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Julie M. Gillis, DDS, PC Blog

Preventing Tooth Erosion or Tooth Attrition

July 1, 2017

Filed under: Tooth Erosion,Tooth Reshaping/Bite Adjustment — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 8:00 am

Is tooth erosion or attrition part of the normal aging process?  Yes and NO!

Severe wear into the softer dentin of both upper and lower teeth.

Severe tooth erosion into the softer dentin of both upper and lower teeth.

Tooth erosion is not from normal aging, tooth attrition is.  See below for definitions.

Is it natural for our teeth to wear down and become shorter as we age?  Yes, your teeth will wear from chewing food, but not very much!  Normal chewing  should only cause you to lose about 1 mm of tooth length over a lifetime of 100 years!  The type of food eaten will make a difference in the amount of wear as well.  Ages ago when people ground grains between stones to make their breads and other foods, some bits of stone would be in the resulting flour or meal and eating foods prepared with this would, over years of time, cause excessive wear of tooth structure.

Severe erosion into the softer dentin of the lower teeth. Note the 'cupped' shape of the top or chewing surface of the tooth.

Severe erosion into the softer dentin of the lower teeth. Note the ‘cupped’ shape of the top or chewing surface of the tooth.

The more severe wear we are talking about in this blog is preventable tooth wear from tooth erosion.  Think of the ways that people use their teeth as tools (trimming nails, breaking string, cracking nuts, holding tools) and you can imagine that this causes way more wear than any type of natural chewing.    Sometimes, even your occupation will make your teeth more likely to undergo heavy wear.  If you work in an area of heavy dust and grit this gritty film will often be present on your teeth and if this is combined with any type of clenching and grinding, the wear can be severe over a short time.

Why do some people’s teeth look old and worn while they are still young?  This is most likely due to tooth or dental erosion or attrition.

Tooth Erosion  results in the loss of tooth structure due to softening of the tooth surface from an acidic diet. the softened tooth wears away more easily during chewing and is especially prone to more severe wear if you clench or grind your teeth.   Tooth attrition  is a type of irreversible wear caused by the contact of the upper and lower teeth resulting in loss of tooth structure.  This type of wear starts in the areas where the teeth contact during normal chewing.  Tooth wear is a physiological process and is commonly seen as a normal part of aging.

Note that the upper teeth are almost see-thorough at the edge. Severe erosion into the inner layer of the teeth (the dentin) on both upper and lower teeth.

Note that the upper teeth are almost see-thorough at the edge. Severe erosion into the inner layer of the teeth (the dentin) on both upper and lower teeth.

Our friends at Wikipedia note that, “Advanced and excessive wear and tooth surface loss can be defined as pathological in nature, requiring intervention by a dental practitioner. The pathological wear of the tooth surface can be caused by bruxism, which is clenching and grinding of the teeth. If the attrition is severe, the enamel can be completely worn away leaving underlying dentin exposed, resulting in an increased risk of dental caries and dentin hypersensitivity. It is best to identify pathological attrition at an early stage to prevent unnecessary loss of tooth structure as enamel does not regenerate.”

Our office would be happy to answer your questions about tooth erosion. We will let you know your options!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

 

 

Perio Breath – It’s Real, It’s Nasty, and It’s Treatable!

June 26, 2017

Filed under: Perio Breath & Bad Breath,Uncategorized — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 12:16 pm

Perio Breath – It’s Real, It’s Nasty, and It’s Treatable!

Perio breath can be so distracting that your message may not get across!

Perio breath can be so distracting that your message may not get across!

Perio breath is probably equal across men and women. This treatable condition deserves more press!

Perio breath is probably equal across men and women. This treatable condition deserves more press!

Perio breath – by this I mean the breath of someone who has active and probably untreated periodontal disease is unmistakeable and I wish I could just guide any person with this condition into prompt treatment!  Just do it!  Do this for you, for your improved health, for improved taste, and for improved interpersonal conversations!

Using a hand actually does help direct your breath downward and away form your listener! There are more permanent solutions however.

Using a hand actually does help direct your breath downward and away form your listener! There are more permanent solutions however.

Everyone has bad breath on occasion! Perio breath is an especially bad form of this and won't go away with better eating and brushing. It takes the intervention of dentists and dental hygienists to cure!

Everyone has bad breath on occasion! Perio breath is an especially bad form of this and won’t go away with better eating and brushing. It takes the intervention of dentists and dental hygienists to cure!

I can smell periodontal breath across the room.  And I know our office could make such a difference in improved health for whichever person has this! It is the smell of deep infection and rot.  For patient’s with this condition, they may even be unaware that they have this problem.  And if they are aware, they may try to cover up the        condition with gum or breath mints or toothbrushing.  These may help a little but if your bad breath is due to active periodontal disease, treatment with your dentist and dental hygienist is the only way to cure this problem.

A spritz can help common bad breath. Perio breath needs treatment!

A spritz can help common bad breath. Perio breath needs treatment!

If bad breath was visible maybe we would do more to prevent it!

If bad breath was visible maybe we would do more to prevent it!

Let me take you to why I am blogging about this now.  I just got off an airplane and no, I did not have to sit directly beside someone with perio breath.  This has happened to me and it is not pretty!  But periodically the smell would blow over us from the vents where we passengers are all exchanging air and it got me wondering who was the breather causing this and do they even know there is fairly simple treatment?  Granted, it could have been something else (standard bad breath, medical issue related bad breath etc.,) but I am pretty sensitized to the real perio breath.  If you or someone you know and love has this problem, kindly and sweetly suggest that they or you should have a consult with their dentist.  Periodontal disease causing bad breath is not painful but the stigma of having bad breath may be!  We can help!

Straighten Teeth with Porcelain Veneers and Braces or Just Veneers?

June 20, 2017

Filed under: Porcelain Veneers — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 7:15 am

Straighten Teeth with Porcelain Veneers and Braces or Just Veneers?

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth - corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth – corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth - corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth – corrected in two visits with porcelain veneers.

 

Should you straighten your teeth with Porcelain veneers and braces or just veneers?

 

 

The answer is not easy!  Braces are certainly not always needed.  See the photos here that show what is possible with porcelain veneers in our office!

There may be benefits depending on your choice of using porcelain veneers only or porcelain veneers and braces.  In general, if you choose to straighten your teeth with veneers without doing braces you can expect the following: (I will explain all in more detail below)

  1. Considerably shorter treatment time
  2. More shaping of your teeth
  3. There may need to be compromises in the result
  4. May or may not be longer treatment time in the dentist’s chair
  5. Treatment will probably be more expensive
  6. More of your teeth may need veneers than if you were to complete braces before your veneer treatment

Item (1) above:  Treatment that includes veneers and braces will often add 6 months or more to the overall treatment time)

Item (2) above:  When using veneers alone, your dentist will need to adjust just enough on your teeth to achieve your desired cosmetic result.  Your dentist should be able to review the pros and cons of this.  Ask a lot of questions so that you understand the treatment that is proposed.

Item (3) above:  Your dentist should be able to explain to you and/or show you photos and models that describe the result that you should achieve.  If may be that a slight compromise in the alignment of the teeth will still be wonderful for you and will save you months of treatment time and possibly a considerable amount of money.

Item (4) above:  If your dentist recommends veneers and braces it may be because just completing braces will decrease the number of veneers needed to achieve an ideal result.  Veneers and braces may both be recommended to achieve your goals as either one alone may not be enough.  Chipped or discolored teeth will still be chipped and discolored after braces.

Item (5) above:  The combination of veneers and braces will almost always be more expensive but the end result may be worth it!  Talk to your dentist to understand the recommendations.

Item (6) above:  This may or may not be true and will depend on your specific treatment!

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth - corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth – corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth - corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Severe crowding, flaring and tipping of teeth – corrected in one month with porcelain veneers.

Our office will often recommend the combination of veneers and braces to achieve a specific result but as you can see here, we can also make it look like you have been through several years of braces and yet your treatment time was only a month or so!  It is extremely important to select a dentist who excels at this type of treatment and who has your best interests at heart.  Please visit our web site at www.juiegillisdds.com for more information about our office.  Dr. Julie Gillis is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and was the very first dentist in Colorado to achieve this honor.  She now serves as an accreditation examiner for the AACD as well as on the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry.

 

What Happens to a Tooth After a Root Canal?

June 12, 2017

Filed under: Root Canal — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:09 am

What happens to a tooth after a root canal?

Close up after much of the decay and loose root canal felling material removed.

This photo shows a tooth that has had root canal treatment but the patient did not go through with any follow up care.  Close up photo shows what is left of a tooth after much of the decay and loose root canal filling material removed.

What should you know and understand about having a root canal so that your treatment will have the best success?

As a refresher, you should know the following:

  • And Endodontist specializes in root canal treatment.
  • Root canal treatment is the removal of the vital material inside a tooth – the nerve and blood supply – followed by cleaning and shaping of the now empty canal and then filling the root of the tooth with a safe material that the body will not reject
  • Root canal treatment is intended to eliminate infection and pain and allow the saving of a tooth
  • A tooth with a root canal can be saved for many years or a lifetime with proper care.
  • Root Canal treatment is about 95% successful

One of the endodontists, Dr. Clark, that our office works with sent this message to several local dentists (my additional comments are in italics),  “It has always been surprising to me when patients spend the time (and money!) on a root canal but do not return (to their dentist) for their full coverage crown.  I have to attribute that decision on how busy our patients are!  I have found that patient education in Western Colorado is very high: over 75% of my patients are aware when a crown is needed after their treatment.  (so their dentist has done a good job in educating patients about their tooth health after a root canal) But, they may not know that having the crown completed ASAP is vital to the long term success of the tooth! As you will see in the attached article (not included here), patients that delayed having their crown placed were more than three times more likely to have the tooth extracted!  (the bold comment was my addition!)  And that was only a delay of four months!

Tails of the previous unprotected endodontic (root canal) filling material, severe decay, and the most awful odor!

This photo shows tails of the previous unprotected endodontic (root canal) filling material, severe decay, and fractures.   The tooth had the most awful odor and will now require extraction!  The crowned tooth shown also has had a root canal and has been functional for many, many years.

Most endodontists remind and encourage patients to schedule their appointment with their regular dentist the week following root canal treatment, as they know how busy the patients are and also how busy their dentist’s offices can be. Our office recommends the following so that you will have the most successful outcome possible:

  • If you are getting a root canal completed on your tooth, find out if a crown will be needed before you start the root canal treatment and get that appointment scheduled as well.
  • Find out if the endodontist can complete the final restoration.  This may be possible if your tooth has an existing crown and the crown is functionally sound.
  • Find out the prognosis for your tooth.  Best estimate of success so that you can make good choices about your care.  Both the dentist and the endodontist should be able to tell you this.

When our office sends our patients to an endodontist to have a root canal completed, we strive to communicate with the endodontist’s office carefully so that they will help our patients seek the needed follow-up care.  The endodontists usually send their post operative letter and radiographs back to our office within 24 hours of treatment.  Please call our Grand Junction, Colorado office at (970) 242-3635 if you have questions about having a root canal and what we can do to help.  We always welcome your feedback!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, PC

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Tomato – Fruit or Vegetable? Maybe it is both!

June 3, 2017

Filed under: Diet for Health — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 11:18 am
Tomatoes - Fruit or Vegetable?

Tomato – Fruit or Vegetable?  Both?

Tomato – Fruit or Vegetable?

They say it is important to eat your fruits and vegetables.  Shoot, I say that all the time!  Maybe it is time to respect the lovely tomato.  So, is it a fruit or a vegetable or both? Are they delicious?  There are so many different kinds of tomatoes and I love them!  Sliced for a caprese salad ( one of my favorites) with fresh mozzarella, and freshly made dressing with fresh basil – yum! Perhaps overuse of the word ‘fresh’ here but this is important for the best taste.

And with summer almost in full swing, local tomatoes should start rolling in from the fields and our home gardens more delicious than ever!  Let’s have some!

So which is true?  Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?  And, perhaps more importantly, does this have anything to do with dentistry?  Probably not, but I love tomatoes in all their forms and since our office is concerned about your overall health as well as your dental health this fruit (or is it a vegetable?) is a very good addition to most diets!  Just brush your teeth and maybe even floss before your dental appointments no matter what you eat.

  • Does it stain your teeth?  No, not in any permanent way.
  • Can they irritate your stomach?  Well, most tomatoes are acidic – some more than others – so this can be true.  Two good rules of thumb to apply here are ‘naught in excess’ and ‘know your stomach’!
  • Are they nutritious?  Yes!
  • Is it fun to try different colors and sizes of tomatoes?  Yes!
  • Are they hard to grow?  You will get different answers on this one!  I sometimes have incredible luck and sometimes the plants look healthy but the fruit is scarce.  I never seem to have the success we see every year when we go to the fields for several bushels of ‘pick your own’ tomatoes for our somewhat famous ‘Salsa Weekend’.  But I don’t really want to have that many on hand all the time.

We will try to be a bit more ‘Dental’ with our next blog.  Until then, from our office to you, may many happy and delicious tomatoes arrive on your table.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS. PC

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

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1190 Bookcliff Ave. Suite 201, Grand Junction, CO 81501 USA
Julie M Gillis DDS Grand Junction, CO cosmetic, general, & restorative dentist. (970) 242-3635 (970) 242-8479 jgillis@juliegillisdds.com