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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

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Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

Family Dentistry - Mount Pleasant MI

Periodontal Disease Mount Pleasant, MIIn Michigan, whether it’s a pond in the woods down the street or the expanses of Lake Superior, we love to fish. It could be perch and sunfish in a pond or a monster pike or muskie in the Great Lakes. And when those fish are cleaned and grilled or fried, many of us like to add a little tartar sauce.

But don’t tell Dr. Egger, he hates tartar, because tartar on teeth if left unattended is the start of gum disease and lots of dental problems.

How does tartar get on my teeth?

Plaque is always trying to form on our teeth. It’s a sticky, colorless film of bacteria. Plaque and your toothbrush have an ongoing battle for supremacy. Every day you brush it away only to have it re-form the next day. But plaque isn’t tough to remove; all it takes it some attentive brushing and flossing. However, if you’re a haphazard brusher, that’s the start of problems with plaque.

That’s because if you allow plaque to stay on your teeth it hardens, a process known as calcification. Now it’s no longer called plaque — this hard stuff is tartar, and it’s no good on fish. It starts on your teeth above the gums and then progresses slowly under the gumline. Initially this creeping up under the gums irritates the gums. This is called gingivitis. But as more tartar builds up and the gums become more inflamed, they begin to pull away from the teeth. Pockets form, trapping bacteria. Now you have periodontitis, dreaded gum disease.

Chipping away at your tartar

Everyone forms some tartar, especially on their bottom incisors. But that’s why six-month intervals for professional cleanings with Dr. Egger and his team are so important. Six months is about the time it takes for tartar to form, but not to begin to move under the gumline.

Tartar can’t be removed at home. We use dental picks in a process known as scaling. The pick is applied to the edge of the tartar, and some force is applied. The tartar often then will flake off, like a shell. Other times, we need to scrape back and forth with the pick to break it off.

Some people think they can get tartar off their teeth at home. But while you may get a bit of it off, the rest well remain and continue grow and expand under your gums.

Tartar on your trout? That’s fine, although a lemon dill sauce would probably be tastier! Tartar on your teeth? That’s not fine. Come in and let us get it off before it starts creating mayhem with your oral health.

To make your next appointment, call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560.

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.

Periodontal Treatment Mount Pleasant, MIResembling a wad of Double Bubble, your gums look all pink and wimpy. Don’t be fooled. These bodyguards of your tooth roots are tough customers, despite their resemblance to Patrick Star on SpongeBob.

While they are tough, your gums still need you to take care of them. Prevention is the key to keeping them healthy. Really all you need to do is be diligent with your home brushing and flossing, and keep your twice-yearly appointments for professional cleanings and exams with Dr. Egger.

While that advice seems sensible enough, it is often ignored. But you do so at your own peril because it will end with gum disease, and you don’t want that.

Gum disease

Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease, periodontitis if you want to get downright clinical. It involves infection of the gums that can end up with tooth loss and an extra spot in a remake of Deliverance.

The good thing about periodontitis is that it is almost wholly preventable. It all begins with dental plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth throughout the day. Plaque has lots of bacteria in it. Dental plaque is easy to remove with daily brushing and flossing. In fact, a good home dental hygiene program of brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing once a day is usually enough for most people to never have to deal with gum disease.

But if you pay more attention to the Tigers’ off-season trades than home dental hygiene, and if you throw in lifestyle choices such as smoking, plaque can have its way with your mouth. When plaque isn’t removed it hardens into calculus, also known as tartar. Once tartar forms it doesn’t belong on fish sticks — it can only be removed by a professional hygienist.

Gingivitis becomes periodontitis

Gum disease isn’t like some other diseases where one day you have a pain in a certain spot and the doctor tells you that it is some disease and you have three days to live! Gum disease gives you plenty of warning. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. Irritated gums are not happy gums, and they become red and bleed easily. Plus, the tartar that has formed gradually makes its way below the gumline, leading to more irritation. This irritation is called gingivitis.

You may be as busy as a beaver in the U.P., but at this point you can still reverse things with a professional cleaning from Dr. Egger and his team, along with more dedicated home hygiene. But if you think you’re just too busy and opt to stay away, the gum irritation worsens and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth causing pockets to form. These pockets hold all the bacteria from the plaque and that bacteria begin to attack the roots of the teeth. You can see where this is leading — tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.

Now, a trip to our office will be necessary just to keep your teeth. Dr. Egger will need to do things such as gum planing and scaling. You may receive an antibiotic prescription if infection has taken hold. A root canal could be required to save a tooth or teeth.

All of this mayhem could have been avoided with some home hygiene and keeping up with your twice-yearly visits to Dr. Egger’s office. Is it time for your next exam and cleaning? Call us 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.

Periodontal Disease Mt Pleasant, MINo one starts down the road to gum disease thinking that’s a destination they want to get to. But things happen, and plaque turns to gingivitis, and that turns into periodontitis, gum disease. Now we’ve got trouble, right here in River City.

OK, that line was from The Music Man, and Dr. Egger probably won’t sing it the next time you’re in for a cleaning, but Dr. Egger knows how to deal with this kind of trouble. And, no, not trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P, and that stands for pool. This trouble is periodontitis, and Dr. Egger beats it up with an antibiotic treatment known as Arestin®.

Gum disease

OK, this is the process down the yellow brick road, er, down the road to gum disease. Plaque is the sticky film that forms on your teeth all day long. If you don’t get rid of it, that’s the beginning of the problems. Plaque forms from a mix of bacteria, bacteria by-products, and food residue and it covers the teeth. But it comes right off with good brushing and flossing. No big deal.

Ah, but you don’t floss, and you only brush in a cursory fashion because you have to get back to that binge watching of The Mod Squad. That plaque hardens into tartar that can only be removed by a dentist. And if that tartar starts to make its way under the gumline, now you have gingivitis and are headed toward periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease. Now you do have trouble, and that starts with T and rhymes with G, and that stands for gum disease.

Root scaling and planing

That’s where Dr. Egger is your dental mercenary, battling with the forces of decay and gum disease. He uses root planing and scaling to fight back. Root scaling and planing go beneath the gumline to remove the tartar down to the roots. Scaling is simply scraping off the tartar with a dental tool. Planing removes any tiny grooves or pits on your tooth roots so that your gums can return to the teeth where they have now pulled away from.

Arestin® to the rescue

When he does his planing and scaling, Dr. Egger now also uses Arestin®. Arestin Microspheres are tiny particles, smaller than grains of sand, filled with antibiotics that kill bacteria that are irritating the gums. When the gums pull away from the teeth during gum disease, pockets form. Bacteria love these pockets. Dr. Egger places Arestin in these pockets when performing scaling and planing and it helps kill the bacteria and get your teeth on the path back to health.

OK, turn off The Mod Squad and brush those teeth. Or if you don’t want to, at least know that Dr. Egger is a pro at beating up on gum disease. Call us to make your next appointment, 989-773-3560.

Periodontal Treatment Mount Pleasant, MIWith all the superhero movies out these days, it’s hard to keep track of which protagonist is which. And, if you’re not familiar with the term, when you hear “periodontitis” you may assume he’s just a costumed do-gooder.

Not so. Periodontitis is the enemy of your teeth. Fortunately, Dr. Egger is well-versed in doing battle with periodontitis.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is the fancy term for gum disease and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. It isn’t aged specific, as it usually is simply a result of poor oral hygiene. But once it has taken hold, you’ll need the expertise of Dr. Egger to save your teeth.

Gum disease has its origins in gingivitis, the term for gum irritation. If you don’t brush and floss properly or regularly, the plaque that forms on your teeth daily takes hold. If left, that plaque hardens into tartar, and tartar can only be removed by a dentist. Tartar begins to work its way under the gumline, where it makes the gums pull away from the teeth. Pockets form in the gums — a perfect home for bacteria to build up. Now infection sets in and the bacteria will begin to attack your teeth and their roots. Before you know it, you’ll start losing teeth.

Warning signs of periodontitis

But it’s not as if this all happens overnight. Unhappy gums show themselves long before they become infected. Healthy gums should be bubble gum pink in color. They should adhere to the teeth and not have spaces or pockets.

Here are the classic warning signs of gum disease:

  • Patches of redness along your gumline
  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Gum tissue that is swollen, shiny, mushy, and dry to the touch
  • Receding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth

How Dr. Egger diagnoses gum disease

It’s not all that difficult to tell a patient has gum disease; the question is the degree and how much damage it has done. Dr. Egger will examine your teeth to see the progress. He’ll probe the pockets between the gums and the teeth, measuring their size and depth. Anything beyond 3mm is considered gum disease. We’ll take x-rays to see how much damage has been done to the jawbone. The stages of gum disease are Type 1 (gingivitis) through Type 4 (lots of bone and gum deterioration and possible tooth loss).

Treating periodontitis

Dr. Egger begins treatment of gum disease with root planing and root scaling. Scaling involves scraping off the buildup of hard tartar below the gums. Root planing involves removing a very small portion of the hard outer coating of the tooth root to make the surface smooth. The goal here is to get the tartar out from under the gums and to get the gums back next to the teeth again.

Is it time to have your teeth checked? Call Dr. Egger at 989-773-3560 to make your appointment.

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Are you struggling with possible Periodontal Disease? Here are some of the treatments that we offer.

Periodontal DiseaseEveryone knows they should take care of the teeth at home. Diligently brushing for two minutes twice a day. Flossing once a day. It’s really not a big time investment.

Still, many don’t put in the time, or pay enough attention. Their reward? Losing a tooth to periodontal disease. Dr. Egger treats periodontal disease in the early to moderate stages to keep that from happening.

Bad news

Periodontal disease is commonly known as gum disease and it’s no fun. Periodontitis is the clinical term and it’s the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. Once established, you’ll need ongoing treatment to keep it from getting worse. And by worse, we mean not only tooth loss, but jawbone deterioration and the possible link to other diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

Preventable

And it’s all so preventable. Home hygiene prevents periodontal disease in most people. And even in those who haven’t done a great job at home, periodontal disease doesn’t have to rear its head. The downward trend shows itself first in gingivitis, which is a fancy term for gum inflammation. When your gums begin to show areas of red color, instead of the former healthy pink hue, you know you’re not doing a good job with your hygiene. When your gums bleed easily, that’s also gingivitis showing itself. At this point, Dr. Egger can do things such as root planing and simple professional cleaning to bring your teeth back to good health.

How does it get to gum disease?

When plaque and tartar build on your teeth, it progresses down below the gumline. When this happens, chronic irritation, inflammation, and infection will begin. As this trend continues your gums begin to pull away from the surface of the tooth root. This allows bacteria, food debris, and waste products from your body’s immune system to build up even deeper in your gums. As these pockets of infected material along the gumline deepen, the jawbone beneath starts to become affected by the constant inflammation. Now the bone begins to deteriorate and begins to have trouble holding the teeth above. The end of this progression is total tooth loss and a collapsing lower face that is all too familiar in many older people.

Signs to watch for

The best way to avoid any of this is to simply take good care of your teeth and to see Dr. Egger twice each year for professional cleanings and exams. Otherwise, these are the warning signs of periodontitis:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush and floss
  • Receding gums
  • Red patches on your gums, especially at the gumline
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loosening teeth
  • Gum tissue that’s swollen, shiny, mushy, and dry to the touch

Treatment of mild to moderate periodontitis

Dr. Egger uses scaling and root planing to combat gum disease in its earlier stages. These procedures accomplish three things:

  • Removing tartar and infectious material from the periodontal pockets
  • Smoothing the surface of the tooth root to give bacteria less space to grow
  • Helping the gums adhere to the tooth root again to keep bacteria and food debris out

If you’re showing any of the signs of periodontitis, don’t wait. Call Dr. Egger at 989-773-3560 and let’s take a look at the situation.

periodontal treatmentWhile Smokey the Bear is constantly touting the benefits of preventing forest fires, who’s going around and doing the same for gum disease? Pinky the Gum? Uh, no.

Well, maybe they should because while your gums look all pink and wimpy, they are actually pretty tough. Remember, their job, after all, is to be the bodyguard for the roots of your teeth.

But prevention is key with these pink customers. Treat your gums well and do the required home dental care and they will take care of your teeth. Neglect them at your own peril!

Periodontal disease is the medical term for gum disease. It involves infection of the gums that can end up with tooth loss and an appearance on the Hee Haw Reunion Show.

But gum disease is preventable. It begins with dental plaque, which is the sticky film that forms on your teeth throughout the day. Plaque has lots of bacteria in it. Dental plaque is easy to remove simply by daily brushing and flossing. In fact, a good home dental hygiene program of brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing once a day is usually enough for most people to never have to deal with gum disease. They can make Pinky the Gum happy.

But if you’re lazy with your home hygiene, along with other factors such a smoking, can allow plaque to have its way with your mouth. When plaque isn’t removed it hardens into calculus, also known as tartar. Tartar can only be removed by Dr. Egger or another dentist.

Gingivitis first. Periodontitis later.

Like signs that hit you when you’re contemplating marrying an axe murderer, the first signs of problems here are gum irritation. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums. Irritated gums are not happy gums, and they become red and bleed easily. Plus, the tartar that has formed gradually makes its way below the gumline, leading to more irritation. This irritation is called gingivitis.

Even though you’ve let things go, at this point you can reverse the trend with a professional cleaning and more diligent home care. But if you don’t opt for this route, the gum irritation worsens and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth causing pockets for form. These pockets hold all the bacteria from the plaque and that bacteria begin to attack the roots of the teeth. You can see where this is leading — tooth loss and jawbone deterioration.

Now, a trip to Dr. Egger will be necessary just to keep your teeth. He’ll need to do things such as gum planing and scaling. He may need to prescribe some antibiotics if infection has taken hold. A root canal could be required to save a tooth or teeth.

And to think, all of this could have been prevented with simple brushing and flossing at home, combined with twice-yearly visits to Dr. Egger for professional cleaning and exams. Call us at 989-773-3560 to book your appointment.