Not All Halloween Candy Affects Teeth the Same: What Is the Best and Worst?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Halloween is right around the corner. As parents, we know the drill. Our kids put copious amounts of time into choosing the perfect costumes, rally their friends and map out plans of attack to collect the most possible candy in one evening. We’re caught somewhere between, “That sounds like the most epic Halloween ever, kids!” and “No child’s teeth can handle all that candy!”

In light of this pre-Halloween parent panic, we thought it would be helpful to take a little time to explain how different types of candy affect teeth differently.

Halloween candy worst offenders

Some candies are particularly problematic for dental health.

Hard sugar candy

halloween candyCandy on a stick, such as lollipops or rock candy, is meant to be enjoyed over time. Because it lingers in your mouth, it increases the production of saliva. However, instead of the saliva doing its job and rinsing bacteria out of your mouth, it only spreads the sugar around. Additionally, your mouth produces acid in an attempt to destroy the sticky sugar that then coats your teeth. The acid and sugar team up to break down tooth enamel and, with repeat exposure, can result in tooth decay.

Another threat to teeth from hard candy is the temptation to bite down on it, hence the candy we fondly know as “jawbreakers.” Biting down on hard candy can easily result in broken or chipped teeth and sometimes upset the jaw muscles so much, pain results.

Chewy candy

Just like candy on a stick, chewy candy lingers in the mouth. It gets stuck in your molars and between your teeth. If you’ve ever eaten Laffy Taffy, Sugar Babies or caramels, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Gummy candies or fruit snacks might seem like safer bets but they aren’t any better. They still contain sugar and get trapped in your molars and small crevices between your teeth.

Oh, and watch out for those delicious caramel apple suckers. Between the caramel, hard sugar candy and the fact that they’re meant to be savored, they can really wreak some dental havoc.

Sour candy

You might be wondering where sour candy fits into the picture. Warheads, Sour Patch Kids, Sour Skittles…kids LOVE sour candy and love to challenge themselves and their friends to eat large quantities of it or hold the sour candy in their mouths for long periods of time.

Unfortunately, sour candy attacks your teeth from two angles. Sour candy is both sweet and acidic. The sugar sticks to your teeth while the acid breaks down your enamel. Many sour candies are also sticky, further exacerbating the ill effects.

Does this mean your children can’t eat the hard and sugary, chewy or sour candies they rake in on Oct. 31? Not necessarily. However, armed with a little knowledge, you can avoid passing them out to the neighborhood kids and explain to your children why it’s important to limit their consumption of these sticky stinkers. Then remind them to brush and floss their teeth afterward to clean their mouths and remove any lodged sugar.

Halloween candy best choices

Sugar-free hard candy

Like its sugar-laden counterpart, sugar-free hard candy encourages the production of saliva which rinses bacteria from your mouth. However, sugar-free candy doesn’t cause the production of acid or stick to your teeth—a win for your pearly whites…and your sweet tooth!

Chocolates

One of the most popular categories of Halloween candy are chocolates. While many have sticky centers like Twix, Rollos or Snickers, others like Hershey’s bars and Nestle Crunch dissipate quickly in your mouth, making them more dental-friendly than almost any other candy.

Sugar-free gum

While it’s not technically considered candy, sugar-free gum—much like sugar-free candy—helps your mouth produce saliva which rinses your teeth and helps ward against destructive bacteria. If you’re looking for a healthy option to hand out at the door this year (and don’t want to be the neighbor handing out mini bags of baby carrots!) consider giving out packs of sugar-free gum. Almost all kids love to chew gum, it’s allergen-friendly and will help cleanse their mouths from all the sugary, sticky, sour madness.

If you haven’t already, give us a call at 651.428.9691 to schedule your family members’ recare visits. Dr. Elizabeth, Dr. Jeff and our hygienists are here to help you keep your teeth clean and enjoy a healthy smile for life.

At What Age Should I Schedule My Child’s First Dental Visit?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There’s a lot to keep track of as a new parent. Don’t let your baby’s dental health fall through the cracks! Your baby’s first tooth probably won’t erupt until they are close to six months old, but it’s never too early to get their first Eggert Family Dentistry visit on the calendar.

Baby teeth are important too!

We believe that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and we know that tooth decay can affect any teeth above the gumline. That’s why Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your baby have their first dental visit six months after their first tooth erupts or definitely by the age of 1.

Baby teeth have several important jobs and require the same level of care and vigilance as adult teeth.

Baby teeth are responsible for:

  • Helping children chew properly
  • Holding space for adult teeth
  • Speech development

What will we discuss at my child’s first dental visit?

When you bring your baby in for their first dental visit, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will take a peek in their mouth and check all erupted teeth to make sure they’re healthy. Then they will discuss basic baby and toddler oral care, address the negative effects of sippy cups, pacifiers and thumb-sucking, tell you what dental milestones you can anticipate and advise you on how your baby’s nutrition impacts their oral health. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will also give you follow-up instructions so you know when to come back for your baby’s next visit and what to do in the meantime.

How do I prepare my child for their first dental visit?

If you’re proactive and your child’s first dental visit happens during their first year of life, they may not have stranger danger yet. This is a huge advantage and can set you up for a successful initial visit. If your child is a bit older, they may be warier of strangers and feel unsettled in a new environment.

To prepare your child for their first visit, you can:

  • Look online or go to your local library to find books or videos that help young children learn about brushing and caring for their teeth and visiting the dentist.
  • Talk positively about the dentist office and your child’s upcoming visit. Your positivity is contagious!
  • Bring along their favorite blanket or stuffed animal. A little dose of familiarity can provide them with comfort in this new environment.
  • Incentivize. Tell them about the prize they’ll get to pick out or offer to take them to their favorite park after their visit.
  • If your child is a little older and hasn’t had the opportunity to visit the dentist yet, bring them along with you to your next visit. This will help familiarize them with the sights and sounds of the dentist office. They will also be able to watch as Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff and one of our hygienists clean your teeth and examine your mouth.

Our team at Eggert Family Dentistry love working with children and we know good oral health starts young. If there’s anything we can do to help make your child’s first experience at our office a success, please let us know in advance! To schedule your child’s first appointment, call our office at 651.482.8412.

Back-to-School Oral Hygiene Routine for Kids: A Helpful Checklist

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Ahhh, the lazy days of summer. For most Midwesterners, this means swimming, boating, beaching and vacationing while enjoying late-night campfires and gooey s’mores. But we also know that, if we don’t think and plan ahead, the transition from summer into fall is rocky.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we want to lighten your load a bit. As summer fades away into fall, save yourself stress by looking through our back-to-school oral hygiene checklist for your child!

Establish your school-year dental routine

  • Buy your child a new toothbrush, a tube of fluoride toothpaste, floss and mouthwash
  • Reiterate the importance of brushing and flossing at least twice each day
  • If your child is small, let them know where brushing and flossing will fit into their daily routine
  • As parents, make sure to help your children (age 8 and under) brush and floss thoroughly each time
  • Ask older siblings to set a good example by showing younger younger siblings how to brush and floss
  • Create a star chart or other reward system for young children to encourage daily oral hygiene

Put together a school dental kit

  • Check the school’s gum policy and, if it’s allowed, give your child a pack of sugar-free gum to chew after lunch to help clean their teeth
  • Get your child a water bottle they can take to school and encourage them to sip on water throughout the day to cleanse their mouth and keep their teeth clean

Shop for healthy food for lunches and snacks

Great choices include:

  • Crunchy foods like carrots, celery and apples; limit citrus fruits which erode enamel quickly
  • Salad greens with crunchy, raw vegetables and a low-sugar dressing
  • Foods high in calcium and phosphorus such as cheese, yogurt and nuts
  • Whole-grain bread/sandwiches with natural nut or seed butter or nitrite-free deli meat and cheese
  • Miniature water bottles or white milk for their thermos

If your child has braces…

  • Put a travel toothbrush, a small tube of fluoride toothpaste, a container of floss and a container of dental wax in a small zipper bag and encourage them to brush their teeth after lunch
  • Brainstorm a list of healthy, low-sugar, braces-friendly snack and lunch options

Schedule your child’s fall recare visit

At your child’s visit, we will thoroughly clean their teeth, check for signs of cavities, monitor the need for braces and evaluate the status of their wisdom teeth.

If your child will be playing contact sports this school year, ask us about custom mouthguards!

We hope this checklist helps you with your child’s back-to-school oral hygiene routine. Call Eggert Family Dentistry today to schedule your child’s fall recare visit at 651.482.8412!

The Seattle Protocol – Tom’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How Did This Start?

Tom’s journey began in 2014 when he came to us as a new patient looking to improve his oral health and the appearance of his teeth. During his comprehensive exam, Dr. Elizabeth found the main areas of concern to be the excessive wear, erosion and fracturing of Tom’s teeth. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Tom go through the records process (you can learn more about the records process here) and based on the information gathered during that process, she recommended a full-mouth reconstruction to address his uneven bite and rebuild his broken teeth. Throughout the process of reconstruction, it became clear that the amount of force in Tom’s bite was putting too much pressure on even his temporary crowns, which resulted in the temporaries cracking or falling out on more than one occasion. Dr. Elizabeth was concerned that even after completing the full mouth reconstruction, Tom would have underlying issues. Given Tom’s other symptoms, including difficulty breathing through his nose, dry mouth and use of a CPAP machine, Dr. Elizabeth recommended Tom complete the Seattle Protocol to help address his airway patency.

Tom Before

What Was Involved?

The Seattle Protocol is a six-step process that helps patients with symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing and other conditions determine whether a compromised airway is contributing to their ailments. Each step builds upon the last, but patients don’t necessarily need to complete the entire process as the purpose of the protocol is to determine the phase that provides the best relief of symptoms. You can learn more about the Seattle Protocol and each of the steps here. Throughout the process, Tom noticed improvements in his symptoms such as dry mouth, decreased clenching and grinding, and less waking throughout the night.

What Have Tom’s Results Been?

After completing five of the six steps of the Seattle Protocol, Dr. Elizabeth fabricated a sleep appliance for Tom to continue to improve his airway patency, reduce his bruxism and help him sleep better. Tom has now been using his sleep appliance for over a month and says the results so far have been great! He’s noticed less clenching and jaw pain and experienced an overall improvement in his sleep. Tom said that going through the Seattle Protocol helped him better understand the connection between his sleep and airway issues and he appreciates Dr. Elizabeth’s thorough explanation and care throughout each stage.

Tom After

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What is the Seattle Protocol and How Does it Help Pinpoint Airway Obstructions?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

When a patient with symptoms of airway issues first comes into our office, we often recommend the Seattle Protocol. This six-step method helps us identify where the issue lies by pinpointing which jaw positioning alleviates our patient’s symptoms. This allows us to create a custom night appliance for our patient that opens up their airway and curbs any inflammation or damage to the teeth, jaws or soft tissue. It also helps ward off serious systemic issues like high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack.

Before you embark on the Seattle Protocol, we may suggest an at-home sleep quality screening device or a sleep study so we solidify our starting point.

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 a 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.

In summary, after the initial two weeks of nasal breathing therapy and sleeping for 2-3 nights with each temporary night guard, once you experience relief of symptoms, we stop the protocol. This helps us identify which splint appliance/positioning alleviates the airway obstruction and allows us to fabricate your custom night appliance.

The further you progress through the steps in the protocol, the more severe your obstruction. If you progress into steps 4, 5 or 6, we may discuss the possibility of oral surgery to help you achieve optimal results.

If you’re concerned that you or your loved ones are dealing with sleep-disordered breathing, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff by calling our office at 651.482.8412. Both Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff have the knowledge and experience to walk you through the Seattle Protocol and the best next steps.

Your healthy future starts today.

 

Confused by the Process? Learn How Sleep Apnea is Diagnosed

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Do you deal with snoring, gasping for air in your sleep, a dry mouth, headache in the morning or daytime fatigue? Sleep apnea could be the culprit. It’s important to begin by making an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff as well as with your primary care physician. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening and should always be carefully investigated.

The first time we see you for sleep apnea symptoms, we will perform an assessment for signs of structural abnormalities or any physical issues that could be contributing to airway obstruction. This could include an enlarged tongue or tonsils, a small jaw or a large neck.

If your primary care doctor is concerned that sleep apnea is an issue for you, they will refer you to a sleep specialist. A board-certified sleep specialist will evaluate you by performing an overnight sleep study. This will give them more insight into the severity of the situation and help them determine the best course of treatment.

There are two different types of sleep studies your sleep specialist may recommend: a polysomnogram test or a home sleep apnea test.

Polysomnogram test:

A polysomnogram test is a sleep study, performed in a sleep lab, that helps diagnose sleep-related conditions.

During your night at the sleep lab, you will be hooked up to equipment that will monitor your heart, lungs and breathing patterns, brain, general movement and oxygen levels while you sleep. In some cases, your sleep specialist will let you sleep all night long. If your physician detects signs of sleep apnea, they will more than likely wake you up in the night and hook you up to continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. A CPAP machine has a mask that covers the nose and/or mouth, that is connected to a tube and the base of the machine and that delivers continuous air pressure all night long, allowing the airway to remain open.

When your sleep specialist tests the CPAP machine on you, they will watch how it improves your airway obstruction and will calibrate it for your specific needs.

Home sleep apnea test:

In some cases, your sleep specialist will give you an at-home sleep apnea test kit that monitors and tests breathing patterns and sleep disturbances. This can be a good solution for individuals who find the polysomnogram test cost-prohibitive or difficult to coordinate. However, if sleep apnea is suspected from the results of your home test, your doctor may still recommend a visit to the sleep lab for further testing.

After you receive your results from your sleep specialist, if they indicate the presence of sleep apnea, we recommend you contact our office to set up another appointment. At this appointment, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will walk you through our records process.

During this comprehensive analysis, they will determine if a sleep apnea appliance would help alleviate your symptoms of sleep apnea. If they decide it would be helpful, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will confer with your general practitioner, sleep physician and lab to design a sleep apnea appliance, custom fit for you, that supports your jaw in the position that best improves your airway, often a forward position.

We may also recommend that you adjust your sleeping positioning or we may refer you to an orthodontist for another consultation if we believe that braces or other orthodontic treatment could help better keep your airway open.

If you’re experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, reach out to us at 651.482.8412 to make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. They will perform a thorough assessment and collaborate with your other physician(s) to find the best treatment plan for you.

Sleep Apnea and Oral Health Share A Few Primary Connections

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that must be taken seriously. Obstructive sleep apnea is an airway blockage that occurs when, during sleep, muscles in the back of the throat relax and/or the tongue and surrounding tissues migrate back into the throat, obstructing the airway.

Not only can sleep apnea cause fatigue, headaches and memory loss but it can also lead to even more serious health issues such as hypertension, heart failure and stroke.

Many people don’t understand what causes sleep apnea and how it affects oral health. We’re going to take a few minutes to unpack some of these connections.

Risk factors for sleep apnea

When you come in for an appointment, we look for signs or symptoms that could be considered “red flags” for airway conditions, including sleep apnea. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff perform an assessment to see if you have any of the following risk factors among many others:

  • Over 40 years of age
  • Obesity
  • Large tongue or tonsils
  • A large neck
  • A small jaw

If we think you might be dealing with an airway issue like sleep apnea, we’ll ask you if your loved ones complain that you snore or gasp for air when you sleep. We’ll ask you if you deal with insomnia or daytime drowsiness. Do you wake up with a headache or a dry mouth? Do you have nasal or sinus problems?

We will also look for signs of TMD, bruxism or dry mouth, all of which can be connected to OSA.

TMD goes hand in hand with sleep apnea

Did you know that, in 52% of obstructive sleep apnea cases, a person also struggles with temporomandibular disorder or TMD?

TMD occurs when the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) doesn’t function properly. When the joint is irritated, chewing and talking can be mildly to moderately painful.

So why do sleep apnea and TMD often occur together? When a person is deprived of oxygen during sleep, their body will compensate in unconscious ways. In many cases, their jaw muscles clench and release or grind the jaw around to gain more airway space. When sleep apnea is left untreated, this jaw motion becomes habitual and can cause TMD or even deterioration of the jaw joint itself.

Bruxism goes hand in hand with sleep apnea

Bruxism is another condition that is often present alongside obstructive sleep apnea. Often intertwined with TMD, bruxism describes a condition caused by the clenching or grinding of teeth. It occurs unconsciously during sleep and can be another way a person’s body compensates for an airway obstruction.

Symptoms of bruxism include broken, cracked, chipped or worn teeth. Because the clenching and grinding of teeth cause tension in a person’s head, jaw and muscle discomfort are commonly present.

Of the 31% of adults who deal with bruxism, at least 25% of them also battle OSA.

Sleep apnea leads to mouth breathing

As we already stated, sleep apnea is an airway obstruction often caused by soft tissues that move towards the back of the mouth during sleep. In addition to clenching and contracting your jaw muscles in response, a person will typically also mouth breathe in an attempt to get more oxygen.

Mouth breathing leads to snoring but it also leads to other, more serious oral consequences.

Saliva plays an important role in rinsing food and harmful bacteria out of our mouths. When a person breathes through their mouth, it becomes dry and becomes a haven for food particles and bacteria. Without this natural “rinsing” function, plaque easily grows under the gumline and can cause tooth decay, gingivitis and in extreme cases, periodontal disease.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea or related conditions, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff would love to see you in our office. They can evaluate your situation, determine which factors are present and, if they see evidence of sleep apnea, refer you to your primary doctor who may refer you to an ENT or sleep specialist. Then Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will partner with these specialists to determine the best courses of action to help alleviate sleep apnea and any peripheral issues and restore your health. Schedule your appointment by calling our office at 651.482.8412!

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder – Lizzie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Lizzie’s parents are longtime patients of Dr. Elizabeth and brought Lizzie in for her first visit when she was a year old. As Lizzie grew older, Dr. Elizabeth began to notice signs of what she suspected to be Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) is a disorder characterized by improper tongue, jaw, and lip positioning during swallowing, feeding, and speaking.
Patients with OMD often have signs like malocclusion, mouth-breathing, tongue thrust, and airway obstruction. They may also have symptoms like headaches, malaise, fatigue, anxiety/depression, and pain. Dr. Elizabeth noticed that Lizzie was developing an open bite and had a non-tongue based swallowing pattern (she often uses her lips and teeth for swallowing). Dr. Elizabeth talked with the parents about helping to remind Lizzie to put her tongue up to the roof of her mouth to swallow and to keep her lip and teeth away from each other when swallowing. As Lizzie got older, it was still difficult for her to swallow with her tongue up. Dr. Elizabeth recommended that she start Myobrace® treatment and myofunctional therapy to address her symptoms.

patient highlight

Figure 1: Lizzie’s open bite: her tongue sits forward. She is developing a narrow upper arch.

What was involved?

Lizzie’s Myobrace® treatment will involve moving through a series of oral appliances that each function to address different aspects of OMDs, including habit correction, arch development, and dental alignment. Before starting her Myobrace® treatment, Lizzie came in for a short appointment with Dr. Elizabeth to take initial photos and learn how to wear her appliance. Dr. Elizabeth talked with Lizzie about the importance of wearing her appliance every night while she sleeps and for at least two hours each day. In addition to wearing the Myobrace® appliance, Lizzie has undergone myofunctional therapy with us to further correct some of the habits contributing to her OMD. During these sessions, which we offer both in-office and via Zoom, our hygienist Lea showed Lizzie different exercises to help her retrain her orofacial muscles so she can achieve a normal resting position for her tongue, lips, and jaw.

What have Lizzie’s results been?

Lizzie is still in the early stages of her treatment. She has been striving to keep her Myobrace® in at night and has been working through myofunctional exercises. She feels that her nose breathing is improving and is confident she will continue to put forth the effort for her treatment. Oftentimes, Myobrace® therapy takes many months or even years. The theory is that the slow training and continuous practice of positioning the muscles allows the facial structures to develop naturally and stay that way. We are excited to see where Lizzie will go through this journey with us.

What Can I Expect at My Recare Visit During COVID-19?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Most people understand the importance of regular dental visits for maintaining good oral health. Oral health has a run-off effect on a person’s overall health as well. Gum disease can easily creep in and, when left untreated, can lead to heart disease, stroke or even death. Sadly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some have been avoiding the dentist for fear of catching or transmitting the virus. Our team at Eggert Family Dentistry wants you to know the facts about our COVID-19 safety measures and what you can expect at your visit as well as answer some common questions so you can feel comfortable coming in to see us!

Safety measures at Eggert Family Dentistry

When you visit our office, you can be assured that we are:

  • Keeping up with the latest CDC and OSHA guidelines
  • Running HEPA air scrubbers to remove particulates from the air
  • Disinfecting all surfaces regularly throughout the day
  • Providing hand sanitizer
  • Mandating face coverings for all our patients
  • Mandating PPE such as face shields, long gowns and high-filtration respirator masks for our team members.

Important instructions for your visit

Throughout the last year, we have been maintaining some infection control protocols of stricter magnitude, out of an abundance of caution. We know these measures have been keeping our patients, as well as our team members, safe from COVID-19. While we are happy to see so many members of our community able to get vaccinated, we wanted to review the current protocols as change can only come slowly and only as the virus continues to decrease in our state. Therefore, when you come in to see us, you will still notice the COVID-19 protocols we have in place.

In addition to asking that you wear a mask to your appointment, we will:

  • Have you wait in your car and text us upon arrival since our reception area is still closed due to the need to socially distance. When possible, you may also be asked to come into our building and wait in the hallway near our door.
  • Ask you to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire. You will see that you can save time in our office by filling out your survey electronically prior to your appointment. See your email for details.
  • NO LONGER take your temperature prior to entering the office unless requested by you. It has been decided by the CDC that temperature screening is not an accurate tool.
  • Continue to ask that you don’t bring guests along with you to your appointment unless it’s absolutely necessary. This continues to minimize contact with other people.

FAQs about your recare visit during COVID-19

I would like to see that things have been wiped down—the community pen, the electronic pen, the handles of the chairs, etc.

“Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, our office followed strict infection control guidelines that would have prevented the transmission of the novel coronavirus (or any other virus) to our patients or staff. In an abundance of caution, we have increased the frequency and thoroughness of our sanitizing procedures and we are following safety procedures recommended by the Center for Disease Control, American Dental Association and OSHA. Our cleaning procedures include the electronic pen and the chair handles. We also either wipe any touched pens or ask you to take home any pen you use.”

I am concerned that the risk of virus transmission is too high for the benefits associated with a routine checkup.

“Our hygienists have streamlined their protocols so that patients can return to their recare intervals which are key in maintaining health and well-being. There are many articles noting that those with the highest levels of inflammatory diseases are the most at risk for contracting COVID-19. We are happy to be able to provide high-level dental care to reduce whole-body inflammation and keep you at your healthiest.”

How will I be safe if my mouth is open?

“All patients coming to the practice will be asked to wear a face covering, limiting the particles in the air. Patients will be ushered directly to a clean and sterilized treatment room. All clinical team members will be protected with eye protection, a tight-fitting respirator mask, a surgical mask to eliminate contamination and often a face shield. This will mean that, if your mouth is uncovered, it will be your particles in the air. In addition, we have HEPA air-scrubbing units in the clinic area to eliminate particles in the air.”

I am concerned that dental tools are being used on multiple patients. What are you doing for safety and sanitizing?

“We have always maintained a high level of cleanliness and sterilization in our office, our operatories, and with our dental instruments, or tools. In addition to our new high powered instrument washer to remove debris, we use an autoclave to sterilize our instruments which destroys all forms of microbial life, including viruses and bacteria. The autoclave accomplishes sterilization by using steam under pressure. All instruments that are placed into the autoclave are completely sterilized at the end of the complete sterilization cycle and we ensure that the sterilization indicators prove that before using the instruments on another patient.”

To see our full list of FAQs, visit this link on our website.

If you have any questions about our COVID-19 safety measures or to get on our schedule for your next recare visit, contact us at 651.482.8412!

Exploring the Oral Health and COVID-19 Connection and How Dental Care Can Help!

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

For over a year now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been nervous about going out in public and maybe have even been choosing to put off routine dental care. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we now have had nearly a year to refine our infection control practices, specifically as they relate to COVID-19. We are happy to report that our abundance of precautions have been paying off to make your experience in our office extremely comfortable and safe.

It’s especially important to us to maintain an environment where our patients feel at-ease. While we have seen a vast majority of you this last year, we wanted to share the latest links between COVID-19 and your dental health and urge those of you we haven’t seen back yet to give us a call today! We know now that recent studies show a connection between oral health and COVID-19 complications. Let’s take a closer look.

The link between periodontitis and respiratory conditions

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a gum infection resulting from poor oral hygiene that causes bacteria to build up under the gums. Periodontitis is commonly linked to tooth loss as well as severe conditions such as cardiovascular disease and certain respiratory conditions.

Findings from the CDA Journal (California Dental Association)

One primary COVID-19 complication is respiratory distress which often leads to pneumonia.

Because periodontitis is linked to respiratory conditions, researchers have been exploring the possible link between periodontitis and COVID-19-related respiratory complications.

In an October 2020 journal article, one study found that, when oral bacteria is aspirated into the lungs, it can increase the risk of pneumonia, COPD and COVID-19-related respiratory complications.

The study states, “Successful control of periodontal inflammation can be beneficial to the lungs, possibly decreasing severity and risk of COVID-19 respiratory problems.”

Findings from the British Dental Journal

A team of British researchers suspected that there is a connection between COVID-19 infection and a person’s bacterial load. In a June 2020 study, they explored the connection between a high oral bacterial load and COVID-19 pulmonary complications.

They also wanted to find out if putting a greater emphasis on an individual’s oral health could reduce ensuing CoV-2 complications.

This research team concluded that good oral hygiene is especially effective in preventing airway infections in seniors. Additionally, people with periodontal disease are at a much greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, all of which contribute to severe COVID-19 side effects.

“Oral hygiene [should] be maintained, if not improved, during a SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the potential risk of bacterial superinfection.”

The ADA addresses the oral health and COVID-19 connection

In a February 12, 2021 article on the ADA website, they reference a study from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology that concludes that people with severe gum disease are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 complications.

Indeed, there is mounting evidence to suggest that good oral health helps protect people against some of the severe effects of COVID-19.

If you’ve put off your recare visit or dental work this past year, don’t wait any longer. Give us a call at 651.482.8412 to set up your next appointment. We can’t wait to see you in our office and help you get back on the path to optimal health and wellness! We are so grateful for the increase in vaccinations in our community as more of you have been returning. We will see the rest of you back very soon!