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Julie M. Gillis, DDS, PC Blog

How Long Do Tooth Crowns Last?

May 16, 2018

Filed under: Crowns — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 4:28 pm

I just had a crown placed at my dental office and I was wondering this, how long do tooth crowns last?

Different kinds of tooth crowns or caps. Now that I have a crown, how long will it last?

How long do tooth crowns last is a very good question!  And, it is a question without an easy answer.  In our office we like to tell our patients that how long do tooth crowns last depends on three things:

  1. How well your dentist has taken care of your tooth and the use of a high quality dental lab, and high quality dental materials
  2. How well you take care of your tooth.  Do you brush and floss?   Do you have any bad habits like clenching or grinding? Do you use your teeth as tools?  Do you like to eat ice or very hard foods or candies?  This could things could shorten the life of your crown, and
  3. Genetics.  Unfortunately you and your dentist have no control over this.  Some peoples’ teeth are just stronger and less prone to decay.  Dental crowns and fillings just last longer due to the surrounding teeth, saliva, gums, and bone.

Crowns for front teeth may be all-porcelain or porcelain on top of metal – usually gold.

Different kinds of crowns may be more or less prone to breaking.

So, to make your crowns last as long as possible, you should select a dentist that is willing to give you some kind of guarantee.  You should be able to view photos of that dentists completed crowns for their patients (not just stock photos that they have).  You should carefully evaluate your habits and your responsibilities to see that you are doing everything you can to make your crowns last.  Here are some things that you personally can do:

  • See your dentist regularly – usually every six months – for an examination and cleaning.
  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly
  • Avoid long contact times between your teeth and anything you eat or drink that bacteria also eat and drink!

Dental insurance will usually say this about how long do tooth crowns last.  Insurance will usually pay to replace defective crowns once every 5 to 7 years.  We think they should last a lot longer than this!  If the reason your crown fails has anything to do with the work of the dentist or the dental laboratory, the problem will usually show up within the first two years.  In our office we guarantee your new crown for 5 years if you see us for regular examinations and cleanings.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles

What Kind of Tooth is a Mesiodens?

May 11, 2018

Filed under: Mesiodens or Supernumerary teeth,Tooth Information — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:00 am

What Kind of Tooth is a Mesiodens?

The tooth erupting on the palate is a mesiodens. It is quite large and visible compared to some.

What kind of tooth is a mesiodens?  I will tell you and show you one!  A mesiodens is an extra tooth, also called a supernumerary tooth, that occurs in the middle of the mouth.  The typical location is between the upper front teeth.  It may occur between the central incisors, in front of them or behind them.  These teeth are almost always recommended to be extracted due to their position in the mouth.

  • Mesiodens are often pointy like the one shown here
  • I have never seen an attractive mesiodens
  • This extra tooth can push of the teeth that are supposed to be there and cause alignment problems
  • Mesiodens may interfere with chewing
  • Often the patient is unaware that a mesiodens tooth is present
  • Mesiodens are usually picked up or ‘discovered’ with a dental x-ray.
  • They are rare!

In our patient, the mesiodens was first noted on a panoramic x-ray which shows the teeth from ear to ear.  The tooth later erupted into his mouth on the palate behind the front teeth.  Although the tooth wasn’t really bothering him, it did bother his mother and it was visible in his mouth.  He was about to begin orthodontic treatment and for these reasons, we recommended that the mesiodens be extracted.

In this photo the Mesiodens is seen between the front teeth on a 7 year old patient.

What Kind of Tooth is a Mesiodens? The Mesiodens is harder to see here behind the upper front teeth on our patient who is about 6 in this photo.

The procedure is done most comfortably in an office where the patient can sleep through the procedure but most dentists are comfortable completing this extraction under local anesthetic.  Mesiodens teeth are usually discovered at a young age when the patient may not be as comfortable in a dental chair.  For this reason, I believe that the extraction is usually done under general anesthesia which often means seeing an oral surgeon.

The Mesiodens is just visible behind the upper front teeth.

Our office wants our patients to be as comfortable as possible for their dental treatment and we will always provide options for dental care.

Our office is in the Grand Valley on the Western Slope of Colorado and we serve patients from Grand Junction, CO, Palisade, CO, Fruita, CO; Clifton, CO and surrounding communities.  Please call our office (970) 242-3635 if you need a general or cosmetic dentist.  We would love to see you!  We see lots of children in our practice when their parents are also patients!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles



Are There Stem Cells In Teeth?

May 4, 2018

Filed under: Missing Tooth or Teeth,Tooth Information — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:27 am

Are There Stem Cells in Teeth?

Could it be that your teeth may someday save your life?

There are stem cells in teeth!  Dare I mention mesenchymal stem cells?  Yes! Within your teeth are potent stem cells that could help with both medical and dental conditions.  When people hear ‘stem cells’ they may think of fetal tissues or the questionable harvesting of cells from a placenta or embryo.  Actually, stem cells are found in many places in our bodies such as in the blood, in bone marrow, muscles, and in fatty tissue.  The broken tooth here may contain healthy stem cells – do we save them?

Sometimes a healthy tooth has to be extracted. Maybe someday soon we will be saving stem cells from within your teeth!

Harvesting stem cells from extracted teeth sounds futuristic and even off.  However mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are located within the pulp chambers of vital teeth – teeth that are alive.  This is not true for decayed, and infected teeth that are extracted for say an abscess, but is true for teeth that are extracted for orthodontic treatment or the removal of wisdom teeth due to lack of space.

Multipotent MSCs – think of these as ‘Superman MSCs’ can be altered to change into other tissues such as muscle, tendons, blood, nerve tissue and even bone!  Maybe someday we will be able to grow new teeth from your own cells.  Based on an article by Mark Malterud, DDS, MAGD “Mesenchymal stem cells: the marriage of minimally invasive biomimetic dentistry with medicine.” General Dentistry magazine in the November/December 2017,

Could it be that your teeth may someday save your life? When a healthy tooth has to be extracted maybe we should be saving the stem cells that are inside these teeth!

This tooth is fractured, but it may still have viable stem cells inside. Should we save these?

“There are between 2 and 4 million of these cells in each vital tooth from donors aged 13 – 25 years; the numbers begin to decrease after the age of 25 years.”

That’s still a lot of cells in a single extracted tooth!  There are even MSCs in the periodontal ligament that holds teeth in the bone.  Because these cells are formed during very early development, they can be differentiated into the specific cells needed.  The thought presented in this article is that is we harvest and save these cells, we may be able to prevent the more invasive harvesting of stem cells for some purpose in the future.

Already in dentistry we can draw a small amount of your blood during a surgery, spin it down, and take the platelet-rich plasma to use for improving our success with your bone or tissue graft.  We may even be able to bring new life to a tooth requiring a root canal!

Already in the US, several companies process and cryogenically store MSCs from dental pulps.  The dentist would need to have a special processing kit to use once it was determined that the tooth needing to be extracted was indeed viable.

  • Determine tooth viability
  • Sign forms
  • Careful extraction
  • Your tooth is placed in a special container in a transport medium
  • Container is sealed and shipped overnight super express in ice
  • Once received the tooth is ‘processed’
    • Washed
    • Disinfected
    • Sectioned
    • Tissue is broken into very small pieces
    • Pieces are suspended in a flask
    • Cells are grown and allowed to multiply
    • MSCs cells are separated from others that were also there
  • Dental pulp MSCs grow readily in standard culture media
  • Once there are ’enough’ good cells, they are frozen to a super cold temperature where they will remain until needed.

So, the patient has this source of cells for a future need such as an injury or disease.  You would call the storage facility (this article mentioned Tooth Bank, BioEden, Stem Save, and Store-A-Tooth), request that your stem cells be delivered to the dentist, doctor, or clinic where they can be processed, or the storage facility could modify the cells as needed.  Your MSCs could potentially be influenced to create the specific tissues that just might save your life, or just make it better.

Sometimes I just like to share interesting stories.  This blog is for you dear reader of blogs!  Our office is in the Grand Valley on the Western Slope of Colorado and we serve patients from Grand Junction, CO, Palisade, CO, Fruita, CO; Clifton, CO and surrounding communities.  Please call our office (970) 242-3635 if you need a general or cosmetic dentist.  We would love to see you!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles


Diode Lasers in Dentistry

April 27, 2018

Filed under: Diode Laser — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:05 am

Diode Lasers in Dentistry – Are they Useful?

Diode lasers have improved the way we manage periodontal disease and gum disease.  Used during a tooth cleaning, the Diode Laser will help inflamed gum tissues heal faster.  But this is just one of many used for a diode laser!

Shown below is a Diode Laser being used for bacterial reduction during a cleaning.

Diode laser in action.

As you are probably aware, diode lasers can be used for a variety of soft tissue procedures including plastic surgery, tumor removal, uncovering teeth for orthodontics, reshaping the tissue around brackets or following orthodontic treatment, uncovering implants, and as an adjunct in our treatment of periodontal disease.  Procedures are performed quickly, often without anesthesia, and there is very little post-operative sensitivity.   We can even use diode lasers for treatment of lesions like cold sores and aphthous ulcers (canker sores).  Diode lasers are safe to use around metal like a dental implant or a crown.

Our office uses diode lasers for frenectomies (I can’t imagine going back to the scalpel for these!  Se a fun example below) gingival curettage, gingivectomies, laser bacterial reduction, laser assisted periodontal therapy, lesion removal, and treatment of canker sores and cold sores.

Cold sores before treatment. Diode lasers speed healing and decrease pain.

Cold sore area a couple days after treatment. with a diode laser.






If When diode lasers are used on a cold sore during its prodrome or initial tingling phase, the sore may be prevented from appearing.  If used during the active phase, the sore will immediately start to heal!  So we are trying to have patients call to schedule this low cost procedure as soon as they feel the beginnings of a cold sore.  Shown below are a couple frenectomy cases treated in our office with diode lasers.  Note the very thick, fibrous frenum or attachment that holds the tip of the tongue to a point very close to the lower front teeth.

Prior to Frenectomy

Imagine being instantly able to stick your tongue out when you haven’t been able to do this for years!

This patient is “tongue-tied” with a strong frenum attachment made it so our patient could not lick her lip or stick her tongue out. Easily treated with a diode laser.

Immediately after surgery – this procedure was done with topical anesthetic only!





We take great pride in our ability to provide dental care as comfortably as possible.  It is always nice to hear from you!

Yours for better dental health,

       Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Dr. Gillis speaks on Accreditation with the AACD

April 16, 2018

AACD Accreditation – Purpose, Benefits, Process

Accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) serves to set standards for excellence in cosmetic dentistry.  Dr. Julie Gillis became Accredited with the AACD in 1997.  She was the very first dentist to become accredited in Colorado and is now one of only three dentists in Colorado and about 600 dentists around the world that have attained this honor.  Dr. Gillis has server the AACD for years as an examiner for other dentists and dental lab technicians currently trying to become accredited.  Accreditation represents the acknowledgment of a doctor’s or dental technician’s excellence in cosmetic dentistry.  Accreditation and the examination process are administered by the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry.  Dr. Gillis currently serves on this board.

Dr Gillis (third from right) and members of the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry

Accreditation is a three-part process consisting of a Written Examination, Clinical Case Submissions for Examination and an Oral Examination.  Each part must be completed in sequence.  The candidate has flexibility to proceed at a pace that works best for the individual as long as the process is completed by the fifth Annual Scientific Session following passing the Written Exam.

The Written Examination tests the candidate’s foundational knowledge in cosmetic dentistry. Dentists who are knowledgeable in all phases of cosmetic dentistry are expected to pass the test. The Written Examination is administered at the Annual Scientific Session and at additional dates as directed by the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry. The Annual Scientific Session is held in the spring at different locations, and is publicized well in advance of the meeting date.  Dr. Gillis is proud to serve as the chair of the Written Examination Committee and has done this for years.

Dr Gillis notes, “I have a strong belief in the value of the AACD credential.  I followed an unconventional path to dentistry by training and working as an entry-level architect and illustrator for firms in the Denver area.  Dentistry allowed me to take these hand/eye skills to a new level of ‘micro architecture’ in the field of dentistry.  During my first American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) meeting in 1995, I met several accredited members and knew that this was important for my career.  In two years I completed the amazing process of accreditation.”

The process of accreditation continues to evolve and improve so that it is better for dentists, better for their patients, and better recognition by the public.  I would like to see the accreditation process become something that every dentist with an interest in cosmetic dentistry wants to achieve.   I firmly believe in the purpose of the AACD as it is also my purpose, ‘to create exciting learning and social environments where the confluence of health, beauty, and function inspire excellence in the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.’

I believe responsible esthetics with an emphasis on health should be a goal for all dental professionals and certainly is a personal goal of mine.   The AACD core ideology is that cosmetic dentistry should integrate interdisciplinary medical and dental treatment to enhance a patient’s quality of life and comfort.

I personally try to gain insight from every lecture I attend to improve the quality of my dental care and treatment, the quality of my patient’s oral health, patient’s comfort during our dental treatment, and the quality of dental care and the work environment provided for and by my entire team.  Any dentist wishing to improve the quality of their dental care will benefit by becoming accredited in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry!

Sincerely yours,

Julie M. Gillis, DDS AAACD

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health









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