Why Choose Eggert Family Dentistry for Your Child’s Dental Care

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

When it comes to your child’s dental health, choosing the right dentist is crucial. At Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN, Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert provide comprehensive dental care tailored for the entire family, including children. With our extensive experience and a deep understanding of dental health from infancy through adulthood, we offer a comforting and thorough approach to pediatric dental care in addition to adolescent and adult care. Our practice is equipped with the latest technology and designed to create a welcoming environment for young patients, ensuring that your child feels at ease during every visit.

One of the key advantages of bringing your child to Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert is our ability to monitor your child’s growth and development from an early age. Unlike pediatric dentists who might be well versed to take care of extensive childhood decay in a hospital setting, since they focus solely on children, they don’t always have the perspective of what happens in adulthood if some disorders are left untreated.  The Eggert’s bring a family-focused perspective that allows us to see the bigger picture of your child’s dental health in the context of the entire family’s oral care and development. By having your child visit the same dentist from a young age, you can ensure that their development is continuously monitored, and any potential issues are identified and addressed promptly.

Parents often face the dilemma of choosing between a general family dentist and a pediatric specialist for their children. While pediatric dentists have specialized training in child-specific dental issues, especially when related to severe decay on primary teeth, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert’s broad expertise means they can provide high-quality care that meets the needs of your entire family. We are happy to start seeing your child before the age of 1 years old, but for children over the age of 8, it is especially beneficial for them to see Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth because this is a crucial time for growth and it allows for a consistent approach to dental health. We can track developmental milestones and intervene early if necessary. This continuity of care can lead to better long-term dental health outcomes for your child.

Moreover, our practice is designed to make dental visits a positive experience for children. We use child-friendly language and techniques to help young patients understand the importance of dental hygiene without feeling intimidated. The warm and inviting atmosphere at Eggert Family Dentistry, combined with our gentle approach, helps in building a positive relationship with dental care from an early age. Choosing Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert at Eggert Family Dentistry ensures that your child receives personalized, attentive care that will set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.  Call us today at 651-482-8412 to schedule your child’s next dental visit!

The Impact of Healthy Childhood Habits on Airway and Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

In many ways, the stage for lifelong health is set in childhood. Often overlooked amid the busyness of parenting, mouth-breathing can affect your child’s airway and oral health and affect their quality of life. As a parent, you are your child’s biggest advocate. That’s why we want to take some time to educate you on the topic of airway and oral health, including signs to watch for and what you can do if you suspect your child’s airway is compromised.

Contributing factors that affect airway and oral health

While it may be necessary during allergy season or when fighting a head cold, long-term mouth-breathing will result in airway issues or sleep-disordered breathing.

Certain malformations such as crooked, misaligned teeth, improper jaw alignment, a narrow palate, and abnormalities of the head or skull can also make nasal breathing difficult. Children who deal with these challenges often unknowingly default to mouth-breathing. Interestingly, sometimes it’s a matter of what comes first – the chicken or the egg, because in children who mouth breathe, their development will occur in a more vertical pattern, resulting in the malformations noted above. This also makes things more difficult the longer we wait for intervention.

When your child breathes through their nose, their body filters toxins and debris through the nose’s cilia. Nasal breathing also helps the body produce nitric oxide, which makes it easier for the lungs to absorb oxygen. Plus, nasal breathing warms and humidifies the air in the nasal cavity, keeping the tonsils and adenoids moist and healthy.

Mouth-breathing, on the other hand, dries out tonsils and adenoids, making them irritated and inflamed and exacerbating breathing issues. A dry airway is also more prone to collapsing, and will cause childhood sleep apnea.

Additionally, mouth-breathing deprives your child of oxygen by up to 20% and increases CO2 levels in their blood.

Over time, stressors resulting from mouth-breathing can even lead to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, lung malfunction, and enlargement of the right ventricle of the heart.

How do I know if my child is a mouth-breather or dealing with an airway obstruction?

When a child is mouth-breathing, their mouth is drier and doesn’t have adequate saliva to protect their teeth and gums against damaging bacteria. The increased presence of bacteria often results in more plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease. Generally, if the lips are apart, breathing is occurring through the mouth instead of through the nose.

  • Some additional signs that your child may be mouth-breathing as opposed to nasal breathing include:Snoring
  • Poor speech
  • Halitosis
  • Dry lips
  • Bedwetting
  • Fatigue/dark circles under the eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Academic struggles
  • ADHD symptoms
  • Forward head posture (bent neck)
  • Sleeping with their neck extended

The role of healthy childhood habits on airway and oral health

Fortunately, as a parent, you’re not a helpless bystander when it comes to detecting airway issues in your child…or when it comes to helping prevent them. There are many healthy habits you can help your child develop that will decrease their risk.

If you notice your child mouth-breathing, encourage them to breathe through their nose instead. Sometimes, children continue to mouth-breathe long after a cold or allergies have subsided. Consider teaching your child relaxing nasal breathing techniques they can practice during the day and while they’re falling asleep at night. Always think “tongue up, lips sealed, breath goes in through the nose.”

Encourage your child to eat healthy and stay hydrated. Healthy food is an important part of keeping your child’s immune system strong. Proper hydration ensures adequate saliva production, which keeps your child’s oral biome healthy.

Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep. Just like healthy food, good sleep helps strengthen weak immune systems and keeps healthy immune systems strong!

Make sure your child stays active. Physical activity strengthens the respiratory system.

Encourage your child to brush and floss their teeth every day. It reduces the buildup of bacteria in your child’s mouth that could irritate their airways.

The importance of regular recare visits

Last but certainly not least, perhaps the most important thing you can do to help your child prevent airway issues and ensuing long-term health issues is to schedule regular recare visits at Eggert Family Dentistry! We recommend starting your child’s recare visits before their first birthday! Our recare visits are thorough! We go above and beyond simply looking for cavities and cleaning your child’s teeth. In addition to cavities, we look for various dental problems that can be linked to airway issues or sleep-disordered breathing. These dental problems include:

  • Bruxism
  • Functional tooth wear and fractures
  • Erosive tooth wear
  • TMD/myofascial pain
  • Malocclusion, especially anterior open bite and crossbite
  • Facial development
  • Periodontal disease
  • Abfractions
  • Impacted teeth
  • Orthodontic or orthognathic relapse

If Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert is suspicious your child is struggling with airway issues or sleep-disordered breathing, they may suggest a myobrace appliance, which is kind of like a mouthguard, to correct their bite and facilitate nasal breathing. In some cases, they will refer your child to an ENT.

Being proactive is key. When you partner with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert for your child’s dental care, they help your child grow up healthier and have an optimal quality of life. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recognize that airway and oral health are critical for lifelong physical health and self-esteem and set your child up for academic and athletic success throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Call us today at 651.482.8412 to set up your child’s next recare visit in our office!

Want to learn more?

If you’re interested in the connection between dental problems and airway issues, we highly recommend these books:

  • Sleep Interrupted by Steven Park, MD
  • The Chronic Cough Enigma by Dr. Jamie Koufman
  • No More Allergies, Asthma or Sinus Infections by Dr. Lori Jones
  • Close Your Mouth by Patrick McKeown
  • The Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown

“Say Cheese!” – Composite Bonding and Veneers – Grace and Abigail’s Stories

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

What happens when you are young, undergoing orthodontics, and there is what we call a “space/size discrepancy?”  A “space/size discrepancy” is when teeth are narrower than the space your tongue and muscles need to function properly. When this occurs, it usually is best to allow your tongue to have the space, otherwise the teeth will move later and orthodontic relapse is guaranteed.  What this means, however, is due to the narrow shape of the teeth, spaces between the teeth will be present.  Luckily, Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert of North Oaks, MN have great solutions for this situation.  Generally, we need to change the shape of the teeth with restorations and close these spaces.  With young patients, due to expected changes in growth and development over time, we often recommend composite bonding, also known as composite veneers.  This procedure allows for the perfect smile.  This month, we share two patient stories – Grace and Abigail.  Both of these lovely young ladies found themselves in this situation, with spaces between teeth after orthodontics due to a “space/size discrepancy.”  With composite veneers done by Dr. Elizabeth, they now have the confidence they need when it’s time to “Say Cheese!”

How did this start? – Grace

Grace came to us already in the middle of her orthodontic treatment.  She had been going to the pediatric clinic and her orthodontist, Dr. DeVoe, informed her and her family that she would have spaces present between her teeth after orthodontics.  They were told that the pediatric dentist wasn’t prepared to handle this situation and through friends found Dr. Elizabeth.  Her first appointment with Dr. Elizabeth was to verify her current status.  Dr. Elizabeth suggested a few movement tweaks she wanted from Dr. DeVoe before the braces came off.  Dr. Elizabeth then confirmed tooth positions and the braces were ready to come off.


Composite Bonding and Veneers

What did she want?

Grace had spacing around her upper lateral incisors due to the narrow shape of her laterals.  While spaces like this don’t have a negative impact on your oral health, they can affect confidence and speech.  Grace wanted her teeth to be fuller and the spaces closed.  She also noticed that her gum tissue was very thick and “bulbous” in the area of the spaces when the braces came off and she was hoping this could be fixed as well.  Finally, Grace wondered about the color of her teeth, noting that she was hoping her teeth could be brighter.

What was involved?

The first thing to address was the gum tissue.  Dr. Elizabeth suggested that Grace use a rubber-tip tool to stimulate her gums for a few weeks.  The extra gum stimulation allowed Grace’s thick gum tissue to heal and shrink.  Grace was dedicated to using her rubber-tip tool and the results were beautiful and healthy gum tissue.  Alternatively, a laser procedure could have been done for the gum tissue, but this was not needed for Grace!

To help Grace and her family visualize the end result, Dr. Elizabeth did a mock-up of what restorations for the front four teeth would look like and she was able to simulate this scenario in Grace’s mouth before moving to final restorations.  Dr. Elizabeth did a couple of simulations looking at what Grace’s tooth shape and size would be if restorations were only done for the lateral incisors vs having restorations placed on the front four teeth.  Being able to share spacing with 4 teeth instead of only 2 allowed Dr. Elizabeth not only to create more natural tooth width proportions, but also allowed her to increase the length of Grace’s central incisors a little as well.  Because Grace is still a teenager and will be moving into adulthood, Dr. Elizabeth recommended composite veneers at this time and discussed with her that she will likely want to move to porcelain veneers sometime in her life.

Grace started bleaching using over-the-counter white strips and shortly after the mock-up appointment, Grace and her mom returned for a two-hour procedure and in that short amount of time, Dr. Elizabeth bonded composite resin material to Graces front 4 teeth to change the tooth size and shape.  Like the mock-up, the composite filled in the gaps as well as lengthened Grace’s central incisors.

What does Grace think?

Grace was very pleased with her results.  “It went really well – and even better than I expected!  It was really worth it.  Also, it didn’t hurt at all!”  Grace was able to undergo the procedure without getting numb so she was very excited not to have to get a “dredded shot.”  Grace notes that she would tell her friends underoing a similar procedure not to worry at all, it goes really smoothly.

Grace After

How did this start? – Abigail

Abigail’s parents have been long-time patients of Dr. Elizabeth, but Abigail didn’t become a patient until the fall of 2017 as she had been going to the pediatric clinic.  She was interested in getting braces on and had questions about the gaps in her front teeth.  Dr. Elizabeth referred Abigail to Dr. Wahl, another local orthodontist for a consultation.  Abigail noted that she noticed herself clenching and grinding her teeth.  She also had a history of some speech issues because she was born with a tight connection of her tongue to the floor of her mouth.  This is also known as ankyloglossia, or tongue-tied.  What does a tongue-tie do to your teeth?  Most often, we see patients with untreated tongue and lip ties needing braces to properly align crowded, crooked teeth caused by a narrow palate.  Since the tongue is held so tightly to the floor of the mouth, it often can’t rest at the roof of the mouth and development and speech are affected. 

Abigail Before

What did she want?

Even after orthodontics, Dr. Wahl was not able to close the spaces between Abigail’s front four teeth because of her “space/size discrepancy.”  Abigail has undersized laterals as well as narrow central incisors and forward swallowing forces due to her tongue limitations.  Abigail preferred to have the spaces closed, however, to help improve her esthetics.  Orthodontics was able to improve her overall bite, as well as perfect the tooth positions before addressing the spacing with restorations. Improving her bite excited Abigail because she had a fair amount of jaw pain and occasionally she noticed that her jaw would lock up on her.

What was involved?

Once Dr. Wahl completed orthodontics, Dr. Elizabeth helped Abigail and her family visualize what was possible with restorations. Abigail and her parents weren’t sure they were ready to commit to 4 restorations, worrying about being conservative, as well as the overall investment.  Abigail also noted that “having smaller teeth is part of my identity.”  Dr. Elizabeth was concerned that by only addressing two teeth with restorations, that the lateral incisors would look wide and out-of-proportion.  She was also worried that by doing no restorations, Abigail’s teeth would continue to move over time, shifting to positions out of ideal function. Dr. Elizabeth suspected that this would cause Abigail’s jaw pain and jaw locking to return.  Therefore, Dr. Elizabeth waxed up and simulated both restoration options.  She did a simulation for 2 teeth only on Abigail’s left side and a simulation for 4 teeth on Abigail’s right side.  After some contemplation, Abigail and her family agreed that the spacing for only 2 restorations was not preferred and they agreed to complete 4 composite veneers.  Composite (resin) veneers can be used to correct gapped, chipped, poorly shaped, and stained teeth.  They can be created chairside and can often be placed in as little as one visit.

Abigail is known to breathe more through her mouth, this creates more plaque on the teeth, therefore, it is important to be especially diligent with brushing and flossing.  Dr. Elizabeth reminded Abigail of this throughout treatment because this will also help her future restorations be more successful.  The presence of plaque can lead to compromised esthetics, bonding, and overall outcome.  Abigail also still had to work hard on her tongue position to help keep her teeth from moving.  Abigail was great about doing tongue exercises with her speech therapist.

When she was ready, Abigail returned for a two-hour procedure and in that short amount of time, Dr. Elizabeth bonded composite resin material to Abigail’s front 4 teeth to change the tooth size and shape.  Like the mock-up, the composite filled in Abigail’s spacing.  Abigail did not do any bleaching before her composite veneer procedure, but she did want to go just slightly lighter with the shade for her restorations.  Also, the decision to move to 4 composite veneers was made after Abigail’s orthodontics had already come off.  If possible, Dr. Elizabeth would have liked a little more tooth movement to help Abigail’s central incisor gingival positions be more level.    

What does Abigail think?

Abigail is very pleased with her results.  She wasn’t really sure what she was getting herself into and was afraid that it was going to hurt.  But, in the end, she says “I am glad I did it and I would recommend it, my bite feels so much better and I am glad the veneers can help it stay that way.”  It’s so rewarding when we cannot only help people get out of pain, but when we can help create that winning smile while doing so!

Congratulations Grace and Abigail – you both look magnificent!  Thank you for putting your trust in us!  It’s always our pleasure to work with you!

“Invisalign Has Been Really Nice!” – Ashley’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Where did Ashley start?

Ashley came to Eggert Family Dentistry as a new patient in the fall of 2016 with pain in the areas of her wisdom teeth, also known as 3rd molars.  The panoramic image shown below shows the need to have her wisdom teeth extracted due to the impacted angle and their inability to erupt on their own.  They were also putting a lot of pressure on her erupted second molars. With the impaction, Ashley’s teeth were also becoming more crowded, which she didn’t like.  Dr. Jeff referred Ashley to an oral surgeon to have her wisdom teeth extracted and that took care of one problem.

Ashley was also experiencing tissue recession, mostly due to the crowding and current position of her teeth.  One option Dr. Jeff discussed with Ashley was the possibility for gingival grafting (gum-tissue grafting).  In a grafting procedure, tissue is added to the root surface to cover the root back up again and increase gingival height and thickness.  For Ashley, this may have worked, however, due to her crowding, the ability for the graft to last a lifetime was very unlikely.  Therefore, Dr. Jeff suggested Ashley consider orthodontically moving her teeth.  Ashely was most interested in Invisalign and had read about it from our blogs, learning that we do that procedure here at Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert.  Dr. Elizabeth met with Ashley and determined she would be a great candidate for Invisalign!

What was involved?

Ashley went through the “Invisalign Records Process.”  At that time, we took impressions and photos of her teeth and sent them to Invisalign so they could create a 3D simulation of how her teeth could move with Invisalign treatment.  Ashley was very happy with the simulation, which showed a significant improvement to her crowding.

During the Invisalign Records Process, Dr. Elizabeth also noted with Ashely a fair amount of muscle tension and while Ashley didn’t initially report having frequent headaches, throughout treatment, she noticed a difference in her tension and that she no longer was having headaches.  It is amazing how people learn to live with what ails them, but how much better they can feel working their way to healthy!

Ashley’s case was expected to consist of 28 aligners that she would wear 22 hours a day.  Ashley’s case called for a few “buttons,” which are attachments on the teeth.  Basically, these small buttons allow the Invisalign aligners to grip onto your teeth more effectively (similar to a traditional orthodontic metal bracket).  These attachments help move the teeth more effectively.  Ashley was very compliant and consistent in wearing her aligners as instructed and was able to complete her case after the expected 28 aligners, needing no refinements!

What does Ashley think?

When we asked Ashley what she thought about the Invisalign process, she said her only thought is that it was more appealing than getting traditional braces.  “It’s been really nice!  It has reduced my headaches and that was the biggest thing, and it has reduced the crowding too.”  She says that if she were discussing Invisalign with someone considering the treatment she would tell them, “It’s definitely worth it.  Don’t get discouraged the first few weeks; it gets better.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but it gets much better.”

We are so happy that we could help Ashley on her journey and fulfill our motto of providing “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles!”  Congratulations, Ashley on your wonderful results!

Eggert Family Dentistry: Supporting Future Leaders with Scholarships

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

For nearly 20 years, Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN, has proudly supported the aspirations of high school seniors through their dedicated scholarship program. This initiative reflects Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert’s commitment to investing in the future of their community. The scholarship program has evolved over the years, but its core mission remains the same: to recognize and reward deserving students for their hard work, achievements, and potential, especially those interested in a career in dentistry. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are still very thankful for the scholarships they received for college and dental school and therefore, they have made it their mission to “pay it forward” by supporting current high school students.

The scholarship program at Eggert Family Dentistry has grown significantly since its inception. Initially focused on a small group of candidates, the program now invites nominations from the entire community, aiming to reach a broader pool of talented students. Each year, the Eggert’s carefully review submissions to select one or two outstanding seniors who have demonstrated exceptional academic performance, community involvement, and a clear vision for their future. This comprehensive approach ensures that the scholarships are awarded to truly deserving individuals who are poised to make a positive impact in their chosen fields.

This year, Eggert Family Dentistry is excited to announce that they are still accepting applications for their 2024 scholarships until June 1, 2024. If you know a high school senior who exemplifies excellence and dedication, now is the time to nominate them. To submit a nomination, simply prepare a one-page summary detailing why this student deserves the scholarship. Include information about their high school accomplishments, future plans, and any relevant achievements. While the Eggert’s want to foster and nurture those considering a career in dentistry and therefore have a preference for students entering the dental field, they welcome and consider all nominations.

To nominate a deserving senior, email your submission to info@eggertfamilydentistry.com. The scholarship recipients will be announced at the end of the school year, providing an inspiring conclusion to their high school journey and a strong start to their future endeavors. The continuous acceptance of nominations throughout the year ensures that every deserving student has an opportunity to be considered.

For more information about the Eggert Family Dentistry scholarship program and its evolution over the years, please visit the Scholarship Winners scholarship page on their website. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff Eggert are passionate about supporting young leaders and are honored to contribute to their educational journeys. Your nomination could help a talented senior achieve their dreams, fostering the next generation of professionals and community leaders. Don’t miss this chance to make a difference in a young person’s life—submit your nomination today! Call our office with questions, 651-482-8412.

Raising Awareness: Oral Cancer and the Vital Role of Screenings at Eggert Family Dentistry

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

April marked Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a crucial time dedicated to highlighting the importance of early detection and prevention of this often fatal disease. At Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert took this opportunity to reinforce their unwavering commitment to your oral health. Throughout the month, they emphasized the importance of oral cancer screenings, which they incorporate into every recare check-up appointment.

Facts About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious condition that affected approximately 12,000 people in 2023. It can develop in any part of the mouth or throat, including the lips, tongue, and the floor of the mouth. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often detected in its later stages, leading to a lower survival rate. In fact, the five-year survival rate for oral cancer is only 68%. This makes early detection through regular screenings critically important. At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff use the latest technology and techniques to ensure any signs of oral cancer are caught as early as possible, significantly improving the chances of successful treatment.

One of the key messages during Oral Cancer Awareness Month is that anyone can be at risk for this disease. However, certain factors can increase your risk, including tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is now recognized as a significant risk factor for oropharyngeal cancers, which affect the back of the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils. The rise in HPV-related oral cancers has brought increased attention to the importance of the HPV vaccine as a preventive measure.

What is the HPV Vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is a powerful tool in the fight against oral cancer. It is known as Gardasil 9. It is most effective when administered before individuals become sexually active, which is why it is recommended for preteens, both boys and girls, starting at ages 11 to 12. However, the vaccine can still be beneficial for older teens and young adults up to age 26 who were not previously vaccinated. By ensuring your children receive the HPV vaccine, you can significantly reduce their risk of developing HPV-related cancers later in life.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff understand that cancer prevention begins with you and your ability to take proactive steps for your family’s health. They encourage you to discuss the HPV vaccine with your child’s healthcare provider and to follow through with the vaccination schedule. Vaccinations are typically available at your local healthcare provider’s office, community health clinics, and sometimes even through school-based programs.

In addition to promoting the HPV vaccine, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff emphasize the importance of maintaining regular dental check-ups. These appointments are not just for keeping your teeth clean but also for comprehensive health screenings, including oral cancer detection. By incorporating oral cancer screenings into every recare check-up, they ensure that you receive thorough evaluations that can catch potential issues early, when they are most treatable.

Oral Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder of the significant impact early detection and prevention can have on your health. By visiting Eggert Family Dentistry for your regular check-ups and ensuring your children receive the HPV vaccine, you are taking vital steps toward protecting yourself and your loved ones from the threat of oral cancer. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff Eggert are dedicated to providing you with the best care possible and are here to support you in maintaining a healthy, cancer-free life.

Call Eggert Family Dentistry today to make sure you have your family’s next recare visits scheduled. Summer is coming and the schedule fills fast, we want to help keep you on track for all your dental and oral health needs. 651-482-8412.

Smile Through Stress: Managing Mental Well-being for Better Oral Health

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Did you know that stress can affect your oral health?

Stress is, unfortunately, part of all of our lives. And while most people are aware of the effect stress can have on their physical health, often the link between stress and oral health isn’t as clear.

And yet stress can have a significant impact on your oral health. The effects of chronic stress can show up in your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaws as gum disease, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and more. Understanding how stress can affect your oral health is essential to maintaining a healthy smile.

Here, we’ll explore the effects of stress on oral health along with some practical strategies to manage stress and support your smile.

Stress and Oral Health: Unraveling the Connection

Learning to recognize the conditions caused or worsened by stress is vital to timely intervention. Chronic stress can lead to a number of oral health problems, including:

Bruxism: The Grind Behind Stress

Stress can cause tension in your jaw, which can lead to bruxism. Bruxism is a condition where you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. Many people with this problem are unaware of it as it happens most often while they are sleeping, however, it can even happen during the day without conscious awareness of it.

Because the force exerted while clenching or grinding is often much more than that exerted while chewing, it can result in significantly worn-down teeth, jaw pain, headaches, damage to dental restorations, and in many cases, even fractures.

If you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth, talk with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert in North Oaks, MN about obtaining a custom-fitted night guard to help protect your teeth from stress-related wear and tear.

Gum Disease: Stressing Out Your Gums

Stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and your gums more susceptible to inflammation and gum disease. Gum inflammation, bleeding, tenderness, and periodontal disease are more likely when you are under chronic stress.

If you notice your gums are red or swollen or that they bleed when you brush or floss, make an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert right away as bleeding in the gums is a sure sign of unwanted inflammation

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ): Stressing Over Your Jaw

TMD (or more commonly called “TMJ”) is a disorder affecting the jaw joint, causing symptoms like jaw pain, stiffness, clicking or popping, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth. Chronic stress can cause you to clench your teeth and jaw, which can stress the temporomandibular joints, leading to TMD. Lack of sleep due to stress can further exacerbate this issue.

If you notice any signs of TMD, speak with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert at Eggert Family Dentistry. Similar to bruxism, we may recommend an appliance to ease your jaw discomfort and protect your joints from wear.

Canker Sores: Stress Taking Its Toll Inside Your Mouth

Stress can also bring on canker sores inside your mouth, which can cause pain and discomfort. Canker sores are small round ulcers in your mouth, often found on the inside of your cheeks and lips or on your tongue and gums.

While these sores typically go away on their own, it’s helpful to understand what causes them and how to mitigate your discomfort while they heal. While the specific cause of canker sores is still unknown, there does seem to be a strong link between canker sores and stress.

If you experience canker sores, you can help manage your discomfort by:

  • Swishing a warm salt water solution around your mouth multiple times per day (8 oz warm water and 1 tsp salt)
  • Drinking cold liquids through a straw
  • Eating soft foods
  • Avoiding sugary, salty, spicy, acidic, or very hot foods
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing your teeth

When you are under significant stress, it can be tempting to neglect your regular oral hygiene routine. But maintaining routine brushing, flossing, and dental visits with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert is vital to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.

Managing Stress to Preserve Oral Health

In addition to maintaining a consistent oral health regimen, implementing some or all of the following healthy habits can help improve your body’s resilience to stress and support your oral health.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water. Maintaining adequate hydration helps support saliva production and overall oral health.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your daily diet. Limit sugary treats, caffeine, and alcohol — too much of these can exacerbate stress and negatively impact your oral health.

Get Regular Exercise

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, a natural stress reliever. Being active also helps promote better sleep, which aids in stress management and benefits your physical and dental health.

Prioritize Quality Sleep

Stick to a regular sleeping schedule to ensure adequate sleep. Establish a bedtime routine that helps you relax and ease tension in your jaw. This could include a jaw massage, gentle stretching, deep breathing techniques, or aromatherapy.

Implement Stress-Relief Techniques

Stress-relief techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, a warm bath, and yoga can help you unwind, relax your jaw, and lower overall stress levels. Experiment with a variety of stress-relief techniques to find the ones that work best for you.

Ask for Help

If stress feels overwhelming or becomes chronic, consider seeking professional support from a therapist or counselor who specializes in stress and anxiety management. Having someone to talk through stressful feelings with can be immensely beneficial to your mental and physical health (including your oral health!).

Stress and oral health are inextricably linked. Taking the time and energy to invest in your physical, mental, and emotional well-being leads to improved health and happiness, and a reduced likelihood of developing stress-related oral health issues.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we know your mental health affects your oral health and we believe they are equally important components of overall wellness. If you’re concerned your oral health is being compromised by stress or anxiety, we recommend making an appointment with your primary physician as well as with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert at 651.482.8412. We’re always here to help!

My Journey with Adult Orthodontics and Porcelain Veneers – Cathy’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

For over 20 years Cathy has been a loyal patient with Eggert Family Dentistry and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert.  Back in 2020 Cathy was having pain and she believed it to be due to her bony ridges growing on her lower right under her tongue.  These bony growths are known as tori.  Cathy noticed she had more pain in the evening and thought it was getting worse.  Typically, tori aren’t dangerous, but they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient.  They can also be linked to heavy forces being applied in your mouth.  Dr. Elizabeth explained to Cathy that her bone was likely continuing to grow due to the heavy forces her muscles were placing on her teeth and bones.  It was at that time that Cathy got serious about considering adult orthodontics because Dr. Elizabeth had mentioned the benefits of correcting her bite in the past and Cathy didn’t want to keep letting her muscles win!

What did Cathy want?

Cathy was not interested in removing the tori but was interested in Invisalign as an option for adult orthodontics.  It was determined after a consultation with Dr. DeVoe that conventional braces were a better option for Cathy and so she agreed to follow his professional advice.

What was involved?

During orthodontic treatment, the wear pattern on Cathy’s teeth became more apparent because Dr. DeVoe had to choose whether to align her front teeth at her gum line or at the biting surface.  Since Cathy shows a fair amount of gum tissue when she smiles, it was recommended to align the teeth at her gum level and change the tooth shapes with porcelain veneer restorations.  Dr. Elizabeth talked with Cathy about how she could elect to only restore her front teeth and about the advantages, including color matching and tooth proportions, of restoring her six anterior teeth.

Cathy decided she wanted to change her tooth color and shape for all six of her front teeth and so Dr. DeVoe and Dr. Elizabeth coordinated her final orthodontic movements to set her up for porcelain veneers.

Cathy at the end of her orthodontic treatment

Cathy wanted whiter teeth so Dr. Elizabeth recommended that Cathy undergo Zoom in-office whitening to brighten all her teeth so the porcelain veneers could be made to the same brighter color.  Cathy’s teeth responded well to the Zoom procedure.

Before and After Zoom Whitening

Once the whitening was completed, Dr. Elizabeth did a wax-up for Cathy to see what her teeth would look like once the restorations were completed.  A wax-up helps you be able to visualize the final outcome.  Dr. Elizabeth was also able to do a mock-up of the wax-up in Cathy’s actual mouth, using a plastic material.  This really helped Cahty see how the veneers would look before changing her teeth.  After only seeing the wax-up, Cathy thought it looked nice, but said “It is hard to know without seeing it in my mouth.”  Luckily, doing the mock-up worked and Cathy’s reaction was “Oh wow!”  She was very pleased and was ready to move forward with the preparation for the veneers.

Cathy’s Mock-up

What does Cathy think?

When asked what Cathy thought about her restorations before actually proceeding she said, “I was nervous about the prep and what that would be like.  I didn’t know how much tooth structure would be there, but I was also excited about correcting the teeth that were uneven.”  After all the treatment was completed, she said she is very pleased with her results.  When asked what she would say to a friend that has similar issues or is considering getting this type of treatment done she said, “I would say positive things about the outcome!  I would let them know about the time frame and the prep appointments.  It’s a commitment, but well worth it!”

Thank you Cathy for putting your trust in us!  We love your results and look forward to serving you for many years to come!

Cathy After

Revolutionizing Dentistry: The Benefits of iTero Scanning at Eggert Family Dentistry

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

In the ever-evolving landscape of dentistry, technology continues to play a pivotal role in enhancing patient care and experience. At Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN, Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert have embraced the cutting-edge iTero scanning system, revolutionizing the way dental procedures are conducted. With over a year of experience utilizing this advanced technology, the benefits are abundantly clear, making it an indispensable tool in our practice.

What can iTero do?

One of the most significant advantages of the iTero scanning system is its versatility. Drs. Jeff and Elizabeth Eggert harness its capabilities for a myriad of dental procedures, from Invisalign case scanning to full arch scans for occlusal (night) guards and partial dentures. This versatility streamlines the workflow, allowing for more efficient and precise treatment planning, ultimately leading to better outcomes for our patients.

Furthermore, the iTero scanner eliminates the need for traditional impression materials, which can be uncomfortable and messy. Instead, patients experience a non-invasive, hassle-free scanning process that provides highly accurate digital impressions. This not only enhances patient comfort but also reduces the likelihood of errors, ensuring the success of procedures such as crown and bridge placements. While we aren’t yet able to scan for every procedure, we find we are able to use impression material less and less. We are excited to be attending this year’s Minnesota Dental Association’s dental meeting where Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth as well as Tracy and Heather, our magnificent dental assistants, will take a class about 3D printing capabilities in dentistry to see if we are able to move from traditional stone models to resin-based, printed models for tooth case planning! This would definitely decrease the number of impressions we have to take!

An iTero scan for restorative work, like making a crown.

The ability to see is real!

Beyond its practical applications, the iTero scanning system serves as a powerful educational tool for patients. Our patients love the ability to visualize their dental anatomy in real-time because it fosters a deeper understanding of their oral health and treatment options. Drs. Jeff and Elizabeth Eggert can effectively communicate treatment plans, demonstrating the potential outcomes with greater clarity, leading to informed decision-making and increased patient satisfaction. Our assistants, Tracy and Heather, have become scanning professionals and our hygienists are experimenting and learning the skill as well. As our hygienists continue to practice, they will be able to add a scan to your occasional recare visit to help us better understand changes over time of recession and wear!

Here’s an example of how iTero can do a simulation of how the teeth may move with Invisalign treatment.

Moreover, the digital nature of iTero scans enables seamless collaboration between dental professionals. Whether consulting with specialists or dental laboratories, the ability to share accurate digital impressions facilitates a higher level of precision and efficiency in treatment planning and execution. This collaborative approach ensures that our patients receive the best possible care, with all aspects of their treatment meticulously coordinated.

Ask for your scan today!

The adoption of the iTero scanning system at Eggert Family Dentistry represents a significant leap forward in dental technology. Drs. Jeff and Elizabeth Eggert leverage its versatility, accuracy, and educational capabilities to enhance every aspect of patient care. As they continue to harness the power of this innovative technology, our patients can rest assured knowing that they are receiving the highest standard of dental treatment available. Ask your hygienist or dental assistant if there is time at your appointment to take advantage of a free iTero scan for your mouth. Call us today at 651-482-8412 to stay on track with your dental care and schedule your next recare visit!

Protecting Your Smile: Understanding Acidity and Dental Decay

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Acidity in food and drinks is not just a concern for your digestive system; it also poses a significant threat to your dental health. When you consume acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, sodas, and vinegar-based dressings, the acid attacks the enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth. Over time, this erosion weakens the enamel, leading to dental decay, cavities, and other oral health issues.

How to learn more about acidity?

At Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN, Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert are passionate about educating our patients about the harmful effects of acidity on dental health. By raising awareness about the link between acidity and tooth decay and tooth wear, we empower our patients to make informed choices about your diet and lifestyle. Armed with this knowledge, you can use your cell phone to easily access information about the acidity levels of various foods and drinks, helping you make healthier choices to protect your smile. Such an easy use of amazing technology! (And, maybe a nice way to keep your kids researching with their phones instead of always just playing games!)

What is pH?

The pH scale measures acidity, with lower pH values indicating higher acidity. You can utilize smartphone apps or online resources to look up the pH levels of different foods and beverages. One popular cell phone app that helps users learn about the acidity in their foods and beverages is “pH Scale & Acid Test.” This app provides a comprehensive database of pH values for a wide range of foods and drinks, allowing you to easily look up the acidity levels of various items.

Additionally, the app often includes user-friendly features such as color-coded ratings to indicate the acidity level of each item, making it simple for you to make informed choices about your diet and oral health. By choosing options with lower acidity (pH levels of 7 or more), such as water or milk, instead of highly acidic choices like soda or citrus juices, you can minimize the risk of enamel erosion and dental decay.

Here is a chart showing many acidic food and drink choices.

The growing popularity of “sour” candy

You may not realize, but sucking and chewing sour candies has become a popular and seemingly harmless treat, especially among young children. The American Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Association started a campaign in 2008 called “The Power of Sour” to help educate against this type of treat. Unfortunately, the popularity of sour candy keeps increasing and many adults have now jumped in on this trend. The acidity of these candies is increasing all the erosive tooth wear we see here at Eggert Family Dentistry. Teeth with acidic erosion will often look discolored, taking on a brown, yellow, or grey appearance. Teeth can also look sharp or rounded, depending on where the acid attack is occurring the mouth.

The following chart gives examples of popular sour candies.

We’re here to help! 

In addition to empowering patients with dietary guidance, Eggert Family Dentistry employs advanced technology to detect dental decay at its earliest stages. Enhanced radiographic technology, including digital radiograph sensors and a state-of-the-art CBCT machine, allows Drs. Jeff and Elizabeth Eggert to identify even the smallest signs of decay before they become more serious issues. Early detection enables prompt intervention, preserving tooth structure and preventing the need for more extensive treatments down the line.

By combining patient education with cutting-edge diagnostic tools, Eggert Family Dentistry prioritizes preventive care and early intervention in the fight against dental decay from acid attack! Drs. Jeff and Elizabeth Eggert are committed to helping you maintain healthy smiles for years to come, emphasizing the importance of acidity awareness and regular dental recare visits and check-ups. With proactive measures and informed choices, you can safeguard your dental health and help us fulfill our motto of providing “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles!” Call us today to ask your acidic food and drink questions! 651-482-8412.