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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

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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


 

Family Dentistry - Mount Pleasant MI

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.

kids dental careWhen you have little kids, the whirlwind of activity can be overwhelming at times. You’re thinking of everything you’re supposed to do, and the timing of your child’s first dental visit can get overlooked. After all, your son or daughter only has a couple of teeth, so where’s the need for the dentist?

At our family dentistry in Mount Pleasant, we take pride in that we have three generations of teeth under our care for many families. Heck, if we were closer to Detroit we could have had the whole Howe clan!

So that you know when to bring a child in for his or her first visit, here’s some information.

What is pediatric dentistry?

Some people try and segment the care of children’s teeth into pediatric dentistry. But we don’t think that’s necessary. Taking care of the teeth of children before they reach adolescence does take some additional skills, however. Taking care of children’s teeth demands some additional skills beyond pure dentistry. There’s an art to dentistry for our smaller patients, acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going to the dentist, while at the same time performing the evaluations needed. A large part of our pediatric care is also educational, showing children the value of proper dental care along with the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Of course, if early intervention is needed to correct dental problems, we take care of that, too.

The first visit

The first dental visit should coincide with the eruption of the child’s first tooth, usually before the first birthday. As adults, the American Dental Association recommends that children see their dentist every six months to achieve optimal dental health. This may seem like overkill considering your child has but one or two teeth, but it’s important at this time to develop the patterns of care. Plus, if there is a problem, we can see it early and decide on the proper course of care.

What should I use in cleaning my child’s baby teeth?

When you’re cleaning your baby’s teeth, you won’t use a regular toothbrush. You need a specifically designed soft-bristled infant toothbrush. With this soft toothbrush, you will brush the baby’s teeth and gums once a day. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities.

My child still sucks his thumb and uses a pacifier. Would this affect his teeth?

Thumb sucking and pacifier sucking are normal self-comforting behaviors in very small children. But if allowed to continue for too long, they can lead to dental problems. Normally, children grow out of these habits on their own, but if they persist until your child is three years old, we may recommend the use of a mouth appliance to counter this problem. Continued thumb sucking will lead to orthodontic issues, so it’s better to stop the practice rather than allow it to continue.

Dr. Egger loves his little patients! So, when it’s time, bring them in and let’s get them started down the road to a lifelong healthy smile. Call us at 989-773-3560 is you have any questions about dental care for your child, or to make that first appointment.

 

 

vapingAt Dr. Egger’s your oral health is our daily preoccupation. To that end, we also sometimes provide information to help you manage that oral health from your side. Because we see more and more young people using e-cigarettes, we thought we’d share some findings of a recent research study on e-cigarettes and oral health.

The links between cigarette smoking and issues such as mouth and tongue cancer, along with gum disease, have been known for a long time. But when e-cigarettes started showing up a few years ago there was some thought they would provide a possible less-damaging alternative that could help people quit smoking, or provide a better alternative to actual tobacco. New research, however, suggests “vaping” may be just as harmful as smoking to your oral health.

In a new study published in the journal Oncotarget, researchers found that the chemicals present in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) vapor were equally as damaging, and in some cases, more damaging, to cells in the mouth as tobacco smoke.

What are e-cigarettes?

Because they don’t involve burning and inhaling actual tobacco and the chemicals it is laced with, e-cigarettes were initially thought to be an almost healthy alternative to real cigarettes. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices about the size of a cigar or large pen. They contain a heating device and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution. When used, the heating device vaporizes the liquid, and the user inhales the vapor.

While they don’t contain actual tobacco, e-cigarettes still deliver an infusion of nicotine and other chemicals and flavoring agents. While assumed to be safer than inhaling actual tobacco, e-cigarettes have been on the market for such a short period that there isn’t any long-term research on the effects of vaping on human health.

Study shows surprising level of damage

To begin to shed some light on vaping and the health of your mouth, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York conducted this study. The goal was to gauge the effect of e-cigarette vapor on oral health.

For the study, the research team exposed the gum tissue of nonsmokers to either tobacco- or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor. The tobacco-flavored vapor contained 16 milligrams of nicotine, while the menthol flavor contained 13-16 milligrams of nicotine or no nicotine.

The researchers found that all e-cigarette vapor damaged gum tissue cells in levels comparable or even above the damage caused by actual tobacco smoke.

This is how the study’s lead researcher, Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., described the findings, “We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.”

The effects of nicotine on oral health are well known. Nicotine has long been linked to gum disease. But it appears e-cigarette flavoring actual exacerbates the cell damage, particularly with the menthol-flavored vapor.

So, if you know any young people who are into vaping or who are considering trying it, you may want to share this information with them. It appears that this newest fad should be one to be avoided for good oral health.

If you have questions about your dental health or need to make an appointment, give us a call at 989-773-3560.

dental careLook, you can go to a Red Wings game and eat all the junk they have. Of course, the cost would require small bank loan, but your could do it. Cotton candy, Red Vines, Dippin’ Dots, you name it!

But afterwards, you should probably say “I’m sorry” to your teeth and offer up some healthier, tooth friendlier, alternatives.

No one is a perfect eater — what fun would that be? But there are certain foods that are actually good for your teeth. Since we like healthy teeth at Dr. Egger’s, here’s a list of seven foods that your teeth love, compiled by the wild men and women of the American Dental Association (ADA).

Apples

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but maybe it can keep Dr. Egger away, too. While fruits such as apples are sweet, they’re also high in fiber and water. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Think of it as a good scrubbing of your teeth and gums.

Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. The probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowds out the bad bacteria. It’s best to have yogurt without added sugar.

Carrots

Carrots are crunchy and when you eat a few baby carrots at the end of a meal your saliva production increases. Why is saliva good? Saliva rinses away bacteria and leftover food particles. Plus carrots are high in fiber and a great source of vitamin A. Your eyes will thank you for them, too!

Cheese

Most people wouldn’t associate cheese with tooth health, but it is. A study in 2013 published in General Dentistry found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. The chewing required to eat cheese also increases saliva production, which, as mentioned above, is bueno. Cheese also contains lots of calcium and protein, both of which strengthen tooth enamel.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens seemingly are on every healthy diet list, kind of like Pavel Datsyuk on every “best shootout moves” video on YouTube. While they are full of great minerals and vitamins for your overall health, leafy greens also are good for your teeth. They’re high in calcium for your enamel. They contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits, including helping pregnant women avoid gum disease.

Celery

Celery needs a new publicist. It has the reputation for being bland and stringy. But, like carrots and apples, it’s kind of like a natural toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It also has lots of vitamin A and C, which is good for your pink friends, the gums. Plus, it’s also crunchy and fun to eat. And you can put a little peanut butter in the trough!

Almonds

Almonds are a great source for calcium and protein and have little sugar. Plus, they’re great at filling you up. Add a quarter cup to lunch and throw some on your salad at dinner.

If you make it a habit to eat more of this stuff, your teeth won’t come back to bite you. If you have questions about any of these foods, just ask us the next time you’re in. Call us at 989-773-3560 for your appointment.

 

dental careWhen was the last time you saw a beaver brushing his teeth. Flossing? Hard to come across at your neighborhood beaver pond. And they never go to the dentist.

OK, then how can a beaver keep his or her teeth strong and healthy enough to chew through the trunk of a 20-inch tree? One word — iron.

A recent study on tooth enamel by Northwestern University delved into the true composition of tooth enamel. The goal was to understand why some teeth, like those of beavers and other rodents that aren’t exactly eating a soft diet, could be so strong. The study found that iron in a beaver’s teeth make them much more protected against decay than the enamel of the teeth of humans. So, don’t go out and chew on the elm in your backyard.

What is the difference in their enamel and ours? Beavers have “pigmented” enamel, the reason their teeth are brown. The ingredient that makes them brown is iron. It is built into the chemical structure of their teeth. This pigmented enamel is both harder and more resistant to acid than regular enamel, including enamel treated with fluoride. And to think, beavers don’t have to sit in the chair and bite down on grape-flavored fluoride trays for two minutes.

The Northwestern team broke down the complex structure of beaver tooth enamel. The study notes that layers of well-ordered hydroxylapatite “nanowires” are the core structure of enamel, in both humans and beavers. The difference is what’s surrounding these nanowires. In human enamel small amounts of magnesium can be found there, but in beavers and other prolific chewers it’s iron.

The lead of the study was Derk Joester, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern. “A beaver’s teeth are chemically different from our teeth, not structurally different,” Joester said. “Biology has shown us a way to improve on our enamel.”

In the experiments on rabbit, mouse, rat, and beaver enamel, Joester and his team subjected teeth to acid and took images before and after exposure. Through atom-probe tomography they mapped the enamel’s structure atom by atom. That’s where they found the iron, the Kevlar of the tooth enamel. They were particularly interested in the beaver’s incisors, since trees are no match for their strength.

Although us humans probably don’t want to have the dark orange/brown teeth of beavers anytime soon, this info about iron could be helpful. After all, worldwide 60 to 90% of children and nearly 100% of adults have or have had cavities, according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S. $111 billion is spent on dental services yearly, with a large part of that going to cavity and decay problems.

Until the day we all have iron in our enamel, however, a visit to Dr. Egger’s for your twice-yearly cleaning and exam will have to do the trick. Call us for your next appointment, 989-773-3560.

 

 

 

Although Dr. Egger doesn’t find it amusing, it’s interesting that most people pay more attention to the regular maintenance on their cars than on their teeth. Think about it, if you start going over the mileage on that little sticker on your windshield you get nervous until finally you take the car in. In contrast, people sometimes go years without a regular dental exam or checkup. Considering that healthy teeth are an important component of everyday life, and you can take the bus instead of your car, if need be, that makes no sense.

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. Use a soft-bristled brush (bristles that are too stiff can damage your tooth enamel and make your gums recede) and use gentle pressure. Brushing too firmly can damage your enamel. You should brush for around two minutes, 30 seconds per quarter of your mouth. Here’s how to brush teeth properly:

  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. And don’t miss the roof of your mouth.

Electric toothbrushes are great, but not required as long as you brush diligently. Use a toothpaste with flouride.

dental flossWhat is the correct way of flossing my teeth?

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. 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.

If you want more conveniece, you can purchase floss holders. Flavored floss? Hey, if mint or cinnamon flavors help to get you to actually floss, go for it!

There. That wasn’t so hard, now was it? And you don’t need to watch for a coupon for a discount or hope they don’t put the oil plug back in crooked.

Practice this hygiene routine, and come see Dr. Egger twice each year for professional cleanings and checkups. Call us at 989-773-3560 to schedule your appointment.

 

Everyone wants to have pearly white teeth. Plus, it’s good for your relationships with other people. Studies have shown that people respond more positively to people with bright white teeth. They are perceived as younger and more attractive than people with discolored or stained teeth.

Various things can stain your teeth. The foods you eat and drink, medicines you are or have taken, even too much fluoride at an early age. Figuring out the causes behind a patient’s discolored teeth is important. Those causes can be internal or external.

External triggers

teeth whiteningTooth discoloration due to external causes is a result of the stains being in the outermost surface of the teeth. Causes of this type of staining are:

  • Coffee, tea, red wine, dark colas, fruit juices
  • Chewing and/or smoking tobacco
  • Chlorhexidine mouthwash (it’s true — mouthwash can stain your teeth)
  • Certain medications or supplements such as tetracycline, liquid iron, doxycycline, and others

Internal causes

When staining is caused by internal forces, this is often referred to as intrinsic discoloration. In these cases, the dentin (the middle layer of the tooth) becomes a dark hue. Reasons for intrinsic discoloration are:

  • Age
  • Tetracycline (staining from this antibiotic is common among people who were given the drug at an early age)
  • Fluorosis, or exposure to an elevated level of fluoride at an early age.

Regular twice-yearly professional cleanings with Dr. Egger our hygienists are important to keeping your teeth looking their best. Call us at 989-773-3560 to make your next appointment.

Some people just don’t like going to the dentist. Maybe they watched Marathon Man one too many times. Maybe they had a bad experience in younger days. Whatever the reason, people will skip their twice-yearly professional cleanings.

Their thinking is — Hey, if I clean my teeth well at home, who needs to head to Dr. Egger’s office? It’s just a cleaning, right?

In reality, good dental hygiene is 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 with Dr. Egger.

Not steak tartar, dental tartar

If there were only one word to consider it would be tartar. Professional cleaning by our 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 remove relatively quickly begins to turn 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.

Who cares about a little tartar anyway? 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.

No offense, but you aren’t exactly a professional!

dental cleaningSo, what does a prophylaxis 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 comes off like a shell and can be removed.

Once the tartar is removed, the teeth are professionally polished. All dentists 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

Why two times a year for professional cleanings with Dr. Egger? 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 book your appointment.