What Happens When You Are Born Without A Tooth? – Tyler’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Meet Tyler

Tyler came to our practice with his mother as a new patient because he had been forwarded one of our blog articles highlighting a patient with a very similar story. Tyler was born without an upper left lateral incisor tooth. He had recently completed orthodontic treatment. During orthodontic treatment, a “fake” tooth was held in place by his orthodontic wires. But, he and his mother were looking for more permanent options to replace the missing tooth as the flipper/retainer he had fabricated after his orthodontics was not comfortable to wear and he was concerned about his friends noticing.

What did he want?

Tyler had just recently completed over 5 years of orthodontics and wanted to feel more confident about his smile after investing so much of his time and care with braces. He and his mom were looking for an option that would give him a natural look that can last until he is finished growing and can have an implant placed to replace the tooth. He was also interested in brightening his smile and discussed several bleaching options with Dr. Elizabeth as a part of his treatment.

What was involved?

After doing a comprehensive exam and bleaching consult, Dr. Elizabeth recommended a composite veneer for his right side lateral incisor (since it was undersized) and a composite bonded bridge to replace his left side lateral incisor. Tyler had impressions of both his upper and lower teeth taken so that Dr. Elizabeth could complete a mock-up of what the results would look like. This gave Tyler and his mom the confidence to move forward with the treatment. Tyler also decided to proceed with ZOOM whitening and bleached his teeth in one day before the restorations to make sure he had the perfect shade for his pearly whites!

Bonded restorations like Tyler’s can be placed in just one visit. The procedure took Dr. Elizabeth a little over one hour as she custom-designed his new teeth and made sure they fit into the harmony of his bite. As extra protection Tyler also decided to have essix retainers and an athletic mouth guard made to keep his smile well protected and looking its best.

What does he think?

Tyler and his mom were very happy with the results. They thought everything looked natural and were glad to find another option for him! Tyler is happy he no longer needs to wear the flipper/retainer all the time and feels much more confident in the color and his overall smile. He thinks it was a great solution for him and highly recommends it to anyone considering this treatment!


Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarships – Helping Students Since 2005

Have you or someone you know ever considered a career in dentistry? There are nearly 200,000 practicing dentists in the United States as well as hundreds of thousands more people working as dental hygienists, assistants, administrators, and lab technicians who are enjoying fulfilling careers, competitive salaries and a quality work/life balance within the dental industry.

Opportunities and Specialties

When we think about dentistry, most of us imagine a traditional dentist office setting. According to the ADA, however, there are countless professional dentistry opportunities in other areas as well. “Today’s dental school graduates can choose to work in hospital emergency rooms, conduct advanced laboratory research, teach future dentists or even travel the world with international health and relief organizations.”

The ADA recognizes nine specialties within the industry: dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology/radiology/surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics.

Dental Education

Typically, DDS/DMD programs are four-year programs. Dental specialties require additional years of study above and beyond those four years. With over 65 dental schools throughout the country, dental school is highly competitive and requires a substantial financial investment. In fact, over 90% of dental students finance their education through the use of student loans.

Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarships

Eggert Family Dentistry is invested in the future of dentistry and believes that the cost of dental education shouldn’t prohibit anyone from pursuing their dreams. This is why, since 2005, Dr. Eggert has been making a difference in the lives of countless young people by awarding $2000 each year to four high school seniors from the following local schools: Mounds View, Irondale, Centennial and Spring Lake Park.

The goal of the scholarships is to get them in the hands of students pursuing a career in the dental industry. This means not only students planning on becoming a dentist, but the scholarships are given to future dental assistants, hygienists, and lab technicians as well. There are currently many opportunities in the dental industry, especially for axillary team members.

If you know a well-deserving senior from one of these schools that you would like to nominate for an Eggert Family Denistry scholarship, submit one to two paragraphs about why you believe this person should be awarded the scholarship. All nominations must be received before March of each year. Scholarship winners will join the ranks of these fine former recipients.

If you would like to know more about careers in dentistry, we would be happy to speak with you! Or, we have had students shadow at our office in the past as well. This is a great way to learn more about this exciting career path. Call us at 651-482-8412 to set something up.

Your Child’s Back-to-School Visit: Important Questions You Should Ask

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

We are now well into fall and having to say goodbye to summer and all of the sunshine and spontaneity. Fall can be great too though, with crisp mornings, majestic leaf displays and the comfort of that familiar routine. Oftentimes, getting back into the routine means getting our kids back on track with a visit to Eggert Family Dentistry.

The following are some great questions to bring up the next time we see you and your child:

  1. Can you give me insight into my child’s overall dental health?
    At your child’s recare visit, we will assess the health of your child’s teeth and gums and the development of their bite One thing we are very keyed into these days is how could your child’s development be linked to the airway we can see and evaluate from the mouth. You will hear Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff really evaluating the arch and palate development, the tonsil size, and the tongue shape, among other things.
  2. At what age should thumb-sucking be addressed?
    Thumb-sucking should ideally be stopped as soon as possible as it detrimentally affects the growth and development of the palate and contributes to mouth breathing habits. If your child is a thumb-sucker, it’s good to have this conversation with Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff upfront. They may be able to make recommendations for helping protect your child’s teeth and bone development as well as for broaching the sensitive subject with your child.
  3. What should my child’s daily dental care routine consist of?
    In many ways, your child’s daily dental care routine lays the foundation for a lifetime of dental wellness. At your child’s recare appointment, we will review what kind of toothbrush is best, discuss proper brushing and flossing techniques and explain how certain foods negatively impact tooth enamel.
  4. Can you tell me about x-rays? What are their benefits? Are they safe?
    Many parents have concerns when it comes to x-rays. X-rays are a safe and effective way for Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff to examine in between the teeth as well as the roots and below the gumline. They are the ONLY true way to spot early signs of tooth decay and thereby enact early prevention.
  5. What can you tell me about sealants? Could my child benefit from them?
    You’ve probably heard about sealants but what exactly are they and what is their purpose? This thin coating, when painted onto your child’s molars, can help prevent cavities from forming by sealing in the nooks and crannies that are hard to brush out. Sealants are a great idea for the right patient.
  6. Is my child getting enough fluoride?
    Fluoride is a key player when it comes to protecting your child’s teeth. It helps to strengthen enamel and protects against tooth decay. We can help review fluoride sources and any potential need for supplementation.
  7. If my child has a wiggly tooth is it ok to pull it out at home?
    Ahh, the bane of a parent’s existence – that persistently wiggly tooth that just dangles there taunting you! But is it really a good idea to go ahead and help nature along? It is unlikely that taking a very loose tooth out at home will cause any concern, but if you have more questions, we are happy to help walk you through the risks.
  8. Does my child need a mouth-guard for sports?
    If your child participates in sports, this is certainly a valid question. Contact sports in particular leave teeth susceptible to injury. It is great to have a custom-fit mouth-guard for sports because it is more evenly fabricated for better overall protection. It also is harder for your child to play with during sports because of the great fit.

Being a parent isn’t easy and sometimes it seems impossible to stay on top of it all. It truly takes a village. At Eggert Family Dentistry, you have a partner in family dental health! We are happy to connect with you and get your family rolling with regular dental care for a Lifetime of Smiles. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at 651-482-8412!

Keeping Your Kids Teeth Healthy All School Year Long

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

With the commencement of early-out-the-door mornings, fall sports and school lunches, the ins and outs of the school year routine often make our kids’ teeth more susceptible to damage and decay. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we know that dental vigilance is the biggest precaution against these dangers. Here are some pointers to help your kids protect those sweet smiles all school year long.

  • Teach your kids about the damage that highly-processed foods and sugary foods and beverages can wreak on their teeth. Encourage them to make healthy food choices during school lunch by eating moderate servings of fruits and veggies and passing up juice in favor of water or milk (white milk being highly preferred over chocolate, strawberry, or banana flavors).
  • Water is the optimal beverage choice when it comes to dental health. City water contains fluoride which helps strengthen enamel and protect teeth against decay. Send your kids to school with a large water bottle each day and encourage them to refill it as needed.
  • Between sticks and balls, tackling and checking, fall and winter sports can make teeth more susceptible to damage. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we can help your child be fitted for a custom-fit mouthguard to protect those pearly whites. In addition to a mouthguard, encourage your kids to always wear a helmet for sports that warrant them – practices included! Helmets are also a great layer of protection for your child’s mouth as well as his or her head and face.
  • Brushing twice a day might not seem like a big deal in the summer months but when those early school mornings roll around and everyone is feeling pressed for time, morning brushing often goes by the wayside. Encouraging your kids to brush before breakfast is better than nothing, and can be an easy way to ensure pH levels don’t drop to unsafe acidic levels, making teeth more vulnerable to cavities.
  • This might go without saying, but regular recare visits are the best prevention against tooth damage and decay. Be sure that the school year doesn’t get the best of you by making your family’s recare appointments 6 months in advance. Call us today at 651-482-8412 and we can help you set up your next recare visit.

From all of us at Eggert Family Dentistry, we wish you and your families an easy transition into the school year routine and time to enjoy all the wonder and beauty fall brings. We hope to see you soon!

A New Smile with Veneers – Lauri’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?
Lauri was interested in whitening her teeth and was concerned about some progressing decay around her current veneers. To find out her options, she completed the records process with Dr. Elizabeth. This process allows our doctors to use models, x-rays, and photos of the patient’s teeth, gums, and bite to better understand the cause of any problems and determine the best course of treatment. Lauri was invested in improving both the health and beauty of her smile!

What did she want?
Lauri was very interested in our KOR bleaching option, but also wanted to ensure the decay that was found was also addressed. She was interested in using this opportunity to have new veneers made to take her smile to the next level. Dr. Elizabeth took all of her requests and desires into consideration during the records process and incorporated that into her recommendation.

What was involved?
During the treatment presentation, Dr. Elizabeth gave Lauri some recommendations to consider such as orthodontics, replacement veneers, splint therapy, and discussed whitening as well. Lauri decided to move forward with a consultation with an orthodontist to get more information. After a lot of consideration, she decided orthodontics wasn’t right for her at this time. Therefore, splint therapy was started to confirm a consistent jaw position before completing new restorations. During this time she was also fitted for KOR bleaching trays to use at home and received her KOR in-office whitening treatment. By doing the KOR bleaching, Lauri was able to minimize the number of veneers she had fabricated as her color was improved for her lower teeth with the bleaching alone.

What does she think?
Lauri had veneers done in the past so the procedure wasn’t new to her. She is excited to say that she does like her teeth much better now that she had them re-done. She really wanted her new teeth to match the shape and contours of her previous veneers and was focused on improving the color, but still wanted her teeth to look completely natural. She thinks the outcome was a “slam dunk!” We asked Lauri if she would recommend this procedure to someone who unhappy with their smile and she replied, “If they didn’t like their teeth, they should do it – unquestionably!” We just love looking at that beautiful smile!

If you think veneers might be the smile solution you’re looking for, contact Eggert Family Dentistry today!

Crowns vs. Veneers: Which Smile Solution Is Right for You?

Tooth trauma—it happens. Whether you’ve cracked a tooth playing lacrosse or need to fill a cavity from chowing down on too many treats at the Minnesota State Fair, you’re not alone in the need to address weak, broken, or painful teeth. Eggert Family Dentistry often recommends crowns or veneers to patients suffering from tooth traumas. But what’s the difference between these two procedures? How do you know which one is right for you?

What Is a Dental Crown?
Dental crowns have been a dentistry staple for decades. A crown helps you recover your smile after a tooth decays, cracks, weakens, or becomes discolored. Sometimes, filling or bonding a tooth is not enough for you to chew comfortably and confidently. In this case, we may recommend a crown.

A crown is a porcelain cup that fits snugly over your tooth. Installing one takes one or two visits. On your first visit, we’ll reshape your tooth and take dental molds. Sometimes, we can use our CEREC equipment to scan your tooth and make your crown in-house. If this is the case for you, we can install your crown the same day. Otherwise, we’ll send the mold of your tooth to a dental lab. We’ll ask you to come back in a couple of weeks to install the crown once it’s ready. We’ll use cement to secure the crown to your tooth, and you’ll be good to go!

What Is a Dental Veneer?
Dental veneers are a great way to recover your smile when several teeth are cracked, weak, misaligned, or chipped. A veneer is a very thin, ceramic shell. It covers your entire existing tooth structure, not just a single tooth. Once installed, veneers look and feel just like your natural teeth.

Veneers take two to three visits to design and install. In your first visit, we’ll discuss the smile shape and look you hope to accomplish with your veneers. Then, we’ll prepare your teeth for placement of the veneers and take molds. We’ll send the mold to our dental lab for fabrication, which takes two to three weeks. In the meantime, we’ll offer you a temporary solution you can wear while your veneers are custom made. At your last appointment, we’ll bond them into place. You can start flashing your new smile immediately.

Should I Get Crowns or Veneers?
If you’re a candidate for crowns and veneers, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff will explain the difference between these two smile solutions and give you their professional recommendations. Typically, we’ll recommend crowns for patients who have one or two troublesome teeth. Veneers are a better solution for patients struggling with multiple issues on multiple teeth.

Wondering if a crown or a set of veneers is something you need? Schedule your appointment with Eggert Family Dentistry today. We can help you decide healthiest, safest, and most comfortable way forward.

CEREC Dental Restorations

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

People put off dental work for all kinds of reasons.

You might know you need a crown, but you’re too busy to come in for multiple appointments. Maybe you had a bad experience once with a temporary crown. Or maybe you really don’t like the process of getting an impression of your teeth taken.

Well, there’s good news. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we can set you up with a state-of-the-art crown, in a single appointment, with no need to take an impression using our CEREC crown milling unit. CEREC is a fantastic, high-tech system of designing and making high quality, metal-free dental restorations that can all be done in one appointment.

CEREC is a sophisticated set of tools utilizing 3D video imaging and CAD/CAM (computer aided design and manufacturing) technology. With CEREC, we can design a virtual restoration without taking impressions and manufacture the actual restoration in our in-house milling unit while you wait. A variety of materials are available, including compressed porcelain, emax porcelain, or compressed composite resin. The quality of these restorations is equivalent, or even better, than what we can have manufactured in the traditional manner by a dental laboratory.

One Visit, No Impression, No Temporary Crown

Are you interested in getting a same-day restoration? Your appointment will be about two hours long, most of which you will be able to spend time watching your favorite TV show or reading a magazine while we fabricate your crown. The resulting restoration will look great, last a long time, and is metal-free.

CEREC Procedure

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Once the design is completed, the CEREC machine begins the 10-minute milling process. If interested, you can even watch the crown’s construction!
  • Once the milling process is complete, the restoration is sized for accuracy and the color and glazing is finalized.

If you have been putting off your recommended dental treatment, don’t delay. The CEREC will have you out the door with your new crown in no time. Contact us today at 651-482-8412 or on our website. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have on this!

ICON – Chauncey’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?
Chauncey had white spots on several of his front teeth for as long as he can remember. Typically spots like these are caused by orthodontic work but can be a developmental characteristic too. He researched online about different procedures available to treat the spots and found our You Tube video about the Icon procedure. After doing extensive research he decided to give us a call!

What did he want?
The white spots were very visible whenever he talked or smiled. Chauncey wanted a more consistent coloring in his teeth so the white spots no longer distracted from his beautiful smile. He wanted a procedure that would give him good long-term results that didn’t require re-treating the way many bleaching treatments do. He also liked the non-invasive manner of the ICON procedure.

What is involved?
Icon is a great way to resolve white spot lesions because it requires no tooth removal or Novocain and is very conservative. First, we isolate the teeth and tissues. With a simple cleaning solution we rub on the teeth to start the spot removal process. The Icon infiltrate is then rubbed on to the surface of the teeth and cured with a light. The Icon infiltrate and curing light is then completed a second time to ensure a protective seal on the teeth. The surface is smoothed with a polishing paste and other polishing instruments if necessary. It’s really that easy!

What does he think?
Chauncey was uncertain before having the treatment completed and did a lot of research on his own about the results and process. He says he is, “Very happy, and surprised and how well it worked!” He would tell anyone considering this treatment to go for it. Chauncey was very excited about being able to get same day results and feels much more confident in his improved smile!

If you’d like to experience this treatment for yourself, contact us today!

One Method to Replace Missing Teeth: Traditional Bridgework

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How Did This Start?
Laurie had an existing bridge for her upper front teeth for 35 years and felt it looked dull and didn’t fit quite right. With her son’s wedding planned for April of 2017, she started looking into her options to improve her smile before the big day. Dr. Elizabeth spoke with Laurie about her concerns related to gum recession, bleeding, and darker margins with the existing bridge. They discussed the timeline needed in order to make improvements before the April wedding and decided that taking complete records and formulating options for treatment was the best way to start.

What Did Laurie Want?
Laurie wanted a brighter and more natural looking smile. She had considered implants in the past but had been happy with her existing bridge so the time needed to complete implants didn’t seem necessary. The existing bridge was causing gum related problems and the fit wasn’t quite right after the many years it had been in her mouth. Laurie had also been experiencing issues with migraines for years and was open to exploring options that might improve her jaw function and ultimately improve her health.

What Was Involved?
Dr. Elizabeth recommended that Laurie start with full records so that she could asses the current health of the teeth and gums, and the function of her jaw and muscles. After the records were taken Dr. Elizabeth was able to formulate the best available options to address all of Laurie’s concerns. Ultimately Laurie and Dr. Elizabeth decided the best option was to start with splint therapy, using an anterior deprogrammer. Laurie also wanted to have custom bleaching trays fabricated and then replace the existing bridge to match her brighter teeth.

Benefits of Splint Therapy with an Anterior Deprogrammer
Laurie wore her anterior deprogrammer for 8 weeks and started bleaching prior to doing impressions for the new bridge. She noticed after the first 3 weeks of splint therapy that her jaw felt looser and her teeth felt more in place. By the end of the 8 weeks, she noticed her migraines had decreased so dramatically that she hadn’t had headaches in a month and she was sleeping much better at night. Dr. Elizabeth took impressions for her new bridge and sent them to the dental lab for fabrication. Laurie then went in to Edgar Jimenez’s Dental Studio for a custom shade appointment so they could ensure she would be happy with the end result. After 4 months of planning, preparation, and treatment we were able to place the new bridge in time for her son’s wedding!

What Does She Think?
Laurie loves her new smile and said that it exceeded her expectations! She was skeptical about the splint therapy at first but now she has few if any migraines and has a hard time sleeping without her, now full, splint. The records process was an interesting experience and she enjoyed learning so much about the function of her mouth. Laurie says, “The doctors really know what they are doing. Dr. Elizabeth made it really easy.” Laurie feels much more confident about her smile and is surprised with both the improvement in her gum tissue and the natural, bright looking results we were able to achieve.

Congratulations to Laurie on her beautiful new smile! If you’re interested in tooth replacement options including bridges, please contact Eggert Family Dentistry today at 651-482-8412.

The Seattle Protocol: How Six Simple Steps Could Help You Sleep Better (and Even Save Your Life)

By: Elizabeth Eggert

The Seattle Protocol: It’s not an action flick coming soon to a theater near you. But it is something that could save you from a restless night’s sleep. At Eggert Family Dentistry, that’s something to get excited about!

The Seattle Protocol was pioneered by two intrepid dentists in the Seattle, Washington, area. The six-step process helps patients who struggle with obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disordered breathing conditions like upper airway resistance syndrome. Sleep apnea is a condition where the epiglottis—the soft area at the back of the throat—or the tongue relax during sleep, obstructing the airway. Upper airway resistance syndrome is a condition in which your body is working so hard to keep your airway open, it creates an incredible amount of stress and releases high amounts of cortisol, creating excessive amounts of inflammation.

For some, thinking of sleep apnea conjures up visions of a restless night’s sleep and CPAP machines. While these are certainly the experiences of some patients with this condition, the Seattle Protocol can help many patients with sleep disordered breathing determine if an airway compromise is contributing to their ailments.

Seattle Protocol Step 1: Nose Breathing and Mouth Taping
The first step in the Seattle Protocol is to gently train your body to breathe through your nose, not your mouth. Breathing through your mouth during sleep can lead to snoring and dry mouth. The Seattle Protocol encourages nose breathing by adding a strip of paper tape vertically across the center of your lips. The light adhesive of the tape keeps your lips together but is easy and painless to remove.

Step 2: Temporary Splint for Lower Jaw and Mouth Taping
Once you’ve adjusted to the mouth taping, the second step of the protocol adds a temporary splint for your lower jaw while you sleep. Adding this splint increases the vertical dimension of your jaw and allows more airway space.

Step 3: Temporary Splint for Lower Jaw with Lower Jaw Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping
If adding the lower splint only isn’t giving you the restful sleep you deserve, we move onto the next stage of the protocol. In this step, we add an element that pulls your lower jaw forward. This realigns your jaw and increases your airway space not only vertically, but horizontally as well. This also can give your tongue more of the space it requires.

Step 4: Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Mouth Taping
With all steps of the Seattle Protocol, if you aren’t getting relief from the previous step, we move on. In this step, we remove the forward jaw posturing component and add a splint for your upper jaw. You then go to sleep with splints on your upper and lower teeth and your jaw is free to move. This stage allows for additional vertical height, opening up your airway, but without restricting the jaw muscles into any one strict position.

Step 5: Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Lower Jaw Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping
If you need to continue in the protocol, step five again adds a horizontal component by linking the upper and lower splints together and moving the lower jaw forward. The intent, as always, is to continue to open your airway more and more.

Step 6: Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Lower Jaw Progressively Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping
If you still aren’t getting that good night’s sleep, we move to the final stage of the Seattle Protocol. In this stage, we keep moving your lower jaw forward, incrementally, until you feel well-rested.

While there are six steps in the Seattle Protocol, you may not necessarily go through the entire process. The purpose of the protocol is to help us understand which step provides the best relief. Typically, the further you progress in the process, the more help your airway needs. If we find that you only get positive results in steps 4, 5, or 6, then looking at oral surgery options to expand your airway might be the best long-term solution. Luckily, here in North Oaks, we are able to set you up with some of the best local orthodontists and oral surgeons to manage your situation.

The Seattle Protocol is a gradual, gentle, and reversible process that helps us identify solutions for our patients with airway issues. It not only can help you get a better night’s sleep, but it can lead to an excellent path to better overall health and wellness. If you snore, spend your nights tossing and turning, have anxiety or depression, have acid reflux, or just simply feel tired all the time, call us to schedule a consultation, 651-482-8412. We may recommend starting with the Seattle Protocol to help improve your life!