3 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A chipped tooth is no laughing matter. Depending on the severity of the break, a chipped tooth can be embarrassing and extremely painful. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we have three options for repairing a chipped tooth: bonding, veneers and crowns. Let’s take a closer look at each of these three options.

Dental Bonding

One of the biggest perks of dental bonding is the ease of the process. Dental bonding can be completed in a single appointment. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff apply a putty-like composite resin to your tooth and then sculpt and shape it before curing and hardening the material with an intense blue light. Once polished, composite bonded restorations have a smooth and shiny finish, blending in well with the natural teeth.

Dental bonding is an effective way to repair and reshape a cracked tooth and is also used to correct gaps in teeth or cover up stains. Dental bonding usually lasts for 5-10 years and is a cost-effective solution that helps restore your natural smile.

Check out Lia’s story about her experience with dental bonding here!

Veneers

Sarah's Smile After

Veneers are a stunning option for cracked teeth as well as stained, gaping, and misaligned teeth. They consist of a thin porcelain shell that covers your existing tooth. Applying veneers is a little more labor-intensive process than dental bonding and requires 2-3 visits to complete. At your first visit, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will discuss the result they hope to achieve with the veneers. Then, they prepare your teeth for the custom porcelain overlay and take an impression of your prepared teeth. This impression is then sent to a dental lab where your veneers are fabricated. In the meantime, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will fit you with an attractive temporary solution. The veneer preparation process takes 2-3 weeks. Once your custom veneers are created, you will come back into our office where we will polish your teeth and bond your veneers in place. We work hard to make sure they feel like natural teeth and that you love the results.

Take a look at Katie’s story to learn how porcelain veneers transformed her smile!

Crowns

A crown is an excellent option for repairing a severely cracked or damaged tooth. Commonly made from 100% porcelain, crowns restore the integrity of a damaged tooth more than dental bonding or porcelain veneers because they “cap” or fully encompass the entire tooth. They facilitate chewing and can be color-matched to the rest of your teeth for a flawless appearance.

Creating and placing your custom crown will take 1-2 visits with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. A local anesthetic will ensure your comfort while your tooth is prepared for the crown. In many cases, we can take a CEREC scan of your tooth and fabricate your custom crown in our office the same day! Sometimes, however, a lab fabricated crown may still be the better choice for your situation. If that is the case, we will take an impression of your tooth and surrounding teeth and send this impression into one of our trusted labs where they will fabricate your custom crown. This process usually takes 2 weeks. In the meantime, we will fashion a temporary crown for you to wear.

When we fit your crown, we use a cement bonding agent to ensure that your crown stays securely in place. Crowns usually last 10-20 years with proper care.

Read Mary’s story to learn how crowns dramatically improved her smile!

Do you have a chipped tooth that needs to be repaired? Give us a call at 651.482.8412 to make an appointment and discuss your options!

5 Ways to Improve Your Smile This Year

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

We’re already a few months into this new year. Maybe you’ve intended to tackle cosmetic dentistry work in the past few years but haven’t made it a priority. Make 2021 the year! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we offer many cosmetic dentistry procedures. Here are a few of our services that we think might pique your interest:

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. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff also offer the Zoom and KöR 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. KöR bleaching is the most effective whitening system on the market and is backed by scientific research to bleach even the previously-thought-impossible-to-bleach tetracycline stained teeth.

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.

Read a couple of Eggert Family Dentistry Invisalign® success stories here!

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 natural teeth. This process takes two or three visits and the results last for many years.

Read Katie’s Story here to learn about the transformational power of veneers!

ICON: Sometimes teeth develop white or brown spots. This can happen for several reasons. If your teeth were exposed to too much fluoride as a child, you eat foods that stain teeth or smoke cigarettes or in some cases, if you suffer from Celiac Disease, these unsightly spots may occur. Fortunately, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff offer a minimally invasive treatment that reduces the appearance of these spots. During an ICON treatment, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff infuse teeth with a resin that lightens teeth without the need to reshape or remove enamel in any way.

Read Chauncy’s story here to learn more!

Tooth replacement: Losing permanent teeth can happen from trauma to the jaw, from gum disease or from tooth decay. Regardless, it can be an awkward situation and one that most people want to remedy as quickly as possible. If you’re dealing with missing permanent teeth, you have some excellent options. These options include dental implants, bridges, partial dentures or full dentures.

Dental implants: With dental implants, a titanium post is fixed into the bone where the tooth was and the jaw bone grows back around the implant, holding it firmly in place. Then, an abutment and crown are fitted on top of the implant.

Bridges: Just like it sounds, bridges “bridge” a gap caused by missing teeth and use the neighboring teeth as anchors. These false teeth can stand in for one or more missing teeth. However, bridges can cause stress on neighboring teeth and food can get trapped underneath them, making cleaning more difficult.

Partial dentures: Partial dentures or “partials” replace one or more teeth. These false teeth attach to a plastic base and often have a metal framework. They are fairly comfortable and easy to remove for cleaning.

Full Dentures: Full dentures are full sets of upper and/or lower artificial teeth that are suctioned into place and removable for cleaning. While they can take some getting used to, they start to feel more normal over time. Full dentures will eventually become loose as bone mass degrades.

If you want to learn more about different tooth replacement options, read our post here!

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we have an abundance of experience and are passionate about helping our patients achieve a more confident smile. If you’re interested in learning more about which cosmetic dentistry procedure can help you achieve your goals, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

Tips for Whiter Teeth Between Your Recare Visits

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

It’s not disputed that whiter teeth lend themselves to a more attractive smile. Statistically, more than 66% of Americans recall attractive features about someone more easily than they recall unattractive features. Thus, a white smile and straight teeth leave a stronger impression than a dull smile and crooked teeth. In fact, Americans make the unconscious assumption that people with straighter, whiter teeth are more intelligent, even though there is no basis for this. These findings demonstrate the power of a brilliant smile to make a lasting impression. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your dull smile, there are quite a few avenues you can pursue to regain and maintain a whiter smile this year.

Tooth discoloration prevention

The biggest investment you can make in your dental health is in the way of prevention. There are several things you can do to prevent tooth discoloration:

Avoid foods and beverages that stain teeth: Many foods are intensely pigmented, have substantial tannins or are highly acidic and easily stain enamel. Avoid or limit the consumption of berries, red wine, tomato-based products, dark chocolate, coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary treats. If you consume these, wait a half an hour to let your saliva start the neutralization process and then brush your teeth thoroughly.

Quit smoking: It goes without saying that smoking is bad for your lungs and can lead to many forms of mouth, throat and lung cancer. But did you know that tobacco also lodges in the crevices of your teeth and causes staining? Kicking the habit is an investment in many facets of your health.

Eat healthy: Not only is it helpful to reduce or eliminate certain foods, beverages and tobacco from your diet, but it’s also important to make sure you’re consuming a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. Calcium is found in several vegetables and dairy products and helps strengthen enamel. Vitamin D is also important because it helps your body absorb calcium. Phosphorus works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Potassium, vitamins C, K and A contribute to dental health as well. In addition, incorporating crunchy fruits and veggies into your diet can keep your teeth clean and staying hydrated with plenty of water each day keeps bacteria from building up in your mouth and causing tooth decay.

Practice daily dental care: The single best way to prevent tooth discoloration is by brushing and flossing faithfully each day. Brush in the morning and evening (more often if you eat sugary, acidic, or highly pigmented foods) and floss at least once a day. Additionally, you can incorporate a daily swish of fluoride mouthwash to cleanse your mouth from residual food particles and bacteria and keep enamel strong.

Cosmetic whitening solutions

In a perfect world, we would all make lifestyle choices that ward off tooth discoloration and enjoy white smiles without intervention. However, for many reasons—some that are out of our control—our teeth become dull and stained. Fortunately, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff have some excellent cosmetic procedures that help restore the white smile you long for.

Professional home trays: Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff offer professional at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than that in over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide kits. Professional at-home trays are also safer and more effective than over-the-counter options.

Zoom Whitening: Another popular option we offer at Eggert Family Dentistry is Zoom Whitening. Zoom Whitening is performed in a single two-hour appointment and lightens teeth anywhere from 4-10 shades! Professional whitening gel is applied to your teeth and activated by an LED light which helps the gel penetrate the teeth. Follow-up includes sensitivity management with a special gel and at-home whitening trays.

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching: Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are also proud to offer the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching system. The most reliable and effective bleaching system on the market, KöR restores your teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen and can whiten teeth up to 16 shades! The oxygen from the whitening gel is absorbed deep into the tooth, dissolving stain molecules and changing how the tooth reflects light. Most people experience little or no sensitivity with this treatment.

If you want to keep your teeth sparkling white between visits, avoiding or limiting enamel-staining foods and beverages, eating healthy, pursuing daily dental care, and avoiding tobacco are smart choices. If you’re looking to brighten up your smile, talk to Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff about our professional whitening services. Either way, make sure you prioritize your bi-annual recare visits at Eggert Family Dentistry. Teeth that are freshly cleaned and polished are more resistant to discoloration. If you’re interested in learning more or to schedule your next visit, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

Google Review

Types of TMD Appliances

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

A hot/cold compress can provide temporary relief from TMJ discomfort but realigning the jaw and bite often requires a bolder approach. If Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff determines that your jaw discomfort is the result of TMD, they will create a customized treatment plan for you. More than likely this plan will include a TMD appliance, usually called a splint. Let’s explore the different types of TMD appliances and the benefits of each one.

Common TMD appliance choices include:

Over-the-counter mouthguard

Because they’re available over the counter, these mouthguards can be an affordable option. Unfortunately, because they’re not custom-fit for your mouth, they usually are uncomfortable and difficult to wear while you sleep. They tend to be very bulky and many people find that these mouthguards cause them to grind their teeth more. An OTC mouthguard might be ok as a very short term or emergency alternative to more therapeutic options.

Custom-fit mouthguard or softguard

A custom-fit softguard is fit to your specific teeth and is soft and squishy to bite into. While they can provide some jaw support and are appropriate in certain situations, they are very easy to clench into and can make muscle issues worse.

Essix retainer

After orthodontic tooth movements, it is ideal to wear a retentive device to help keep your teeth in position. An essix retainer is a thin, clear, plastic appliance that is custom-made to your teeth (shown above). At Eggert Family Dentistry, we take impressions of your teeth and fabricate an essix for you within just a few days. Essix retainers do not provide much support for the joints or muscles and therefore do not typically help manage TMD, however, they can be the right choice for some situations. In cases of severe bruxism, these may wear out quickly.

Custom nightguard

Custom nightguards are thicker than Essix retainers and are effective in helping with severe clenching and grinding problems. Because they’re custom-made, they are more secure than over-the-counter mouthguards. These nightguards have a hard exterior and are especially helpful in protecting the teeth against bruxism.

Anterior deprogrammer

This acrylic appliance helps keep your muscles more relaxed and therefore allows a healthy TMJ to also find a relaxed position. An anterior deprogrammer keeps all contact on the front teeth so the strong chewing muscles can’t fire as intensely. This allows for a deprogramming of muscles and can be especially effective at managing headaches and other muscle maladies.

TMD (sometimes called neuromuscular) orthotic

This acrylic appliance helps reposition the jaw by not only supporting the muscles, but also damaged TMJ(s), and is effective in alleviating TMD symptoms. In some cases, this appliance even moves the mandible into a new, more comfortable position. The neuromuscular orthotic can be worn all day and night, but generally not during mealtime.

Seattle protocol appliance(s) for sleep and airway issues

The Seattle Protocol is a method to determine if sleep and airway play a role in your TMD symptoms. It is common for stress hormone to build in the body if you’re not getting good air exchange and/or if your body isn’t getting the restorative sleep it needs. At Eggert Family Dentistry, the Seattle Protocol starts with baseline sleep information. Then, we work you through trial splints to open the airway space available in the mouth, both horizontally and vertically. Once your sleep improves, we often see improvements with TMD symptoms as well. Most often, you then have a final splint fabricated based on trial splint results.

Sleep appliance for apnea or other sleep related breathing disorders

A sleep appliance for apnea typically pulls the jaw into a forward position to increase airway space. These appliances can change the bite with long-term use and therefore are only fabricated after careful consideration and often after conversations with your medical doctor and after moving through the Seattle Protocol at Eggert Family Dentistry.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we treat TMD cases with the appropriate appliance for you. This not only can lessen the effects of teeth grinding and deprogram incorrect muscle patterns, but can improve your overall quality of life. We may also integrate behavioral and muscle therapies that help you use your jaw muscles differently. Often after managing the TMD, we can also make changes to the teeth for full-time relief of your symptoms. This may include suggestions from Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff for full-mouth reconstruction, orthodontic treatment, or equilibration.

Do you still have questions about TMD? Are you concerned you’re experiencing symptoms of TMD? Give us a call at 651.482.8412. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff would be happy to speak with you or see you in our office!

How Are TMJ Disorders Diagnosed?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

In our previous blog, we took the time to clear up confusion over the two terms, TMJ and TMD. Now we’re going to dive into TMD, or temporomandibular disorder, and how it is diagnosed.

When a you come into Eggert Family Dentistry and are complaining of jaw discomfort, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will ask you several questions and perform an oral evaluation—this is all part of our records process and often part of our new patient experience. Here are some of the most common TMD symptoms that drive people into our office:

  • Pain when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Jaw becomes 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

After our thorough evaluation, if we determine that you are dealing with TMD, we will find the treatment or combination of treatments that are right for you. This may mean splint therapy, exploration into sleep and airway, changing the bite, or seeking out consultations with the right medical physicians. Jaw discomfort can be associated with other health issues and we want to make sure to help you get to the root of the problem.

You don’t have to live with the discomfort of TMD. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the professionals at Eggert Family Dentistry. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert have vast experience diagnosing and treating this jaw disorder and can be reached at 651.482.8412. Remember Eggert Family Dentistry for all of your dental needs!

What’s the Difference Between TMD and TMJ?

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Our upper and lower jaw bones help our bodies perform many important functions. They help us speak, chew, and yawn. Consequently, our quality of life is directly impacted when our jaw is even slightly irritated or inflamed. When it comes to jaw disorders, there is often confusion between the terms TMJ and TMD. This post will help you decipher between these two terms.

What is TMJ?

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint itself, a joint that acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. The lower jawbone (mandible) has two condyles that fit at the base of the skull. This joint can be found on both sides of your head, in front of each ear. The TMJ allows the jaw to open and close so you can speak, chew, and yawn. While many people claim to suffer from TMJ, this term actually refers to the joint as opposed to the joint disorder.

What is TMD?

TMD on the other hand, stands for temporomandibular disorder, a disorder of the temporomandibular joint. This joint is easily irritated by stress, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and arthritis and is susceptible to misalignment, dislocation, or permanent changes as a result of crooked teeth or blunt trauma. Depending on the cause, discomfort can range from mild to severe. However, just because you’re not experiencing severe pain in your jaw doesn’t mean you should just “ride it out.” Ignoring even mild jaw discomfort can result in deterioration of the TMJ.

In our next post, we will cover the signs and symptoms of TMD and discuss how TMJ disorders are diagnosed. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about TMD/TMJ or would like to schedule a recare visit with us, you can call our office today at 651.482.8412. Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Jeff and our amazing team at Eggert Family Dentistry are here and ready to address all of your dental concerns and needs with our vast experience, the latest technology and all of the comforts to make each of your visits a great experience!

Your Dental Cleaning is More Than Just a Cleaning

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

When you schedule a recare visit at Eggert Family Dentistry, you may think that all we will do is remove any plaque we see and polish your teeth. While these services are important, they are just the tip of the iceberg. When you come into our office for a cleaning, we perform a full evaluation and keep an eye out for early signs of more serious problems. 

We check for signs of tooth decay 

Soft spots and pitting are signs that bacteria are breaking down enamel and causing tooth decay. This is most commonly caused by infrequent or poor brushing, frequent snacking and sugary foods and beverages. Acids also contribute significantly to tooth decay. If Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff spot signs of tooth decay, they will recommend scheduling a follow-up appointment to clean out the decay and protect the tooth with a filling or crown, depending on the situation. 

We evaluate the health of your gums

When bacteria hang out along the gum line, they can wreak havoc on gum health. When gum disease is left untreated, it can result in shifting or drifting of teeth and eventual tooth loss. It can also lead to systemic issues such as heart disease, diabetes, lung infections, osteoporosis, hypertension and cancer! When you come in for a cleaning, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff, as well as our amazing hygiene team, will look for signs of gum irritation including swelling, redness, pocketing or bleeding. Once plaque and tartar are removed, if they observe any of these signs of gum disease, they will recommend next steps to help your gum tissues heal. Oftentimes, in addition to spectacular home dental care habits, this will include a deep cleaning procedure in our office.  

We examine your jaw, facial muscles and lymph nodes

When you come into our office, Dr. Elizbeth or Dr. Jeff make sure your jaw is properly aligned and they look for any issues with your temporomandibular joints. They look for any swelling in the jaw and facial muscles as well, which can be an early sign of an abscessed tooth or infection. They also make sure your lymph nodes are not inflamed. If they find anything unusual, they will recommend next steps to correct the issue. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will also inspect your mouth for any signs of oral cancer and if they have any concerns, they will refer you to an oral surgeon or sometimes, a medical doctor. 

We assess the integrity of any existing fillings or other restorations

Fillings are effective at filling in holes in teeth and preventing bacteria from building up and causing cavities but they don’t last forever. Over time, fillings break down and need repair. When fillings crack or become loose, they expose divots in the teeth that can trap bacteria and, left unattended, cause cavities to redevelop. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will check the integrity of your fillings and schedule a separate visit if any of them need to be repaired or replaced. 

We take x-rays

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recommend at least once-a-year x-rays of your teeth. This allows us to look at the roots of your teeth and make sure they’re healthy and strong. We can also look between your teeth and under your gum line in order to spot early signs of infection and decay.

Just because you’re not experiencing teeth or jaw discomfort doesn’t mean problems aren’t brewing. If you haven’t been in to see us for a while, schedule a recare visit by giving us a call at 651.482.8412. We will perform a thorough cleaning and evaluation to protect and preserve your smile for a lifetime! 

Meet Your Hygiene Team

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

In case you didn’t know, October is National Dental Hygiene Month! We want to observe the month by taking some time to introduce ourselves and tell you a little about the history of Eggert Family Dentistry and what we’re all about.

In 2005, Dr. Elizabeth acquired an existing dental practice in North Oaks, a northern St. Paul suburb, and we’ve been operating out of this same building for the past 15 years, just moving down the hall in 2015 to a larger location. We are a family-friendly practice, offering services for patients of all ages. Our services run the gamut from general dentistry to cosmetic work and from orthodontics to full-mouth reconstructions. Our motto is “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles,” and we work hard to that end, partnering with each of our patients to help them achieve a healthy and beautiful smile that will truly last a lifetime. 

Here we highlight our Hygiene Team and thank them for all the wonderful service they provide our patients!

Joanna

“I enjoy working at Eggert Family Dentistry because we have a fun working atmosphere. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff care for their patients and provide the best dental care for them.”

When she’s not at the office, Joanna enjoys being outside and spending time with family and friends. She resides in Blaine with her husband, Jeffrey, and their four children – Kyle, Kylie, Rylie and Bentley. 

 

Shelly

“I continue to love this profession! The quality of care I have had the privilege to provide over the years has been a direct reflection on those I have served. Meeting patients’ needs through listening, hands-on care and education has been so fulfilling. Our patients are the reason we do what we do.”

Shelly and her husband Ross, have lived in Shoreview for over 25 years. They have twin sons and a daughter, all just on the cusp of adulthood! As a family, they enjoy spending time at their Wisconsin cabin. Shelly loves to cook and enjoys fellowship with others.

Lea

“It is a pleasure to be part of the Eggert Family Dentistry team! We strive to make each visit a pleasant experience and to create a trusting relationship with each patient. I enjoy being part of a team that provides attentive care and top-notch education to help our patients maintain optimal health using the latest technology.”

Lea resides in White Bear Lake with her husband Dan and their two kids – Jonathan and Lauren. They also love their one-year-old black lab, Louie. Lea spends her free time in the garden, going to the cabin, reading and watching her kids play sports.

Cassie

“At Eggert Family Dentistry, our entire team strives to make every patient our number one priority. We provide exceptional, personalized care in a small office setting. I enjoy working with Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff and contributing to the overall patient experience.”

Cassie grew up in Ramsey and graduated from Anoka High School. She now lives in Andover with her husband Jim and their twin boys, Zack and Ryan, and their daughter, Abby. Cassie stays busy with her kids’ activities – baseball, basketball, track and competitive dance. She also enjoys tennis and fun times at the lake boating, swimming and kayaking.

If you’d like to learn more about Eggert Family Dentistry and the services we provide, give us a call at 651.482.8412. We would be happy to connect with you!

Teeth Replacement Options

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Choosing the right tooth replacement method should start with an exam and a dialogue with your dentists, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff. They are happy to take the time you need to understand the variables of your available options, including dental health, overall health, how long it will last, how long it will take, and financial impact. We want to help you choose the treatment that makes the most sense for your situation and bring you the greatest satisfaction.

Replacing Teeth with Dental Implants

Dental implants consist of three components. A titanium post is fixed into the bone where a tooth was. The jaw bone grows back around the implant, holding it firmly. When the implant has integrated with the bone, an abutment is fitted on the implant, and then a crown is attached to the abutment.

Implants help keep adjacent teeth and your entire mouth more resilient to deterioration. When a tooth is lost, a few things begin to take place that may not be easily evident to the eye, but can have significant negative consequences for both health and appearance. Tooth roots not only help hold teeth in place, they are also essential in maintaining health in the adjacent gums and supporting bones.

Thus, tooth loss can cause bone loss in the jawbone. This is a problem because it can interfere with the integrity of the roots and stability of nearby teeth. This bone loss is also responsible for the “sunken” appearance of the lower cheeks which we see in people who have lost back teeth. Because this bone loss is gradual, it causes people who wear dentures to find that their dentures are increasingly hard to fit and keep in place, over time.

With an implant, bite function is fully restored to as good as new. Neighboring teeth are prevented from shifting. The jaw bone is much more stable and stays where it belongs. Additionally, implants look and feel like your own teeth, and you care for them just the same as your regular teeth. Plus, the longevity is unmatched, with them lasting many years.

The comfort, function and appearance of a dental implant explain why they have become so popular.

Replacing Teeth with All-on-4® Dental Implants

All-on-4® Dental Implants are a relatively new dental reconstruction. In a way, they are a hybrid of implants and a bridge. With this technique, four (or more) implants are placed in the jawbone and an entire arch of reconstructed upper or lower teeth are affixed to the four (or more) imlants. This is a more comfortable, stable and long-lasting option than traditional dentures. Plus, they look and feel just like “real” teeth.

Replacing Teeth with Fixed Bridges

A fixed bridge fills in the gap caused by one or more missing teeth by using surrounding teeth as anchors. A bridge can be a fairly quick way to replace teeth, but since it relies on the neighboring teeth, the integrity of these anchor teeth is reduced. Bridges can also be more difficult to keep clean than other tooth replacement options because food will trap under the “fake” teeth.

Replacing Teeth with Removable Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are able to replace one or more teeth in an arch They consist of replacement teeth attached to a plastic base and often a metal framework, which is supported by the gums and teeth. They are removed for cleaning. They are more comfortable and secure than full dentures, and usually cost less than implants or bridges.

Replacing Teeth with Full Dentures

Full dentures are an entire set of artificial lower and upper teeth, held in place by suction. They are removed for cleaning. When they’re brand new, they may feel awkward and speaking and eating might require practice. Over time, they may stop fitting properly as bone mass degrades.

To learn more about your tooth replacement options, call us at Eggert Family Dentistry, 651-482-8412.

Two Amazing Implant Stories! Candy and Joan’s Stories

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

This month we are excited to share two amazing implant stories. We have been waiting patiently for both of these cases to finish over the course of a few years, but it’s been worth the wait. We want to thank Candy and Joan for allowing us to share their stories!

How Did This Start?

Both Joan and Candy came to us with a history of trying to do the right thing for their dental care, but they had both experienced at least one dental trauma years before. Joan was involved in a motor cycle accident in 1968 where she lost one of her front teeth and started down a path of needing multiple dental interventions. When we started this process with her in 2015, she told us “I hate my teeth. I hate how they aren’t in the right position. I hate how yellow they are. I hate the recession around my bridge. I like to smile, but not the look of my teeth.” She described wanting nicer looking teeth that are strong and allow her to eat without a problem. She wanted the self-confidence that comes with a beautiful smile.

Candy started her journey at age 10 when, unfortunately, she underwent her first tooth trauma, breaking a front tooth. After a series of other injuries and dental treatments done to try to save her teeth, she came to us in 2013 with multiple root canal treated teeth and some teeth that had been replaced by bridges. Candy was very concerned with the recession of her gums and that kept her from smiling too broadly. She also thought that her current dental restorations were too long, she wanted to see them a different shape.

What Was Involved?

For Joan, there were many teeth we could save, but due to the accident, she had lost a lot of bone supporting the teeth holding an existing bridge and those teeth could no longer be saved. We needed to figure out a way to “grow” bone. While bone grafting has come a long way over the years, getting vertical growth of bone with grafting alone isn’t predictable. Therefore, Joan underwent orthodontic treatment. Dr. Brian DeVoe, her orthodontist, was able to change her bone levels by orthodontically moving the front teeth down, therefore, in a sense, “growing bone.” Orthodontic tooth movement also helped straighten Joan’s previously crowded teeth.

When Joan was finished with her orthodontic treatment, Dr. Karl Andreasen, her oral surgeon, bulked up the bone horizontally with a bone graft, before placing implants a few months later. During this interim time, Joan wore both a retainer filled with fake teeth and a temporary implant bridge.

Candy had some difficult decisions to make. Because of the history of trauma to many of her teeth, the teeth were getting more and more unpredictable to save. She had to decide if putting more time, energy, and money into the teeth themselves was going to give her an outcome she would be happy with. Candy originally thought she wanted to save all the teeth that were possible to save. However, after consulting with Dr. DeVoe, an orthodontist, Dr. Dylla, a periodontist, Edgar Jimenez, a dental lab technician, and Dr. Andreasen, an oral surgeon, she and Dr. Elizabeth decided that implants would be a more predictable way to provide the function and esthetics she desired and would likely be a longer-lasting solution, as one of her goals was to “not have to deal with these teeth again.”

Candy worked with Dr. Andreasen first and prepared for the All-On-4 technique in which all of her upper teeth were removed and 4 implants were placed the same day, along with a transitional fixed plastic prosthesis.

While her implants were integrating, Candy elected to undergo Invisalign for her lower teeth to help improve their stability as well. Her Invisalign treatment took 6 months and, in the end, her lower teeth were in a better position as the planning started for her final All-On-4 prosthesis.

What Do They Think Now?

Joan is so happy with her outcome. Her teeth never stop her from smiling anymore. And, as an added bonus, she used to get a headache almost daily, but after her orthodontic treatment, she rarely is affected. Joan told us she knew it would be a lot of effort to get her to her final result, but it was worth it. She told us if she was talking to someone else who was thinking of going through a similar treatment, she would tell them “Do it! Even though it is hard and it takes a lot of effort, even if it’s a pain along the way, it’s worth it, every second of it!”

Candy thought her transitional prosthesis looked ok, but she was excited about the prospect of having complete control over how her final prosthesis would look. She and Dr. Elizabeth had many conversations about what she wanted and all this was conveyed to the lab technicians working on her case. She got to choose the color, the shape, the width, the length, and the arch form of her new smile. It took a couple try-in appointments where the teeth were set in wax and could be adjusted to meet Candy’s ideal specifications, but in the end, the lab was able to provide just what she was asking for.

Candy is happy to be finished with her treatment and says “I am happy with the outcome for sure!” Candy’s treatment took longer than expected due to some minor complications with the tissue surrounding her implants and the need for tissue grafting. Her interim prosthesis held up well though. Candy knew it would be an investment in time and money, but would tell others thinking about going this route “it’s worth it and I’m glad I did it.”