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Can Tooth Decay Cause Bad Breath? Absolutely!

April 22, 2016

Filed under: Crowns,Decay,Dental Hygiene,Oral Hygiene — Tags: , , — Dr Gillis @ 11:28 pm

Can Tooth Decay Cause Bad Breath?

Tooth decay can and does cause bad breath!  So the answer is one of the following:

  • Yes
  • Absolutely
  • Are you kidding? Sure!
  • Heck yes!
  • Bad breath and more!

The reason for this is easy to understand if you think of tooth decay as an infectious process that causes tooth destruction and creates openings (holes, cavities) in the teeth where bacteria can and do live.  Think ‘decay’ = rotten! Bacteria take up residence in an area where there has been tooth decay and depending on where the decay is in your mouth, you may not be able to clean this area well so the grossness gets worse!

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

One place tooth decay occurs that is difficult for a patient (you!) to clean is below an existing crown.  Bacteria hang out at the edge of all crowns where the crown meets the tooth.  As decay begins, pores open up in the tooth structure and the decay may penetrate up under the crown and really spread there.  You can only brush, floss, or toothpick at the edges of your crowns to eliminate – at least for awhile – bacteria that are present there.  You cannot get to the areas of tooth decay up under a crown but bacteria and food can.  This is a recipe for bad breath!

The patient shown here had been experiencing an occasional bad odor from the lower right side of her mouth for a couple months.  She increased her efforts of brushing, flossing, and using antibacterial mouth rinses.  The odor did not improve so she came to our office.

When the crown was removed you could see a large void containing tails of the previous endodontic (root canal) filling material, severe decay, and the most awful odor!

When the crown was removed you could see tails of the previous endodontic (root canal) filling material coated in slime, severe decay, and the most awful odor!

Close up of the reason for the foul odor.

Close up of the reason for the foul odor.

The odor from this tooth was bad enough that you could smell bad breath as the patient described her symptoms.  Although her oral hygiene was excellent, there was no way she could eliminate the odor emanating from this tooth.  The decay was so extensive that the tooth could not be saved and an extraction was required.  When the crown was removed you could tails of the previous endodontic (root canal) filling material coated with debris, severe tooth decay, and the most awful odor!

We removed the bulk of the decay and the loose strands of root canal filling material and after copious rinsing the odor became much more bearable.  This will clear up once the tooth is removed. If we had seen this patient when she first noticed symptoms, we may have been able to save her tooth!

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

Close up after much of the decay and loose root canal felling material removed. Because the tooth is smoother, it is much easier to maintain!

 

Our office cares about you and your teeth and we try to never make you feel uncomfortable about the condition of your teeth or your mouth. There are two important messages here:

  1. Tooth decay is one of the many causes of bad breath.

  2. If you notice this, have your dentist evaluate your concerns ASAP!

Please call our Grand Junction, Colorado office at (970) 242-3635 if you have any questions or concerns.  Or visit our office’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Treating Tooth Cavities Without The Drill? Yes we can!

April 17, 2014

In September 2009 DMG America came out with a new product for dentists known as ICON

Our Treatment Assistant, Regina, shares these notes about this exciting new product for treating small areas of decay or decalcification without using the drill as would normally be done for dental fillings!

ICON carrier between two teeth.

ICON carrier between two teeth.

ICON stands for infiltration concept.

Dentists with the use of this new technology can treat incipient tooth decay upon discovery without the use of a dental drill!  Many cavities begin between teeth and in order to get to this decay, a dentist must drill away the healthy tooth structure over the top of the decay allowing the dentist to remove the decay and restore the tooth.  ICON stops the progression of tooth decay when treated in the early stages. This increases the life expectancy for the tooth and is minimally-invasive. Previously dentist had to “wait and watch” until the decay was big enough to justify drilling the tooth, sacrificing healthy tooth structure and then filling the area that was drilled away.

The special carrier is porous on one side only so only the tooth that needs to be conditioned (see green) is treated!

The special carrier is porous on one side only so only the tooth that needs to be conditioned (see green) is treated!

A curing light is used to fuse the infiltrate into the pores of the tooth. The weak area is effectively sealed from further progression of decay!

A curing light is used to fuse the infiltrate into the pores of the tooth. The weak area is effectively sealed from further progression of decay!

ICON works by placing a few solutions that spontaneous flows around the area being treated then hardened by a light which bonds the material to tooth. The area is then evaluated annually with bite-wing x-rays. A variation of this same ICON technique can be used to treat white spot lesions to stabilize demineralized enamel area, and give teeth the appearance of the surrounding healthy enamel.

Our office in Grand Junction, Colorado is very pleased to offer this service for our patients!  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Learn more about our practice on our web site at www.juliegillisdds.com.  We would love to have you “LIKE” us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc

Yours for better dental health, Regina and Julie Gillis, DDS

ICON – It’s New, It’s Cool, and It’s Good For Teeth!

November 21, 2013

Filed under: Cavities and Dental Decay,Fillings,Tooth Decay — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:12 pm

When a tooth starts to decay, the tooth looses minerals in the affected area and gradually becomes weaker and weaker until a soft area or hole forms in the tooth – a cavity.  Early tooth decay may be treated as an area to ‘watch’ by your dentist. As the tooth decay progresses, the tooth is usually treated by drilling out the weak area and restoring the tooth with a filling.  There is now a way to treat early cavities WITHOUT drilling, and usually WITHOUT anesthetic!  If a cavity occurs between two teeth – as they often do – the only way to treat the cavity or tooth decay is to grind away the tooth structure above the cavity and restore the whole side of the tooth.

In September 2009 DMG America came out with a new product for dentists known as ICON, My treatment assistant, Regina, shares this information:

Rather than drilling out the decay, the ICON carrier is placed between the teeth to access the cavity.

Rather than drilling out the decay, the ICON carrier is placed between the teeth to access the cavity.

 

ICON stands for infiltration concept.

The special carrier is porous on one side only so only the tooth that needs to be conditioned (see green) is treated!

The special carrier is porous on one side only so only the tooth that needs to be conditioned (see green) is treated!

IMG_4843

A very special material is infiltrated into the conditioned tooth to stop the progress of decay!

Now dentists with the use of this new technology can treat incipient or early tooth decay upon discovery without waiting for the tooth decay to progress into the soft tooth stage when anesthetic and drilling of the teeth is required.   The ICON treatment helps stop the progression of tooth decay when treated in the early stages. This increases the life expectancy for the tooth and is minimally-invasive.   Previously dentists had to “wait and watch” until the cavity or tooth decay was big enough to justify drilling which sacrificed healthy tooth structure.

ICON works by placing a few solutions that spontaneous flow around the area being treated then hardened by a light which bonds the material to the tooth.  The area is then evaluated annually with bite-wing x-rays.  This same technique can be used to treat white spot lesions to stabilize the demineralized enamel area, and give teeth the appearance of the surrounding healthy enamel.

Our office would be happy to tell you about what is going on in your mouth in as much detail as you would like.   Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our office phone number is (970) 242-3635.  You can email us at jgillis@juliegillisdds.com.   We would love for you to ‘like’ us on our office’s Facebook page!  Please find us at Julie M Gillis DDS PC.

As always, yours for better dental health,

 Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

You can see here the infiltrating material flowing through the special carrier into the conditioned tooth.

You can see here the infiltrating material flowing through the special carrier into the conditioned tooth.

A curing light is used to fuse the infiltrate into the pores of the tooth. The weak area is effectively sealed from further progression of decay!

A curing light is used to fuse the infiltrate into the pores of the tooth. The weak area is effectively sealed from further

progression of decay!

 

Bad Dental Work? Defective Fillings Can Cause Serious Problems!

May 4, 2013

Several defective restorations shown here along with decay!

Can you tell if you have a bad filling?

The answer to this question is YES – usually you can! Patients should expect their dentist to provide the highest quality dental care. There should not be rough fillings, decay remaining below fillings – sealed in decay, or rough areas that are difficult to clean.  These types of defects allow the accumulation of debris which limits the longevity of a restoration, and quite possibly the longevity of the tooth!

While patients aren’t expected to be able to read their own dental x-rays, I feel it may be helpful to show you some problems we sometimes see around defective dental work.  The very bright or white areas on these dental x-rays are where silver fillings are present in teeth.  Because the fillings are a dense metal, they will show up on a dental x-ray as bright white areas. See the same dental x-ray below that points out problems seen here.

What makes a filling defective? Roughness, ledges, improper shape, and/or anatomy that does not replicate a healthy tooth are all problems that can be caused AND prevented by your dentist. A dental x-ray will show overhangs, rough areas, decay, voids or holes below fillings where bacteria can accumulate.

Decay often begins around the edges of fillings or crowns where two materials come together – in this case, tooth enamel and metal.  Bacteria seem to love to congregate around the edges of fillings or other restorations and this is where new decay will start.  If fillings are rough or defective the problems is worse! Bacteria also like places that are rough where food collects and where it is difficult to clean. Because of this, all fillings should be smooth where they meet the tooth. This is also true for crowns.  Areas that are rough will be harder to keep clean and will hold more debris creating a food storage area for the bacteria that cause new decay, periodontal disease or bone loss, and gum disease.

In the x-ray shown here, you can see bad dental work and other problems.  Note fillings with overhangs or ledges of filling material that stick out beyond the tooth.  There are rough areas that will hold debris.  There are areas where new decay is starting below the existing filling. Decay will show up on an x-ray as a dark area below a filling or on the side of a tooth.  Broken pieces of filling can become wedged between two teeth making flossing difficult or impossible and below this you will see areas of bone loss.  This bone loss is the beginning of periodontal disease and it may be permanent.

 

What can be done?

Your dentist takes x-rays to evaluate areas like this and he or she will recommend treatment to remove and replace the defective restorations or fillings, treat the periodontal disease, and prescribe therapy to prevent further decay and bone loss.  It is now common to be able to keep your teeth for a lifetime!  Our office would be happy to answer your questions about issues like this.

We are located in Grand Junction, Colorado and believe that every person deserves the right to a comprehensive examination and treatment plan with options to restore health to their mouths. Our phone number is (970) 242-3635. Please visit us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc or call us if you have any questions or concerns.

This information shared with you by Julie Gillis, DDS PC .  We feel that your dental health is the top priority, and if we can make your smile more attractive while improving your health that is wonderful! Dr. Gillis practices restorative and cosmetic dentistry including porcelain veneers, tooth whitening, implants, crowns, bridges and periodontal care.  Our office website is www.juliegillisds.com.  For further information, please contact us at (970) 242-3635. Tooth bleaching is one of the things we do that is actually fun!

Yours for better health,

Julie Gillis, DDS, “Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health”

 

 

Photos Showing Self Oral Cancer Exam and Information

March 22, 2013

Filed under: Oral Cancer,Oral Cancer screening,Oral Hygiene — Tags: , , — Dr Gillis @ 12:15 am

Photos Showing Self Oral Cancer Evaluation

We have featured a couple blogs about evaluating your own dental work.  I feel it is very important to take an active roll in the health of your mouth.  The more familiar you are with what is going on in your own mouth, the more you will be able to determine when something changes or when something is not healthy!  Screening for oral cancer might just save your life! We all need to be proactive about our own health care and the health care of our loved ones.

Please let your dentist or oral surgeon know if you have sores in your mouth that do not heal within two weeks or if you have discolored areas that seem to be spreading or changing or if you have any questions about your oral health.  Note that pain is not an indication of a problem – several oral lesions do not hurt!

Examine the lips for color changes/irritation

http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/ gives us the following information:

Oral Cancer Facts

Rates of occurrence in the United States

Close to 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day.        Of those 40,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the  testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).
Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all head and neck cancers they comprise about 85% of that category. Brain cancer is a cancer category unto itself, and  is not included in the head and neck cancer group.

Lift the upper lip and examine this tissue and the gums around the teeth. Also,examine the inside of the lower lip and the gums.

Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Today, (2012) that statement is still true, as there is not a comprehensive program in the US to opportunistically screen for the disease, and without that; late stage discovery is more common. Another obstacle to early discovery (and resulting better outcomes) is the advent of a virus, HPV16, contributing more to the incidence rate of oral cancers, particularly in the posterior part of the mouth (the oropharynx, the tonsils, the base of tongue areas) which many times does not produce visible lesions or discolorations that have historically been the early warning signs of the disease process.

Examine both cheeks front to back and note any changes

Stick the tongue out as far as you can - this may be a good time to brush your tongue as well!

Often oral cancer is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra oral area. Besides the metastasis, at these later stages, the primary tumor has had time to invade deep into local structures.       

Examine both sides of the tongue as far back as you can

Lift your tongue up and examine here. Become familiar with the veins and different colors that are normal here.

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because in its early stages it may not be noticed. It can frequently progress without producing pain or symptoms that you might easily recognize, and because oral cancer has a high risk of producing second tumors.
This means that patients who survive a first encounter with the disease, have up to a 20 times higher risk of developing a second cancer. This heightened risk factor can last for 5 to 10 years after the first occurrence. There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90% are squamous cell carcinomas.
Examine the top of your mouth – your palate.
If you would like to see images of your teeth or your mouth what is being evaluated or treated, please ask us!  Our office would be happy to explain in as much detail as you would like what is going on in your mouth.   Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc) or call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health

Julie Gillis DDS

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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