Implants Versus Dentures

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Thanks to modern dentistry, loss of a tooth – or many teeth – doesn’t have to be permanent. With a small investment of time, money and skilled expertise, it’s possible to replace teeth with implants or dentures.

When our patients are facing the loss of one or more teeth, they come to us for counseling on the best path forward. We consider it part of our customer care to walk them through the options and make sure they understand the pros and cons of each option. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff love helping our patients understand the best choice for their individual circumstances. Here’s a quick summary as a starting point.

Implants: The Pros

The best part about implants: They feel and behave like your original teeth. You care for them in a similar way, so you likely don’t need to embrace any fresh routines or invite any new bottles or tubes into your bathroom cabinet. They will prevent neighboring teeth from migrating, so they preserve your bite. Because they are anchored in the bone, they help preserve bone mass in the jaw, Once they are established, they nearly take care of themselves. The feel of chewing, the nuances of speaking, the sensation when you run your tongue along the inside of your mouth – these will all feel completely familiar. Implants are built to last a lifetime, and they almost always do.

Implants: The Cons

Dental implants can take awhile from start to finish. Typically, it’s about six months between initial surgery and final placement of the abutment and crown. There is usually some healing time of the implant which will continue to leave you toothless for awhile. If, however, the missing tooth is in the front of the mouth, we can place a temporary tooth for cosmetic reasons. Depending on your situation, implants may cost more than other options.

Dentures: The Pros

Dentures can be crafted and placed in a shorter time period than implants. They don’t usually require surgery, but sometimes bone recontouring can be necessary to get the denture to fit just right. The initial cost of dentures is lower than most implant replacement options; however, they may need to be replaced as the shape of the jaw, mouth and adjacent teeth change over time, so in the long run may end up costing more.

Dentures: The Cons

Dentures will never feel like your natural teeth. They must be removed for cleaning, and because they can trap food, cleaning is extra important. Denture wearers may have to forgo some of their old eating habits such as corn on the cob. Because they don’t help preserve bone mass in the jaw, denture wearers are likely to experience ongoing jaw bone deterioration, which may prevent them from being a candidate for implants at a later time. Subsequent bone loss may contribute to a sunken appearance of the lower cheeks.

We hope this summary helps you understand your options. We look forward to evaluating your personal situation, and helping you embark on the tooth restoration program that fits your needs. Call us today at 651-482-8412 for your exam and consultation!

Why It’s Important to Replace Missing Teeth

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Everyone wants a full set of strong, healthy, functional teeth. They enable us to eat and enjoy a wide variety of food, chew that food to get maximum nutritional benefits from it, and speak clearly. And hey, they also just look good. When you’ve got a full smile of clean healthy teeth, it’s easy to feel confident when you’re talking, eating, and laughing.

Most of us start off with a full set of 32 teeth, and many of us have our wisdom teeth removed during elective surgery, leaving us with 28 teeth to take care of. However, due to a variety of reasons, many of us loose at least one tooth by middle age, and by age 65, one in four people in the U.S. has lost all their teeth.

Causes of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is caused by many factors.

Injuries such as falls or sports accidents can cause tooth loss. Even without immediate tooth loss, sometimes there’s sufficient trauma to the jaw bone and gums that a tooth sustains hidden damage in the nerve and root, which may take months or years to become obvious or fully abscess.

Periodontal disease may cause tooth loss. With this condition, the architecture supporting the tooth, like the bone, ligament, and gums, is damaged or destroyed. When this occurs, a tooth becomes loose and painful and often can no longer be saved.

Tooth decay results from bacteria converting the starch and sugar that accumulates in your mouth into acids, which damage the protective layer of tooth enamel and cause cavities. Some teeth are inherently prone to increased cavities due to deep grooves which trap food, tight and misaligned places which are hard to clean, or thin tooth enamel.

Excessive wear from clenching or grinding your teeth can also put a lot of stress on the teeth, causing structural damage in the form of cracks or fractures. As strong as teeth are, this structural damage compounds over time and occasionally an abscess will form from bacteria accumulating in the crack or the damage will be so severe there is no longer any way to save the tooth.

Extra acid in the oral environment will attack the hard enamel surface of a tooth. The enamel goes through a chemical process that is like dissolving. With this thin and weak enamel, the tooth is more prone to excessive wear or decay and can be lost as mentioned above. These extra acids can be from food or drink, acid reflux disease (including GERD), or systemic problems in how your body gets air and breathes.

Many Reasons to Replace Missing Teeth

When you lose a tooth, there are many reasons to replace it.

First, there’s your confidence and self-image. If you’ve got a visible gap in your smile, you are likely to smile less. You may be self conscious when you eat or laugh. In some cases, you may have trouble with a few sounds as you speak.

But beyond just your winning smile, there are other concrete and medical reasons why it’s important to replace missing teeth. Each tooth plays a crucial role in your mouth’s function. A missing tooth can shift your bite pressure onto other teeth, and over time, neighboring teeth may migrate into the space the missing tooth once occupied. Missing teeth also invite plaque to build up in hard-to-clean spots, which can encourage gum infections that might lead to further tooth loss. Also, the bone which formerly anchored the tooth will start to deteriorate and diminish, which can jeopardize neighboring teeth.

Eggert Family Dentistry and Tooth Restoration

Deciding whether and how to replace a missing tooth is a personal choice each person should discuss with our dental team. If you have experienced or are anticipating tooth loss, please come in for a consultation. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff will be more than happy to explain your options for restoring your beautiful smile, and to help you understand why your tooth was jeopardized and how to improve the conditions for your remaining teeth. Call us today for an appointment, 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.”

 

Over-the-Counter vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

The relatively low cost of teeth whitening combined with its track record of proven results makes it a popular choice. In 2018, over 40 million Americans whitened their teeth – either at home or professionally. But are all teeth whitening methods created equal? Let’s explore the facets of both so you can decide which method is right for you!

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

Strips: Because hydrogen-peroxide coated strips can be purchased for under $40, they are a popular go-to for people who are looking for whiter teeth. However, the strips do not provide excellent coverage for the crevices of teeth and the part of the teeth along the gum line and in between the teeth may be missed. Extreme tooth sensitivity is common and they only whiten teeth from two to four shades.

Toothpaste/Mouthwash/Gum: While these are certainly the most affordable option, they are best used in combination with other methods as they only whiten teeth by removing surface stains and typically the results aren’t very noticeable.

Professional Teeth Whitening
At Eggert Family dentistry, we offer KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching, Zoom Whitening, at-home trays with Opalescence bleach, and convenient Opalescence Go!.

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching: 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.

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 into the teeth. Follow-up includes sensitivity management with a special gel and at-home whitening trays.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we also offer our patients professional, at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options.

Opalescence Go! is similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options and comes with a convenient tray and strip application process, helping to better address the nooks and crannies.

Prior to all of our whitening treatments, we will assess the best bleaching system for you during an office visit with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff and a thorough professional cleaning with one of our hygienists.

If you’re interested in whitening your teeth and would help choosing the best route for you, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert would be more than happy to speak with you. They can be reached at 651.482.8412.

Tooth Discoloration: Causes and Prevention

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Tooth discoloration can be an embarrassing situation that often leaves people feeling self-conscious and trying to stifle their smiles. Discoloration can be categorized as extrinsic or affecting only the surface of the tooth, intrinsic or affecting the inside of the tooth or age-related – discoloration that occurs as enamel wears away over time. Tooth discoloration can appear yellow, brown, grey, white, black or purple, depending on the cause. Let’s take a look at some culprits of tooth discoloration, how to remedy it and how it can be prevented.

Causes of tooth discoloration

There are several causes of tooth discoloration. A few of them include:

Foods: Highly pigmented foods such as tomato-based sauces, chocolate, berries and beets can cause yellow or brown discoloration.

Beverages: Beverages that contain tannins, such as coffee, tea and red wine can cause a yellow, brown or purple tinge.

Tobacco products: Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can result in brown or dark yellow teeth.

Aging: Tooth enamel wears away over time, exposing the inner layer of the tooth (called dentin) and leaves behind a yellow appearance.

Antibiotics: Tetracycline stains the enamel of unerupted teeth, resulting in a banded grey or brown appearance.

Injury: Blood flow can be cut off to a tooth, causing it to turn grey.

Teeth whitening

There are a couple of options when it comes to teeth-whitening.

Over-the-counter whitening: Options include whitening strips and toothpaste/mouthwash. These whitening options are thought to be affordable, however, results are subtle as teeth only whiten an average of 2 shades. Over-the-counter whitening strips can also result in significant tooth sensitivity. These methods are best used in combination with another professional whitening method.

Professional whitening: At Eggert Family Dentistry, we offer four whitening optinos – KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching, Zoom Whitening, at-home trays with Opalescence bleach, and Opalescence Go!:

        • With the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching method, oxygen from the gel is absorbed into the tooth, produces little or no sensitivity and can whiten teeth up to 16 shades!
        • Zoom Whitening is performed in a single two-hour appointment and can lighten teeth anywhere from 4-10 shades. Follow-up care includes sensitivity management and whitening trays.
        • Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff Eggert also offer professional, at-home bleaching trays that use carbamide peroxide bleach, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options.
        • Opalescence Go! is similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options and comes with a convenient tray and strip application process, helping to better address the nooks and crannies.

Prevention

While not all teeth stains can be avoided, bruising and flossing after eating foods notorious for staining teeth can keep the pigment from attaching itself to the tooth. As a general rule, daily brushing, flossing and mouthwash help combat stains. Also, according to BMC Public Health, “Twenty-eight percent of smokers reported having moderate and severe levels of tooth discoloration compared to 15% in non-smokers.” Clearly, limiting or eliminating the use of tobacco products is another powerful step in warding off tooth discoloration.

Eggert Family Dentistry wants to help you keep your teeth pearly white! If you need to schedule a recare visit or would like to discuss teeth whitening options with us, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

I Want to Whiten My Teeth Professionally: What Are My Options?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Have you been longing for whiter, brighter teeth? Make 2020 the year you pursue your dream! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we offer four effective teeth whitening methods – the Philips Zoom Whitening System, the KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System, at-home custom trays using Opalescence Bleach, and Opalescence Go!. Read on to learn more about each method and decide which method is right for you.

Philips Zoom Whitening System

This is one excellent teeth whitening option we present to our patients.

  • One of the easiest and most effective teeth whitening options
  • Lightens teeth from 4-10 shades
  • Performed in a single two-hour appointment
  • At-home maintenance includes whitening trays and sensitivity management
  • Results are fast and visible, typically same day!

KöR Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System

This is another effective teeth whitening option we offer.

  • Restores teeth’s ability to absorb oxygen
  • Can lighten up to 16 shades
  • Bleaching trays are created in the KöR lab from impressions of your teeth for a perfect fit
  • We apply conditioner to your teeth to prep them for home bleaching
  • We “set” your shade in our office once your desired shade is reached
  • You can expect little-to-no sensitivity
  • With custom maintenance, results are permanent

At-Home Professionally Made Custom Bleaching Trays Using Opalescence Bleach

This is an especially popular option.

  • Can lighten 2-8 shades
  • Bleaching trays are created in our office from impressions of your teeth for a great fit
  • Appointments are fast to obtain the trays and with bleaching at home, most people see results in as little as 2 weeks
  • The bleach used is carbamide peroxide, a much more stable and higher concentration bleach than what is typically found in OTC hydrogen peroxide options
  • Maintenance is easy with bleach refill kits that we keep in stock for your convenience

Opalescence Go!

Our most economical professional option.

  • Can lighten 2-4 shades
  • Similar to some over-the-counter products, but at a higher concentration than most options
  • Comes with a convenient tray and strip application process
  • Kit is available to “Go!” with no other pre-operative steps needed

If you’re looking for a teeth whitening solution that is more effective than whitening toothpaste and over-the-counter whitening strips, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff would love to talk with you. Give us a call at 651.482.8412!

HPV and Oral Cancer

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in our country. There are more than 100 strains of HPV in existence and approximately 14 million new cases of HPV each year. While a person’s immune system can potentially fight it off, in many cases the symptoms persist. Most people have at least a basic knowledge of HPV but few people are aware that there’s a connection between HPV and oral cancer.

How does HPV cause oral cancer?

HPV is spread through various sexual practices including oral sex, but because HPV can be transmitted in saliva, even kissing can spread the virus. It can take many years for symptoms to show up, but HPV often leads to oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Oropharyngeal cancer is cancer that affects the mouth and throat. While there can be other causes of oropharyngeal cancer, HPV is thought to cause 70% of all cases in the U.S. Oropharyngeal cancer typically develops in the back of the throat and in the folds of the tonsils.

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

There are a variety of things to watch for when it comes to detecting oral cancer. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Persistent sore throat
  • Persistent earache
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Lumps or thickening tissues
  • Difficulty or discomfort moving the tongue, chewing and swallowing

Prevention

The best way to prevent oral cancer is by reducing your likelihood of contracting HPV strains that can lead to oral cancer. Preventative measures include abstinence, limiting your number of sexual partners, instituting the use of condoms during sexual intercourse and getting the HPV vaccine. It is recommended that children, both boys and girls, get the HPV vaccine (commonly known as Gardasil 9) around the age of 11 or 12, but anyone not previously vaccinated should consider the vaccine even up until age 26. It is also recognized that smoking can increase the chances of developing HPV because it reduces your immune system’s ability to fight infection and it damages cells in the mouth.

Early detection

Regular dental exams are crucial. If you have HPV, it’s important that you share this information with Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff so they can keep a close watch for early-stage evidence of oral cancer.

Vaping and Your Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

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

Dangerous ingredients

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

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

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

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

Oral health complications

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sleep Apnea: Signs to Watch For

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

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

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

When to see your dentist or doctor

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons We Might Refer You to or Collaborate with an ENT

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

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

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

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

Snoring and sleep apnea

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

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

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids

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

Sinus problems

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

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

TMJ disorder

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

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