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.

Splint and Occlusal Therapy – Jeff’s story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Jeff came to us as an established patient at one of his routine exams. He was experiencing increasing jaw pain and was having trouble eating. He remembered having jaw pain for the past five years, but things were getting noticeably worse. Jeff was also experiencing periods of lock jaw and knew he was clenching his teeth at night. Dr. Elizabeth noted some wear throughout his mouth and intense muscle discomfort during his muscle evaluation. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Jeff go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into the underlying causes of his pain.

What did Jeff want?

Jeff had noticed a lot more pain and wear in the past few years and wanted to have his mouth comfortable again. He also wanted to be able to eat without worry. Specifically, Jeff wanted his mouth to function better. He was also experiencing some ringing in ears and hearing changes that he was hoping to have addressed during the process.

Jeff 1      Jeff 2

What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Jeff’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation results to present Jeff with the current status of his teeth, gums, and the function of his jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed that the position of Jeff’s teeth were causing multiple interferences. This means he was biting down unevenly causing the breakdown of his teeth as well as the jaw pain. It was recommended that Jeff begin splint therapy.

What was involved?

The purpose of his splint therapy was to change the position of Jeff’s jaw to a relaxed muscle position. In Jeff’s case, we also discussed how if we adjusted the teeth to fit together at the relaxed jaw position, he should be much more stable overall and long-term. Dr. Elizabeth fitted Jeff with an anterior deprogrammer to wear all of the time to create the best possible function between the natural position of his jaw, muscles, and his teeth as they worked with one another. As soon as Jeff’s muscles reached a comfortable and relaxed position, Dr. Elizabeth created a solid new bite for Jeff with equilibration. Dr. Elizabeth adjusted the alignment of the upper and lower teeth and altered the chewing surfaces of some of the teeth to remove the painful interferences. This created harmony among Jeff’s jaw joints, muscles, and teeth as the joints and muscles were placed in a relaxed position and the teeth now come together at the same time. We finally designed a splint for Jeff to wear while he sleeps to keep his teeth, jaw, and muscles in this new comfortable position. 

Jeff 3    Jeff 4

What does Jeff think?

“I wanted to get rid of the pain and the Records Process helped me to understand what was going on. The process was easy and simple. I’m not having pain anymore! I’m not nervous to eat anymore! I used to get excruciating pain with certain bites. This has made me a lot happier for sure. I would highly recommend the procedure!”

Dental Help for Your Sleep Apnea

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Dental Help for Your Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s breathing will pause anywhere from seconds to a minute. This can happen even hundreds of times per night. “Apnea” means the absence of breath. Severity levels of apnea are defined, among other variables, by the number of episodes of apnea pauses per hour of sleep. Apnea may, or may not, involve snoring.

Sleep apnea affects adults, as well as children. More occurrences happen in men and people who are 40 to 60 years old, but many women and children are also suffering from sleep disorders like apnea. Other risk factors include race/ethnicity, family history, obesity, and smoking or alcohol use.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pauses or periods of breathing cessation
  • Choking or gasping after pauses
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Attention problems
  • Personality changes/mood swings
  • Sore throat/dry mouth upon waking

Treatment of sleep apnea depends on the severity of the condition. Treatment methods can include:

  • Breathing Devices (CPAP)
  • Dental Sleep Apnea and Snoring Appliances
  • Orthodontic Treatment
  • Surgery

Yes, there are dental devices that help sleep apnea.

Dental appliances may be an option for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP. These oral appliances are useful in correcting mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea and are effective in improving airflow. Custom dental appliances are designed to enlarge the airway and prevent the airway from collapsing. The devices typically cover the upper and lower teeth and reposition the lower jaw in an advanced position. Moving the mandible forward pulls the tongue forward and opens up the airway space.

Dental appliance use for sleep apnea can result in improved sleep patterns and the reduction of snoring frequency and loudness. Research shows high success rates with the use of dental devices relative to sleep apnea.

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.  An overnight sleep study may be recommended, which will determine not only the severity of the problem but will also provide a baseline to measure any future treatment effectiveness. [Treatment measures for sleep apnea should be carefully determined as this sleeping disorder can lead to serious and sometimes debilitating consequences, including heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, congestive heart failure or diabetes. There’s also a greater risk of driving incidents or work-related accidents.]

Are you ready to get sleep apnea under control? Once you have met with your sleep MD and have undergone a sleep study, we can set you up with an appointment to go through our records process with Dr. Elizabeth. During the records process, we will verify the health of your jaw and muscles and determine if a sleep apnea appliance might work for you. If appropriate, Dr. Elizabeth will work closely with your general health practitioner, sleep physician, and lab to design a sleep apnea appliance that is just right for you. Give us a call today.

The Importance of Records – Tom’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Tom came to us first as a new patient last summer with a toothache after being referred by co-workers. At the time of his first exam, Tom had many teeth throughout his mouth that had fractured or cracked and he knew things were really broken down. Dr. Elizabeth noted excessive wear throughout his mouth and mild muscle discomfort during the muscle evaluation. Even with our thorough, comprehensive new patient exam, Dr. Elizabeth recommended Tom go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into underlying causes behind his cracking, breaking, and sensitive teeth.

What did Tom want?

Tom had noticed a lot more wear in the last decade and wanted to have them healthy again. He also wanted better looking teeth. He was worried since they looked unhealthy now, what would they look like in 20 years? Specifically, Tom wanted his teeth whiter and more even and wanted things to function better. He had many broken teeth, missing teeth, and wanted a comprehensive plan for restoring his teeth. He was also experiencing some chronic ear/sinus congestion, ringing in ears, and nerve issues in his face that he was hoping to have addressed during the process.
Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.44.11 PM

What was revealed during the records process?

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

What was involved?

Tom was interested in phasing his treatment to lessen the financial burden. We were able to work with Tom and designed the phased treatment to keep Tom’s teeth, gums, and the function of his jaw and muscles healthy and happy during the process. Dr. Elizabeth worked with a local lab and together designed a blueprint of Tom’s new teeth out of wax. This blueprint is called a laboratory wax-up and it provided the ability for Dr. Elizabeth to create Tom’s new smile.

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Tom then spent a day and a half with us while Dr. Elizabeth prepared his front teeth for new crowns and veneers and his back teeth for long-term temporary crowns to get Tom used to more esthetic front teeth and a healthy bite in the back. We finally designed a splint for Tom to wear while he sleeps to protect his new smile from clenching, grinding and his very strong muscles.


What does Tom think?

“Before having it done, I thought it would be a much longer process, more like a year. It went a lot easier than expected. There was not much pain involved and it was helpful to have all of the options. Everything was clear. I’m glad I had it done now and didn’t wait. I think my life will change. I am more confident with my new smile. I would strongly recommend Dr. Elizabeth to others considering getting this done. I don’t know that people make the connection between function and cosmetics, but I sure learned a lot about how things fit together and I love my new smile!”

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The Best Home Oral Hygiene Regimen

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Maintaining good oral hygiene at home is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.

Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop harmful bacteria from attaching themselves to the teeth and the tissues. If given the opportunity, these bacteria will cause decay, gingivitis, and periodontal (gum) disease.

What is the best way to brush?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least two minutes. Use a soft or extra soft-bristled brush. Or, use a sonic or electric toothbrush. Make sure your brush’s head is not too large; the head should fit easily into the mouth and allow you to reach all areas without hurting your cheek or tongue. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. The fluoride can help keep the teeth strong and can reverse cavities in their early stages. If you have sensitive teeth, ask us about using desensitizing toothpaste with fluoride. These toothpastes can work in certain situations.

When brushing, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle with the bristles into the gum tissues. Move the brush in an elliptical or circular motion. Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces. Hold the brush vertically and use the “toe” of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, moving in an up-and-down manner. Finally, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

What is the best way to floss?

Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss is essential in preventing decay and gum disease. There are many areas in the mouth where the toothbrush just can’t reach. Usually, these areas are better cleaned with floss.

When flossing, break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This opposite finger will take up the floss as it gathers the bacteria from your mouth. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Try to avoid snapping the floss into the gums, as that can injure the gum tissue.

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method for the rest of your teeth. Finally, don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

Is there anything else I can use to clean my mouth?

Depending on your situation, you may benefit from a mouth rinse, used daily. Antimicrobial mouth rinses, like Listerine, reduce bacteria and plaque activity, helping to prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses, like ACT, help reduce and prevent tooth decay.

For patients with signs and symptoms of gum disease, we will often recommend a rubber tip or proxy brush to clean more effectively in the gum tissue. Typically, the best use of these tools is to hold the tip vertically with the long axis of the tooth and remove the plaque along the gum line and in between the teeth. For more specific instructions related to your particular situation, be sure to ask us.

For patients with bridges or fixed retainers, it is important to use a floss-threader to get the floss under these fixtures and help clean in between the teeth.

For patients missing teeth or for those who have a removable partial denture, it can help to use gauze to remove plaque on a tooth where there is no adjacent tooth. We suggest using a 2×2 size piece of gauze, opened up and folded the long way. Use the gauze along the side of the tooth like you would a beach towel when drying off your body.

And of course, be sure to visit us for your recommended maintenance appointments. By maintaining professional cleanings at your recommended interval, we can monitor your home progress and help you achieve optimum oral health.

CEREC – No Messy Impressions, One Easy Appointment, Permanent!

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Did you know there’s a way to restore decayed, cracked, or chipped teeth in only one visit?

CEREC is an advanced dental technology that creates full crowns, inlays, onlays, and veneers. The best part about it? CEREC digital impressions and milling take only a couple of hours and your crown can be completed in only one visit.

CEREC restorations are made of compressed porcelain, emax porcelain, or compressed composite resin. These materials are the most similar to your teeth with regard to wear and esthetics. Also, CEREC crowns have no metal in them.

Advantages of CEREC restorations:

  • There’s only one dental visit, which saves you a considerable amount of time.
  • There’s no need for a temporary crown.
  • The crown is milled by computer technology to precisely fit your tooth. The accuracy of the fit is exceptional.


The procedure for completing a CEREC restoration is very simple. Essentially, it’s a state-of-the-art CAD/CAM system for dentistry.

  1. The first step is to remove all decay from the tooth. Dr. Eggert then shapes the tooth in preparation to take a digital scan of the tooth.
  1. The highly detailed digital scan is captured, and the tooth appears in 3D on the computer screen. While you watch, Dr. Eggert designs the restoration.
  1. Once the design is completed, the CEREC machine begins the 15-minute milling process. If interested, you can even watch the crown’s construction!
  1. Once the milling process is complete, the restoration is sized for accuracy and the color and glazing is finalized.
  1. After a final try-in, the restoration is cemented in. That’s it. On average, the entire CEREC process takes just a little over two hours.

An example of Dr. Eggert’s work:


The sign of a good CEREC crown? You can’t even tell which tooth it’s on.

Laura’s reaction, “The result is fantastic!”

Laura needed a crown and wanted to try the CEREC process. We asked Laura what she thought and she said, “Oh I definitely like it. Then, I don’t have to come back, which is perfect for me because my time is very precious. I like that I don’t have to worry about the temporary crown.” She further went on to note that, “The result is fantastic! I would tell someone else to definitely do it. The time goes by really fast!”

Contact us today to find out if CEREC restoration is right for you. Call (651) 482-8412.

Adult Teeth = Adult Dentist

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

As many of you know, we are happy to see children of all ages at Eggert Family Dentistry and successfully do so every day. Yet, we understand how some parents may feel that the environment of a pediatric dental office might suit their child best initially. However, when children start getting their adult teeth, around age 6, it’s time to see your family dental team who has experience in caring for those adult teeth. Adult teeth are more susceptible to plaque and calculus, which lead to cavities and gum disease, if not removed completely. Special care needs to be taken to clean the teeth thoroughly of this bacteria. Our hygienists have extensive training in removing calculus and plaque from teeth and are also trained to remove the bacteria that surround orthodontic braces. Failure to pay special attention to these areas can result in permanent damage to the adult teeth, including noticeable white spots, or cavities that form around the brackets.

A routine visit for your child in our office is spent with one of our licensed dental hygienists April or Joanna and Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. Our hygienist will first review with you your child’s past dental and medical history. They will then take a series of bitewing x-rays once each year to check for cavities and development. Our hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, removing calculus, plaque, and food debris. Our hygienist will apply fluoride to your child’s teeth once each year to help prevent cavities. An oral cancer screening is also performed on your child along with a caries risk assessment where we will discuss healthy habits for oral health with you and your child. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will complete the exam and suggest the best practices in maintaining good oral health. Your child will leave with a new toothbrush, dental floss, and tooth paste to help them practice their healthy habits at home!

Our caring staff makes your children feel right at home during their visit. We explain the procedures throughout the visit while educating children on proper hygiene habits and the importance of eating a healthy diet. Children can watch age appropriate television shows and movies both in the waiting and hygiene rooms. We also have a selection of reading and coloring books, games, and other toys for children to enjoy. We offer children comfort items while they are in the chair to make their visit enjoyable, including sun glasses for the light, a variety of flavors of polish and toothpaste, and headphones to wear to listen to the television. At the end of their visit, children love choosing a reward from the prize box!


As a small office we can take the time to really focus on your child. Many pediatric dental offices see multiple patients at a time and do not always have the same luxury. A thorough exam paired with x-rays taken consistently every year is our best tool for detecting decay so we can treat and change habits early.

Why are we so passionate about seeing your whole family, including your children? Unfortunately, we have seen many young adults, who have been seeing their pediatric dentist on a somewhat regular basis for years where we note significant decay on multiple teeth at their initial exam in our office. By the time we see some of these patients in our office, the teeth need more than just a filling and these young adults and even children have to experience root canals and even extractions at a very young age. With the advanced technology we employ at Eggert Family Dentistry, we are able to catch decay often before it advances, keeping necessary treatment to a minimum.

As always, we are excited to meet more members of your family. Summer is a perfect time to get your kids scheduled. Call us today 651-482-8412!

What is Occlusal and Splint Therapy?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

What is Occlusal and Splint Therapy?

Habitual clenching or grinding of your teeth can cause a variety problems with your jaws and teeth. It can over work facial muscles and cause pain and can overstress your teeth. This can cause pain in periodontal ligaments and wear of tooth structure. In extreme cases, you can break or crack teeth by forceful and repetitive clenching and grinding. Clenching and grinding can also overstress and cause pain and damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Clenching and grinding can occur during the day or at night and most people are not aware of this habit. Problems come to light during the dental exam when we notice tooth wear or highly developed jaw muscles.

The purpose of splint therapy is to change the position of your jaw to a relaxed muscle position. In an ideal situation the teeth can be changed to fit together at the same position where the jaw is relaxed.

Do I need splint therapy?

A common reason for prescribing an occlusal splint is to protect the teeth from excessive wear. However, splints can also help reduce or eliminate headaches, cervical, neck and facial pain, or even earaches or ringing in the ears.

What can I expect from splint therapy?

Our patients have experienced dramatic changes due to splint therapy. Often, headaches disappear and muscle tensions go away. Chewing becomes easier and your jaw will probably stop making noises.

Tara J. said, “I now have less headaches, less jaw pain and it was beneficial. I would tell a friend to do the therapy!”


Splint therapy can involve the wearing of one splint or a sequence of splints and may include some of the following devices:

Lucia Jig

  • This small device is used as the first step in diagnosing if functional disharmony is due to the joint or the muscles and is made right in our office.

Anterior Deprogrammer

  • During splint therapy, an acrylic appliance is worn at all times to create the best possible function between the natural position of the jaw, muscles, and your teeth as they work with one another. The anterior deprogrammer, a partial splint, is used for muscle therapy.

TMJ Splint

  • The TMJ splint covers all the teeth of one arch and better addresses joint issues. It is also worn 24/7.


Upon successful completion of splint therapy (once the muscles and jaw joints are stable), teeth may fit together differently. There are three common methods, sometimes used in conjunction with each other, to realign the teeth into a more comfortable position:


  • Equilibration creates a solid bite by adjusting the alignment of the upper and lower teeth and by altering the chewing surfaces of some or all the teeth to remove interferences. This creates harmony among the jaw joints, muscles, and teeth as the joints and muscles are placed in a relaxed position and the teeth come together at the same time.


  • Tooth movement is performed by an orthodontist, who understands jaw joint and muscle function.


  • Full mouth restorations can be used to bring teeth perfectly together at the relaxed joint and muscle position.

Are occlusal and splint therapy right for you? There’s no need to suffer any longer, please give us a call today at 651-482-8412 to schedule a consultation. We can help tailor a program that’s right for you!