Vaping and Your Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Vaping, or using e-cigarettes, is smoking a chemical vapor that delivers nicotine into your lungs. Often misconstrued as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes because there is no tobacco involved, vaping has devastating effects on a person’s oral and overall health. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we think it’s important to educate our patients about the many ways that vaping can affect oral health.

Dangerous ingredients

While vaping liquid doesn’t contain tobacco, it does contain numerous other ingredients that pose a threat to oral health:

Propylene glycol: Used as a carrier ingredient in e-liquid, propylene glycol is a slightly-sweet, colorless liquid that, when vaped, breaks down into acetic acid, lactic acid and propionaldehyde – all of which have toxic effects on soft tissue and enamel.

Nicotine: There are many side effects that can result from nicotine exposure, including reduced blood flow which can cause gum tissue to die. When this happens, gums recede and expose more of the tooth which leads to tooth sensitivity, an increase in cavities and in some cases, tooth loss.

Flavorings: In order to appeal to a wider audience, e-liquid often contains fruit, candy and other flavorings. These flavorings, when added to vegetable glycerin, cause a 27% decrease in the hardness and integrity of tooth enamel.

Oral health complications

Dry mouth: Nicotine in e-liquid inhibits saliva production which leads to dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, it’s a perfect habitat for bacteria which can lead to tooth decay.

Bruxism: Because nicotine is a muscle stimulant, it can cause clenching, gnashing and teeth grinding which, over time, results in wear to enamel and can lead to fractured teeth.

Gum disease: Exposure to nicotine-laden vape liquid can swell and inflame gums. When gums are irritated, your mouth is dry and there are more bacteria on the scene, gum disease easily sets in.

Damage to oral tissue: In rare cases, the lithium batteries in vaping devices overheat and explode, causing extreme damage to oral tissue – damage that can result in permanent disfigurement. There are even a couple documented cases of accidental death related to these explosions.

We want our patients to enjoy optimal dental health! If you have questions or concerns about the effects of vaping on your oral health or the oral health of a loved one, give Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert a call at 651.482.8412. We would be happy to speak with you!

 

Sleep Apnea: Signs to Watch For

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we know that sleep apnea is no laughing matter. It can go undetected for years and has serious side effects. Take a few minutes to consider the warning signs, when to discuss signs with us or your doctor and some effective treatment options to consider.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is an intermittent blocking of the airway during sleep. This often occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, causing soft tissue to collapse into the airway and resulting in partial or complete blockage.

When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, breathing can be restricted for 10+ seconds, decreasing oxygen to your brain and causing a buildup of carbon dioxide. This cycle of airway blockage can repeat many times a night, leading to fitful sleep and many serious side effects. Side effects include glaucoma, increased blood pressure, heart disease and unfortunately, even death.

What signs should I watch for that may indicate sleep apnea?

You or your loved one may be battling sleep apnea if the following signs are present:

  • Loud snoring
  • Night sweats
  • Extreme daytime fatigue
  • Gasping or choking upon awakening
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
  • Reduced daytime concentration
  • Mood swings and irritability

The symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea can be very different from sleep apnea symptoms in adults. Learn more here.

When to see your dentist or doctor

If you’re experiencing any signs of sleep apnea, it’s important to make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert and with your primary doctor. While there can be other causes behind some of these signs, obstructive sleep apnea is a common and serious condition. If, upon evaluation, we think you might be struggling with sleep apnea, you may find success with one of these treatment options: CPAP or Oral Appliance Therapy.

CPAP: A mask that covers the nose and/or mouth, connected to a tube and machine, that delivers continuous air pressure all night long, allowing the airway to remain open.

Oral Appliance Therapy: A custom-fit mouthguard that keeps the airway open by supporting the jaw in a forward position. This is something that Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can fit you for in our office.

To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea, check out our Sleep Apnea FAQ’s.

You’re in good hands at Eggert Family Dentistry! If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with sleep apnea, schedule an evaluation with us at 651.482.8412.

Reasons We Might Refer You to or Collaborate with an ENT

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There are certain situations at Eggert Family Dentistry when we need to collaborate with other physicians to provide the best possible care for our patients. Especially as we have worked to integrate more airway into our practice, many of you have been asked to seek out care with a board-certified ENT for a more integrated approach to dentistry.

In this article, we will provide information about how certain medical conditions may be linked to your airway and therefore situations where it may be best to collaborate with an ENT. We will also launch into more specific information about some of these conditions below.

  • Sleep – if you have trouble snoring, falling asleep, staying asleep, trouble with restless sleep, you wake up feeling unrefreshed, or issues with nighttime urination, these can all be linked to airway issues.
  • Other Health Conditions – ADHD, allergies, anxiety, birth defects, cardiovascular disease, chronic head and neck pain, chronic pain, daytime fatigue, depression, digestive issues, emotional problems, frequent colds, sinus problems, sore throats, or tonsillitis, grinding or clenching of teeth, headaches, high blood pressure, jaw locking, large tonsils or adenoids, memory loss, mouth breathing, neck aches, obesity, pain or clicking in jaw joint, previous orthodontics, PTSD, speech problems, sucking habits, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, or type II diabetes can all be linked to airway issues.
  • Dental Observations – there are many dental conditions that can be linked to poor airway flow as well such as crowded teeth, deep overbite, forward head position, head tilted back, mouth breathing, narrow dental arches, recessive lower jaw, scalloped tongue, tongue thrust, tongue tie or tooth wear.

Snoring and sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to several other serious medical conditions. In cases where our patient is struggling with sleep apnea, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff can often link what they see with the teeth, jaw, and muscles (like the tongue) to aid in determining the cause. Does our patient have inadequate space for the tongue based on the size of the jaw? Is the root of their condition the size or shape of their soft palate? How does the alignment of the teeth play in? Once this is determined, the best course of treatment is pursued. It is often helpful both during the diagnostic phase as well as during the treatment phase to collaborate with an ENT. This allows us to look at the situation from all facets and choose the best course of treatment.

Beyond sleep apnea itself, there are other sleep disordered breathing diagnoses or simply disordered breathing at all times, that can be detrimental to overall health. ENTs or other medical professionals can often help us navigate through treatment options.

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids in children can cause facial and jaw deformities as a child grows. When Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff notice enlarged tonsils or adenoids and determine that the enlargement is not simply due to a virus, we will often refer our patient to an ENT for a consult.

Sinus problems

If a patient comes into our office with jaw pain, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff evaluate many things, including the patient’s teeth and jaw. Because sinus problems can be a contributing factor to teeth and jaw discomfort, if their examination is inconclusive, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will refer our patient to an ENT for further evaluation.

In some cases, mucus can build up in the sinus cavity, causing sinusitis and leading to halitosis (bad breath). If halitosis is present (often in combination with jaw discomfort), this is another situation where Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will most likely refer our patient to an ENT.

TMJ disorder

Another common cause of jaw pain is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). At Eggert Family Dentistry, we most commonly treat TMD by providing our patient with a splint or night guard. In severe cases, full-mouth reconstruction may be necessary. However, if we are unable to make a dental determination for the jaw pain, we can refer our patient to an ENT for a CT scan or an MRI to rule out bone and joint issues.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we go above and beyond to make sure each one of our patients receives superior care. This often means referring our patient to or collaborating with a board-certified ENT for further investigation. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with us, give us a call at 651.482.8412!

 

Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Have you ever had a dry mouth? It can be irritating. After all, a dry mouth can make it difficult to swallow and difficult to speak. But what about chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia? It’s important to recognize what chronic dry mouth is, be able to identify causes and side effects, and understand what treatment options are available.


What causes dry mouth?

There are many possible causes of dry mouth:

  • Medications: Over 400 commonly prescribed medications list “dry mouth” as a possible side effect
  • Dehydration
  • Cancer treatment: Radiation and chemotherapy can cause temporary dry mouth and in some cases permanent damage to the salivary glands, leading to chronic dry mouth.
  • Autoimmune disease: Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus
    Diabetes

Side effects of dry mouth

The side effects of dry mouth may include:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Mouth sores
  • Cracked lips
  • Halitosis (aka bad breath)
  • Cavities
  • Yeast infections
  • Gingivitis

When chronic dry mouth goes untreated, over time it can become difficult to taste, swallow and even speak. Also, without adequate saliva to rinse your mouth of food and plaque, gingivitis can set in. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss.

Treatment options

Dry mouth can often be alleviated by treating underlying conditions and restoring saliva production. For medication-induced dry mouth, changing medications can help. In other cases, saliva production can be increased through a variety of means: moisturizing gels, special toothpastes and mouthwashes and prescription medications.

Staying hydrated, chewing sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free candies are a few other easy options for keeping your mouth lubricated. 

If you’re serious about combating dry mouth, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption and stay away from salty, dry and sugary foods.

If you’re dealing with dry mouth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. They can help you get to the root of the problem, experience relief and protect your smile. Call our office at 651.482.8412!

A New and Improved Smile with Veneers – Katie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Katie came to our clinic looking for options to help improve her smile. As a child, Katie had crowding in her mouth and her recommended “orthodontic plan” at that time was to have 4 teeth pulled. Growing up in the United Kingdom, braces were not common, and as a result, she was feeling the effects as an adult – her bite didn’t match up well, she was getting gum recession, and her teeth were wearing at an accelerated pace. When Katie was 16, she was involved in a trampoline accident that led to an injury to her tongue and chipping of her lower front teeth. Katie was ready to take the steps to a healthier, more beautiful smile. She noted “I don’t look at my front teeth much, in fact I can’t see them that well when I talk. I think they should be longer. I guess I could do veneers, but I am most interested in what is the best thing I can do health-wise and what will be the most stable for the long-term?”

What was involved?

Katie and Dr. Elizabeth talked about how she could improve her smile and her function. Katie was willing to undergo orthodontic treatment, which was the best way to stabilize and improve her bite and it was also the best way to help position her teeth back to where they were before they started wearing down. Due to the wear, once Katie’s teeth were in a better position, it would be important to place restorations and build the teeth back to their original proportions. It was likely that Katie would need 2-6 veneers after orthodontics to give her a natural smile. Katie was also interested in lighter teeth so she wanted to bleach before having the veneers done. Katie patiently underwent orthodontic treatment with Dr. DeVoe for nearly 2 years before she was ready for bleaching and her veneers. After her teeth were in a better position, she underwent Zoom bleaching, and in the end, it was decided that 4 veneers could give her the look she wanted.

What does Katie think?

Katie is very happy with her new smile! In the beginning Katie said she was a little apprehensive as to what the procedures would be like. After Katie’s journey was over, we asked her what kind of advice would she give to someone considering going through this process? Katie told us “Just do it! Forget how long it takes and focus on the end results. Don’t delay and just do it!” Katie also said, “I’m so happy I got it done! I may even consider doing my canines, then I won’t have to worry about bleaching them!” Katie told us how much she appreciated the teamwork between Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. DeVoe. Katie raved about her new smile, she also said that she never realized how self-conscience she was about her smile until everything was done and she no longer had any reason to be.

 

Help Your Child Maintain a Healthy Smile

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

As good parents, we aim to raise healthy children who, when the time comes, go out into the world and make healthy choices. And we recognize that setting good habits for life begins during the formative years of childhood. Here are some tips for helping your child maintain good oral health:

Create a dental routine

Children thrive in environments where routines are followed. With routines, children feel safe and learn their boundaries. So, start off on the right foot by establishing a dental routine with your child. Incorporate morning and evening brushing and flossing into their day when they’re young and they won’t view these tasks as optional as they grow.

Make dental care fun!

It can also be beneficial to reward young children for consistent, thorough dental hygiene. For example, after a week of twice-daily brushing and flossing, reward your child with stickers or other little trinket.

Also, letting children choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste helps keep dental care fun and motivating!

Teach healthy lifestyle choices

Do you bring sugary beverages or processed foods into your home? Consider switching them out for water and whole foods. If your kids grow up unaccustomed to foods that can cause tooth decay, they will be more likely to make healthy food and beverage choices as they get older – an enormous investment in lifelong dental wellness.

Normalize dental visits and set a positive tone

Making regular trips to the dentist from an early age will normalize dental visits, and over time, reinforce their importance. You can also make “dentist day” into a special day by following it up with a fun activity or going out for a healthy snack or lunch afterward.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we are parents too so we know how to make your child feel comfortable and make their visits to our office fun! If you’d like to learn more about how you can help your child develop healthy habits around dental care, we’d love to connect. Give us a call at 651.482.8412.

Occlusal Equilibration: Is it Right for You?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

An improper bite – often the result of a misaligned upper and lower jaw – can lead to pain, joint problems and accelerated wear on the teeth. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with this condition. At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff specialize in occlusal equilibration, a procedure that helps restore correct mouth structure and alleviates the irritating and painful symptoms associated with misaligned jaws.

What is occlusal equilibration?

Occlusal equilibration is the process of adjusting the biting surfaces of teeth in order to achieve the proper bite and the proper positioning of the jaws.

What should I look for?

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, you may benefit from occlusal equilibration:

The diagnostic process

If you’re concerned about jaw misalignment, you can schedule a diagnostic appointment, also known as the Records Process, with us. At this appointment, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will assess your mouth structure and will look at a 3D model of your teeth. After analyzing how your teeth move against each other, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff determine if adjusting the biting surfaces of your teeth could help reposition your upper and lower jaws properly. A lot of times, equilibration won’t be recommended until after completing splint therapy.

Occlusal equilibration

If Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff determines that occlusal equilibration is right for you, you will come to a separate appointment for this procedure. During the procedure, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will gently reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth in a specific manner. The precise altering of the biting surfaces of your teeth will allow them to bite together properly and allow your jaw, muscles, and teeth to work in harmony.

The end result

Our patients are pleased with the results of an occlusal equilibration and often remark that they can feel the difference in their bite right away. It helps them feel more relaxed and like it is easier to chew.

If you think you may benefit from occlusal equilibration, you can schedule a consultation with us at Eggert Family Dentistry at 651.482.8412!

Crowns vs. Veneers – What’s the Difference?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Cracked, discolored, misshapen and decaying teeth can dramatically impact a person’s self-confidence. If you’re considering redoing your smile, but aren’t sure which route to go, read on! We’ll discuss dental crowns and veneers and highlight some of the differences so together, we can help you determine which option is best for you.

What are crowns?

Made from porcelain, ceramic or metal, crowns are about 1.5 mm thick and cover the entire tooth. Crowns are an excellent choice for teeth that are structurally compromised and need additional support.

What can I expect from the crown process?

If your tooth is decaying, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will start by removing the decay. Then they will reshape your tooth to create space for the crown. Next, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will take a digital image or putty impression of your prepared tooth which helps to ensure that your crown is a perfect fit. Depending on whether you’ll have your crown fabricated same-day in the office with the CEREC crown procedure or if your crown will be made at the dental lab, there will be some wait time. With a CEREC crown, you’ll go home with your final crown on the same day. With a laboratory fabricated crown, a temporary crown will be placed on your tooth initially to help protect it during the 2 weeks the crown is being made. Ultimately, your final crown is cemented into place and should last many years.

Pros and cons of crowns

Because the entire tooth is covered, the tooth is less likely to fully fracture or split than with other restorations like veneers or fillings. Porcelain crowns can look and feel good and can be color-matched to blend with your natural teeth. Crowns generally feel very natural.

Crowns do require more tooth preparation than veneers and sometimes this can put the tooth at higher risk of tooth sensitivity or nerve damage.

What are veneers?

Manufactured most commonly from porcelain, veneers are less than 1mm thick and cover the front of a natural tooth. Veneers can also be made directly from composite resin, or plastic. These typically need to be repaired or replaced more frequently than porcelain veneers.

What can I expect from the veneer process?

Similar to the crown preparation process, the veneer preparation process requires Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff to reshape your tooth to create space for the veneer. Next, a putty impression of your prepared tooth is taken which helps to ensure that your veneer is a perfect fit. While you’re waiting for your permanent veneer to be manufactured, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will place a temporary veneer on your prepared tooth to protect it. Ultimately, your final veneer is bonded to your tooth and the cement is hardened with a bright blue curing light.

Pros and cons of veneers

Porcelain veneers are an excellent choice for cosmetic restorations and are a conservative way to help correct misshapen teeth. Veneers can also be color-matched so they blend seamlessly with the rest of your teeth or they can be made in a lighter shade to give you the bright smile you’ve always dreamed of.

If you’re thinking about dental restorations and would like to know more about your options, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert would love to speak with you. Call our office at 651.482.8412!

 

 

We’re Hiring!

Are you or anyone you know interested in joining in on the fun at Eggert Family Dentistry?  Candy is looking to retire this February and we are working to hire someone to start training as soon as possible.  Carolyn will be moving into Candy’s role as Account Manager and Insurance Specialist so we are hiring for the following:  

 

Patient Care and Marketing Coordinator

Do you love working with a great team? Do you have a keen eye for details? Are you able to connect with others on a personal level? We’re growing and we need you. A family-focused, cosmetic group practice in North Oaks seeks an experienced, pleasant, highly motivated, and hardworking team member with excellent interpersonal skills to serve as a patient care and marketing coordinator 4-5 days per week.

Responsibilities include: greeting patients, answering phones, scheduling, billing, collections, insurance claims, and practice marketing.

High school degree required with four- year college degree preferred. Course work in administrative assisting, dental assisting, and business will be looked upon favorably. Previous dental office experience preferred, but candidates with customer service backgrounds as a personal assistant or in event planning or sales and retail should consider this exciting opportunity in the dental field.

Candidates must have proficient computer skills and experience with websites, social media, and marketing campaigns is a plus.

Please email your resume AND cover letter describing how you are a great fit for this position to info@eggertfamilydentistry.com.

Smile Your Way into a More Confident 2020!

As 2019 wraps up, you probably have your sights on goals for the new year. And one thing those goals require is confidence in your ability to achieve them. Is a less-than-perfect smile impacting your self-esteem and keeping you from going after things that are important to you? At Eggert Family Dentistry, we understand how crooked, decaying, chipped, discolored or missing teeth can have this effect. Fortunately, we offer many cosmetic dentistry procedures that can restore your smile…and your confidence.

Teeth whitening: Over time, teeth become stained from certain foods, beverages, medications and smoking. Eggert Family Dentistry has many great options to help restore your pearly whites. We provide professional-grade strips and whitening trays that are more effective and gentler on your teeth and gums than their over-the-counter counterparts. We also offer the Zoom and Kor Whitening procedures. Zoom is performed in a single, two-hour appointment, we apply a professional whitening gel to your teeth and activate the gel with an LED light which allows the gel to better penetrate the teeth. Kor bleaching is the most effective whitening system known and is backed by scientific research to bleach even the previously-thought-impossible-to-bleach tetracycline stained teeth.

Veneers: Porcelain dental veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that cover the front of teeth. Veneers dramatically transform chipped, misaligned, discolored or worn teeth. They can also be used to close unsightly gaps. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff custom make dental veneers that compliment your skin tone, facial features and personality and feel just like your natural teeth. This process takes two or three visits and the results last for many years.

Composite Bonded Veneers: Composite bonded veneers can be completed in a single appointment. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff apply composite resin to your tooth and cure it with intense blue light. Then they sculpt and polish the tooth for a transformational effect. Composite bonded veneers are popular since they are a more cost-effective option than porcelain veneers.  However, they don’t last as long, but can typically be expected to last upwards of 10 years.

Invisalign: A low-profile alternative to metal braces, Invisalign uses retainer-like tooth aligners made from BPA-free medical-grade polyurethane thermoplastic to move teeth. While this option isn’t for everyone, it can be an excellent choice for people with mild to moderate gaping or crowding and helps to discreetly straighten your smile.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we don’t think anything should keep you from achieving your goals. Are you dissatisfied with your smile and want to explore which cosmetic dentistry options are right for you? Give us a call at 651.482.8412 to set up an appointment. We would love to help you regain that beautiful smile and set you off on a more confident path in 2020!