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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


 

Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body. You probably didn’t know that. But it’s also porous, which is why our teeth stain when we eat raspberries and drink red wine.

Enamel covers the crown, the part of the tooth that’s visible above the gumline. It is translucent, so you can see right through your enamel to the main portion of the tooth, the dentin, beneath it. The dentin is where your tooth color is dictated, whether it be white, off white, grey, or yellow.

Enamel is the protector of our teeth, so Dr. Egger’s a big fan of it. Here’s some things to understand about how you’re treating or mistreating your enamel, and how that could be a big mistake.

The job of the enamel

Enamel protects your teeth during daily use. It stands up to teeth grinding and eating hard foods, and it insulates the teeth nerves from potential temperature extremes in foods or drinks, and to the impact of some chemicals such as the alcohol in mouthwash.

Enamel is one tough customer, standing up to all off the above, but it can 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.

Erosion, the long-term enemy of enamel

Although your tooth enamel is tough, like the granite on the shores of Lake Superior, it can be eroded over time. Acids are the usual culprits. Here’s a list of enamel eroders:

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

Environmental surface erosion

Friction, stress, general wear and tear, and corrosion can all combine to grind off the enamel from your teeth.

  • Attrition — Grind your teeth at night? This tooth-to-tooth friction is called attrition.
  • Abrasion — This is the wear that happens when you brush too hard, bite hard objects such as fingernails and pens, or chew tobacco.
  • Abfraction —This is basically a stress fracture of the tooth caused by flexing or bending of the tooth.
  • rrosion — This is the name for acidic contents hitting the enamel. Frequent corrosion takes off enamel.

How do you know the enamel has eroded?

There are various ways to tell your enamel has eroded. Sensitivity to sweets and temperatures can cause twinges of pain in the early stages. 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. Also, cupping, otherwise known as indentations in the teeth show enamel loss.

Beyond your home hygiene, Dr. Egger is the keeper of your enamel. He can spot early signs that you’re doing things such as grinding your teeth at night, which degrades your enamel and endangers your teeth.

Is it time for your next regular exam and cleaning with us? Call (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.

Dental ServicesMany people give themselves more credit than is due for their home dental hygiene. They think that just because they brush for two minutes twice daily and floss once, they don’t need to come see Dr. Egger and his team for their twice-yearly professional cleanings. After all, what can a professional do that you’re not already doing at home? Truth is, lots.

Beyond the removal of plaque and tartar (which you cannot remove at home once it has developed on your teeth), there are more serious reasons to see us twice yearly.

  1. Head off gum disease early.

When plaque starts to accumulate in certain corners of your mouth, the gums surrounding your teeth can become inflamed and this can eventually lead to gum disease. If left untreated, this disease can cause tooth and bone loss. During your routine exams and cleanings, we check for the early signs of gum disease because catching and addressing it early is the key.

  1. Oral cancer can be right under your nose, literally.

Like gum disease, part of our regular exam protocol is looking for the early signs of oral cancer. You know when we pull your tongue and check your glands and other tests? Those are checks for oral cancer, and, obviously, you want to catch that early and you won’t see the signs at home.

  1. Your oral health can go be drifting.

Early diagnosis is early treatment. For dental issues, this not only can save you thousands of dollars, but it can save your teeth. You may think you’re doing a bang-up job at home, but we may see evidence that says otherwise. We keep a running record of your dental health. Have your gums receded since the last visit? Has that crack in a tooth become worse? We check for everything and keep an eye on any issues.

Professional dental cleanings and dental exams at Dr. Egger’s can seem like an optional task on your to-do list, but in the long run, your teeth will thank you for making those visits mandatory.

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

Egger, Kenneth DDS

Lots of people enjoy a glass or red wine with dinner. Well, maybe when making dinner and maybe when doing the dishes, too. It’s true; the nuances of flavor in red wine seem to elevate the level of any dinner you add it to. OK, maybe not mac & cheese…

Anyway, there have been lots of research studies that have shown red wine has beneficial effects on human health. It’s been shown to help prevent heart disease and to even keep the brain from aging as quickly, among other benefits

But in the dental world, red wine has mostly been of interest for its staining effects, creating the need for professional teeth whitening treatments.

Hold on. A recent study from researches in Spain seems to show that red wine, while it may leave stains on your teeth, is actually improving your oral health.

Cheers!

The study

The research was conducted at the Instituto de Investigacion en Ciencias de la Alimentacion in Madrid and the Department of Health and Genomics at the Center for Advanced Research in Public Health in Valencia. The group’s findings

were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Their research shows that components of red wine may protect against the formation of cavities and against gum disease. The research centered on polyphenols, a series of micronutrients with antioxidant properties, which are present in red wine. In the digestive system, polyphenols interact with gut microbiota and fend off some typical bad bacteria that could threaten human health. The researchers theorized that polyphenols found in red wine and grapes could have a similar protective effect in the mouth, fending off harmful bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

Findings

The study focused on two types of polyphenols typically found in red wine: caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid. It looked at the effect these had on three harmful oral bacteria.

Using a laboratory model of gum tissue, they found that the two red wine polyphenols were very effective at repelling the harmful oral bacteria, preventing them from attaching to healthy gum tissue.

Then they looked at tooth decay. They mixed an oral probiotic (Streptococcus dentisani) with the two polyphenols. The oral probiotic has been proven to help prevent tooth decay. When it was mixed with the two polyphenols the combination dramatically elevated the protective effect on tooth enamel.

So, there you go. While that glass of cab may be staining your teeth just a bit, this research says that it’s protecting your teeth and gums in the meantime. Well worth an occasional need for teeth whitening.

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

 

Summer is a Good Time to Ditch the Thumb

Now that we’re in the midst of a glorious Michigan summer, full of golf, softball games, trips to the lakes, or just sitting out in the backward, it can seem like school is a long way away.

But it shouldn’t feel like that for your child and his or her thumb sucking. If your child is still doing his best Linus from Peanuts imitation and he’s getting ready to enter preschool in the fall, it may be time to start telling the thumb, like a rider on a rollercoaster at Cedar Point, “Exit to your left. Your ride is over.”

Dr. Egger doesn’t want his patients and their thumbs to get in the way of their long-term oral health.

What is normal when it comes to the thumb?

Thumb sucking is a typical, normal behavior for young children. Thumb sucking can help a child feel secure and happy. It can really be helpful when a child is separated from his parents, such as when going to daycare. Some kids use the thumb or a pacifier to help them fall asleep. Insomniac parents sometimes wonder if they should go back to the thumb themselves!

OK, but it can’t go on forever

You don’t want the thumb sucking to continue on into school. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends discouraging thumb sucking by the age of four. By this time, prolonged sucking can begin to affect the proper development of your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth. Continued thumb sucking can cause the permanent teeth to be misaligned, and that only spells the need for orthodontics later on.

If it continues into the five or six-year-old age the pressure from sucking will lead to changes in the mouth and teeth. The ADA says that the front teeth may begin to jut forward and the child’s bite will begin to open, meaning the upper and lower teeth won’t be able to touch. As the permanent teeth descend, they will start to become misaligned.

Yeah, but how do I stop it?

You probably don’t need to do what your parents may or may not have done to get you to stop with the thumb. Stuff like hot sauce and all isn’t the way to go. Various pediatricians have said the best way to discourage an unwanted behavior is to ignore it. Most kids start to get the idea in playgroups and such that they are the only one still sucking their thumb, and one day they simply stop.

But that’s not always the case; so if the thumb is still in play, try these tricks:

  • Offer a pacifier to infants. They are easier to take away, obviously.
  • Establish a chart and reward system, plotting progress on quitting.
  • Encourage and praise all attempts to stop thumb sucking in your child.

Summer is a good time to break the thumb sucking before school in the fall. If you have questions about how to do so, call us at Dr. Egger’s, (989) 773-3560.

A Menu of Dr. Egger’s Most Common Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Candy Really the Enemy of Your Teeth?

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

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

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

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

Is sugar the culprit?

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

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

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

Plaque is the enemy

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

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

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

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.