Scaling and Root Planing vs. a Regular Teeth Cleaning: What’s the Difference?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

During a routine recare visit, you may have felt the dental hygienist using instruments to remove plaque and calculus from your teeth and wondered if they were performing a periodontal scaling and root planing  procedure. The answer is no — periodontal scaling and root planing and a “regular” professional teeth cleaning are very different from each other.

Our patients come in for regular recare appointments as recommended, usually every 3 or 6 months. Your recommended interval may be different from your neighbor’s. During these recare appointments, our marvelous hygienists remove plaque and tartar build-up on the surfaces of the teeth. But, when our patients have signs or symptoms of gum disease (periodontitis), they often need a more detailed and deep cleaning called periodontal scaling and root planing.

Let’s take a deeper look at what you can expect from a routine teeth cleaning vs. a scaling and root planing procedure.

Professional Recare and Teeth Cleaning

What’s Involved?

During a routine teeth cleaning, a dental hygienist will remove any plaque and tartar from your teeth. Once the tartar and plaque are cleared away, your teeth will be cleaned and polished with a highly defined polishing toothpaste, and flossed. Additionally, x-rays may be taken if needed and Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will complete a thorough dental exam looking for signs of common oral health issues, like gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, bruxism (teeth grinding), and oral cancer. They’ll discuss your results with you, and recommend any follow-up appointments you might need. Regular recare visits and teeth cleanings are usually about an hour in length for an adult and can be completed within one appointment.

Benefits of Routine Teeth Cleaning:

  • Helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy by removing plaque and tartar.
  • Reduces the likelihood of developing tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
  • Improves the appearance of your teeth by removing stains caused by coffee, tea, tobacco, soda, etc.
  • Allows us to monitor your oral health and identify any potential issues early on.

Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing

What’s Involved?

Periodontal scaling and root planing is a procedure that is commonly used to treat gum disease. While the goal of this procedures is to remove plaque and tartar just like a regular dental cleaning, this procedure allows for therapy much deeper on the root surface to attack any lurking bacteria.

During Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing, dental curettes and scalers, specialized instruments, remove all the plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline, all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. A topical or local anesthetic will be applied to numb the area so that no discomfort is felt during treatment. At times, it is also helpful to use high powered water irrigating instruments like the Cavitron to smooth out the roots of your teeth to help your gums reattach to your teeth. Depending on the severity of your infection, the time needed for these procedures can vary. It is common to complete treatment on one half of the mouth per session.

Benefits of Scaling and Root Planing:

  • Helps to control the progression of gum disease by removing the source of infection.
  • Reduces gum inflammation and promotes healing of the gum tissue.
  • Helps reduce the depth of periodontal pockets, which are spaces that form between the teeth and gums due to gum disease.
  • Prevents tooth loss and maintains overall oral health.

Schedule Your Routine Dental Cleaning Today!

Both regular teeth cleanings and scaling and root planing have their unique purposes and benefits, so be sure to consult with Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert for personalized oral care recommendations. When you come into Eggert Family Dentistry for a routine dental cleaning, we will be able to conduct an oral exam and recommend the appropriate procedures based on your unique oral health needs. Remember, regular dental recare visits and good oral hygiene habits are essential for a healthy smile! Call us at 651-482-8412 to book an appointment today!

Dental Hygiene 101: What’s the Scoop With Fluoride?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Ah, October… A month that simply wouldn’t be complete without candied apples, kettle corn, and literal buckets of Halloween candy!

It may strike you as ironic, then, that October is also National Dental Hygiene Month. In our opinion, though, the consumption of huge amounts of sugar makes October the perfect time to focus on oral health. 

Far from taking the fun out of Halloween, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth of Eggert Family Dentistry want to reassure you that even though your family may eat many sweets this month, you can count on a little mineral called fluoride to save the day.

What Is Fluoride? 

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that plays an important role in dental health. Found in water, toothpaste, and mouthwash, fluoride strengthens the teeth, preventing cavities and even repairing early signs of tooth decay. 

What Are the Benefits of Fluoride? 

Fluoride works by penetrating the teeth and drawing in phosphate and calcium from your saliva. It aids the remineralization process, repairing teeth and strengthening enamel. It facilitates the creation of harder, larger enamel crystals that are more resistant to acid. 

Fluoride also reduces the activity of the bacteria in your mouth. This leads to decreased acid production and less chance for tooth decay. Studies show that this miracle mineral can even repair early stages of tooth decay before things become a full-fledged cavity! 

According to the CDC, the connection between fluoride and healthy teeth was recognized as far back as the late 1800s. By the 1930s, dentists observed that people who drank water containing naturally occurring fluoride seemed to be protected against tooth decay, or cavities.

Fluoride is beneficial for teeth because it helps to:

  • Rebuild (or remineralize) weakened tooth enamel.
  • Slow down the loss of minerals from tooth enamel.
  • Reverse early signs of tooth decay.
  • Prevent the growth of harmful oral bacteria.

Where Is Fluoride Found?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that originates in rocks. As the rocks break down, the mineral is released into the soil, air, and water. 

As a result, trace amounts of fluoride can be found in many of the foods we eat, including grapes, raisins, wine, black tea, spinach, and potatoes. Fluoride is also found naturally in freshwater and saltwater. However, simply eating these foods and drinking freshwater won’t do much for your teeth—there’s simply not enough fluoride content within them to do the trick. 

That’s where the other sources of fluoride come in: 

You may recall having to sit with a tray of fluoride foam in your mouth during your childhood dental visits. These fluoride treatments fortified both your baby teeth and strengthened your adult teeth. 

As an adult, you might receive a fluoride varnish during your recare visits, which serve the same purpose. And of course, there’s the fluoride-fortified toothpaste and mouthwash that can easily be found on store shelves. These items help you to protect your teeth at home in between dental visits.

Fluoridated Water

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the fluoride in tap water and its role in protecting our teeth. It’s now common practice for cities to add fluoride to their water supply in a process known as water fluoridation. Starting in 1945, this practice began as a direct response to the observation that fluoride prevents tooth decay. 

In the years that followed, the average number of missing or decaying teeth in American 12-year-old children dropped by 68 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This sharp drop followed the introduction and expansion of fluoridated water in communities, as well as the addition of fluoride to toothpastes and other dental products.

With so much success in improving the health and wellbeing of citizens, fluoridated drinking water is now heralded as one of the Ten Great Public Health Achievements of the 20th century.

 (For more interesting fluoride trivia, be sure to check out our blog, “Fun Facts About Fluoride!”)

Risks Associated with Fluoride in Water 

While there has been some controversy about the safety of fluoride in our water, the Environmental Protection Agency strictly regulates the amount of fluoride in community water supplies to keep it safe and healthy to drink.

If overexposed to fluoride, the main side effects are Dental Fluorosis or Skeletal Fluorosis. Dental Fluorosis occurs when you consume too much fluoride while your adult teeth are still developing underneath your gums. This will result in white spots on the surface of your teeth, but otherwise, the condition is harmless. (This condition is usually caused by swallowing too much toothpaste, so make sure you’re supervising your children while they brush.)

Skeletal Fluorosis is the same type of condition, except it involves the bones. It usually results from long-term fluoride overexposure. Symptoms of Skeletal Fluorosis include joint pain, stiffness, and—over the long-term—the calcification of ligaments. While this condition can be caused by swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash, it’s more often caused by drinking from a water source with unusually high levels of naturally-occurring fluoride.

Importance of Regular Fluoride Use

There’s no doubt that fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter. That’s why it’s important for everyone to use fluoride regularly, from childhood all the way through adulthood. 

Fluoride treatments are especially helpful for children as their teeth are developing. When you start off with good oral health, it’s much easier to maintain into teenage years and young adulthood.  

Fluoride treatments can also help adults with receding gums, adults who aren’t drinking city tap water, and adults with medical/oral health conditions or medications that cause dry mouth.

Want to Make Fluoride Treatments a Regular Part of Your Dental Hygiene? 

At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth and our magnificent hygienists will be happy to discuss incorporating fluoride treatments into your regularly scheduled dentist visits. If you want to learn more about the many benefits of fluoride or to schedule a routine visit, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

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Full Mouth Reconstruction, Explained


At Eggert Family Dentistry, our comprehensive approach means that we focus on your overall oral health. Instead of regarding your teeth in isolation, we take a holistic and comprehensive perspective on how your mouth functions as a whole, and how it functions in relation to your whole body.  

In some cases, patients exhibit a constellation of issues that are best resolved by a full mouth reconstruction. This typically is caused by trauma to the jaw or teeth, significant decay, long-term erosion from acid or tooth grinding, or long-term structural issues such as a misaligned bite. 

In these cases, restoring and rebuilding all of the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws may be the best strategy. 

A full mouth reconstruction is likely to involve a number of phases and specialties, including:

  • General or restorative dental procedures such as crowns, bridges, and veneers with Dr. Jeff or Dr. Elizabeth
  • Periodontal attention to the gums
  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontics to address tooth movements and positions

What to Expect When Considering a Full Mouth Reconstruction

When you are considering a full mouth reconstruction, here’s what you can expect at Eggert Family dentistry. 

We’ll start by doing a detailed evaluation of your muscles, jaws and teeth, and their relationships with each other. We’ll talk about all health considerations relating to your mouth, including information about sleep and airway, and we’ll ask you about your esthetic goals. Next, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will take you on a tour of your mouth, explaining different treatment options. They’ll explain everything carefully and answer questions so you can make excellent decisions, and together we’ll come up with a treatment plan.

These are the kinds of procedures that are often part of a full mouth reconstruction:

  • Initial deep cleaning of your teeth and gums. 
  • Ensuring a stable bite so your restored teeth will not suffer undue wear. This might require orthodontics or a bite reprogramming orthotic/splint. Your occlusion, or how your teeth contact, must be addressed before we perform additional restorative procedures.
  • Tooth restorations, which can include porcelain veneers, crowns, inlays or onlays, bridges, and implants.

A Big Commitment with Big Rewards

A full mouth reconstruction is an ambitious endeavor with huge rewards. Many patients feel transformed when treatment concludes and they have an attractive smile and a healthy mouth, free of pain or discomfort. In many cases, even severe TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD) pain can be relieved by the comprehensive approach and comprehensive reconstruction. 

This treatment is a long-term project, involving multiple visits, but Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff are happy to walk you through every aspect of your treatment plan, so you have a very clear idea of the timeline and what to expect. 

If you are experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort in your mouth or jaw, or if you want a new improved smile which you’re excited to share with people, or if your teeth are broken down and need to be rebuilt, please contact Dr. Jeff or Dr. Elizabeth at Eggert Family Dentistry, 651-482-8412. We love to help people experience the transformation in oral health and confidence that can accompany a full mouth reconstruction.

Full Mouth Reconstruction – Am I a Candidate?

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There are times when, even with diligent touch-up work throughout the years, a person could truly benefit from full mouth reconstruction. This reconstruction process involves restoring all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaw and oftentimes correcting the bite and healing the gums. At Eggert Family Dentistry, when we undertake full mouth reconstruction, we work closely with periodontists, oral surgeons, orthodontists and endodontists as needed to achieve optimal results for our patients.

Who is a candidate?

If you’ve experienced tooth loss, decay or trauma to your teeth, have teeth that are worn down from years of acid erosion or teeth grinding, jaw, muscle or head pain that stems from improper positioning of the jaw and ultimately want to improve the aesthetic of your teeth and regain your confident smile, you may be a candidate for full mouth reconstruction.

Some of the procedures involved

Each patient is different and maintains a unique set of dental challenges. On this account, each treatment plan is unique as well. However, all of our patients maintain one common goal: to achieve a healthy, comfortable and attractive smile.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we start by thoroughly evaluating your specific dental situation. We inspect teeth, gums, muscles and the jaw. We do this through the use of impressions, photos and x-rays. Is your bite even or is it uneven and uncomfortable, causing wear and deterioration of your teeth? Which teeth are cracked, worn or in need of repair? Do you have any missing teeth? How about your gum health – is there any sign of periodontal disease?

Dr. Eggert then puts together a comprehensive “tour” of your mouth and walks you through different treatment options. If a full reconstruction is warranted, treatment may include procedures such as veneers, crowns, fillings, inlays, onlays, scaling and root planing, orthodontic attention for bite correction…the list goes on.

If you decide to proceed with a full reconstruction, Dr. Eggert will refer you to any specialists that will be involved in your case, confer with them on their findings and create a step-by-step treatment plan to correct all dental issues and accomplish your reconstruction.

The results

This process can take 12 months or more as it requires a series of appointments – often with a handful of dental professionals – but the results of full mouth reconstruction cannot be underestimated! Your investment in dental wellness will vastly improve your oral health and boost your self-confidence. You really can be comfortable in your own skin and have a smile you want to share!

Richard, one of our patients at Eggert Family Dentistry, is a testimony to the power of a reconstructed smile! Read his story here.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of full mouth reconstruction and think you may be a candidate, we would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your individual needs. We can be reached at 651.482.8412.

Veneers for a More Confident Smile

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

The same degree to which a less-than-perfect smile can have a negative impact on a person’s self-esteem, a straight, bright white smile can have a positive one. Fortunately, if you’re in the former camp and long for a more confident smile, Eggert Family Dentistry can help. One effective solution for addressing a variety of dental imperfections are veneers. Let’s take an up-close look at veneers so you can decide if they’re right for you.

What are veneers?

Veneers are thin ceramic shells that cover the front of the natural teeth in order to hide stains, cracks, chips or gaps and serve to improve the appearance of misaligned teeth. Veneers are one of the least invasive cosmetic procedures available and are considered a permanent solution that can last for decades with proper care.

The process

If Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff agree that veneers are an effective choice for helping you achieve your ideal smile, you will embark on a series of three visits. At the first visit, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will discuss your goals with you and together you will envision the shape and look you are striving for. At this time, we will also outline your individualized treatment plan. At the second visit, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will prepare your teeth to receive your customized veneers by removing a thin layer of outer enamel, taking an impression of your prepared teeth and providing you with a stunning temporary solution. At the third visit – two to three weeks later – Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will place your veneers. We work hard to ensure that your permanent veneers look and feel just like your natural teeth. After placement, we will provide you with follow-up care instructions.

Follow-up care after preparatory appointment

After Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff prepare your teeth for your veneers and provide you with a temporary solution, it’s perfectly normal for your gum tissues, teeth and jaw to be sore for a few days. Rinsing with warm salt water multiple times a day and taking over-the-counter pain meds should help alleviate any discomfort to these areas. We also encourage you to brush and floss in order to expedite tissue healing. Because the temporary splints your teeth together, you must use a floss-threader or a Waterpik. Also, avoid hard, crunchy foods as your temporary is just that – temporary! – and doesn’t maintain the integrity of actual veneers.

Follow-up care after veneer placement

Similar to your post-preparatory experience, after you receive your veneers you may incur mouth soreness. Rinse with warm salt water, take over-the-counter pain meds and brush and floss frequently.

Here are a few things to be mindful of once you receive your veneers:

  • Avoid scrubbing the gumline while brushing in order to avoid gumline recession. When gums recede, the junction of the veneer and natural tooth is exposed and can be unsightly.
  • Just like natural teeth, veneers are prone to staining. Limit or avoid coffee, tea, red wine, berries and other acidic or highly pigmented foods and brush thoroughly after consuming them. Also, it’s best to avoid smoking as nicotine can stain veneers.
  • Lastly, keep in mind that applying excessive force to your teeth via nail biting or consuming hard or crunchy foods can occasionally cause a veneer to pop off or become damaged. Veneers are adhered with a strong bond but also must be treated with care.

In the instance you experience nerve pain following either your preparatory appointment or your veneer placement, contact our office right away. On rare occasions, particularly on teeth with large fillings, deep decay or previous cracks or fractures, nerves can become irritated and additional procedures on that tooth may be required.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we succeed when you leave our office with a confident smile! If you long for a smile you want to show off, give us a call at 651.482.8412. We would love to discuss some great options with you and see which one helps you best achieve your goals.

Laser Dentistry – An Innovative Solution

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Lasers are increasingly common across nearly all fields of medicine and dentistry is certainly not excluded. Delivering energy in the form of light, laser dentistry procedures are incredibly precise and minimally invasive, making them a popular choice among practitioners and patients alike. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we utilize lasers in a number of procedures to the benefit of our patients.

What can laser dentistry treat?

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff implement laser dentistry to treat issues including overgrown gum tissue, gum disease, tooth decay and root canals. We also use lasers when teeth whitening to activate the bleaching solution and speed up the whitening process. Additionally, laser dentistry aids in exposing wisdom teeth and removing benign oral tumors.

How does laser dentistry work?

There are two kinds of lasers used in dentistry:

Hard tissue lasers: These lasers cut through both water and bone and are effective for procedures such as detecting cavities and preparing teeth for fillings.

Soft tissue lasers: These lasers cut through soft tissue and are effective for procedures such as reshaping gums, lengthening crowns and performing biopsies.

What are the benefits of laser dentistry?

When you come in for a laser dentistry consult, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will share with you all the benefits of laser dentistry. These benefits include less bleeding, reduced likelihood of infection, diminished need for anesthesia and reduced healing time. Also, you won’t feel discomfort from the laser like you may from a drill. For this reason, laser dentistry can be a good choice for children who are fearful of the noise and pressure of the drill. Furthermore, our patients who undergo laser dental procedures report less discomfort during the recovery process than following scalpel procedures.

If you would like to learn more about our laser dentistry services here at Eggert Family Dentistry, give us a call at 651.482.8412. We would be happy to discuss this further!

Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarships – Helping Students Since 2005

Have you or someone you know ever considered a career in dentistry? There are nearly 200,000 practicing dentists in the United States as well as hundreds of thousands more people working as dental hygienists, assistants, administrators, and lab technicians who are enjoying fulfilling careers, competitive salaries and a quality work/life balance within the dental industry.

Opportunities and Specialties

When we think about dentistry, most of us imagine a traditional dentist office setting. According to the ADA, however, there are countless professional dentistry opportunities in other areas as well. “Today’s dental school graduates can choose to work in hospital emergency rooms, conduct advanced laboratory research, teach future dentists or even travel the world with international health and relief organizations.”

The ADA recognizes nine specialties within the industry: dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology/radiology/surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics.

Dental Education

Typically, DDS/DMD programs are four-year programs. Dental specialties require additional years of study above and beyond those four years. With over 65 dental schools throughout the country, dental school is highly competitive and requires a substantial financial investment. In fact, over 90% of dental students finance their education through the use of student loans.

Eggert Family Dentistry Scholarships

Eggert Family Dentistry is invested in the future of dentistry and believes that the cost of dental education shouldn’t prohibit anyone from pursuing their dreams. This is why, since 2005, Dr. Eggert has been making a difference in the lives of countless young people by awarding $2000 each year to four high school seniors from the following local schools: Mounds View, Irondale, Centennial and Spring Lake Park.

The goal of the scholarships is to get them in the hands of students pursuing a career in the dental industry. This means not only students planning on becoming a dentist, but the scholarships are given to future dental assistants, hygienists, and lab technicians as well. There are currently many opportunities in the dental industry, especially for axillary team members.

If you know a well-deserving senior from one of these schools that you would like to nominate for an Eggert Family Denistry scholarship, submit one to two paragraphs about why you believe this person should be awarded the scholarship. All nominations must be received before March of each year. Scholarship winners will join the ranks of these fine former recipients.

If you would like to know more about careers in dentistry, we would be happy to speak with you! Or, we have had students shadow at our office in the past as well. This is a great way to learn more about this exciting career path. Call us at 651-482-8412 to set something up.