The Power of the Records Process – John’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

John had existing restorations on some of his upper front teeth which were done several years prior and were beginning to break down and decay. John wanted to preserve the function of his teeth and was also interested in improving their appearance. Dr. Elizabeth recommended he go through the Records Process to determine the best way to restore his teeth.

What is the Records Process?

The Records Process consists of two appointments. At John’s first appointment, Dr. Elizabeth took x-rays and photos of his teeth and did a comprehensive muscle and joint evaluation. She also took impressions of his teeth that she used to make models of his mouth. Over the next couple of weeks, Dr. Elizabeth used these models in conjunction with the information collected at his Records Appointment to analyze the current condition of John’s teeth and develop a treatment plan for him. She then put all of this information into a PowerPoint presentation that she reviewed with John when he returned for the second appointment, his case presentation.

What was revealed during the Records Process?

The details of the Records Process revealed that the current position of John’s teeth was putting them at high risk for continued wear. Dr. Elizabeth told John that if she replaced his veneer on his upper front tooth without addressing his bite and the position of his teeth, it was likely to eventually break or begin to decay again, and his other teeth would be more susceptible to wear. John also indicated that he frequently had muscle pain in his neck and after listening to all the connections Dr. Elizabeth made at his case presentation, he wondered if it might be related to clenching his teeth.

What did Dr. Elizabeth recommend?

Dr. Elizabeth recommended starting with splint therapy so that John’s jaw muscles would be more relaxed and stable for eventual tooth movement. Dr. Elizabeth suggested he use an anterior deprogrammer, a small appliance worn on the upper front teeth to prevent the back teeth from touching and clenching together. After using the anterior deprogrammer for six months and undergoing some physical therapy for whole body alignment, John stopped clenching almost completely and noticed a significant improvement in his muscle pain. Dr. Elizabeth determined that he was ready to move forward with orthodontics.
Dr. Elizabeth recommended orthodontics for John to move his teeth into the ideal position before restoring them and set them up for less wear over time. Dr. Elizabeth thought John would be a good candidate for Invisalign, and John elected to do that instead of traditional braces. He completed his Invisalign treatment, after wearing a total of 42 aligners, in about one year.

Next, Dr. Elizabeth recommended the Zoom! whitening in-office bleaching procedure to get John the whiter smile he wanted. After his two-hour session, John was happy to see that his teeth had lightened by three full shades.

With his teeth being his desired shade, John was ready for his final restorations. John wanted his upper front teeth to be uniform in shape and size. For this reason, he decided to do veneers on all of his upper front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth worked with a local lab to create a wax model of the veneers so John could make sure he was happy with their size and shape before having the final restorations fabricated. John went through the veneer procedures and in a short time, had his final smile.

What does John think of his new smile?

From the beginning, John was very excited about his treatment and the prospect of improving not only the function and appearance of his teeth, but also his overall health. John had been experiencing neck and hip pain for about a year before undergoing the records process and is thrilled that the combination of splint therapy and physical therapy has resolved his issues. He loves the appearance of his smile with his new veneers and he’s happy knowing that they will function properly and because he opted for the most comprehensive treatment, he will have the most long-term predictability.

When asked what he would say to someone considering similar treatment, John said “Do it! Your teeth are important and the associated effects are important too”.

The Records Process

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

The Records Process at Eggert Family Dentistry is a comprehensive approach to dental health. It’s a thorough evaluation of the entire mouth for the purpose of achieving optimal dental and physical wellness.

Why is it so important?

Dental issues can wreak havoc. They can cause oral discomfort and pain and left untreated, one problem can lead to another. What many people don’t realize, however, is that oftentimes dental problems can also cause health issues throughout your entire body. Some physical symptoms that may be alleviated with proper dental treatment include:

  • Headaches
  • Unexplained shoulder, neck or back pain
  • Insomnia or other difficulty sleeping
  • Snoring or sleep apnea
  • Stiff, sore jaw
  • Frequent fracturing of teeth

The Records Process is also necessary for patients looking to improve their smile and undergo any dental cosmetic treatments like veneers or esthetic crowns and implants.

During the process

During the Records Process we evaluate your muscles, jaw, teeth and gums and their relationship with one another. We take a series of images to help us spot any potential problems and we take impressions of your teeth in order to see how everything is working and moving together.

The Records Process allows Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff to carefully evaluate and analyze each patient’s mouth and detect and consequently treat any problems they discover. The process also helps us enact proper preventative measures for a healthy mouth and body. For some patients, there can be so many treatment options that the Records Process really helps them define and visualize all the possibilities!

Are you experiencing symptoms that you think may be mouth-related? Are you experiencing any of the above-listed symptoms that you didn’t realize could be mouth-related? Give us a call to schedule an evaluation at 651.482.8412!

Don’t Toss the Floss: Gum Disease and Its Possible Link to Heart Disease and Other Diseases

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

It has long been concluded that people with poor oral health have higher rates of cardiovascular disease than people with good oral health. Many studies have been done to this end, specifically looking at gum disease and its effect on the heart. Let’s take a look at the various facets of this phenomenon.

What is gum disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue. Left untreated, gum disease can cause a breakdown of the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth and lead to eventual tooth loss.

Symptoms of gum disease include persistent bad breath, inflamed gums, receding gums, extremely sensitive teeth, pain when chewing and loose teeth or changes in your bite.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease or cardiovascular disease is a narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. Advanced heart disease can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of heart disease can include chest pain, fatigue, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, impaired thinking or confusion and edema.

What’s the connection?

While the two conditions may seem unrelated, a 2010 article in PubMed Central, a biomedical and life sciences journal, found that gum disease increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%.

A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also acknowledges this connection. They discovered that people with both heart disease and gum disease, when receiving proper care for gum disease, incurred 10-40% lower cardiovascular care costs than people with untreated gum disease.

After these and a vast number of additional studies over the past two decades, both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) acknowledge that a relationship between these two conditions certainly exists.

Theories

So what is the nature of this connection? There are a number of theories. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Bacteria in the oral cavity travels to the blood vessels and eventually leads to narrowing and blockage.
  • Inflammation, as opposed to bacteria, is the culprit. It sets off an inflammatory reaction throughout the body.
  • There is no direct connection. The association is the result of a third factor such as smoking, lack of healthcare access, lack of exercise etc.

So is the connection a matter of association or causation? Much more research is needed to make this determination. Either way, however, gum disease must be taken seriously. By itself, it can have detrimental effects on your oral health and in one way or another, often leads to cardiovascular disease, resulting in strokes, heart attacks and even death.

How can I prevent gum disease?

There are a number of ways to protect yourself from the negative effects of gum disease.

  • Brush regularly. See our recent post on breaking bad brushing habits here!
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Drink fluoride-containing water and use mouthwash regularly.
  • Avoid smoking, vaping and tobacco.
  • Manage diabetes for healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Visit our dental team for regular checkups.
  • Enjoy a diet low in sugar and high in vegetables, fiber and plant-based proteins.
  • Watch for early signs of gum disease and see us at Eggert Family Dentistry if you experience any symptoms.

If you’re concerned about the negative effects of gum disease on your oral health and overall health, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff would love to meet with you! You can make an appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry by calling us at 651.482.8412.

8 Bad Brushing Habits

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Maybe you’ve heard this clever little saying: You don’t have to brush all of your teeth. Only the ones you want to keep. While that is true in a great sense – the powerful effects of brushing cannot be underestimated – it doesn’t address the heart of the matter: There is a difference between proper and improper brushing. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we educate our patients on this difference and encourage good brushing habits while helping you break the bad ones! Here are some bad habits to break when brushing your teeth that can ultimately cause more harm than good.

Using a brush with hard bristles

Hard bristle brushes can irritate gums and cause them to recede, exposing roots and inducing sensitivity. They can also wear away enamel. When you buy your next brush, opt for a “soft” brush as opposed to a “medium” or “hard” one.

Using the wrong size brush

Brush heads come in a variety of sizes. If you have a smaller mouth and are brushing with a larger brush, you may not be able to brush the plaque out of the recesses of your mouth. When plaque builds up, cavities form and gum disease can set in. Make sure your toothbrush is proportional to your mouth. Sometimes a smaller brush head can help you get into the “nooks and crannies” a little better.

Brushing right after eating

Brushing after eating is a good thing, right? Keep in mind that acidic foods and beverages can soften enamel. If you brush softened enamel it can cause accelerated wear and tear on your teeth. It is best to wait until your saliva has had a chance to neutralize the pH in your mouth before you bust out the toothbrush. Usually an hour or so will do it. Then brush away!

Storing your toothbrush in a closed container

When you’re done brushing, where do you store your toothbrush? If you put it in a travel toothbrush case or other enclosed container, you might think you’re protecting it from germs. In reality however, when your toothbrush doesn’t get a chance to dry out, bacteria and mildew can form on the bristles. Store your toothbrush in a way that’s open to the air so it can dry out between uses.

Brushing too hard

Hard brushing, like brushing with a stiff-bristled toothbrush, can cause gums to prematurely recede, exposing roots and causing tooth sensitivity. Soft but thorough brushing is the secret to clean and healthy teeth and gums. “Small circular motions at the gumline…” these should be familiar instructions from your recare visits with us.

Using an old toothbrush

Worn bristles don’t clean as thoroughly. Are your bristles frayed or splayed? Swapping out your toothbrush every 3-4 months will help you get the best cleaning each time you brush.

Not brushing long enough

Many of us rush brushing so we can get out the door for work or get to bed. The ADA, however, recommends brushing for two minutes every time you brush. An easy way to keep track is to keep a timer on the bathroom counter and set it each time. Or you can play a song while you brush. Most songs last between two and three minutes and listening to one can definitely help time pass more quickly.

Not brushing the gum line

When brushing your teeth, don’t neglect your gum line. This is a place where food settles and bacteria can easily form. Ward off gum disease by placing your toothbrush at a 45° angle against your gums and brushing each tooth 15 to 20 times in that circular pattern we talked about earlier.

Eggert Family Dentistry wants you to get the most out of your daily brushing. Have you ever considered switching to an electric toothbrush? Check out our video here to learn more! If you have additional brushing questions, don’t hesitate to ask one of our fabulous hygienists at your next recare visit. Joanna, Lea, Shelly, and Cassie are here to help you! Read more about our hygienists here!

A New Smile with Veneers – Melanie’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Melanie is a long-time patient of the practice. In 2014, she talked with Dr. Elizabeth about improving the appearance of her smile. Two of her upper front teeth were shorter than she liked and she wanted to know her options for lengthening them. Dr. Elizabeth recommended doing either composite or porcelain veneers and discussed the two options with Melanie. At that time, Melanie decided to go with composite veneers, which are fabricated chairside and only require one appointment to complete. Before doing the composite veneers, Dr. Elizabeth created a wax mock-up of Melanie’s new teeth to show her what they would look like. After the composite veneers were done, Melanie was very happy with her smile and the look of her new teeth.

Melanie Before 2014

Fast forward 4 years…

Melanie is now engaged and wants to brighten her smile for her upcoming wedding. Unfortunately, composite veneers will stain over time and Melanie wanted to do more bleaching to brighten her whole smile. She wanted to know what her options were for professional whitening, as she knew that at-home bleaching wouldn’t work on her existing composite veneers. Dr. Elizabeth explained to Melanie that even professional treatments wouldn’t whiten her veneers, but there were other treatment options she could consider to achieve her desired results.

Melanie 2018 Before

What was involved?

Dr. Elizabeth developed a treatment plan for Melanie that consisted of three phases. The first was to get Melanie’s teeth into the proper position in preparation for the restorative work that would be done in the final phase. Melanie had started developing some spacing between her upper front teeth, so Dr. Elizabeth made her a retainer that was designed specifically to close this spacing. Melanie was very compliant in wearing her retainer as instructed and after four weeks, the space was closed and she was ready for the next phase of her treatment. To get Melanie’s natural teeth to her desired shade, Dr. Elizabeth recommended Zoom whitening, our in-office whitening treatment. This procedure is completed in a single session and provides fast, dramatic results. Melanie was very happy to see that the Zoom whitening system brightened her natural teeth by five full shades. Dr. Elizabeth then completed Melanie’s treatment by replacing her existing composite veneers with porcelain veneers that matched the shade of her newly whitened teeth.

Melanie 2018 After

What does she think?

Melanie said she was surprised by how quickly her treatment was able to be completed, as she had initially expected it would be a long process. She said she also felt well-informed and involved in her treatment plan.

“Dr. Eggert and her team were great about explaining the whole process and making sure I was involved throughout my treatment to make the outcome exactly what I wanted.” When asked what she would say to someone considering similar treatment, Melanie said, “I would definitely recommend talking to Dr. Elizabeth about your options! You smile every day and it’s such a great feeling to be proud of your smile.”

We are so happy that we could help give Melanie a smile she is proud to show off when she gets married next month! Congratulations, Melanie!

The Many Ways Pregnancy Affects Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we believe that knowledge is power. That’s why we think it’s important that women understand the many ways pregnancy can affect their oral health. Equipped with this knowledge, it’s easier for women to be proactive with prenatal dentistry and work with vigilance to prevent serious dental issues. Below are some common dental issues women can encounter during pregnancy and some ways they can be treated or prevented.

Pregnancy gingivitis

The CDC reports that 60-75% of expectant mothers experience this condition which is characterized by swollen, tender, bleeding gums. Left untreated, pregnancy gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, or gum disease, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Teeth erosion

As cited in our last post, 60-70% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Between higher progesterone levels which create more acid in the mouth and vomiting from morning sickness, tooth erosion is a real prenatal concern. Swishing your mouth with water or alcohol-free mouthwash will help reduce acid buildup on teeth. Just be sure to wait to brush for at least 40 minutes after vomiting since stomach acid softens enamel and brushing too soon can actually damage teeth further.

Dry mouth

When a woman is pregnant, her body stores more water to accommodate increased blood volume. As a result, bacteria build up in her mouth, putting her at an increased risk for oral disease and causing bad breath. So what helps? Drinking lots of water and sucking on sugar-free candies are two easy ways for an expectant mother to keep her mouth hydrated and reduce bacteria buildup.

Gum disease

Periodontitis is a form of gum disease in which the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth are destroyed. Caused by bacteria festering within the gum tissues, periodontitis can lead to low birth weight and premature birth. It’s easily preventable, however, with regular, thorough brushing and flossing and regular professional dental interventions. Periodontitis doesn’t always have obvious signs or symptoms and is nearly impossible to self-diagnose until it’s at a very severe state. Therefore, it’s important to see Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth at your recommended interval. 

Bone loss

Mothers nourish their growing babies by maintaining a healthy diet. Growing babies require a tremendous amount of calcium to grow healthy teeth and bones. When a pregnant mother isn’t taking enough calcium into her diet, her body will pull calcium from her teeth, jaw and other bones to nourish her baby. To prevent pregnancy-induced bone loss, moms-to-be must consume plenty of calcium-rich foods.

Loose teeth

As a result of fluctuating hormonal changes and the way in which those changes impact tissues and bones, pregnant women oftentimes notice that some of their teeth become loose. It’s important for women in this situation to make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff right away so they can protect the integrity of their teeth and gums.   

We champion women’s oral health at Eggert Family Dentistry. If you’re pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, we would love to see you in our office for a routine dental exam. Give us a call to schedule your appointment at 651.482.8412!

Nutrition Tips for Pregnancy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

At no other time in a woman’s life is nutrition as important as when she is eating both for herself and for her unborn baby. A growing baby requires a high concentration of vitamins and minerals – nutrients that will largely determine his or her health at birth and in certain capacities, for the rest of his or her life. That being said, healthy eating is critical during pregnancy…and it all begins with knowing the facts.

If you’re an expectant mother, consider these important tips for a nutritious diet:

Eat a rainbow every day.

You’ve likely heard this advice before but it couldn’t be more true. Incorporating a wide variety of healthy foods into your daily diet ensures that you and baby receive a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Make an effort to include fruits and veggies, whole grain breads and crackers, dairy products and proteins every day – and as many as you’re able – into each meal.

Dental detail: Your growing baby requires a good amount of calcium for growing bones and teeth and will take calcium from your bones and teeth if your diet doesn’t provide an ample amount. Don’t neglect dairy, especially during pregnancy!

Reduce your sugar intake.

This may mean putting your sweet tooth in its place if it’s getting a bit out of hand! Saying no to high-sugar foods like cookies, cake, ice cream and pop in favor of fruit, naturally sweetened foods and beverages, yogurt and nuts will help ward off gestational diabetes and ensure that you’re giving baby calories that count.

Dental detail: Sugary foods and beverages eat away at tooth enamel. Choose healthy substitutions as often as possible and be sure to brush, floss and rinse your mouth after consuming sugar.

Drink more water!

Hydration is of heightened importance during pregnancy. An expectant mom’s body demands more fluids to accommodate increased blood volume. Conversely, dehydration can lead to contractions and preterm labor. Milk is also a healthy, calcium-rich choice!

Dental detail: Choosing fluoridated water whenever possible is an investment in your mature teeth as well as in baby’s developing teeth. Fluoride strengthens enamel and creates a protective surface around teeth that helps ward off sugars and acids that threaten their integrity. Extra water will also help stave off pregnancy-induced gingivitis.

Seek out sources of folic acid.

In order to prevent serious birth defects such as spina bifida, make sure you consume a minimum of 600 mg of folic acid in your diet each day. Good sources of folic acid include asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, beans, oranges, strawberries, bananas, fortified cereals and grains…among many others!


Dental detail: Many fruits and veggies high in folic acid are also high in calcium – broccoli, spinach, kale, oranges…A dental win-win!

Take prenatal vitamins.

You only get one chance to grow your baby healthy. Because it’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrition you and baby need from diet alone, taking a daily prenatal vitamin is a smart choice.

Dental detail: Prenatal vitamins are loaded with many vitamins and minerals including ample calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and vitamin A – building blocks of healthy mature and developing teeth.

If you’re expecting or planning on getting pregnant and would like to learn more about nutrition for growing and maintaining healthy teeth, we would love to discuss this with you at your next appointment. You can make your next appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry by calling us at 651.482.8412 or by connecting with us online!

Dental Care Before, During and After Pregnancy

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can impact a woman’s body in a number of ways. Nausea, stuffy nose, mood swings, loose ligaments…the list goes on! What many women don’t realize, however, is the impact that pregnancy has on oral health. In this post, we look at some proactive approaches to good oral health before, during and after pregnancy.

Before Pregnancy

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recommend a thorough dental screening if you plan to become pregnant in the near future. At this appointment, we will clean your teeth, inspect your gum tissue and address any outstanding dental issues. Also, if you’re interested in pursuing any elective dental procedures, this is the time to schedule them!

During Pregnancy

  • Routine dental care during pregnancy is perfectly safe. In fact, because women are more prone to gingivitis and periodontal disease during pregnancy, we highly recommend routine visits! Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can also attend to any urgent dental matters during pregnancy. 
  • On account of increased blood flow to gum tissue, pregnant women often experience tender, swollen, bleeding gums. Pay close attention to your gum tissue and stay the course with regular brushing and flossing. If you think you are dealing with pregnancy gingivitis, make an appointment with us so we can monitor your gum health and help you prevent ensuing gum disease and tooth loss. Sometimes coming in for more frequent cleanings makes a huge difference in gum health.
  • If you’re struggling with morning sickness, you’re not alone. In fact, 60-70% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If this is the case for you, regular brushing is even more critical. Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after vomiting, however, to help neutralize acid before brushing. If you’re turned off by the strong taste of toothpaste, switching to a bland toothpaste can help! Or, even brushing with water alone is better than nothing.
  • Eat healthy. As difficult as it can be to resist pregnancy junk food cravings, avoiding sugar can reduce your risk of pregnancy-induced tooth decay. Also, including foods rich in calcium helps your baby develop healthy teeth, gums and bones.

After Pregnancy

Schedule a postnatal visit to assess the health of your teeth and gums and to address any previously undetected pregnancy-related dental issues.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we get women’s health. We partner with you throughout your pregnancy journey to help you maintain optimal dental wellness! To schedule a visit, you can contact us at 651.482.8412 or connect with us online.

Fillings: Why Replace Them?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Just like other dental work, fillings can age over time. With age, uncomfortable or unsightly problems can present themselves. Old fillings can also become chipped or fall out which leave vulnerable teeth exposed and prone to decay and cavities. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we frequently replace old fillings. Here’s an up-close look at a couple recent scenarios where we did just that:

Oftentimes, fillings start to leak and decay underneath. The best way to see this is by looking at x-rays of teeth. However, decay can occasionally be spotted from the oral exam. Here is an example of an older amalgam filling that looks okay to the naked eye but x-rays reveal otherwise.

After removing the amalgam, the darkened, decayed areas are visible.

Here’s a photo of the tooth after the decay is removed.

After the new composite tooth-colored filling is complete, this is the result.

Staining on anterior composites can happen on account of the age of the fillings, diet or decay on the teeth. Before replacing anterior fillings, make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff to be sure the teeth are healthy. Make sure your teeth are your preferred shade/color before your new fillings are placed.

If you’re concerned that you have old fillings in need of replacement, contact Eggert Family Dentistry at 651.482.8412. We would be happy to set up an appointment with you to determine the condition of your fillings.