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

When Should Your Child’s First Dental Visit Be?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Parents often ask us when a child should first be seen by a dentist. The answer to this question surprises them.

In order to prevent dental problems, plan on scheduling your child’s first trip to see us before his/her first birthday. A guideline that we typically use is about six months after eruption of the first tooth. Don’t forget, decay can occur as soon as a tooth appears.

mother teaching son child teeth brushing in bathroom

Studies show that many children are now getting cavities as early as age two. Sadly, we are seeing this. Taking your child to see us, at a very young age, is the best way to prevent these childhood cavities. It also helps acclimate your child to the dental office and paves the way for stress-free visits in the future.

Before bringing your child in, make sure to ask us what the child can expect at the first visit. This way, there won’t be any surprises for you, or your child. Bring a list of questions – we love talking about oral health!

At your child’s first dental visit, plan on discussing:

  • how to clean an infant’s or toddler’s teeth,
  • fluoride needs,
  • finger and thumb sucking,
  • dental milestones in a child’s early years, and
  • how a child’s diet affects his/her oral health.

Before leaving our office, you’ll have a clear idea about:

  • your child’s development,
  • what you can do to promote good oral health,
  • any foreseen problems, and
  • follow-up actions.

Bringing your child to the dentist early, and regularly, leads to a lifetime of good oral habits. After the age of two, plan on bringing your child in for a check-up every six months. Starting as early as age three, we attempt to take x-rays to check for decay between the teeth. Sealants are placed to prevent decay as soon as the permanent molars erupt, usually about age six.

With a little preparation, going to the dentist with your child can be stress free. The team at Eggert Family Dentistry works hard to provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment for you and your child. Put your child on the path to excellent oral health and call us today at 651-482-8412.

Full Mouth Reconstruction – Tim’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did Eggert Family Dentistry meet Tim?

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2

Before After

Tim came to us as an established patient at one of his routine exams. He was experiencing increasing tooth sensitivity and pain throughout his mouth. He had noticed his teeth had become shorter over the years. Dr. Elizabeth noted excessive wear throughout his mouth and recommended Tim go through Dr. Eggert’s records process so she could delve deeper into the underlying causes behind his cracking, breaking, and sensitive teeth.

What did Tim want?

Tim had noticed a lot more wear in the last decade and wanted healthy and comfortable teeth again. He also wanted better-looking teeth. Specifically, Tim wanted his teeth to be whiter, more even, and to function better. He had many worn teeth, and wanted a comprehensive plan for restoring them.

 What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Tim’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation to present Tim with the current health of his teeth, gums, and the function of his jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed the position of Tim’s teeth caused multiple interferences. He was biting down unevenly, causing the breakdown of his teeth. Dr. Elizabeth was also suspicious of the severe acid erosion of Tim’s enamel. This deterioration was also negatively impacting both the look and function of his teeth. Tim needed a full mouth reconstruction to rebuild what had broken down. 

What does Tim think?

“I’m very happy with everything. The sensitivity is completely gone and they look great! It has changed my life because I don’t have to hurt, and of course you feel better when you have a nice smile. My wife and my mom both love them! I would tell anyone who was considering getting something like this done to do it, and I would tell them to come to Dr. Elizabeth Eggert.”

Don’t Give In to Gum Disease: Prevention Keeps Pain and Disease Away

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Many of us are no strangers to painful, bloody gums or a bout of bad breath. Though they seem minor, these symptoms are uncomfortable indicators of underlying gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, causes a breakdown of the architecture supporting the tooth and can lead to tooth mobility or even tooth loss. Luckily, an ounce of prevention can keep these symptoms under wraps and allow you to enjoy healthy, strong teeth for years to come.

The Bad: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that affects the gums. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria surround your teeth and enter your gums, causing irritation and swelling. People with gingivitis often notice blood when rinsing after brushing and flossing.

The Ugly: Periodontal Disease

When gingivitis goes untreated, the symptoms get worse and new ones may appear. Bad breath, receding gums and abscesses, and gum sensitivity to acidic foods may all bepainful reminders of unhappy gums and indicators of periodontal disease. Severe periodontal disease may also cause tooth mobility, pain or loss.

When gingivitis evolves into periodontal disease, it’s time to take immediate action. The team at Eggert Family Dentistry will perform a series of deep cleanings, laser therapy, or even prescribe antibiotics to treat periodontal disease. In extreme cases, surgery may be another option.

The Great News: Prevention Works!

Fortunately, you can avoid surgery, antibiotics, and other interventions with simple tools like your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Twice daily brushing and daily flossing sweeps away the bacteria that lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Regular hygiene visits to see us here at Eggert Family Dentistry will remove any persistent bacteria and arm you the tools and techniques you need to maintain good oral health.

Painful, bloody gums and bad breath shouldn’t be part of your daily dental hygiene routine. For help preventing or treating gingivitis or periodontal disease, contact us today at 651-482-8412.

Not Just for Junior: Why You Should Consider Opting for Fluoride

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Opting for fluoride treatments for your children is a no-brainer at the our dental office. But our need for fluoride treatments doesn’t magically disappear once we turn 18. In fact, opting for a fluoride treatment yourself will prevent cavities, strengthen enamel, and improve your overall dental health.

What is fluoride and what does it do?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps your tooth enamel resist wear and decay. It is the most important factor in the remineralization of your tooth enamel. Fluoride also promotes healthy tooth development in children, which is why fluoride treatments are common for younger patients.

For more than 50 years, the American Dental Association has advocated to keep fluoride in community water supplies to prevent tooth decay. Chances are that if your home receives city water, your tap water is fluorinated. If you live in a home with well water or if you drink primarily bottled or filtered water, you may want to supplement with a fluoride toothpaste and rinse.

Why would I need a fluoride treatment?

As we age, the foods we eat wear away our tooth enamel. Fluoride makes the enamel stronger and more resistant to decay. Adding a fluoride treatment at one of your hygiene visits each year can help protect your enamel, especially if you have a history of dental decay or poor dental hygiene.

Those over 65 can especially benefit from fluoride treatments. Those of us in our senior years tend to eat lighter, more frequent meals throughout the day, which means our teeth are exposed to more bacteria. Fluoride can help prevent this bacteria from eroding your teeth.

Eggert Family Dentistry is happy to provide a fluoride treatment at your next hygiene visit. The cost of this treatment is well worth the investment. To schedule your next hygiene appointment, contact us at 651-482-8412.

How Invisalign Can Improve Your Smile

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Straighter teeth is something many people desire, but when it comes to wearing braces for two, three or even four years, many patients shy away and live with their misaligned teeth. Luckily though, there is another option that is completely invisible and removable!  Invisalign was introduced in 1999 by Align Technologies. The removable orthodontic appliance incorporates a series of invisible (clear) plastic aligners that fit comfortably over your teeth and are designed to move them gradually into the desired orthodontic position.

Invisalign is currently approved for adults and teenagers with completely erupted permanent teeth who are able to faithfully follow the directions for treatment. Invisalign can be used to correct the following types of mild dental problems:

  • Overly crowded teeth.
  • Widely spaced teeth
  • Overbite/overjet
  • Crossbite
  • Malocclusions (bite irregularities)

How it Works

The Invisalign method requires only one set of impressions and photographs of the teeth, taken during your initial consultation, to craft the aligners. These impressions are used to create a 3D computer projection of how your teeth will be incrementally moved until they are perfectly aligned. The impressions are sent to a dental laboratory where the aligners are created using a computer-aided design/manufacturing processes.

Once the aligners are completed, your dentist will dispense them in groups of one or two at a time during regular check-up appointments. These appointments typically occur every 4-6 weeks. Each aligner must be worn in its specific order for about two weeks, during which time it moves the teeth in small increments of about .25 millimeters to .33 millimeters. Although the aligners are removable for eating, drinking and check-ups, they should be worn at least 20 hours a day in order to reposition the teeth successfully.

A typical Invisalign treatment requires 20 to 30 aligners for both upper and lower teeth. Most adults complete their treatment in less than a year, but that time depends on the specific alignment problem.

Benefits of Invisalign

The benefits of Invisalign are numerous. First, they are nearly invisible so most people will not be able to tell that you are undergoing treatment. They are also way more comfortable than braces as you don’t have wires and brackets digging into your gums, lips and cheeks. Patients who use Invisalign often avoid damage to the gums and supporting tissues. Patients will also avoid bacteria build up that would result through traditional braces.

Finally, Invisalign aligners are removable, so you can eat whatever you want and brush and floss your teeth normally. Patients are also able to get regular dental checkups while using Invisalign. Traditional braces also prevent X-rays and regular cleanings while Invisalign can be removed, allowing for dentist access.

Forget the Ghosts: Halloween Candy Is What’s Scary

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Witches, zombies, and ghosts aren’t the scariest things about Halloween. For young and old ghouls alike, Halloween candy is what’s most frightening about the upcoming spooky holiday. The main villains? Sugar and acid. Here’s a guide to the most frightening Halloween candy and some scrumptious options that are better for your teeth.

Halloween’s Most Frightening Candy Options

The worst options for Halloween candy are packed with sugar, highly acidic, and stay in your mouth for a long time. Candies that fit this category are a major source of tooth decay. Sour candies in particular are nasty sources of enamel erosion.

The most frightening Halloween candy includes:

  • sour candies
  • gummy candies
  • taffy
  • candy corn
  • caramels
  • candy bars with nuts
  • lollipops
  • jawbreakers & other hard candies

Great Halloween Treats

Not all Halloween candy options are bad for your teeth. There are a number of delicious treats that won’t cause significant tooth decay. Sugar-free treats are always a safe bet, as are candies that are easy to chew, since they don’t stay in the mouth too long.

Here’s a list of great Halloween treat options:

  • sugar-free gum
  • sugar-free lollipops & hard candies
  • chocolate with no nuts or sticky fillings
  • powdery candies

When you go trick-or-treat shopping for your neighborhood ghouls, choose options that won’t rot their teeth. To put your own kids on the path to excellent oral health, contact us at 651-482-8412. Happy Halloween!

Answered – Your Burning Questions About the Tooth Fairy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Our young patients love to talk about the Tooth Fairy. Many times this is a child’s first experience receiving cash for something they did – as opposed to receiving money as a gift. The Tooth Fairy has been a frequent visitor in American homes for many years. This tradition has helped generations of children through the sometimes unpleasant process of losing their baby teeth.

Tooth

There are numerous stories and rituals about the Tooth Fairy  Reportedly, hundreds of years ago, European children would bury their teeth. This symbolized that a new tooth would soon grow in its place. In other countries, a widely documented ritual involved offering the lost tooth as a sacrifice to a mouse or rat. The practice was done with the hope that the child’s adult teeth would grow in as strong and sturdy as a rodent’s.

By the 1900s, Tooth Fairy stories had migrated to the United States, and soon after became an established part of American folklore. But how did we get to a point of envisioning the Tooth Fairy as a flitting sprite? With a lot of help from movie animation. It could also be the fact that a child would rather have a fairy sneaking around his/her room at night rather than a rat.

Plus, fairies have pixie dust. What’s more fun than that?

The Tooth Fairy serves as a source of comfort during an experience that can sometimes be scary or even traumatic. The loss of a baby tooth is the first rite of passage in a person’s life, and probably the most frightening. As part of that rite of passage, it is also seen as a way to introduce children to the concept offiscal responsibility.

According to the August 2015 Visa annual survey, the Tooth Fairy is leaving an average of $3.19 per tooth under kids’ pillows. The Tooth Fairy must be feeling the pinch of economic times. For two years now, lost tooth amounts have steadily dropped – decreasing 24 cents from 2014 and 51 cents from 2013.

The Visa survey, of 4,000 people, found that the most common monetary gift from the tooth fairy is $1. [Interestingly dads report Tooth Fairy gifts being 27% more generous than reports from moms.] Kids are collecting about $64 in all when converting to a mouthful of adult teeth, which is down about $10 in the last two years.

Looking for some cute and creative Tooth Fairy ideas? Try:

Remember, children should be seen soon after the eruption of their first tooth. The team at Eggert Family Dentistry works hard to provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment for your child. Put your kids on the path to excellent oral health by calling us at 651-482-8412. We even have tooth fairy boxes!

Snore no More – An Easy Fix for a Great Night’s Sleep

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Snore no More – An Easy Fix for a Great Night’s Sleep

Snoring man. Couple in bed, man snoring and woman can not sleep, covering ears with pillow for snore noise. Young interracial couple, Asian woman, Caucasian man sleeping in bed at home.

We live in a society that is in critical need of sleep.

Sleep behaviors affect every aspect of your daily life. There’s nothing like a full night of rest to help you be ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of us out there that haven’t felt that way for a while.

If you’ve lost that spring in your step (and quite possibly your family is also feeling the fallout) take a look at your sleep habits. Are any sleep problems inhibiting your ability to get in seven to eight hours of restful slumber? Is your sleep problem – snoring?

It’s very easy not to take snoring seriously. It doesn’t really affect you unless, a) it wakes you up, b) your spouse moves into another bedroom to sleep, or c) no one wants to share a hotel room during the snowmobiling trip (yes, snoring can register at 80 decibels).

Snoring, however, is a disorder.

Snoring is a sound that occurs during sleep when soft (palatal) tissue in the upper airway vibrates as you breathe. Simple snoring, without obstructive sleep apnea, affects approximately 20% of the adult population, and is more frequent in males than females. [*See our blog Dental Help for Your Sleep Apnea to learn more about sleep apnea.]

Easy solutions to curb snoring include:

  • losing weight (if overweight)
  • exercising regularly
  • avoiding alcohol and smoking
  • avoiding sleep aids
  • sleeping on your side

But what do you do when the snoring continues?

First, work with a sleep center to determine that you don’t have sleep apnea. It’s far too dangerous to mess around with obstructive sleep apnea.

If it is just simple snoring, the best treatment involves the use of a jaw advancing prosthesis. This “dental appliance therapy” involves the use of a small device similar to a mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer. When worn during sleep, it prevents the airway from collapsing by bringing the jaw forward, elevating the soft palate, or retaining the tongue.

Dental appliances are an inexpensive and non-invasive way to bring peace and quiet to your household. Our patients have responded extremely well when using them.

Are you ready to learn more about treatment options for snoring? Give us a call today, 651-482-8412. We’ll set you up with an appointment to go through the records process with Dr. Elizabeth to gather the required information in determining if oral appliance therapy is the right solution for you. If you’re given the green light, models of your teeth will be sent to a lab, where an oral appliance will be made specifically to your tooth contours. During the appliance fitting, there’ll be adjustments made until you have satisfaction of the appliance’s fit and feel.

And then watch out.

All that extra sleep just may offer the health changes needed to put that spring back into your step! Not to mention how much better your family will be able to sleep too.