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I’ve been told that I am tongue tied. What is that?

February 21, 2017

Filed under: Dental Health,Diode Laser — Tags: , , — Dr Gillis @ 7:00 am

I’ve been told that I am Tongue Tied.  What is that?

Strong lingual frenum (see white tissue at the tip of the tongue) keeps the tongue from moving normally. She can't stick her tongue out at her brother!

Strong lingual frenum (see white tissue at the tip of the tongue) keeps the tongue from moving normally. She can’t stick her tongue out at her brother!

See blog photos under tongue

Now she can stick her tongue out at her brother and better enjoy an ice cream cone!

Now she can stick her tongue out at her brother and better enjoy an ice cream cone!

What does it mean to be tongue tied?  And is this a condition that requires treatment?

When your dentist or physician says that you are tongue tied it is a descriptive term that means that the ligament that holds the tongue to the floor or bottom of your mouth is attached very close to the lower anterior teeth.  The more correct term for this is ankyloglossia.

Possible concerns of being tongue tied:

  • Difficulty nursing as an infant
  • Difficulties with speech especially the pronunciation of certain sounds that require the tongue to position in a way that is not possible due to the extra attachment
  • Difficulty licking something off your lips
  • It may be more difficult to lick an ice-cream cone
  • Difficulty sticking your tongue out at your brother when needed!

 

Being tongue tied is usually not a problem.  Sometimes babies that are tongue tied have difficulty nursing because their tongue does not have a lot of freedom of movement.  If this is a concern, a small surgery is performed to remove this attachment so the tongue can move more freely.  It is also possible to have speech difficulties depending on the location of the attachment.  You may have trouble with “S” “F” and “Th” sounds.

The strong attachment (lingual frenum) that created the condition of being 'tongue-tied' was comfortably treated with a diode laser.

The strong attachment (lingual frenum) that created the condition of being ‘tongue-tied’ was comfortably treated with a diode laser.

One way to tell if you are tongue tied is to open your mouth wide and, without closing, try to touch the top of your mouth or your palate with the tip of your tongue.  In our office, we often diagnose tongue tied in patients who never knew that their tongue moved any differently than anyone else’s.  If there is a concern, we might offer to complete a conservative surgery with a diode laser that will free this attachment and offer improve tongue mobility.  The surgery is completed with local anesthetic and the recovery is swift.  There is little to no bleeding involved – which is one of the many things we love about the diode laser.

 

Dr. Julie Gillis and her dental team in Grand Junction, Colorado provide the highest quality dental treatment in a clean, caring and comfortable environment.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles

Are Athletes More Prone to Oral Health Problems ?

October 31, 2016

Filed under: Customer Service,Dental Health,Occlusion or Bite — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 6:13 pm

Are athletes more likely to have oral health problems?

Playing sports may affect an athletes oral health.  Here are some reasons why.

An athletes oral health may be more prone to problems than the general population. I think most people would assume that the answer to the above questions is a resounding No. Actually, the answer is Yes!  Athletes in general, are concerned with their physical health.  For peak performance they need to maintain muscle fitness, eat properly, and they want to look and feel good.

A recent article in “Decisions in Dentistry,” “Managing Oral Health Challenges in Athletes”, October 2016 noted that “The training required of both professional and recreational athletes is physically demanding.  While sore muscles and overuse injuries are common among athletes, oral health can also be adversely affected.”  The most prevalent athletes oral health problems are the following:

  • Tooth clenching that results in excessive and irreversible wear of teeth
  • Tooth grinding or bruxism which also results in excessive wear
  • Tooth erosion which is the loss of tooth structure due to acidic attack as seen in people who drink excessive amounts of soda.
  • Xerostomia or mouth dryness

How are athletes oral health  more affected you might wonder?  One of the major muscles that closes the mouth is called the masseter muscle.  Studies have shown that when large muscles in the legs, arms and back are activated, the masseter is also activated.  We have all seem the ‘grimace face’ of weightlifters and sprinters.  The masseters are contracting and the teeth are touching forcibly which, over time, causes wear of the hardest structure in the body, the tooth enamel.

Severe tooth abrasion has created cupped lesions in the teeth.

Severe tooth abrasion has created cupped lesions in the teeth.

The the same article noted a study linking clenching your teeth with improved body stability.  This may affect participants in several sports.  Our office tries to let our patients know that your teeth could only contact if you are chewing or swallowing. Can athletes maintain the desired stability without clenching?  I would hope so for the sake of their teeth! Chronic bruxism or clenching can also lead to problems with the TMJ or jaw joint, the muscles of the jaw that make all the things we like to do with our teeth and our mouthed possible or the bone supporting the teeth may be affected.  Teeth could become loose or bone may be irreversibly lost.  Teeth, crowns and fillings could fracture.

Tooth erosion depends on the erosive agent and the amount of time that the teeth are exposed.  Competitive swimmers may expose their teeth to slightly acidic water for hours at a time.  Many endurance sports encourage mouth breathing which, of course, leads to a dry mouth (xerostomia) which can lead to increased decay and gum disease.  Plaque forms easier and is more sticky and damaging on dry teeth and tissue leading to problems with an athletes oral health.

What can be done for athletes oral health?

  • Mouth guards may protect the teeth from some of the effects of clenching and grinding.
  • Teeth that have been eroded can be aesthetically and conservatively restored (Ask Dr. Gillis! She would be happy to discuss options with you!)
  • Topical Fluoride treatments help form a protective barrier on the surface of teeth.
  • Over-the-counter fluoride rinses i.e., Listerine with Fluoride can help
  • Chewing gum during exercise especially sugar-free boosts protective saliva production – but use lozenges and gum during sports with caution to avoid choking!

Keep on exercising but take care of your teeth, your mouth and yourself!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

 

Test Drive an Electric Toothbrush in Our Office!

September 7, 2016

Test Drive an Electric Toothbrush in Our Office!

Would you like to Test Drive an Electric Toothbrush in Our Office?  How about the Oral B Pro 5000?

Now you can do just that in our office and here is how:

Purchasing an electric toothbrush  to improve your oral hygiene is a good idea.  But which one do you buy?  How do you know the differences or whether or not you would even like using the electric toothbrush?  Our office and Oral B have made this easier for you.  You can now use an Oral B Pro 5000 in our office and test it on your own teeth.  You can see how this electric toothbrush feels in your mouth and how your teeth feel after using the brush for free in our office.

Our office is always trying to think of ways to make getting and keeping your mouth healthy as comfortable as possible.  Although you can clean your teeth very well with a regular manual toothbrush, studies have proven that you will be more effective when you use an electric toothbrush.  The Oral B Pro 5000 is a great one to try!  My hygienist, Melanie, explains how our patients can text drive the Oral B Pro 5000 in our office.  How the electric toothbrush handle is protected and how each patient wanting to test drive the toothbrush gets their own toothbrush.

Call our office in Grand Junction, Colorado at (970) 242-3635 for more information.  We would love to have you visit us on Facebook and see all the fun things going on in our office!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Is Chewing Ice Really Bad For Teeth?

June 30, 2016

Filed under: Habits and Teeth,Habits and Your Teeth — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 4:35 pm

Is Chewing Ice Really Bad For Teeth?

Chewing ice is not good for anyone’s teeth, but it can be especially bad for teeth that are already weakened with fillings.  Think of your teeth as fine pieces of crystal.  When you have a filling done, a hole is cut into the crystal which weakens the overall structure.  Your mouth where these fine crystals live is a very hot, moist environment.  When you chew ice, it is like taking that hot crystal, dipping it in icy liquid, and smacking it with something very hard.

To chew ice or not - our recommendation is don't do it!

Is chewing ice bad?  Our recommendation is don’t do it!

As you are chewing ice your tooth cycles between being very warm to ice cold over and over.  Combine that with the hardness of the ice you are crunching and you have a potential bad situation that often leads to the tooth fracturing.  Large tooth fractures may require a crown to save the tooth.  If the fractures are deep they can even cause damage to the tooth’s nerve which could require a root canal plus a new filling and a crown to save the tooth.  Wouldn’t it just be better to break the ice chewing habit?

Our office cares about you and the health of your teeth.  There are many habits that can be very harmful to your teeth and chewing ice is one of them.  Please call our office located in Grand Junction Colorado for more information on this topic or any other dental concern.  We love to help!

Yours for better dental health, Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles

 

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

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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