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Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

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.

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.

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.

Gingivitis Treatments Mount Pleasant, MIYou’re pretty sure your kids brush their teeth twice daily. They may even chew sugarless gum and munch on breath-freshening mints. But there are still times when their breath smells like the inside of a pair of hockey gloves (hockey players and their parents understand!).

What’s up?

Well, there can be other reasons for bad breath beyond accumulated plaque and bacteria in the mouth. There can be some other reasons that you probably didn’t know could lead to bad breath. So, before you dunk your kid in a vat of Listerine to combat his or her breath, see if the cause may be something other than oral hygiene.

Sinus infection

Want to create some bad breath? Allow fluids to collect in the nasal passages and the throat with a sinus infection. When this happens, bacteria have a party and get busy multiplying. Bad breath that can’t be remedied by brushing is the result. Ask you, child, if he or she has a sore throat or burning nasal passages, and then get them to a doctor for some antibiotics.

Swollen tonsils

Healthy tonsils should be bubble-gum pink and spot free. Infected tonsils are red, inflamed, can have white spots on them, and smell less than yummy. Bacteria can collect in the pits of swollen tonsils and create bad breath. An antibiotic should be able to address the infection, or the tonsils may need to be removed.

Dry mouth

Kids aren’t all that worried about drinking water, despite the fact that they’re running about like mad men and women. A lack of water means the mouth produces less saliva, and since part of the job of saliva is to wash away odor-causing bacteria, you know what’s coming — bad breath. This may seem like overkill, but dry mouth is not a good thing, as it can lead to tooth decay. So, encourage your kids to stay hydrated.

Decay and gingivitis

Once bacteria have signed a lease and have taken up permanent residence in your child’s teeth, decay is soon to follow. So is gingivitis (gum irritation). Once decay and oral infections have taken hold, brushing won’t mask the odor. Could be time to see Dr. Egger have a cavity taken care of.

See? Your child may not be the world’s worst tooth brusher. His or her bad breath could have other causes. To keep your kid on the right track with dental hygiene, make sure to keep your twice-yearly cleanings and exams with Dr. Egger. Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

dental careWith other health issues occasionally coming to the forefront, it can be easy to overlook your teeth as you get into your 50s, 60s, and beyond. But your teeth still need your full attention, so as not to join the one-quarter of all Americans 65 and over who are missing all of their teeth. Here are some tips from Dr. Egger for his older patients.

Don’t forget the fluoride

You may think fluoride’s just for kids in those “cavity-prone” years, but it’s important for all human teeth…forever. Older people actually have an increased risk for cavities, particularly around older fillings. Also, your enamel slowly thins as we age. So, use a fluoride toothpaste, and don’t be shy about drinking that fluoridated water. If you’ve gotten a couple cavities in the past couple of years, Dr. Egger can even give you one of those tasty fluoride treatments you may remember from your youth.

Dry mouth

Old age and dry mouth don’t go hand in hand, but some facets of aging can increase your risk for dry mouth. Taking regular medications or certain chronic conditions can increase your risk for dry mouth. And with dry mouth comes an increased risk for cavities and decay issues. If you wear dentures, dry mouth can affect the quality of their fit.

So, what can you do? Use a “moisturizing” mouthwash or dry mouth spray. Chew sugar-free gum, as it encourages saliva production. You can use an “artificial saliva” product; these products have ingredients that closely mimic your real saliva.

Mind your dentures

If you have dentures, take care of them as diligently as you would natural teeth. Clean them with a denture-specific toothpaste (regular toothpastes are too abrasive), and be sure you clean them every day. And don’t forget to use a soft toothbrush on your gums and tongue to remove any bacteria and food particles.

Finally, your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with Dr. Egger are just as important in old age as in your youth. Call us at our Mt. Pleasant offices to make an appointment, 989-773-3560.

Dental Services Mt Pleasant, MITetracycline. Just about everyone who is 60 or younger has had it prescribed for everything from ear infections to strep throat. It’s been a popular antibiotic for over 60 years.

But there’s a problem with tetracycline — it stains the dentin of the teeth. If it hasn’t affected your teeth, you probably know someone with the telltale grey teeth that are caused by tetracycline. The first case of reported tooth discoloration in children occurred in 1956. Unfortunately, many, many other children had their teeth stained over the following decade before the connection was fully understood.

People think they can have their teeth whitened to remove the grey color, but that’s not true. This is because the dentin is where the reaction took place. The dentin is the interior portion of the tooth, beneath the enamel layer. While you can whiten the enamel, the dentin cannot be whitened (no matter the claims you may hear from some less than scrupulous dentists!). The only thing you can do about tetracycline-stained teeth is applied porcelain veneers over the fronts of the visible teeth.

Here’s some more information on tetracycline and staining.

How does tetracycline cause the teeth to be stained?

The timing and discoloration seem to be tied to tooth mineralization. In teeth, mineralization is an ongoing process, where teeth continually lose (demineralization) and gain (remineralization) minerals such as calcium. When teeth lose more minerals than they regain, that is when decay sets in. Mineralization is especially active in young, growing teeth. Ingested fluoride has been proven to help in this process by strengthening the developing permanent teeth from within. Fluoride applied directly to the teeth helps to speed remineralization on the tooth surface.

With tetracycline, research shows that if the teeth are exposed to tetracycline at a time of tooth mineralization or calcification, the tetracycline will bind to the calcium ions in the teeth. If this happens before the teeth erupt, the tetracycline that has bound to the calcium will cause the teeth to come out with an initial fluorescent yellow discoloration. Once these teeth are exposed to light, however, the tetracycline will oxidize, and the discoloration will change from fluorescent yellow to nonfluorescent brown over a period of a few months to years.

The location of the discoloration will correspond directly to the stage of tooth development at the time of the tetracycline exposure. Permanent teeth tend to show the discoloration with less color, but it is more widespread across the tooth.

Tetracycline is limited in its timeframe for use

Because of this tooth discoloration, tetracycline is not to be used by doctors during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy or in children up to 8 years of age. These ranges are the periods of calcification of the teeth.

Now you know why some people have grey-colored teeth. Tetracycline.

When it’s time for your next check-up, call Dr. Egger at 989-773-3560 to make your appointment.

Periodontal Treatment Mount Pleasant MIAs much as we like to think otherwise, our genes are running the show to a large extent. Hair color. Eye color. Height. Coordination. Baldness or not. The propensity towards injury.

Even cavities. That’s right. Ever notice how some people have a filling in seemingly every molar, while others have few despite eating more Frosted Flakes and the like than they can pile up off the Battle Creek cereal lines.

What gives? Genes.

Scientists now understand that healthy teeth depend on a combination of genetics and dental hygiene (including twice-yearly trips to Dr. Egger!). Research now shows that about 60 percent of the risk of tooth decay is due to genetic factors. These show themselves in individual genes that can be found in the saliva and also that dictate certain immune responses such as the individual propensity to not have gum disease.

According to scientists, these are the five areas impacted by your genes.

Your tooth enamel

The enamel is the protector of your teeth. Some people, much to their chagrin, have softer enamel than others, making it easier for bacteria to get through to the interior of the tooth, i.e., decay. Genes are the primary determinant of your enamel structure.

Preference for sweets

Scientists have identified gene variants that show a range of “sweet preference.” The stronger your genetic “sweet preference,” the better chance you’ll have tooth decay one day.

Taste

“Taste ability” is a measure of the variety of things you can taste. This is a complex process that includes your tongue and is linked with your sense of smell. Studies show that the greater your “taste ability” profile, the less likely you are to develop tooth decay. Why this is the case is still a mystery under further study.

Saliva

Elements such as calcium and potassium are critical to healthy, strong teeth. These elements must be properly broken down by your saliva for your teeth to use them.

Microbiome

Your body has communities of different bacteria. In your mouth alone, there are communities on your tongue, on the surfaces of your teeth, and below the gum line. How your body manages or responds to these bacteria affects your tendency toward tooth decay.

So there’s 60 percent of your risk for tooth decay — all thanks to Mom and Dad. But for the other 40 percent, that’s up to you. Your dental hygiene and your propensity to love soft drinks (they are the number one environmental factor that encourages tooth decay) all play a role in whether you get cavities or not.

And, of course, your propensity or not to visit Dr. Egger for your twice-yearly exams and professional cleanings plays a starring role. Due for your next appointment? Call us, 989-773-3560.

dental careYou may have an uncle or cousin who’s all about catching perch or sunfish in the little lakes and ponds around Mt. Pleasant. Seeing as these aren’t exactly King Salmon, he may then liberally amend said fish with a vat of tartar sauce.

Unfortunately for your teeth, that’s not the kind of tartar they deal with. They get a wholly different animal that has an alias, calculus.

Once tartar/calculus has formed on your teeth, you can’t get it off at home. It’s now up to the hygienists at Dr. Egger’s to remove it. Not doing so leads first to gingivitis and then on to full-blown gum disease.

Here’s the lowdown on that non-fishy tartar.

How tartar forms

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. Plaque and your toothbrush are involved in an ongoing battle. Every day you brush it away only to have it re-form the next day. It’s easy to remove with some attentive brushing and flossing. Problems arise when you don’t brush and floss, or do a lackadaisical job.

If the plaque on your teeth is allowed to take up residence, it hardens or calcifies. This calcified plaque is now called tartar. It starts on your teeth above the gums and then progresses slowly down under the gumline. Initially, tartar under your gums slightly irritates them (not unlike how your Aunt Gracie irritates everyone at Thanksgiving). This is called gingivitis. But as more tartar builds up and the gums become more irritated, they begin to pull away from the teeth. This is the beginning of gum disease, which can end up with tooth loss and extensive jawbone damage.

So we chip it away

No one wants to have gum disease. Fortunately, Dr. Egger’s hygienists are expert Tartar warriors. How do they get the stuff off? They use dental picks in a process called scaling. The pick is applied to the edge of the tartar, and some force is applied. Often the tartar comes off not unlike a shell lifting off. Other times, some back and forth scraping will remove it.

The important thing to know is that scaling is a professional job. Not only can you damage your gums and tooth enamel if you try and scrape tartar off your teeth, but you can’t do a thorough enough job so that the tartar will remain and grow.

That’s why we advise all of our patients to come in every six months for our professional cleanings. This is about the time it takes for tartar to develop on even the best cared-for teeth. Tartar is especially prevalent on the inside of the lower bottom teeth. Just about everyone builds up tartar in that location.

Leave the tartar for the perch from Crystal Lake. Let the team at Dr. Egger’s get rid of your dental tartar. Call us at 989-773-3560 for an appointment.