Crown Longevity: How to Make Your Dental Crown Investment Last

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Teeth take a lot of wear and tear and over time, can become fractured, cracked, and decayed. Early intervention is the best way to save your tooth and prevent more serious issues. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert often recommend dental crowns for patients with these tooth issues. As we all know, any good investment is worth protecting, and crowns are no exception. It’s important to be proactive to ensure crown longevity.

What is a dental crown, and how does it work?

Before we get into details about how to care for your dental crown, let’s start by discussing what a crown is, how it’s created, and how it protects your tooth.

Although they can be fashioned from ceramic, metal, or a combination of the two, porcelain is the most popular and arguably the most effective material dentists use for crowns today. Porcelain is durable, feels the most natural, and is easily matched to the shade of your other teeth. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert agree that all-porcelain crowns are the best overall choice nearly all of the time.

After Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert removes any tooth decay and reshapes your tooth, they will take a digital image or putty impression. In most cases, your crown can be created the same day at our office using the CEREC scan. Occasionally, we will need to send your impression to a dental lab, for the fabrication of your crown and you will return to our office in a couple of weeks for the placement. In this case, you’ll leave your first visit with a temporary crown and instructions for proper care.

Think about your dental crown as a protective helmet for your tooth. It fits intimately on top of your compromised tooth and is securely cemented in place. It looks and acts just like a natural tooth.

In addition to supporting weak or decaying teeth, crowns:

  • Help hold dental bridges in place
  • Cover severely stained or discolored teeth
  • Protect a tooth after root canal treatment is completed to keep the tooth from splitting
  • Are part of the system to restore a dental implant when you’re missing a tooth

With proper care, your crown should last a decade or more!

How can I take care of my dental crown to ensure crown longevity?

We’ve already established that crowns are highly durable and, among other things, help strengthen weak teeth. But although they’re durable, they’re not indestructible. Here are some important steps you can take to get the most life out of your dental crown:

1. Keep up with daily dental care.

The importance of daily brushing and flossing cannot be underestimated. Plaque can still form on crowns! Brushing and flossing twice daily helps remove sticky plaque before it builds up and keeps your teeth looking their best. It also removes food particles that get trapped between the crown and the gumline, causing plaque build-up that leads to gingivitis or decay and can aid in crown longevity.

2. Avoid chewy, sticky, hard foods.

Do you like to crunch on ice or chew hard candies? Just like natural teeth, crowns can crack under extreme pressure. Even healthy foods like popcorn with kernels and pistachios in the shell can cause undue damage to your dental crown. Taffies, caramel apples, and other sticky foods can loosen your crown, making it easy for food particles to get underneath and cause decay. In some instances, chewy foods can dislodge crowns completely. If this happens, call our office right away!

3. Minimize acidic and sugary foods.

Acidic and sugary foods will erode enamel, but even if your tooth is protected with the porcelain of a dental crown, these substances can still easily cause decay and damage the tooth under your crown.

If you choose to indulge in these foods, make sure you are using impeccable dental hygiene at home and it is super important that you maintain a regular recare schedule with us at Eggert Family Dentistry so we can discover any compromise early and before major damage occurs..

On a side note, acidic and sugary foods will cause enamel to wear thin, resulting in tooth discoloration and darkening. Because your dental crown is color-matched to your natural teeth at the time of application, discoloration of your natural teeth will create a contrast between those and your crown and detract from its natural appearance.

4. Wear a night guard if you’re prone to teeth-grinding.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is detrimental to your teeth in several ways. In addition to headaches and a sore, tired jaw, bruxism can wear down enamel and even cause teeth to crack or chip. Although molars can withstand 200 lbs of pressure from regular biting and chewing, they have their limit and so do dental crowns. Fortunately, wearing a night guard can protect your natural teeth and promote crown longevity. If you think you may need a night guard, talk with Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert about that at your next recare visit.

5. Prioritize your recare visits at Eggert Family Dentistry.

Your oral health is our first priority. In addition to a tooth cleaning by our magnificent hygienists,  Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert will closely examine your teeth for any early signs of cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer. They will also perform annual x-rays, which can help spot early signs of infection and they will treat your teeth with fluoride to help remineralize them and prevent cavities. And, a recare visit wouldn’t be complete without a thorough inspection of any existing dental work, including dental crowns, to make sure they’re intact and functioning properly.

When it comes to oral health, prevention is always the best approach. If you haven’t been keeping up with your recare visits or have any dental concerns, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert are happy to see you in our office. Call Eggert Family Dentistry at 651.482.8412 to schedule your next appointment.

How Long Can You Expect Your Dental Crown to Last?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Dental crowns are a popular solution for restoring damaged or weakened teeth, providing both strength and aesthetic appeal. One common question patients ask us nearly every day is: How long will my dental crown last? While the longevity of a crown can vary depending on various factors, including materials used and oral hygiene practices, it’s generally expected that a well-maintained crown can last for many years, sometimes even decades.

Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert of Eggert Family Dentistry in North Oaks, MN, understand the importance of creating durable and long-lasting dental crowns. Their commitment to quality craftsmanship and attention to detail ensures that patients receive crowns that are built to withstand the test of time. By using the latest technology and highest quality materials, emax or zirconia porcelain crowns, they can create crowns that blend seamlessly with your natural teeth and provide exceptional durability.

What Are Some Reasons Crowns Need to be Replaced?

It’s essential to note that the lifespan of a dental crown also depends on the patient’s oral hygiene habits and lifestyle choices. Even the most well-crafted crown can fail prematurely if not properly cared for. That’s why Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. By brushing and flossing daily and visiting our office for routine cleanings and exams, patients can significantly extend the lifespan of their dental crowns.

Additionally, patients should be mindful of habits that could potentially damage their crowns, such as chewing on hard objects or using their teeth as tools. These actions can put undue stress on the crown and increase the risk of cracks or fractures. By avoiding these habits and practicing good oral care, patients can maximize the longevity of their dental crowns and minimize the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth most often see crowns needing to be replaced due to decay. Unfortunately, even though a crown protects a tooth, there is still a lot of tooth structure present that can decay if subjected to the sugars and acids that attack teeth and cause cavities. Dry mouth, or lack of saliva, also is a huge culprit for decay so patients that have dry mouth should be sure to talk to us about methods that can help. Occasionally, crowns will fracture just like teeth do. Typically this occurs more often in patients with unstable bite forces or who tend to put a lot of pressure on their teeth.

What Happens to Replace a Crown?

In cases where a crown does need to be replaced, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert offer comprehensive solutions tailored to each patient’s needs. Whether it’s due to normal wear and tear or unexpected damage, they utilize their expertise and advanced techniques, like our CEREC same-day crown fabrication techniques, to ensure a seamless and comfortable restoration process. Replacing a crown is similar to undergoing the crown procedure the first time. We will get the area numbed up for comfort and carefully remove the old crown, remove any decay, and prepare the tooth for the new crown. With our dedication to patient satisfaction and long-term oral health, Eggert Family Dentistry is committed to helping patients enjoy the benefits of their dental crowns for years to come.

Have More Questions About Crowns?  Call Us Today!

While the exact lifespan of a dental crown can vary, patients can expect their crowns to last for many years with proper care and maintenance. By choosing a reputable dental practice like Eggert Family Dentistry and following our guidance on oral hygiene and lifestyle habits, patients can enjoy the functional and aesthetic benefits of their crowns for as long as possible. Remember, a healthy smile starts with good habits and regular dental care. Call us today at 651-482-8412 to set up your next appointment.

Vaping: What Every Parent and Teen Should Know

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Most teenagers are averse to the taste and smell of cigarettes, and we’ve seen a sharp decline in cigarette use among teens in recent decades (it’s helped that smoking cigarettes has fallen “out of style”). However, the lure of smoking is still just as strong as it was in the 20th century – it just looks a little different.

E-cigarettes or “vapes” are electronic devices that heat nicotine and disperse it as an aerosol. There is no smoke or tobacco involved, so many teenagers have been led to believe that vaping isn’t as bad for you.

Regardless of whether or not they realize it, the #1 problem of vaping is still the exact same as smoking: Nicotine is one of the most addictive chemicals on the planet.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, our patient’s health and well-being are our top priority, and we are here to support you in any way we can. Here’s what you and your teenager need to know about vaping.

Who’s Vaping and Why?

A 2022 study released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 2.55 million U.S. middle and high school students reported current e-cigarette use in 2022. That number represents 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students.

Students vape because of three main reasons:

  1. Many teens believe vaping is less harmful than smoking.
  2. E-cigarettes have a lower per-use cost than traditional cigarettes.
  3. Youths and adults find the lack of smoke appealing. With no smell, e-cigarettes reduce some of the stigma of smoking.

It’s true that vaping is thought to be less harmful to the lungs than inhaling smoke, however, research is still being done and due to all the chemicals involved with e-cigarettes, the evidence isn’t clear.  However, if this is the reason your teen cites to defend their vaping addiction, tell them that it’s also true that knives are less harmful than guns. That said, we still wouldn’t want to be faced with either.

Additionally, nicotine as an aerosol comes with its own serious health risks — not only does the vapor contain a known pesticide, but there are hundreds of chemicals present in aerosols that have yet to be identified. We don’t yet know all the side effects and risks.

Side Effects and Dangers of Vaping

What we know for sure is that E-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals such as:

  • Formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer.
  • Acrolein which is used as a weed killer and can cause irreversible lung damage.
  • Flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease.
  • Volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust.
  • Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.
  • Nicotine, which is highly addictive and damaging to the brain.

Just like smoking, there are two sets of side effects when it comes to vaping. One category of side effects has to do with the physical act of inhaling chemicals/vapor into the lungs (vaping). The other category has to do with becoming a nicotine addict.

Side Effects of Vaping:

Because vaping is relatively new, researchers don’t yet know all the effects vaping can have on your body. What we do know, though, is alarming enough:

  • Difficulty Breathing: The particles you inhale while vaping can cause inflammation (swelling) and irritation in your lungs, making it harder to catch your breath.
  • Asthma: Vaping can make you more likely to get asthma and other lung conditions. It can also make your existing asthma worse.
  • Lung Scarring: Diacetyl, a chemical used in some flavorings, can cause bronchiolitis obliterans (“popcorn lung”). Bronchiolitis obliterans causes permanent scarring in your lungs. That means that even if someone quits vaping, the negative effects of it will be with them for the rest of their lives.

Side Effects of Being a Nicotine Addict:

Any addictive substance is going to cause harm, but nicotine addiction can be especially harmful.

  • Nicotine Dependency: When you start vaping, it only takes a few days of consistent use before your brain starts to rely on the presence of nicotine in order to feel normal. Without a constant supply, nicotine addicts go into withdrawal and feel anxious, stressed, unsettled, irritable, and fidgety.
  • Inability to Focus: Nicotine is the one of the most addictive chemicals on the planet because it enters and leaves your system quickly, which is why smokers and vapers feel the need to smoke/vape every 20 minutes or so. This makes it noticeably more difficult to focus for prolonged periods of time. Whether you’re writing an essay, taking a test, drawing a picture, relaxing with friends, or watching a movie, so long as you are still vaping, your addiction will always make you feel the need to vape.
  • Increased Anxiety: The popular belief is that smoking and vaping can calm you down. Researchers know that the exact opposite is true: Nicotine spikes your heart rate and blood pressure, which is directly responsible for increasing anxiety.
  • Other Mood Disorders: Several studies have also found that nicotine addiction during adolescence is also associated with a higher risk of developing mental and behavioral problems during adulthood, including: major depressive disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder.

How Vaping Affects Your Oral Health

Nicotine, whether smoked or vaped, restricts blood flow to the gums, which can contribute to gum disease. The fluid in e-cigarettes only increases the risks. Other ways that nicotine and aerosol can harm your oral health include:

  • 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.
  • Damage to soft tissue/enamel: Propylene glycol is used as a carrier ingredient in e-liquid, propylene glycol has toxic effects on soft tissue and enamel. Additionally, e-liquid flavorings when added to vegetable glycerin cause a 27% decrease in the hardness and integrity of tooth enamel.
  • Receding Gums: Continued nicotine exposure causes reduced blood flow which can cause gum tissue to die and recede, exposing more of the tooth.
  • Tooth Decay/Loss: Exposed gums leads to tooth sensitivity, an increase in cavities, and in some cases, tooth loss.

The Bottom Line

Even if you believe your child would never use e-cigarettes or vapes, it’s important to talk to your teenager about vaping. Even those teens who manage to avoid peer pressure are still going to be exposed to vaping at some point in their lives. It’s important to make sure your child is prepared with the right information to make the correct decision.

Questions About Vaping and Your Oral Health?

Vaping poses significant risks to your oral and overall health. If you or a loved one are struggling to quit vaping or have any concerns about its effects on your oral health, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Eggert Family Dentistry. Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert are committed to providing comprehensive dental care to our patients and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at 651-482-8412 to schedule an appointment today, or to learn more about how we can help you and your teen maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

Quitting Smoking: Health Effects of Smoking and Cessation Resources

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Smoking is a dangerous habit that can have severe effects on both your overall health and oral health. This is something that research has proven time and time again — and it’s something that the majority of smokers already know.

However, many people are still unaware of the sheer range of problems that smoking can cause. In this blog, we’re taking a look at these health problems, as well as addressing how and why smokers can quit.

While we believe it’s important to inform our patients, we also understand that frightening health facts don’t often help smokers quit. So, if you are considering quitting smoking, but are still on the fence, we encourage you to skip the health section for now, and simply scroll down to our “Why Quit” section, where we discuss the reasons smokers believe they need to smoke. At the end of this article, we also provide you with a list of resources to help you get started on your quitting journey.

Effects of Smoking on Your Overall Health:

When people think of the negative effects of smoking, most people think of the big one: lung cancer. However, because smoking affects nearly every part of the body, it can be the culprit behind a laundry list of illnesses. According to the Center for Disease Control, for every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Let’s take a deeper look at what smoking does to the body:

Difficulty Breathing:

Smoking causes a range of respiratory problems. When you inhale cigarette smoke, it irritates your airways and causes inflammation, which can make it difficult to breathe. This  leads to chronic coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Over time, smoking often leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and lung cancer.

Increased Anxiety and Depression:

Smoking can also have negative effects on your mental health. Studies have shown that smokers are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than non-smokers. Nicotine acts as a stimulant, increasing feelings of anxiety, while withdrawal symptoms lead to feelings of depression.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack:

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart attack. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack as non-smokers.

Oxygen Deprivation of All Muscles:

When you smoke, the nicotine in tobacco causes your blood vessels to narrow, which restricts blood flow and oxygen to your body. This leads to oxygen deprivation in every single muscle of the body, which causes chronic fatigue, poor wound healing, and peripheral artery disease.

Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health:

Yellowed Teeth:

One of the most visible effects of smoking on your oral health is yellowed teeth. The tar and nicotine in tobacco smoke will stain your teeth, giving them a yellow or brownish hue. This staining is usually unsightly and difficult to remove.

Dry Mouth:

Smoking also causes dry mouth, which occurs when there is a decrease in the production of saliva. Saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth healthy by washing away food particles and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria. When you have a dry mouth, you are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

Receding Gums:

Smoking can also lead to receding gums, which is when the gum tissue around your teeth pulls back, exposing the roots of your teeth. This can cause tooth sensitivity, as well as an increased risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.

Increased Cavities and Tooth Loss:

Smoking also increases your risk of cavities and tooth loss. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay. Additionally, smoking can lead to gum disease, which is a major cause of tooth loss.

Oral Cancer:

Some of the chemicals contained in tobacco smoke and chewing tobacco are carcinogenic, meaning they cause genetic changes in cells of the mouth cavity and cause oral cancer. Regular dentist visits are a must if you’re worried about developing oral cancer, as Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert can provide thorough oral cancer screenings as a part of our proactive approach to dentistry.

In conclusion, smoking has a range of negative effects on your overall health and oral health. Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce your risk of developing these health problems and improve your overall well-being.

Why Quit?

Every smoker knows they should quit for the detrimental health risks. And yet every smoker wants to continue smoking. So, before we talk about quitting, it’s important that we first address why smokers smoke in the first place — or why they believe they have to smoke.

Smokers usually cite a number of reasons for why they smoke, including:

  • Stress: Smokers believe that smoking relieves stress or calms them down.
  • Boredom: Smokers believe that they smoke because they are bored.
  • Concentration: Smokers believe that smoking helps them concentrate.

Because they hold these beliefs about what smoking does for them, smokers are under the impression that quitting smoking would rob them of these supposed “benefits” of smoking. The wonderful truth is, smoking does none of these things for you.

Smoking doesn’t calm you down. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Nicotine is a known stimulant that raises your heart rate and blood pressure, causing increased stress and anxiety in both the short and long-term.

Smoking doesn’t relieve boredom. When smokers are bored, it’s true that they often light a cigarette. However, smoking cigarettes itself isn’t exciting. If you weren’t a smoker, chances are you’d find something else to do that would be significantly more entertaining than inhaling cigarette smoke for seven minutes.

Smoking doesn’t help you concentrate. Research confirms that smoking is terrible for your concentration. Having a nicotine addiction – or any addiction, for that matter – is incredibly distracting, and makes it much more difficult to concentrate on day-to-day tasks.

So, to the question “Why quit?” We answer:

  • To be free of nicotine addiction.
  • To experience a vastly improved bill of health.
  • And because smoking does nothing for you in the first place. You have nothing to lose!

Resources to Help You Get Started with Quitting Smoking

Allan Carr’s “EasyWay To Stop Smoking”: Developed by a former chainsmoker, this smoking cessation technique uses a combination of logic and psychology to break down all the reasons why smokers believe they need to smoke, and then explodes each myth one by one. (For example, our points in the above section were taken from Allan Carr’s work.) Carr’s method is available in print, as an audiobook, or in-person as a seminar.

National Cancer Institute Quitline: The National Cancer Institute provides a free smoking cessation hotline where people can receive counseling and support to quit smoking. The Quitline can be reached at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848).

Smokefree.gov: Smokefree.gov is a website created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that provides a range of resources to help people quit smoking, including a step-by-step quit guide, mobile apps, and text message support.

American Lung Association: The American Lung Association offers a range of resources to help people quit smoking, including online tools, support groups, and a free quit smoking helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).

Your healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on quitting smoking and may be able to prescribe medications or recommend other treatments to help you quit smoking.

Community resources: Many communities have resources to help people quit smoking, including local support groups, smoking cessation programs, and community health clinics. Check with your local health department or community center to find out what resources are available in your area.

Lean on The Experts at Eggert Family Dentistry

The negative health effects of smoking are vast and far-reaching, impacting both overall health and oral health. However, quitting smoking is the single most important step you can take to improve your health and wellbeing. If you or someone you know is struggling with smoking cessation, there are many resources available to help you on your journey.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal oral health. If you have questions or need assistance with smoking cessation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 651-482-8412. Our team is here to support you on your journey to a healthier, smoke-free life!

Smoking Marijuana: 6 Oral Health Effects You Should Know

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Marijuana (AKA cannabis) is commonly used for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Just like other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, it’s important for patients to be aware of the potential negative health effects associated with the use of marijuana. With all the buzz lately about legalizing marijuana in Minnesota, we thought this topic very timely.

Because the majority marijuana users ingest it by smoking, one’s oral health can be significantly impacted by marijuana use. According to research, the negative oral health side-effects of smoking marijuana include:

  • Dry mouth, which can lead to a number of other oral health conditions.
  • Cavities and tooth decay because of appetite stimulation associated with use.
  • Gum disease has been linked to frequent marijuana use.
  • Oral Candidiasis (thrush) which causes redness, white plaque, and soreness inside the mouth.
  • Yellow teeth are a common side effect of smoking, whether it’s cannabis or tobacco.
  • Risk of oral cancer is increased in regular marijuana smokers.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, one of our top priorities is to educate our patients about their oral health. Here’s an in-depth look at the oral health effects of marijuana use.

1. Dry Mouth

Also known as xerostomia, smoking marijuana can cause dry mouth by decreasing the production of saliva. Saliva acts as a natural cleanser for your mouth, carrying antimicrobial agents that kill disease-causing bacteria. Without it, bacteria are allowed to flourish in the mouth, leading to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Cavities

While dry mouth makes you more likely to experience tooth decay, appetite stimulation that marijuana users experience can also lead to an increased presence of cavities. Many cannabis users report that their consumption of high-sugar foods increases during cannabis use. This, in combination with a lack of saliva, creates the perfect environment for cavities to develop.

3. Gum Inflammation/Gum Disease

Any kind of smoke, marijuana or not, has the potential to irritate and inflame the gum tissue. Inflammation and irritation can contribute to gum disease, which is a serious oral health problem that causes tooth loss and other health complications. Gum disease can also be caused by the proliferation of bacteria that’s caused by dry mouth. It cannot be cured and requires regular treatment to manage.

4. Oral Candidiasis

Commonly known as Thrush, oral candidiasis is a fungal infection in the mouth caused by an increased production of yeast colonies. These colonies are normally present in the mouth, but the effects of cannabis in combination with poor oral hygiene can promote overgrowth. This results in redness, excess white plaque, and soreness inside the mouth.

5. Yellowed Teeth

Just like cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke contains tar and other chemicals that can adhere to the surface of the teeth, causing them to become discolored and yellow. A regular marijuana smoker may notice that these stains are difficult to remove with regular brushing and flossing. Patients may need professional whitening treatments to remove stains from marijuana smoke.

6. Oral Cancer

The link between oral cancer and marijuana smoke is still being debated and researched today. However, it has been reported that a synergistic effect between tobacco and cannabis smoke may increase oral and neck cancer risk for people who smoke both (that includes cigars that have been hollowed out and filled with cannabis).

Questions? Call Eggert Family Dentistry

Just like it’s important to be aware of the negative health effects of alcohol, so too must one be aware of the negative health effects of marijuana. If you’re a regular smoker, it is important to practice good oral hygiene and visit Eggert Family Dentistry regularly so that we can monitor your oral health. If you have questions about the oral health effects of marijuana smoking, or would like to make an appointment to have your oral health evaluated, please call us at 651-482-8412. We look forward to helping you take care of your oral health!

Treating Sleep-Disordered Breathing: 4 Benefits of the Seattle Protocol

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Some patients who come to us with chronic dental problems also present airway patency issues. Simply put, airway patency is the ability of a person to breathe, with airflow passing to and from the respiratory system through the oral and nasal passages.

When a person experiences difficulty breathing, especially at night, this can 1) negatively affect one’s oral health, and 2) continue to damage the teeth even after restorative dental procedures have been completed. 

So, what does that mean for patients of Eggert Family Dentistry? It means that before beginning any restorative dental treatment, we need to identify and address these airway patency issues using a process called the Seattle Protocol. 

The Seattle Protocol

The Seattle Protocol is a six-step process that helps patients with symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing and other conditions determine whether a compromised airway is contributing to their ailments. 

Each of the six steps builds upon the last to open the airway as much as possible, but patients don’t necessarily need to complete the entire process to identify the solution. The purpose of the protocol is to determine which step provides the patient the most relief of symptoms.

Here is a brief description of the six steps of the Seattle Protocol:

  1. Nose Breathing and Mouth Taping: During this stage, you will gently train your body to breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
  2. Temporary Splint for Lower Jaw and Mouth Taping: Once you’ve adjusted to the mouth taping, the second step of the protocol adds a temporary splint for your lower jaw while you sleep.
  3. Temporary Splint for Lower Jaw with Lower Jaw Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping: If adding the lower splint only isn’t giving you the restful sleep you deserve, we add an element that pulls your lower jaw forward.
  4. Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Mouth Taping: If you aren’t getting relief from the previous step, we remove the forward jaw posturing component and add a splint for your upper jaw.
  5. Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Lower Jaw Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping: If you need to continue in the protocol, step five again adds a horizontal component by linking the upper and lower splints together and moving the lower jaw forward.
  6. Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Lower Jaw Progressively Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping: If you still aren’t getting that good night’s sleep, we move to the final stage of the Seattle Protocol. In this stage, we keep moving your lower jaw forward, incrementally, until you feel well-rested.

As we said before, the goal of the Seattle Protocol is to open the airways as much as possible so that your breathing is no longer restricted. You can find a full description of each of the six steps here.

The Benefits of the Seattle Protocol

The main benefit of the Seattle Protocol is to determine a good position to help control your sleep-disordered breathing. However, the Seattle Protocol also comes with a host of other positive benefits for our patients. 

Improved safety: The Seattle Protocol prioritizes patient safety by allowing us to take a systematic and collaborative approach to airway management. By following a standardized protocol, Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert can identify and address airway issues quickly and effectively, minimizing the risk of complications during dental procedures. It is also completely reversible so there are no long-term ill-effects.

Increased comfort: The Seattle Protocol takes a gradual and gentle approach to airway management to maximize patient comfort by introducing interventions slowly and adjusting them as needed. More importantly, when the Seattle Protocol is successful, our patients can finally enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep!

Better outcomes: By identifying and addressing airway issues before beginning any dental restorations, the Seattle Protocol ensures that our patients can maintain their new smiles for as long as possible, without any complications. This will not only help our patients recover more quickly but also ensure that they get the most out of their financial investment. 

Personalized care: The Seattle Protocol is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the individual needs of each patient. By tailoring interventions to each patient’s unique situation, we can provide the solution that’s right for you. 

At Eggert Family Dentistry, the Seattle Protocol assists us in treating our patients with airway patency issues or sleep-disordered breathing. The systematic steps allow us to both address the problem and identify the solution so our patients can receive the best possible care during dental procedures, and achieve the best possible outcomes afterward!

Real Results: Tom’s Story 

One of our patients, Tom, came to us with excessive wear, erosion, and many fractured teeth. Tom needed to reconstruct his mouth and we did that in phases, however, during the process we ran into a few complications: 

The force of Tom’s bite was so strong that he broke many temporary crowns. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert wanted to get down to the bottom of why Tom’s body would do this because even new crowns wouldn’t survive in such a harsh environment. 

Given Tom’s other symptoms, including difficulty breathing through his nose, dry mouth, and the use of a CPAP machine, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert recommended Tom complete the Seattle Protocol to help address his airway patency.

After completing five of the six steps of the Seattle Protocol, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert fabricated a sleep appliance for Tom to continue to improve his airway patency, reduce his bruxism and help him sleep better. After just a month of using his sleep appliance, Tom experienced less clenching, jaw pain, and an overall improvement in his sleep!

Think You Could Benefit from the Seattle Protocol? 

If you, too, are experiencing airway patency issues or sleep-disordered breathing, call our office today to schedule a consultation. At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will be able to collaborate with you on finding a solution to your unique situation. If you think you could benefit from the Seattle Protocol, contact us or call us at 651-482-8412 for a consultation today!

Treatment Options for a Full Mouth Reconstruction

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

If you’re experiencing constant dental pain, have frequent dental visits to address problems, or simply have multiple cracked, broken, missing, or badly worn teeth, it might be time to consider a full mouth reconstruction. 

A full mouth reconstruction is a comprehensive dental treatment that involves restoring or replacing all of the teeth in a patient’s mouth. This process usually includes a combination of restorative, cosmetic, and orthodontic or surgical procedures. Many of our patients here at Eggert Family Dentistry report feeling transformed when the treatment process is finished! This process, while it can be long and involved, provides our patients with an attractive smile and a healthy mouth, free of pain or discomfort!

Who Needs a Full Mouth Reconstruction?

A full mouth reconstruction may be needed for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Significant occlusal (bite) issues
  • Advanced gum disease
  • Trauma to the teeth and jaw
  • Congenital defects that affect the structure and function of the teeth and jaw 
  • Long-term chronic illness 
  • Oral cancer or cancer treatment

Because the reasons for full mouth reconstruction vary so widely, so too do the treatment options. A combination of treatments is usually required for a holistic and comprehensive treatment plan that suits each patient’s unique needs.

Treatment Options for Full Mouth Reconstruction

We offer a variety of effective treatment options for a full mouth reconstruction, including orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, dental implant coordination with our preferred oral surgeons, prosthetic implant options, and dental restorations like crowns or veneers. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert will work closely with you to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.

Orthodontic Treatment: Your occlusion, or how your teeth contact, must be addressed before we perform additional restorative procedures. Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners like Invisalign, can be used to straighten crooked or misaligned teeth. Orthodontic treatments will improve your bite and the symmetry of your smile.

Dental Implants: Dental implants are a popular option for replacing missing teeth. They consist of titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone and provide a stable foundation for a replacement tooth, bridge, or even denture. Dental implants offer a permanent solution for missing teeth and can improve the appearance, function, and overall health of the mouth.

Dental Restorations: Dental restorations like Dental crowns or veneers are used to restore damaged or decayed teeth. They are custom-made to fit over the affected tooth and are designed to look and function like a natural tooth. Crowns and veneers can improve the strength and durability of a tooth and can also improve the appearance of a patient’s smile.

What to Expect From Eggert Family Dentistry

Here’s what you can expect when receiving a full mouth reconstruction at Eggert Family Dentistry.

  • Evaluation: You will come in for a consultation with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert, during which we’ll conduct a detailed evaluation of your muscles, jaws, and teeth. This is also where we’ll talk about any health considerations you have, as well as your esthetic goals.
  • Determining a treatment plan: Based on all of the above considerations, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert will work with you to determine a treatment plan that best suits your needs. We’ll answer any questions you may have so that you receive the perfect personalized solution. 
  • Treatment: This treatment is a long-term project involving multiple visits, but we will be happy to walk you through every aspect of your treatment plan, so you have a clear idea of the timeline. We will also help you work with our preferred dental specialists if needed like an oral surgeon or orthodontist. Depending on which treatments you need, the full mouth reconstruction process can take anywhere from 6 months to two years. 

Let’s Give You the Smile You’ve Been Dreaming Of 

Eggert Family Dentistry is a highly respected dental practice that offers comprehensive full mouth reconstruction services. Dr. Jeff Eggert and Elizabeth Eggert and their team use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to help their patients achieve optimal oral health and a beautiful smile. If you are in need of a full mouth reconstruction, Eggert Family Dentistry is here for you. Contact us today or give us a call at 651.482.8412 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you achieve a healthy, confident smile!

Full Mouth Reconstruction: The Importance of Treatment Planning

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Whether you’re dealing with extensive tooth loss from injury or aging or severe tooth decay, if you have an array of dental issues that have been causing you problems, you may be a candidate for a full mouth reconstruction. 

A full mouth reconstruction is a comprehensive dental treatment that involves restoring or replacing all of the teeth in a patient’s mouth. This process usually includes a combination of restorative, cosmetic, and orthodontic or surgical procedures to address a variety of dental problems, such as missing teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and bite issues. 

As with all complex processes, it’s imperative to plan your course of action ahead of time if you want the best outcome. For a full mouth reconstruction, Eggert Family Dentistry provides quality treatment planning which involves careful assessments, diagnosis, and treatment. 

Let’s take a look at the importance of treatment planning for a full mouth reconstruction:

1. Getting an Accurate Diagnosis and Assessment

Treatment planning for a full mouth reconstruction starts with a comprehensive dental examination as part of our Records Process. The Records Process includes gathering x-rays, photographs, and impressions of the teeth and gums. The examination will allow Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert to take note of any bite issues, jaw problems, or esthetic concerns. With this information, we can then make an accurate diagnosis that will help us develop a treatment plan that meets your specific needs and goals.

2. Creating a Customized Treatment Plan That Meets Your Unique Needs

Because every patient’s dental needs and goals are unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a treatment plan for a full mouth reconstruction. A customized treatment plan will be developed based on your dental assessments and preferences. 

At this stage, Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will provide a detailed explanation of why we recommend a certain course of treatment and what it involves. This plan will outline the recommended procedures and expected timeline for completion. We will review the entire treatment plan with you, including follow-up visits, and provide you with instructions to support your treatment plan at home. During this stage, we may also create a dental mock-up, or a 3-D model of your smile that will show you the expected outcome of your treatment.

3. Taking A Comprehensive Approach to Treatment

A full mouth reconstruction typically involves multiple dental procedures, such as dental implantscrowns, bridges, and veneers. Oftentimes, ways to improve the bite, like splint therapy or orthodontics may also be indicated. Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will work to improve the overall look of your smile. The entire treatment will likely take multiple office visits. 

4. Minimizing Treatment Time and Cost

Treatment planning for a full mouth reconstruction is essential for minimizing treatment time and cost. By carefully outlining the procedures and optimizing their outcomes, we can reduce the number of visits needed and the duration of the treatment. Additionally, a detailed treatment plan will help you understand the cost of each procedure and plan accordingly, avoiding unexpected expenses.

5. Creating a Better Patient Experience

Treatment planning for a full mouth reconstruction is critical for ensuring a better patient experience. A comprehensive approach that addresses prior dental issues and meets all your goals will help minimize pain, discomfort, and anxiety during the treatment. Additionally, a detailed treatment plan will help you understand the process, prepare for the procedures, and have realistic expectations about the outcome.

Let the Experts at Eggert Family Dentistry Plan Your Treatment

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we understand that quality treatment planning is crucial for a successful full mouth reconstruction. If you’re considering a full mouth reconstruction, it’s essential to work with a qualified and experienced dentist who can develop a detailed treatment plan and guide you through the process. If you’re interested in talking to Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert about a full mouth reconstruction, contact us today or give us a call at 651.482.8412. We look forward to creating a plan to achieve your healthiest, most beautiful smile! 

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How Eggert Family Dentistry Uses “The Records Process” and Mock-Up Procedures to Create New Smiles

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Our smile is often the first thing that people notice about us, and it plays a significant role in our self-esteem and overall well-being. People who experience frequent dental problems, however, can feel robbed of that sense of contentment and confidence. Fortunately, advances in modern dentistry have made it possible to transform even the most challenging smiles into works of art. 

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we believe that everyone deserves to feel proud of their smile, which is why we use a combination of the records process and mock-up procedures to create new, beautiful smiles for our patients. 

While the records process provides the foundation for developing a comprehensive treatment plan, dental mock-ups provide a visual “preview” of the proposed treatment outcome. Let’s explore how these techniques work and find out if they can help you achieve the smile of your dreams.

What is The Records Process?

The records process is a crucial step in the diagnostic and treatment planning process. It involves gathering and organizing all the necessary information about your dental and medical history, current oral health status, and treatment goals to create a comprehensive care plan.

The records process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Comprehensive dental exam: For this exam, Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and oral tissues. This may include taking dental x-rays, photographs, and impressions or scans of your teeth and bite.
  2. Medical and dental history: We will then review your medical and dental history, including any medications or supplements you are taking, past dental treatments, any relevant medical conditions, or pain issues.
  3. Diagnostic tests: We may order additional tests or procedures to aid in the diagnosis and treatment planning process. This may include periodontal (gum) assessments, oral cancer screenings, and sleep questionnaires.
  4. Occlusal (Bite) Analysis: We will ask you to move your jaw through different motions as well as palpate your TMJ and muscles to check for consistencies with your bite.
  5. Treatment plan: Based on the information gathered during the records process, we’ll develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals. This plan may include splint, restorative, cosmetic, or orthodontic procedures, as well as recommendations for sleep or medical follow-up, at-home oral hygiene, or preventive care.

Patient Stories: 

The records process is essential for ensuring accurate diagnoses, effective treatment planning, and successful outcomes. It also provides a baseline for monitoring our patients’ progress and adjusting treatment plans as needed. 

For example, our patient “M” had recently undergone corrective jaw surgery, but was still experiencing issues with his bite. To make sure we got a holistic picture of M’s oral issues post-op, we put him through the records process and were able to determine that he needed to have his front teeth lengthened slightly to correct his occlusal imbalance. (Read M’s full story here.) 

The records process also helps us to determine external factors that may be contributing to our patients’ dental problems. For example, our patient Tom needed a full mouth reconstruction, but we were concerned that his bruxism would damage his new implants if we didn’t correct the underlying cause of it. Because the records process provided comprehensive knowledge of Tom’s other symptoms, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert was able to recommend further treatment that allowed Tom to sleep better and breathe easier at night. (Read Tom’s full story here.) 

What is a Dental Mock-Up?

If the records process is the “blueprint” for your treatment plan, then the dental mock-up is the architectural model. 

A dental mock-up is a procedure used to create a three-dimensional replica of your teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues. It involves creating a temporary model of the desired outcome of a dental procedure, such as a full mouth reconstruction, to allow you and Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert to preview the results before moving forward with the treatment.

During the mock-up process, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert will use dental material, such as wax or composite resin, to build up or reshape your teeth. This will allow you to see how your new smile will look and make any necessary adjustments.

Dental mock-ups are most commonly used for cosmetic procedures, such as porcelain veneers or an arch of new dental crowns. They are a valuable tool for both our office and our patients, as they allow for better communication and collaboration in the treatment planning process.

Are You Experiencing Constant Dental Problems?

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we take a holistic approach to oral health and want to make sure our patients not only have a beautiful smile, but a comfortable one too. If you’re experiencing a constellation of oral health problems and are interested in learning more about these unique smile-transformation techniques, please contact us or call us at 651.482.8412 to schedule an appointment! 

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10 Dental Sealants FAQs: What They Are, Why They’re Important, and When to Get Them

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There’s no doubt about it, children love sugary snacks and sweets. That’s why the first step in ensuring your child’s optimal dental health is to teach them good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. 

But, if you want to give your child an extra layer of protection, consider having dental sealants applied at Eggert Family Dentistry. Sealants are a preventative measure that many parents take to keep their children’s teeth healthy throughout childhood. 

But what are dental sealants and how exactly do they work? Let’s go over the 10 most frequently asked questions about dental sealants. 

1.) What are Dental Sealants? 

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are “painted”and then bonded onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Sealants are usually applied to the back molars, where bacteria and germs can easily hide, making these teeth harder to clean. 

2.) How Do Dental Sealants Work? 

Just as a raincoat will protect you from getting wet, the sealant protects the tooth by covering it, keeping bacteria and acid away from the tooth’s most susceptible surfaces. Less contact with bacteria, germs, and acid means fewer cavities and less tooth decay!

3.) How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants last for many years and can be reapplied if necessary.

4.) How are Dental Sealants Applied? 

First, the tooth is cleaned with an etchant and rinsed. The sealant is then “painted” over the adhesive as a liquid. Dr. Jeff Eggert, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert, or an Eggert Family Dentistry team member will then use a special blue light to harden the liquid, creating a barrier between the teeth and any plaque, food particles, or bacteria.

5.) When Should My Child Get Dental Sealants? 

We recommend that children have sealants applied to their molars as soon as they come in. Permanent molars first come in at around 5-7 years of age, with a second set coming in between the ages of 11-14. The sooner the sealant is applied, the more protected the new teeth will be from cavities, saving you money and time in the future. According to the Center for Disease Control, “School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”

6.) Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?

Of course! Dental sealants can be applied at any age, though they’re most effective when applied from childhood. If you’re looking to prevent cavities for yourself as well as your family, ask Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert about scheduling an appointment to have dental sealant applied. 

7.) Will It Hurt to Get Sealants? 

Not at all. Sealant application is a pain-free procedure with no drills or shots necessary! 

8.) Do Sealants Make the Teeth Look or Feel Different? 

Sealants are white like your teeth so they don’t make the teeth look different. After sealants are applied, some patients report feeling like something is covering their teeth or experience the sensation of needing to bite down. But the sealant is thin, and the sensation will fade after a few days. Also, the Eggert Family Dentistry team can adjust on the sealants before you leave the office, if necessary, to reduce any strange feeling with your bite. 

9.) How Long Should My Child Wait to Eat After Getting Sealants?

You or your child can eat right away after getting dental sealants. However, we recommend staying away from certain foods, such as hard candies, jaw breakers, ice, or especially chewy foods, as these are more likely to break the newly applied sealants. 

10.) Are Dental Sealants Expensive?

No! Some dental insurance plans will cover sealants, but even without coverage, sealants are still very affordable. And dental sealants are a much cheaper option than having to get fillings done to fix cavities!

Let Eggert Family Dentistry Protect Your Family’s Dental Health 

Do you have more questions about dental sealants? Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Call Eggert Family Dentistry today to find out if dental sealants are right for your family, or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping your family’s smiles be the healthiest they can be! As always, our motto is “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles!”