned, and not restrict your speech or breathing.

It only takes a second to permanently damage teeth. Protect your athlete’s beautiful smile with the use of a mouthguard. We offer custom fit mouthguards in a variety of colors. Talk to us today about how we can help you provide the best protection for the athletes in your family. 651-482-8412

The Records Process – What is it?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Worn teeth can cause a problem with alignment. Luckily, a variety of problems can be significantly decreased or alleviated by proper positioning of the teeth and jaw.
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The Records Process – What is it?

I’m lucky to have learned so much about how good dentistry can improve whole body health. Many times each week, I find myself talking to patients about medical health problems. While working with people over the years, and becoming more inclusive in my approach to looking at things, it’s amazing how often comprehensive dental treatments can improve so many ailments.

For example, do you:

  • Suffer from frequent headaches?
  • Snore or have sleep apnea?
  • Experience unexplained shoulder, neck, or back pain?
  • Have a stiff/sore jaw after chewing, yawning, or waking?
  • Have difficulty sleeping?
  • Have broken, worn, sensitive, cracked, or chipped teeth?
  • Have crowns recommended for your front teeth?
  • Have pronounced gum recession?

By progressively working through “The Records Process,” we can determine if your health issues are due to your mouth. Often, malaligned teeth and jaw joints can cause pain and premature wear to teeth. Teeth that are subject to excessive pressure can develop chips, cracks, and notches at the gum line. Premature wear may lead to poor root support, loose teeth, and possible tooth loss.

During the records process, we evaluate your muscles, jaw, teeth, and their relationship with one another. You’ll undergo a series of mouth photographs, which aid in visualizing potential problems. Lastly, impressions of your teeth help us to see how everything fits and moves together.

All these results are analyzed and during your consultation phase, all test findings are discussed, as we take a tour of your mouth. The educational process is very eye-opening and allows for discussion of all treatment options.

Curious if your problems are tooth-related? Call us today to schedule an evaluation. 651.482.8412