Nutrition Tips for Pregnancy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At no other time in a woman’s life is nutrition as important as when she is eating both for herself and for her unborn baby. A growing baby requires a high concentration of vitamins and minerals – nutrients that will largely determine his or her health at birth and in certain capacities, for the rest of his or her life. That being said, healthy eating is critical during pregnancy…and it all begins with knowing the facts.

If you’re an expectant mother, consider these important tips for a nutritious diet:

Eat a rainbow every day.

You’ve likely heard this advice before but it couldn’t be more true. Incorporating a wide variety of healthy foods into your daily diet ensures that you and baby receive a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Make an effort to include fruits and veggies, whole grain breads and crackers, dairy products and proteins every day – and as many as you’re able – into each meal.

Dental detail: Your growing baby requires a good amount of calcium for growing bones and teeth and will take calcium from your bones and teeth if your diet doesn’t provide an ample amount. Don’t neglect dairy, especially during pregnancy!

Reduce your sugar intake.

This may mean putting your sweet tooth in its place if it’s getting a bit out of hand! Saying no to high-sugar foods like cookies, cake, ice cream and pop in favor of fruit, naturally sweetened foods and beverages, yogurt and nuts will help ward off gestational diabetes and ensure that you’re giving baby calories that count.

Dental detail: Sugary foods and beverages eat away at tooth enamel. Choose healthy substitutions as often as possible and be sure to brush, floss and rinse your mouth after consuming sugar.

Drink more water!

Hydration is of heightened importance during pregnancy. An expectant mom’s body demands more fluids to accommodate increased blood volume. Conversely, dehydration can lead to contractions and preterm labor. Milk is also a healthy, calcium-rich choice!

Dental detail: Choosing fluoridated water whenever possible is an investment in your mature teeth as well as in baby’s developing teeth. Fluoride strengthens enamel and creates a protective surface around teeth that helps ward off sugars and acids that threaten their integrity. Extra water will also help stave off pregnancy-induced gingivitis.

Seek out sources of folic acid.

In order to prevent serious birth defects such as spina bifida, make sure you consume a minimum of 600 mg of folic acid in your diet each day. Good sources of folic acid include asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, beans, oranges, strawberries, bananas, fortified cereals and grains…among many others!


Dental detail: Many fruits and veggies high in folic acid are also high in calcium – broccoli, spinach, kale, oranges…A dental win-win!

Take prenatal vitamins.

You only get one chance to grow your baby healthy. Because it’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrition you and baby need from diet alone, taking a daily prenatal vitamin is a smart choice.

Dental detail: Prenatal vitamins are loaded with many vitamins and minerals including ample calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamin A – building blocks of healthy mature and developing teeth.

If you’re expecting or planning on getting pregnant and would like to learn more about nutrition for growing and maintaining healthy teeth, we would love to discuss this with you at your next appointment. You can make your next appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry by calling us at 651.482.8412 or by connecting with us online!

Dental Care Before, During and After Pregnancy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can impact a woman’s body in a number of ways. Nausea, stuffy nose, mood swings, loose ligaments…the list goes on! What many women don’t realize, however, is the impact that pregnancy has on oral health. In this post, we look at some proactive approaches to good oral health before, during and after pregnancy.

Before Pregnancy

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recommend a thorough dental screening if you plan to become pregnant in the near future. At this appointment, we will clean your teeth, inspect your gum tissue and address any outstanding dental issues. Also, if you’re interested in pursuing any elective dental procedures, this is the time to schedule them!

During Pregnancy

  • Routine dental care during pregnancy is perfectly safe. In fact, because women are more prone to gingivitis and periodontal disease during pregnancy, we highly recommend routine visits! Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can also attend to any urgent dental matters during pregnancy. 
  • On account of increased blood flow to gum tissue, pregnant women often experience tender, swollen, bleeding gums. Pay close attention to your gum tissue and stay the course with regular brushing and flossing. If you think you are dealing with pregnancy gingivitis, make an appointment with us so we can monitor your gum health and help you prevent ensuing gum disease and tooth loss. Sometimes coming in for more frequent cleanings makes a huge difference in gum health.
  • If you’re struggling with morning sickness, you’re not alone. In fact, 60-70% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If this is the case for you, regular brushing is even more critical. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after vomiting, however, to help neutralize acid before brushing. If you’re turned off by the strong taste of toothpaste, switching to a bland toothpaste can help! Or, even brushing with water alone is better than nothing.
  • Eat healthy. As difficult as it can be to resist pregnancy junk food cravings, avoiding sugar can reduce your risk of pregnancy-induced tooth decay. Also, including foods rich in calcium helps your baby develop healthy teeth, gums and bones.

After Pregnancy

Schedule a postnatal visit to assess the health of your teeth and gums and to address any previously undetected pregnancy-related dental issues.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we get women’s health. We partner with you throughout your pregnancy journey to help you maintain optimal dental wellness! To schedule a visit, you can contact us at 651.482.8412 or connect with us online.

Restoring Teeth with Implants: The Importance of Records in Creating a Healthy Smile

How did this start?

As a child, Frank had a bicycle accident that broke four of his upper front teeth. They were repaired with crowns at the time but Frank knew they weren’t going to last forever. In 2017, the teeth began showing signs of infection. Dr. Elizabeth referred him to the endodontist who determined that the teeth couldn’t be saved and would need to be extracted. Dr. Elizabeth suspected that in addition to the history of trauma, part of the reason for the infection was that Frank’s lower teeth were crowded and putting a lot pressure on his top teeth. Before having the teeth extracted, Dr. Elizabeth recommended Frank go through the records process to determine the best option for replacing them.

What did Frank want?

Frank’s main concern was getting his mouth back to a healthy state and preserving the function of his teeth. He had been hoping to keep his natural teeth for as long as possible, but he understood that the infection had developed to the point where extracting the teeth would be the only way to successfully treat it. It was also important to Frank that he be able to eat and speak normally after his teeth were restored.

What was involved?

At the records appointment, Dr. Elizabeth took photos and x-rays of Frank’s teeth and did a thorough muscle and joint evaluation. She used the information gathered at that appointment to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for Frank. She presented him with several options for replacing his upper front teeth and Frank decided to do an implant bridge as it would offer the most long-term predictability and look and function the most like natural teeth. The first step in Frank’s treatment plan was having the four infected upper teeth extracted and two implants placed by the oral surgeon, Dr. Karl Andreasen. Dr. Andreasen then made a temporary bridge for Frank to wear while the implants healed. While his implants were integrating, Dr. Elizabeth recommended that Frank start Invisalign to fix the crowding in his lower teeth. Straightening out Frank’s lower teeth would help get his bite to a more stable position and decrease the excessive force that he was putting on his upper front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth didn’t want Frank to put his planned all-porcelain implant supported bridge at risk like his teeth had been. Frank completed his Invisalign treatment after 14 aligners and was ready to move on to the final phase of his treatment, restoring his upper front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth took impressions and worked with a local lab to fabricate Frank’s final bridge, which he had placed recently this year.

What does Frank think?

Frank is very excited to have something that looks and functions similarly to the four natural teeth he had to lose. He is also happy to be infection-free. Frank said that he understood going into this that it was going to be a long process. “I know things don’t happen overnight, and the details of the procedures were explained very well.” When asked what he would say to someone considering going through a similar procedure, Frank said, “I would tell them to bear with it. It takes as long as it needs to take to be done the right way. You’ll be well taken care of.” As for what Frank thinks of his new smile? “I am very happy! I’m looking forward to eating a hamburger!”

We’re so grateful to have you as a patient, Frank – thank you for putting your trust in us!

Fillings: Why Replace Them?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Just like other dental work, fillings can age over time. With age, uncomfortable or unsightly problems can present themselves. Old fillings can also become chipped or fall out which leave vulnerable teeth exposed and prone to decay and cavities. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we frequently replace old fillings. Here’s an up-close look at a couple recent scenarios where we did just that:

Oftentimes, fillings start to leak and decay underneath. The best way to see this is by looking at x-rays of teeth. However, decay can occasionally be spotted from the oral exam. Here is an example of an older amalgam filling that looks okay to the naked eye but x-rays reveal otherwise.

After removing the amalgam, the darkened, decayed areas are visible.

Here’s a photo of the tooth after the decay is removed.

After the new composite tooth-colored filling is complete, this is the result.

Staining on anterior composites can happen on account of the age of the fillings, diet or decay on the teeth. Before replacing anterior fillings, make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff to be sure the teeth are healthy. Make sure your teeth are your preferred shade/color before your new fillings are placed.

If you’re concerned that you have old fillings in need of replacement, contact Eggert Family Dentistry at 651.482.8412. We would be happy to set up an appointment with you to determine the condition of your fillings.

Pain When You Chew? It Could Be TMD

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to jaw discomfort. From chewing on hard foods to facial tension from stress, jaw discomfort is a miserable, often debilitating experience. While there can be many contributing factors, there are at least as many great treatments. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we have hands-on experience diagnosing and treating TMD, one of the most common jaw disorders. Understanding what TMD is as well as its symptoms is crucial to proper diagnosis and treatment.

What is TMD?

Although people often refer to this jaw disorder at TMJ, the correct reference is TMD. TMJ refers to the joint itself – the temporomandibular joint – which is responsible for controlling many jaw functions like chewing and talking. TMD is a disorder of this joint, a condition which can stem from a variety of behavioral, psychological and physical issues.

Causes

TMD has many possible causes some of which include stress, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, arthritis, jaw dislocation, injury to the jaw and poor jaw and tooth alignment. Teeth grinding is particularly problematic because it can lead to further problems, many tooth related. Prolonged grinding can cause enamel to wear off teeth and expose dentin, making teeth more susceptible to decay. It can also increase a person’s sensitivity to hot and cold.

Signs and Symptoms

There are many symptoms of TMD that mimic other medical issues. This can make TMD difficult to pinpoint. TMD symptoms include:

  • Pain when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Jaw becoming stuck open or shut
  • Headaches, migraines, ear pain, ringing in the ears, double vision
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening the mouth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Wearing down or breaking of the teeth

Diagnosis

The above-listed symptoms can be attributed to a variety of health problems. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms it’s best to start by visiting a medical professional for a whole body physical to rule out possible medical conditions. Keep in mind, however, that many medical professionals don’t fully understand how TMD can be a large part of your issue because they haven’t always been trained to make that connection. Especially if there is no concrete medical diagnosis, it is best to make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff for a consultation. We can screen you for TMD with our comprehensive records process and offer relief for your symptoms through the treatment option that’s right for you!

Treatment

If, upon completion of your consult, we determine that you’re dealing with TMD, we have numerous avenues of treatment that can provide you with relief and alleviate your symptoms. Some common treatment options include:

  • A custom night guard/splint that can help lessen the effects of teeth grinding and deprogram muscle patterns
  • Behavioral treatments and muscle therapies that change the way you use your jaw and muscles
  • Full-time splint therapy to provide full-time relief
  • Appliances to improve your airway
  • Full-mouth reconstruction to improve tooth position
  • Orthodontic treatment that may or may not include oral jaw surgery

Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will also talk with you about some easy ways you can partner with us to get to the root of your symptoms and experience relief. Ideas include practicing relaxation techniques to alleviate stress, avoiding chewing gum or nail-biting, eating softer foods and incorporating hot/cold compresses to the jaw.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, mouth comfort is one of our highest priorities. If you think you’re experiencing the uncomfortable effects of TMD, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff by calling us at 651.482.8412!

The Connection Between Mental Health and Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

It has long been recognized that mental illness can lead to many inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease and cancer. Recently, however, an increasing amount of attention is being directed at the correlation between mental health and oral health. Understanding this correlation can empower individuals who struggle with mental illness or people whose loved ones struggle with mental illness to take initiative in order to ward off a host of dental problems.

Common mental illnesses and their effect on oral health

Mental illnesses manifest themselves physically in a variety of ways and oral health is no exception:

Anxiety:

On account of the intense stress a person’s body experiences as the result of an anxiety disorder as well as some anti-anxiety medications that inadvertently decrease the mouth’s ability to produce saliva, these are some common oral health problems that can ensue:

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • TMD (Read our recent post here)
  • Dry mouth
  • Canker sores
  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Lichen planus
  • Gingivitis or periodontal disease

Depression:

When a person experiences depression, they oftentimes increase their consumption of tobacco products and alcohol. These substances can cause attrition, or weakening of tooth enamel and tooth erosion due to gastro-esophageal reflux.

Eating Disorders:

According to a study with findings published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, between 35% and 38% of people with eating disorders battle tooth erosion. This is due largely to self-induced vomiting, which causes stomach acid to eat away at tooth enamel. Additionally, people who struggle with anorexia report a much greater percentage of decaying, missing and filled teeth than those who do not.

Bipolar:

Because bipolar can lend itself to manic behavior, this often translates into vigorous brushing and flossing that can cause dental abrasion and mucosal or gingival lacerations.

Dementia and Schizophrenia:

On account of psychotropic medications often prescribed for these illnesses, people with dementia and schizophrenia often experience an increase in bacteria-induced decay and gum disease.

Additionally, because people who struggle with varying levels of mental illness often experience an increase in substance abuse and/or a poor diet laden with carbonated drinks and sugary foods, they can truly suffer on multiple fronts. Left unaddressed, most oral health concerns resulting from mental illness lead to eventual tooth loss. So what can be done?

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we want to partner with you to help you achieve optimal dental wellness. If you are concerned about the effects of mental health on your oral health or that of a loved one, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff today at 651.482.8412.

Sleep Apnea FAQ’s

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

1. What is the sleep cycle and why is it important?

Sleep is a recurring state characterized by relatively inhibited sensory activity and a reduction of muscle activity from nearly all voluntary muscles as well as reduced interactions with a person’s surroundings. Sleep is characterized by two distinct states: non-REM sleep and REM sleep. These alternate in 90 to 110-minute cycles with each cycle lasting between 5-15 minutes. A normal sleep pattern consists of 4-5 sleep cycles throughout the night. The first sleep cycles contain short REM sleep and long periods of deep sleep but as the night goes on, REM sleep lengthens and deep sleep decreases. Sleep has been determined to be biologically necessary for life due to the healing and repair that occurs.

2. What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is an airway blockage. This occurs when, during sleep, muscles in the back of the throat relax and/or the tongue and surrounding tissues migrate back into the throat, obstructing the airway.

3. How do I know if I suffer from sleep apnea?

Although more common in men, OSA can occur in women too. The risk of OSA is increased for people with excess body weight, a narrow airway or a misaligned jaw. Snoring, choking while sleeping, excessive daytime sleepiness, waking and gasping, poor memory, irritability and morning headaches are all signs of OSA. If you suspect you’re experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff to discuss them. If you’d like more information, check out one of our recent posts here!

4. What happens if OSA is left untreated?

Treating OSA is imperative to your safety as well as your health. When left untreated, OSA can cause excessive daytime fatigue, morning headaches and memory loss. In addition, studies suggest that untreated OSA increases your risk of numerous health issues such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

5. What are my treatment options for OSA?

  • Breathing devices (like CPAP)
  • Adjusting your sleeping habits/positions
  • Dental sleep apnea and snoring appliances
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Surgery

*Prior to selecting any form of treatment, patients should undergo an initial evaluation by a board-certified sleep specialist practicing in a center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

6. What’s the difference between snoring and OSA?

Snoring is the sound that occurs during sleep when the soft palatal tissue in the upper airway vibrates as you breathe.

In the case of OSA, a person’s airway repetitively becomes obstructed during sleep and they intermittently stop breathing. This obstruction happens when the throat muscles relax and close off the airway.

7. What is an oral appliance?

An oral appliance is a custom-fit oral appliance that supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open airway.

8. What is the difference between Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy and Oral Appliance Therapy?

CPAP Therapy involves wearing a mask that covers the nose and/or mouth and is connected to a tube that allows air pressure to keep the airway open during sleep.

Oral Appliance Therapy involves wearing a custom-fit oral appliance nightly to keep the airway from collapsing. These oral appliances are useful in correcting mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea and are effective in improving airflow. The devices typically cover the upper and lower teeth and reposition the lower jaw in an advanced position.

Both CPAP therapy and Oral Appliance Therapy have proven successful for the treatment of sleep apnea and can result in improved sleep patterns and reduced snoring frequency and loudness.

9. Is there a link between TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea?

Yes. Since the temporomandibular joint is so close to the sinuses and airways, TMJ disorder (or TMD) can affect breathing. A misaligned TMJ can cause improper tongue positioning, resulting in a blocked airway during sleep. A recent study of people with TMJ disorder found 75 percent of participants experienced sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). Learn more in one of our previous posts!

10. What will treatment do for me?

Treatment will decrease your risk of OSA-related disease and help you get better sleep…the effects of which cannot be underestimated! From increased productivity during your waking hours to garnering more enjoyment from your daily life and experiencing more fulfillment in your relationships, quality sleep is foundational.

 

If you are having trouble sleeping and would like to speak with a dental professional at Eggert Family Dentistry, we would love to connect with you! Give us a call at 651.482.8412 or connect with us online.

Oral Cancer Screening For Early Detection

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Oral cancer screenings are an important and valuable component of a visit to Eggert Family Dentistry. Identifying this disease in its early stages is crucial for successful treatment, and medical advances are increasing our ability to detect it early.

While certain lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer, over 25% of victims do not smoke and have no other risk factors.

Oral Cancer Is a Serious Issue

Oral cancer takes more lives than melanoma (skin cancer) or cervical cancer. One person dies every hour from oral cancer in the United States. In the United States we see about 49,700 new cases each year. Oral cancer represents approximately three percent of all cancers diagnosed in the nation. Globally, oral cancer is the 11th most common.

Oral cancer manifests in many ways, affecting any area of the oral cavity including the tongue, gum tissue, lips, cheek lining, and the hard or soft palate. Professional screening is essential because there are often no symptoms in the early stages, or symptoms may be subtle. Some symptoms may replicate that of toothaches, ear pain or minor sores.

Good Dental Hygiene and Regular Exams Help Early Detection

An excellent reason to prioritize dental hygiene is that having a healthy mouth free of sores or discomfort, makes it much easier to notice a red flag like a persistent sore which resists healing, or a change in surface texture. People with chronically inflamed and painful mouths will not be able to notice such a symptom.

Early detection is key to increasing survival rates. Finding tumors when they are small and haven’t spread enables more treatment options which may also be less invasive.

Having an experienced dentist, like Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff, screen your mouth for precancerous and cancerous conditions is a useful precaution, especially for patients with risk factors including tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, or exposure to HPV (human papilloma virus), the most common sexually transmitted infection which may be associated with genital warts.

Like with any cancer, early detection can greatly increase survival rates. Treatment is less invasive early on, and the likelihood of the cancer spreading or metastasizing is diminished.

Don’t Ignore Oral Symptoms

Patients should pay attention to any change of conditions in their oral cavity. Note any sores, lumps, changes in surface texture or painful areas. If they don’t resolve themselves within two to three weeks, book an appointment for an exam. Early detection can save lives. Call Eggert Family Dentistry at 651.482.8412.

Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

When you open wide for your dental exam, you might think your teeth are the only focus of Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff.

Not true. Dental exams are also the first line of defense against oral cancer.
Oral cancers can develop in a variety of locations, including all parts of the tongue, the tissue lining the mouth and gums, and the area where the throat meets the back of the mouth.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Certain lifestyle choices increase the risk of developing oral cancer.
Tobacco use causes oral cancer as well as 15 other cancers, according to the Cancer Council. Tobacco consumption, via cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar, pipe or chewing tobacco, is known to increase cancer risk. While lung cancer may be the first dire consequence you associate with tobacco use, there are plenty of other ways smoking can kill you.

Heavy alcohol consumption, especially in combination with tobacco use, also increases cancer risk.

Sun exposure can cause cancer of the lip, so using a sunscreen lip balm is a good habit. Poor nutrition and consuming few vegetables and fruits may also play a role.

Oral cancer risk increases with age, occurring most often in people over the age of 40. Men are about twice as likely to contract it as women.

Lastly, human papilloma virus (specifically the HPV 16 type) is linked to oral cancers.

Oral Cancer Symptoms

The Oral Cancer Foundation recommends that anyone experiencing certain symptoms for more than two weeks should be evaluated by a dentist or a doctor. Symptoms include unusual surface changes in the mouth, lip, or throat. These might be a sore, lump, irritation, thick patch, or discolored (red or white) patches in the mouth. Other symptoms may be expressed in the jaw, including swelling or difficulty moving it. The tongue may be impacted with numbing, swelling or reduced mobility. Other red flags include a feeling that something is caught in your throat; pain in one ear; sudden tooth mobility; unusual bleeding; and airway obstruction.

Evaluation of Oral Cancer

When oral cancer is suspected, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will do a thorough visual exam and palpate the head, neck, oral, and throat regions. They will also review your medical, social, and familial history and inquire about lifestyle risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol usage.

If it seems necessary to refer you for a biopsy, it is possible to sometimes use diagnostic techniques that include the application of toluidine blue, which will bind to dysplastic or malignant cells. This simple, inexpensive and noninvasive substance can help determine appropriate biopsy sites and delineate margins for surgery.

Biopsies, generally performed under local anesthesia, will be submitted to a pathology lab and the tissue will be read under a microscope. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to evaluate soft tissues and computed tomography (CT) may be used to detect lymph node metastasis and early bone invasion.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we care about early detection for oral cancer, that is why you will find us looking at every recare exam for any signs or symptoms. We look forward to seeing you at your next recare visit. Call us today at 651.482.8412.

Oral Cancer: An Overview

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Did you know that your dental health professional can help with the early detection of oral cancer? That’s right! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recognize that the treatments come from early detection. In fact, industry-wide, dental professionals detect 84% of early-onset oral cancer. In our office, we provide thorough oral cancer screenings at routine visits as part of our proactive approach to dentistry.

Oral cancer risk factors

Typically, patients who are diagnosed with oral cancer possess at least one of the following risk factors:

  • Over 40 years of age
  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
  • Male
  • Unhealthy diet

However, it is increasingly common for people who don’t possess any common risk factors to be diagnosed with oral cancer. This reiterates the importance of routine screening!

Oral cancer symptoms

There are a variety of symptoms to watch for that are indicative of oral cancer. While some of these symptoms can be attributed to other causes, it’s wise to play it safe and make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff if you:

  • Experience numbness or pain when you bite down on your teeth
  • Find a lump in your mouth
  • Notice red or white patches in your mouth
  • Have spots in your mouth that frequently bleed and don’t heal well

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and if they have been present for more than two weeks, it’s best to make an appointment for an evaluation. Symptoms of herpes simplex and aphthous ulcerations, or canker sores, can mimic some oral cancer symptoms but resolve themselves in 10-14 days.

Oral cancer detection

When you undergo an oral cancer screening as part of your recare visit at Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff perform a systematic visual and palpation examination of your mouth’s soft tissues. We look closely at your tongue, the floor of your mouth and around the base of your tongue as well as at the inside of your cheeks, lips, and the roof of your mouth. We also carefully examine the lymph nodes around your mouth, neck, and throat.

Oral cancer treatment and prevention

If, upon examination, we suspect the presence of oral cancer, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will refer you for a biopsy of the area in question. If the biopsy comes back positive, the oral surgeon will delineate the best treatment plan for you. This can include any of the following: surgery to remove the cancer, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Mouth reconstruction may be necessary post-treatment depending on how much of your mouth is affected. Reconstruction may include skin, muscle or bone grafts or dental implants.

Healthy lifestyle habits including healthy eating, avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption as well as daily brushing and flossing and routine recare visits are your best defenses against oral cancer. If you are concerned about oral cancer, we would be happy to perform a routine, early-detection exam. Come in for a recare visit today. Call us at 651.482.8412.