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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


 

Family Dentistry Mount Pleasant, MIHere’s a question to ask your erudite friend who got a Ph.D. from UM when you’re hanging out at Sleeping Bear Dunes this summer:

What is the hardest tissue in the human body?

He or she will probably say something like the femur or the skull. Wrong-o, maize, and blue breath.

Your tooth enamel is the hardest tissue on your body. Dr. Egger would have aced that question!

Tooth enamel covers the crown of the tooth, the part that is visible above the gum line. It is comprised for the most of minerals, primarily hydroxyapatite. It is translucent so that you can see right through your enamel to the main portion of the tooth, the dentin, beneath it. The dentin is what makes your tooth color, not the enamel.

But stains on your teeth from food and drink accumulate on the enamel, not in the dentin. Regular visits Dr. Egger for your twice-yearly prophylaxis (fancy word for professional cleaning!) clean and polish most of those stains away. Tooth whitening also removes these stains from the enamel.

Like a bodyguard without the roids

Like the beefed-up dudes surrounding a mafia boss, your enamel’s job is protection. Enamel protects your teeth during daily use. You don’t realize it, but things such as chewing, biting, crunching, and grinding create lots of force, and your enamel keeps that force from damaging the interior of the tooth. The enamel also insulates the teeth from potential painful temperatures and chemicals.

Although it is incredibly strong, your enamel can still be damaged. It can crack or chip, but unlike bone cells, enamel has no living cells so once it is damaged the body cannot repair it. People think you can restore your enamel — some dental products even claim this — but you cannot. Once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good. Kind of like your youth!

Leave the erosion to the sandblaster

When you consider the fact that your enamel can’t rebuild, it’s wise to avoid the foods and beverages that cause enamel erosion. Here’s a list of enamel eroders:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Too much sugar and starch in the diet
  • Fruit drinks (fruits have various acids, some very erosive)
  • Excessive soft drink consumption (high levels of phosphoric and citric acids)
  • Medications like aspirin and antihistamines
  • Environmental factors such as bruxism

Will I know when enamel has eroded?

Unlike a crack or chip to your tooth, enamel erosion doesn’t happen quickly. There will be clues. Dr. Egger will see them during your exams, but you’ll also need to pay attention. Sensitivity to sweets and temperatures can cause twinges of pain in the early stages of erosion. As it progresses, your teeth become discolored as more of the dentin is exposed. As enamel erodes the edges of your teeth can become rough and irregular. Severe sensitivity will come in the late stages.

If you have any symptoms of enamel erosion, give Dr. Egger a call at (989) 773-3560. Let’s put a stop to this before it progresses.

dental services Mount Pleasant MIWhen you eat some ice cream or have a cold Coke, do your teeth tell you they’re not very happy? Teeth that are sensitive to cold is a common problem, with 57 percent of adults between 20 and 50 reporting some degree of cold sensitivity. What’s behind this sensitivity?

Causes of sensitive teeth

There are a number of factors that can cause a tooth to become sensitive to cold. Most cold sensitivity occurs at or near the neck of the tooth or at the gumline. This happens because the dentin, the inner portion of the tooth, becomes exposed due to wear on the outer enamel. Also, it can be due to an exposed root surface (below the gumline), a cavity, or a loose filling. Most tooth sensitivity comes from an exposed root.

How do roots become exposed?

The crown of the tooth, the part above the gumline, is covered by enamel. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, so it provides great protection. But the roots don’t have enamel. They are covered by cementum, and beneath it, the dentin.

These factors can lead to a root being exposed:

  • Improper toothbrushing
  • Clenching or grinding the teeth
  • Erosion due to acid
  • Orthodontic treatments

How does Dr. Egger help with tooth sensitivity?

Dr. Egger will evaluate your tooth and suggest various treatment options — some are simple, some more involved.

  • Using a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth
  • In-office or home fluoride treatments — fluoride strengthens the enamel and the dentin, reducing sensitivity
  • Dietary changes — reducing acidic foods and drinks usually lessens sensitivity
  • Crowns or bonded fillings to cover the exposed root area
  • Gum grafting to cover the receding gums
  • Root canal

Receding gums can be a sign of gingivitis and possible gum disease. Brushing too hard or with a toothbrush with firmer bristles can also make the gums recede, exposing the roots.

If you are noticing new tooth sensitivity to cold, give Dr. Egger a call soon. He’ll get at the cause before it becomes a bigger issue. Call us, 989-773-3560.

cleanings and examsDr. Egger doesn’t like to take any monkey business from dental plaque. He beats up on it much like Gordie Howe used to beat up on losers from the Rangers. One of the ways he handles plaque is with root scaling and planing.

Who needs root scaling and planing?

When you come into our office for your twice-yearly cleanings and exams, those involve scaling your teeth. You may not know that term, but that’s what happens when the hygienist takes the dental pick and removes plaque and tartar. These cleanings usually don’t go below the gumline.

But if you have been doing a less-than-stellar job with your home hygiene or have missed a couple cleanings/exams with us, that plaque may have started to sneak its way under your gums. This is the start of the periodontal (gum) disease. If left alone, that plaque under your gums will start to wreak havoc.

That’s when Dr. Egger needs to do a little root scaling and root planing.

What’s healthy and not?

Healthy gum tissue fits tightly around each tooth. But if plaque has developed under your gums, the tissues that support your teeth will begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can have a party. You’ll know this has happened because your breath will reek, your gums will bleed easily, and you’ll be able to see pockets where the gums are pulling away from the plaque on your teeth.

What are root scaling and root planing?

Now it’s time for Dr. Egger to teach the plaque who’s the boss. Root scaling is first. You’ll probably be given some local anesthetic to alleviate any discomfort. Then Dr. Egger uses dental picks to go below the gumline and break off any plaque, bacterial toxins, and tartar deposits from your teeth and the root surfaces.

After all of that junk is removed, next up is root planing. For this, Dr. Egger smoothes all the rough areas on the surface of your tooth roots. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar don’t like smooth surfaces much, so root planing helps keep the bad stuff off, and it allows your gums to heal and reattach themselves more firmly to your roots.

Home hygiene is key

Of course, all of this could have been prevented had you been better about your home hygiene, and had you kept your twice-yearly cleanings/exams with us.

Is it time to book your next appointment? Call Dr. Egger at 989-773-3560.

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.

toothpasteIn pretty much any dental hygiene product you’ll find some fluoride. You’ll find it in toothpaste, mouthwashes, even in the material used to fill baby teeth. You’ll even find it in the municipal water supply in Mt. Pleasant.

Occasionally you’ll hear some nut job spouting off about how fluoride is a communist conspiracy to brainwash the population, and they push to have it removed from local water supplies. But those people need to be careful what they wish for — fluoride’s probably keeping those last few teeth in their mouths.

You’ve probably heard of fluoride, but may not know how it goes about its superhero job of strengthening our teeth. Here’s some info on this ubiquitous dental mineral.

What is fluoride and how does it protect the teeth?

Every day your mouth is kind of like the ore boats making their way to and fro on Lake Superior; it has minerals coming and going. Minerals are added to and lost from a tooth’s enamel layer through two processes, demineralization and remineralization. Remineralization is good; demineralization is the problem. Minerals are lost from a tooth’s enamel layer when acids, formed from the bacteria in plaque and sugars in the mouth, attack the enamel. Fortunately, when you eat foods and drink water, minerals such as fluoride, calcium, and phosphate remineralize the teeth. Therein lies the ongoing battle — too much demineralization without remineralization results in tooth decay.

Conspiracy theorists aside, fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth enamel more resistant to those acids from bacteria and sugars in the mouth. Fluoride also has the cool effect of reversing early cases of decay. For kids under 6, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth. This makes the teeth resistant to the assault of acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also speeds remineralization and disrupts acid production in the mouth. What’s not to love?

When is fluoride the most beneficial?

Since it was first tested and shown to have such tooth-strengthening powers, originally it was thought that only children benefit from fluoride. But new research shows that topical fluoride from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments are important to help adult teeth fight decay. For children, it’s long been known that children between 6 months and 16 years need fluoride to help build their teeth.

Fluoride treatments with Dr. Egger

Now you know that fluoride is one of your mouth’s best friends. We provide fluoride treatments at Dr. Egger’s to give our patients a more concentrated occasional fluoride application. We apply fluoride varnish topically at each appointment of our younger patients. Call us at 989-773-3560 to schedule your next appointment.

Oral Hygiene for Your Kids

Oral HealthYoung children pattern their behavior after everything you as parents do. This applies to oral hygiene, as well. No matter how young your kids are, it’s never too early to get them thinking about properly taking care of their teeth. Starting early is key to forming strong habits that can greatly improve and maintain their oral health for the rest of their lives.

It is important for your child to have a reliable, experienced dentist like Dr. Egger who can meet his or her individual needs. During your child’s regular visits to our office, we’ll provide instruction and feedback on how your child should take care of his or her teeth. But you start the process at home.

When to start

When teaching good dental habits, it is always better to start early, even as early as your child’s first birthday. Early prevention can save you and your child the cost and hassle of dealing with dental conditions later on.

Integrating good dental habits

Brushing seems so simple for adults, but it could be difficult for your little one. You may brush your child’s gums, even when he or she doesn’t have teeth yet. Use a baby toothbrush or a soft washcloth to gently clean their mouth.

When your child’s teeth erupt, it is important to brush them twice a day using an infant toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride. When teeth have touched each other, your can show your child the basics of flossing. You can ask Dr. Egger for further guidelines to effectively teach your child the right way.

Bad dental habits can lead to a lifetime of poor oral hygiene. Get them started the right way as early as you can. And let us help you with the process. Call us at 989-773-3560 to make your appointments or if you have any questions.

dental servicesOne of the main reasons why people don’t go to the dentist regularly is a lack of funds or dental insurance. You should see your dentist whether or not you have insurance, but very often, patients just don’t have the money for regular visits. We all know that visiting a dentist is the best way to prevent long term problems. But when you don’t have the money, it’s very difficult to make the decision to do so.

There are a few dental resources you can look into to see if you can get your teeth checked before an issue arises.

First, check out any local free dental clinics. Sometimes the free clinic in your area, if you have one, will offer dental services. Other times, they may be able to direct you to a government program that gives free or reduced priced dental care to certain patients. If you have Medicaid or some other government health insurance, you simply need to find a local dentist who accepts that type of insurance.

Is there a local dental school in your area? If you are willing to serve as a guinea pig for the students at the school, you can sometimes get free or reduced priced dental work. Look online or in your local directory to see if a dental school is an option you can take advantage of.

Your best bet is to have dental insurance. If you have any reasonably priced options, get covered right away. There are plans that can be attached to your regular healthcare for a small fee, in addition to plans that are specifically for dental care. The more extensive (and expensive) dental insurance companies will cover anything and everything you need, from extractions to orthodontics. Contact local insurance agents and ask about discount plans. You should also contact the human resources department at your employer to inquire about group plans.

dental implantsNo one wants to hear that they are at risk for gum disease, so it’s important to take good care of your teeth. Regular, proper teeth care can help you avoid teeth pain and hundreds of dollars at the dentist.

If you are worried about gum disease, here are some things that can put you at risk.

  1. Poor dental hygiene. Even though you know you aren’t brushing and flossing enough, you haven’t done anything to change your current habits.
  2. You are a smoker.
  3. Studies show that more than 70% of retired Americans have periodontal disease.
  4. You are under a great deal of stress.
  5. You are taking a new type of medication. Medications can cause problems such as dry mouth and thrush that can poorly affect your gums.
  6. Your family has always had gum disease problems. Genetics can make you more susceptible to contracting gum disease,.
  7. Poor nutrition and diet. The food you eat will contribute to the condition of your gums, just as it does with maintaining a healthy body overall.

Your best bet when preventing gum disease is to take care of your teeth from an early age. Brush and floss regularly. Use mouthwash if your dentist recommends it. Go to the dentist for your annual appointment and follow their instructions.

dental implantsA visit to a fellow dental office this week made me realize how important dental checkups are. Seeing the dentist and his assistants smiling and enthusiastically conducting the checkup with the thoroughness and attention to detail of true professionals, it actually made me smile.

But people often opt to skip regular dental checkups. Why go through the hassles of driving to the dental office, sitting on a cold seat while the dentist counts how many teeth there are with his assistant repeating the numbers and tapping the information into a keyboard? It seems like a waste of time and money to many. But if you think this way, then you are missing the whole point of dental checkups.

Looking for change

The value of a decent dental checkup is often about looking back, and probably more importantly, looking forward. A good dentist will look into the mouth and compare the current situation to the results from the last checkup, looking for change. Change can actually be good (e.g. less plaque, better brushing, flossing, etc.) or change can be bad (fillings wearing out, tooth decay, crowns cracking, etc.). Often the real value is in predicting what’s to come.

We all wish we could predict the future, but in dentistry it’s actually not that hard. Careful examination and an up-to-date dental history will provide strong clues as to how long our teeth and our general dental health will last. A good dentist can plan ahead for any problems “on the horizon” or those further down the line – 6, 12, 24 months or even 5 or 10 years ahead.

A good dentist can give you realistic predictions about the lifespan of your teeth and your dental prospects for the years ahead. So while a dental checkup may seem to be all about today, it’s in fact all about your tomorrow.

Teaching Your Children that Flossing is Important

Every dentist and parent has said it and every child has heard it – “Don’t forget to floss!” Despite the constant reminders, people are more likely not to floss than to actually do so. Many more people feel the act of brushing their teeth is more important and will make a point to brush at least twice a day. Unfortunately, not nearly as many people floss even one time during the day.the importance of flossing

Flossing is a very important part of proper dental hygiene. The better you care for your teeth, the longer you will have them. Brushing takes care of the outside and surface of your teeth and gums. Flossing gets in between them.

Some people have gaps between their teeth, while others have very little space between their teeth. Floss is designed to get into those in-between places that your toothbrush can’t get to. Also, brushing has been proven to be more effective IF you floss before you brush.

Your dental hygiene is a three-part process and each step has significance.

First, brushing. This helps prevent plaque build-up, bad breath, and food particles from sticking to the gums and surfaces of the teeth. Second, flossing. This is interdental cleaning, dislodging any food or debris that is stuck in the gaps between the teeth. Third, antibacterial mouthwash. This helps kill the plaque, prevents it from building up, and eliminates bad breath (unless the bad breath is caused by something internal, such as periodontal disease or halitosis.

Teach your children how important it is to follow these three processes every morning and evening, at least. Remind them of the dangers of not brushing and flossing. Help them understand the benefits that will last throughout their lifetime.