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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

Closed on Friday
during the Summer.

Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

 

Wings’ Dry Spell is One Thing, Dry Mouth Another

We all can be at a loss for moisture in our mouth at times. Maybe you have to get up and present in front of the board. Maybe your boss just asked if he could see you in his office for a minute, and the last five people to whom he asked that were all laid off!

But perpetual dry mouth, where you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, all or most of the time, it can lead to more serious problems and be a sign of other medical issues. That’s because, while saliva may seem harmless or at times a nuisance, it does much more than simply keep your mouth wet: it helps digest food, protects the teeth from decay, controls bacteria in your mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow.

Dr. Egger can help with your dry mouth.

What are reasons for dry mouth?

Obviously, if your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, it can be a sign that there is a problem with your salivary glands. But more often their decreased saliva production is due to other factors:

  • Side effects of some medications — Over 400 medicines can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, diuretics, and blood pressure drugs.
  • Disease — Diabetes, Hodgkin’s, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS and Sjogren’s syndrome all may cause dry mouth.
  • Radiation therapy — If you’ve had cancer treatment, the radiation may have damaged your salivary glands.
  • Chemotherapy — Chemo drugs can make your saliva thicker, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • Menopause — Changing hormone levels affect the salivary glands, so menopausal women often have a persistent feeling of dry mouth.
  • Smoking — Many pipe, cigar, and heavy cigarette smokers can have dry mouth.

How to treat dry mouth

Dry mouth can only be resolved by dealing with the base cause. Obviously, if it is due to reaction to a medication, see if you can switch to a different option or dosage. Otherwise, here are a few things to do:

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to stimulate saliva flow
  • Don’t use tobacco or alcohol
  • Use a humidifier at night

Dr. Egger may recommend products such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or Act Dry Mouth Mouthwash. He may even want to prescribe medications that stimulate your saliva production.

Do you think your mouth is abnormally dry? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to make an appointment.

 

Scary Statistics

Dental Care | Mount Pleasant MI

October is usually reserved for being scary. Although, if you’re a hockey fan, February and the odds of the Red Wings making the playoffs have become pretty scary. And to think, just a couple years ago the Red Wings and the playoffs were as reliable as the seasons…

Back to statistics. Do you want to see a few dental statistics? Dr. Egger advises his patients to come see us every six months for their professional cleanings and exams. This allows us to stay ahead of issues such as gum disease and decay. But not everyone does that.

And it appears those people aren’t alone, at least according to statistics from the American Dental Association.

How often do people visit their dentist?

Everyone knows six months is the goal with dental visits. This is about the time it takes for tartar to start building up in the typical places in the mouth. At six months we can remove it before it starts moving under the gumline.

So, how many people adhere to those guidelines? The ADA says that in 2014, 52.3% of adults visited their dentist every six months. 15.4% visited once a year, and 11% visited every two to three years. Believe it or not, 21.3% said they had not visited the dentist in the last five years. Hello gum disease!

Why do people avoid the dentist?

The top reasons people gave for avoiding the dentist were cost, fear of the dentist (come on, Dr. Egger is a nice guy!), inability to find a convenient location or a convenient appointment time (that sounds shaky).

How many people have untreated caries/decay in the U.S.?

Between 2011-2014, an estimated 18.2% of children ages 5-18 had untreated decay. For adults ages 19-64 this rose to over a quarter, 26.5%. Seniors over 65 reported 16.7% of untreated caries/cavities. Ouch. Hello root canal!

How many people have untreated gum disease in the U.S.?

The ADA estimates that over 47% of adults over the age of 30 have untreated periodontal disease. Hello dentures!

So many dental problems never have to occur; just keeping up with your regular six-month exams and professional cleanings with Dr. Egger and his staff keep things like gum disease and root canals from ever having to become a thing in your life.

Is it time for your next appointment? Call us at (989) 773-3560.

 

This Plaque Shouldn’t Go on the Wall

Plaque | Mount Pleasant, MI

Most of you hopefully have seen Groundhog Day, the great Bill Murray movie where he plays a local weatherman who has to travel to nearby Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, on his big day. Being a total curmudgeon, the Murray character is not thrilled. As punishment, he awakens every morning in his bed and breakfast in Punxsutawney to begin the previous day over…and over…and over. Until eventually he learns some important life lessons and moves on to a happy ending of the movie.

Dental plaque is kind of like that. Dr. Egger is constantly fighting dental plaque, removing it and its cousin, tartar, only to see it return so it can be removed again.

So, what is this mysterious substance that is the root of all dental evils?

What is plaque?

You may have a lovely plaque for being employee of the month at your workplace, but your teeth have earned way more plaque. Excuse the agreement issue there. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. Like it or not, our mouths are filled with bacteria, and they like to dine on the foods we eat. This includes the food particles that remain in our mouths after eating. Bacteria munch on this stuff and they create sugars and acids with their digestive aftermath. That is plaque.

Why is plaque bad?

Whether you got a participation plaque or not as a kid, dental plaque left alone shouldn’t make you feel good about yourself. Plaque is the beginning of every dental problem, short of a broken tooth. Every day when you brush and floss — if you do a diligent job — you remove the filmy plaque on your teeth. But if you’re a sloppy or infrequent brusher, then the plaque gets to stay and thrive. As the bacteria are getting their groove on they release acids. These acids attack the enamel on your teeth. This is dental decay, and is the beginning of a cavity.

Plaque left alone also hardens into tartar. Not the stuff you put on Crystal Lake trout, this is the off-white colored stuff that forms on your teeth, usually in certain spots like the inside bottom of your front teeth. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing: it can only be removed by a hygienist armed with a trusty dental pick.

Plaque and tartar left alone will eventually start to make their way under your gumline. This irritates the gums, kind of like that know-it-all person at work irritates you. This irritation is called gingivitis and it is the first step down that road known as gum disease. The end of that road is a place where you have lost all of your teeth, your gums are a diseased mess, and your jawbone is collapsing backwards. Ouch.

And to think, all of this started with innocent little plaque. Now you know the value of two minutes of brushing twice daily and flossing to get rid of the sticky stuff.

Keeping your twice-yearly appointments with Dr. Egger and his friendly staff are equally important. At these professional cleanings and exams, we remove any tartar that has built up, clean away any lingering plaque, and take inventory of your dental health. Every six months is about the time it takes for tartar to build up and cause issues if left alone.

Is it time for your next appointment with Dr. Egger? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

A Menu of Dr. Egger’s Most Common Services

Common dental services Mt. Pleasant, MIWhether it is with or without anxiety, patients are always focused on their procedure. Maybe it’s a routine cleaning; perhaps it’s the need to have a filling placed. To keep everyone up to date, here’s a list of our most common services, treatments, and procedures at Dr. Egger’s practice.

Oral health exams: X-rays, oral cancer screenings, along with a visual examination of the teeth, gums, and jaw are involved here. We look for signs of decay, disease, misalignment, spaces, and other issues.

Prophylactic cleanings: We remove minor plaque and tartar buildup to reduce the risk of gingivitis and cavity formation. Every six months is the right interval.

Gum disease intervention: To head off gum disease, Dr. Egger usually only needs to do some scaling of the teeth. This sounds serious but is just scraping off tartar below the gum line where it builds up and begins to cause gum irritation. For more advanced cases, he uses a diode laser to remove diseased tissue and remove bacteria, and Arestin to help with healing.

Fluoride treatments & dental sealants: Usually for children, but occasionally requested by adults, fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. We apply a topical gel twice a year. Sealants are long-term plastic filling applied to the deep grooves in the molars. It can last for decades.

Dental implants: Dr. Egger is a big fan of dental implants for tooth replacement. Why? Because once they are accepted by the jawbone, implants function and look just like natural teeth. Plus, they can last the remainder of the patient’s life.

Root canals: When decay reaches the inner pulp of the tooth, it’s time for a root canal. This cleans out the interior of the tooth, removing the infected tissue and nerves and replacing it with rubber-based substance. The tooth is then usually capped. Root canals save teeth from needing extraction.

Extractions: Pulling teeth. Dr. Egger doesn’t remove wisdom teeth, but most regular extractions can be handled in-house. 

Fillings & crowns: A cavity is merely an area of decay in a tooth. Usually, routine fillings address decay before it damages the interior of the tooth. You can opt for metal amalgam or composite fillings. Crowns are what used to be called caps because they are placed atop the damaged tooth to return strength and functionality.

Dentures: Dr. Egger designs and fits full or partial dentures to replace a group of teeth or all of a patient’s teeth. Today’s dentures fit better, are more comfortable, and are easier to manage than those of previous generations.

Is it time for your regular cleaning and exam? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

Is Candy Really the Enemy of Your Teeth?

Is Candy Really the Enemy of Your Teeth? Mount pleasant, MIWhile not as dire as the warnings Ralphie received when he wanted his Red Rider BB gun for Christmas, we’ve all heard similar warnings about eating candy.

“Eating candy will rot your teeth, you know!”

Since many kids are just now finishing off their pillowcases full of Halloween candy, and since we’re headed into the candy/cookie-fest of the holidays,
this seems like a good time to explore just how, or if, candy and other sweets are damaging your teeth.

Since Dr. Egger sees tooth decay pretty much every day, here’s the lowdown on decay.

Is sugar the culprit?

If you ate candy all day every day, you wouldn’t be doing your body any favors, but would it make all of your teeth fall out due to decay? No. Sugar doesn’t cause decay; bacteria do.

Say what? It’s true. Dental cavities, known to Dr. Egger as caries, are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. True, this debris can be refined sugar from cookies, candy, and such, but it can also come from other foods.

When bacteria munch on your leftover carb debris, they produce an acid that combines with saliva to form a film on your teeth: plaque. Plaque is what leads to tooth decay, not sugar. Tell your Aunt Edna that when she’s scolding you for eating the 18th sugar cookie at your holiday get together!

Plaque is the enemy

Plaque starts building up on your teeth after every meal. If left to its own devices, it begins to erode the outer enamel on your teeth, resulting in tiny holes. This is the start of a cavity. In the early stages, your teeth can use minerals from your saliva and fluoride from your water or toothpaste to remineralize the teeth. This doesn’t replace enamel — that is impossible, despite some claims you may hear on TV from certain dental products — but the minerals strengthen the enamel to protect it from the ravages of plaque and bacteria better.

In the end, sugar is just one of many carbs that can lead to tooth decay. Swearing off a tasty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup won’t necessarily mean you’ll never get a cavity. It’s all about your home hygiene, brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day. Do that, and you can have your cake and eat it too.

Is it time for your twice-yearly cleaning and exam with Dr. Egger? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

Uh, You Could Use a Mint

Dental Services Mount Pleasant MIDoritos’ breath. Dog breath. Breath from the Crypt. Or just plain old halitosis from the Listerine commercials.

No matter what you call it, no one wants to have bad breath. That’s why when you go to the Indian Hills Kroger there’s half an aisle devoted to remedies to either prevent or address halitosis. The thing about those mints and breath strips, however, is that they only cure the local, temporary bad breath. Maybe from those Doritos you just ate, or a long day without enough water and lots of talking.

But when your bad breath is more regular, there can be other causes to blame, such as lax home hygiene. Since you and Dr. Egger have the same goal — a healthy mouth — here’s what could be behind your ongoing dog breath.

What’s behind bad breath?

There can be many reasons a person’s breath doesn’t exactly remind you of the Holland Tulip Festival.

  • Food— When food is being broken down, this can increase bacteria in your mouth and this can create bad breath. Eating certain foods, such as onions or garlic, can also cause bad breath. Once you eat those types of foods, they are digested and can enter your bloodstream, where they are carried to your lungs, and, you guessed it, your breath.
  • Poor home hygiene— If you’re a lazy brusher and flosser, odds are you have bad breath. Food particles remain in your mouth, creating odors. Plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth throughout the day, needs to be removed by brushing and flossing daily. If you don’t, the bacteria starts to irritate the gums and eventually causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that are like little hot tubs for bacteria to party in…and create bad breath.
  • Tobacco products— Smoking itself causes stale breath. But it also increases the risk of gum disease, which is another source of ongoing, habitual bad breath.
  • Dry mouth— Saliva is important in your mouth, helping to cleanse it and remove food particles. If you have dry mouth, your decreased saliva production can lead to bad breath.
  • Infections in the mouth— If you’ve had wisdom teeth removed or other surgical wounds in the mouth, these can cause bad breath. But as long as they don’t become infected, this is only temporary.
  • Other mouth, nose, and throat conditions— Your tonsils can become inflamed and covered with bacteria. That will make for some bad breath. Chronic sinus infections and the like will do the same.
  • Other causes— Taking some medications can contribute to dry mouth, which contributes to bad breath. Certain metabolic disorders and cancers will cause breath odor, as does acid reflux disease.

That’s the lowdown on the causes of dog breath. No offense, Fido. As you read above, the number one way to fight bad breath is to have a diligent, attentive home hygiene regimen. The second best way to head off bad breath is to keep your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with Dr. Egger and his team. Call us for your next appointment, (989) 773-3560.

Are You Being Tooth Tidy at Home?

Dental Services Mount Pleasant MI We all brush our teeth. And we all at least say we floss, although a lie detector may be in order on that one.

But are we actually doing a good job of home hygiene for our teeth?

Home hygiene is really the first line of defense against gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, and all of the other bad things you can think about with the dental world. And home hygiene is easy, albeit maybe not the most exciting thing in the world.

But healthy teeth start at home. So, here’s Dr. Egger’s take on what you should be doing for your home dental health care.

What is the proper way of brushing my teeth?

Twice daily is the proper amount for brushing your teeth, although you can do it three times if you want to keep your breath fresh for a meeting or something. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede) and use gentle pressure. You should brush for around two minutes. If you’ve been a cursory brusher two minutes can seem longer than binging the entire Breaking Bad series on Netflix. But two minutes is about right for you to hit all of the teeth thoroughly, and then the gums, roof of the mouth, and the tongue. If it helps, just go with 30 second per quarter.

Here’s the proper technique for brushing those chompers:

  1. Position your tooth brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Using small, circular strokes, gently brush the teeth while making sure that the bristles are also touching the gums. Use overlapping circles to cover all the tooth surfaces.
  2. When brushing, make sure the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of the teeth are included.
  3. Using the tip of the brush, clean the inner portion of your front teeth.
  4. It is important to brush the tongue as well to remove existing bacteria and to freshen up your breath. Hit the pockets on the sides of your tongue, too. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.

Electric toothbrushes are great. In fact, the American Dental Association recently gave its Seal of Approval to a bunch of Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes. Use a toothpaste with flouride. Whitening toothpastes with fluoride do whiten teeth somewhat, although nothing like a professional whitening.

Here’s how to floss, just in case you’ve, uh, been a wee bit lax

You should floss between your teeth once daily. Flossing has two purposes. It removes food debris and plaque from between the teeth, and it stimulates the gums. There was some bogus study a couple years back that questioned the value of flossing, but those results are up for debate. Plus, what’s the worst thing that can happen by flossing? You keep your teeth and gums healthier, and your breath fresher. There is no downside.

Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:

  1. Use a piece around 18 inches long. Wrap the thread around your middle fingers and leave 2 inches of thread in between your fingers.
  2. Use your thumbs and forefingers to gently insert the floss in between each tooth and clean the area following a sawing motion.
  3. Hold the floss in a “C” shape on each tooth as well as under the gumline. Move the thread up and down to clean every side of the tooth.

Floss holders are fine. Flavored floss is fine. Just do floss…daily.

Now you have no excuse to pay more attention to the condition of the Red Wings farm system than the home hygiene of your teeth. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you. Can you say that for the second line goalie of the Griffins?

Is it time for your next professional exam and cleaning? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.

What Makes Up a Tooth?

Family Dentistry Mount Pleasant, MIDr. Egger loves teeth. OK, maybe not those wax vampire teeth that are soon to be around for Halloween. But Dr. Egger is all about helping his patients keep their teeth healthily chomping away year after year forevermore. Kind of like a Pac Man game on autoplay. Or a beaver going through birch trees in the U.P.

Toward that end, we think it can help to know what your teeth are all about. We often have blogs about prosthetics such as bridges, crowns, or even dentures. But many people don’t know the basics of just what their teeth are.

So, for your enlightenment, and maybe an answer or two on Jeopardy!, here’s a primer on your trusty teeth.

What are the parts of a tooth?

These are the parts that make up all of your teeth:

  • Crown — This can be confused with a dental crown, a prosthetic that fits over your upper part of the tooth. The crown actually fits over the “crown” of the tooth. This is the portion of the tooth above the gumline.
  • Gumline — This is where the tooth and the gums meet. When you develop problems with your gums, bacteria and tartar begin to move up under the gumline.
  • Root — About two thirds of the tooth mass, the roots are the part of the tooth that is embedded in the jawbone.
  • Enamel — Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, but it is actually porous. That’s why it can accumulate stains from coffee and red wine. Enamel protects the inner tooth.
  • Dentin — The layer under the enamel, the dentin has millions of tiny tubes that lead directly to the dental pulp. When a tooth is stained from a reaction to tetracycline or from trauma, it is stained in the dentin. This type of staining can’t be corrected with teeth whitening.
  • Pulp — This is the soft center of the tooth. Here there are nerves and blood vessels. When decay invades the pulp you’ll begin to feel extreme pain. A root canal removes all of the nerves and blood vessels.

What are the different types of teeth?

The normal number of teeth a person usually has before they lose any is 32, 16 on top and bottom. You probably have never spent much time thinking of the function of your teeth, but the different shapes make for different purposes. Here are the types of chompers in your mouth.

  • Incisors — These are the sharp, chisel-shaped front teeth (four on top and four on bottom) used for cutting food.
  • Canines — These are also called cuspids, these pointed teeth (two on bottom and two on top) are used for tearing food.
  • Premolars — These teeth have pointed cusps on their biting surface and are also called bicuspids. These teeth (four on top and four on bottom) are for crushing and tearing.
  • Molars — These teeth have several cusps on the biting surface. The molars (six on top and six on bottom) are meant for grinding up food.

Now that you’re a tooth expert, maybe it’s time to schedule your twice-yearly exam and professional cleaning with Dr. Egger. Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make an appointment.

Dental Services Mt Pleasant, MIWhen people come to see us at Dr. Egger’s practice, they may want to talk about the Red Wings missing the playoffs for the second straight year, or they may want to talk the recruiting class for either the Wolverines or Spartans. But they don’t usually want to talk about their toothbrushing prowess.

But maybe they should because we’d like to discuss with you the possibility of switching over to an electric toothbrush.

No, Dr. Egger didn’t just buy stock in Oral-B or Philips (makers of the two dominant electric toothbrushes out there); it’s just that we like to see our patients with the healthiest teeth possible. And electric toothbrushes seem to do a better job for most people.

Why is an electric toothbrush better?

Electric toothbrushes aren’t all that different than the pedal-powered electric polisher we use to polish your teeth after we’ve removed all the plaque. Electric brushes feature a circulating/vibrating head that basically does all the work for you. You place the brush head on your teeth and gums and let it get to work. Both Philips and Oral-B toothbrushes have a built-in timer that tells you when you’ve been brushing for two minutes, the length of time recommended by the American Dental Association. Basically, all you need do is move the head from tooth to tooth and it will remove the plaque from your teeth.

The goal is to be a thorough brusher, and many people are any but that. Because the heads rotate or otherwise move, the odds of doing a better job than your hand and arm are heavily weighted in favor of electric toothbrushes. If you’re a very diligent brusher, you may get every tooth brushed and hit your gums. But not many people ever brush for the full two minutes recommended. The problem with some even good manual brushers is they can be too aggressive. This can lead to gum recession.

Here are some specific cases where electric toothbrushes are a no-brainer.

  • If you’re a haphazard, cursory brusher — Yes, we’re looking at you! You brush your teeth but are lackadaisical about it. You could easily leave a tooth here or there with plaque on it.
  • If you’re a kid — Little kids love electric toothbrushes because they’re fun gadgets. Some think they tickle their teeth. Once you explain to place the brush head on each tooth, they’ll do a good job brushing. Also, kids with traditional braces benefit mightily from electric brushes because of their thoroughness.
  • If you’re elderly — As we age, many of us have some dexterity issues with our hands and fingers. Electric brushes don’t require any hand or finger dexterity.

Statistics?

Your hand and arm can produce around 200 strokes per minute with your manual toothbrush. An electric toothbrush generates 30,000 strokes per minute. That’s quite a difference. Which do you think will clean better?

Want research proof? Oral-B makes both electric and regular toothbrushes. The company ran a test. They had dentists and hygienists ask 16,000 patients to use an Oral-B electric toothbrush from one visit to the next, basically for six months. When asked to monitor how their patients’ teeth looked afterwards, the dental professionals said the electric toothbrush had a positive effect on the oral health of over 80 percent of the patients. Case closed.

It’s not that you can’t do just as good a job as an electric toothbrush; it’s just that the odds are that you won’t. If you have any questions about these electric options, give us a call and ask away, (989) 773-3560.

Dental Services Mount Pleasant MISome of our patients ask us why they should come into our offices every six months when we’re not doing anything different than they do at home. Of course, unless you have a handy x-ray machine, you’re probably not taking those at home. But there is a misconception that professional cleanings aren’t really necessary every six months.

We seriously disagree.

Dr. Egger and our whole team view good dental hygiene as a partnership between home care and professional cleanings. And those professional cleanings (we use a fancy term, prophylaxis) should happen twice each year.

Here’s why you need prophylaxis twice yearly.

Tartar is the real culprit

Professional cleaning by Dr. Eggers’ three hygienists removes plaque, calculus (tartar), and stains from the teeth. Can’t this happen at home? While you can, and do need to, remove plaque with your home hygiene, it is almost impossible to remove it all. What you don’t/can’t get at slowly turns into tartar. This is the hard light-colored stuff that builds up particularly on the inner bottom teeth. Tartar cannot be removed with home care. No matter how well you brush or floss, once tartar has taken hold it can only be removed by a professional hygienist or dentist. That’s where dental picks come into play.

So I have a little tartar. What’s the big deal with that? Once formed, tartar keeps growing because brushing doesn’t remove it. If you let it keep expanding, it will eventually begin to expand down under the gumline, causing irritation. This irritation is called gingivitis and is the precursor of gum disease.

Here’s what our cleanings do that you can’t

What does a professional cleaning at Dr. Egger’s involve? First is a scaling and polishing procedure that removes normal plaque buildup, calculus, and stains. What’s scaling? That’s where the hygienist chips away the layer of tartar that has formed in your usual spots in your mouth. Various picks have different characteristics that help the hygienist break the grip of the tartar. Once the grip is loosened, the tartar releases and can be removed.

Once the tartar is removed, the teeth are professionally polished. We utilize a special paste with more grit than typical toothpaste that helps remove stains and polishes the teeth. This polishing also makes the tooth surfaces more smooth and difficult for plaque and debris to adhere to, at least for a couple days.

Twice each year

People wonder why Dr. Egger wants to see his patients every six months. It’s not just arbitrary — six months is the time it takes for tartar to take hold in your usual build-up locations. And once it builds up it needs to be removed.

Is it time for your cleaning? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.