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Julie M. Gillis, DDS, PC Blog

Do I Have Tori? What the Heck Are These Bumps In My Jaw?

November 9, 2017

Filed under: Tori or Dental Tori — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 6:41 pm

What the heck are these hard bumps in my jaw?

We get asked these questions a lot!  It is a very good idea to get to know your mouth by doing self exams and be able to tell if anything is changing.  I thought you might be interested in a recent email exchange I had with Mamabear.  Note that a true diagnosis should always be done in person by a professional.  These cell phone images are great at showing what condition is the concern.


Mamabear’s initial email:

Sent: Monday, November 06, 2017 12:06 AM
To: Office e-mail <jgillis@juliegillisdds.com>
Subject: Tori?

Hi I have what may be extra bone , I thought everyone had it until it shocked a friend of mine. I can’t find a pic that looks like mine. Can you tell me what it is? Its perfect on both sides. Pics attached.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE device


Julie gillis DDS responds:

See left and right images sent by Mamabear of “extra bone in lower jaw” that patient noticed. They are most likely tori.

See left and right images of “lumps in lower jaw” that patient noticed. They are most likely tori.

Hi Mamabear,

The photos definitely have the appearance of mandibular (lower jaw) tori or harmless extra bone on the inside of the lower jaw.  It would be best however to have these evaluated by your dentist (not sure where you live) to evaluate these for sure.  The photos are good to save.  You can take new ones, or better yet have your dentist take photos, and campart the area with another photo in 6 months.  If they seem to be growing quickly, or if you are concerned about any changes, you should have this area evaluated by a dentist or oral surgeon.

If you are in our area, we would be happy to see you!


Mamabear responded:

Thank you so much for getting back to me. Really appreciate it. Im in the San Francisco bay area.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE device


From: Julie Gillis DDS

Subject:RE: Tori?

Hi Mamabear,

May we use your photos for a blog post on our website?

Julie M Gillis DDS AAACD

“Caring For and Enhancing Your Smile”

(970) 242-3635 office


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Mamabear’s response

Of coarse. Yeah I hv never seen it like I hv it. I can try n hv a friend take a better pic later today. Ill send that to ya. Like I said I thought it was normal dentists never said anything until I noticed it and asked n the assistant was shocked. She never saw it. I’m not sure if its grown. I dont even notice it, unless I play with it with my toungue. Lol. I thought it was a 3rd set of teeth since the ridges are perfect.

Ill get a better pic for ya today.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE device


Julie Gillis DDS responds:

Thank you!  Every office is different, but we include an oral cancer exam every six months during our patient’s cleanings (of course at no extra charge) and then show them anything they have going on that is different so that our patients can also monitor for symptoms.

It is a good sign that your tongue doesn’t really notice the area.  That likely means that the bone has had a similar shape for a long time.  Tongues are very good at pointing out anything that is the least bit unusual and then fussing over it.  Think of a small tooth chip if you have had this or something caught between your teeth.


Julie M Gillis DDS AAACD

“Caring For and Enhancing Your Smile”

(970) 242-3635 office



There you have it!  Selfies helping with diagnosing.  We enjoy helping our patients understand all the conditions going on in their mouths.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and yours!  Julie Gillis DDS

Should Dentists Care About Your Marijuana Use?

October 24, 2017

Should Dentists Care About Your Marijuana Use?

Peace ?

Drugs and dentistry, specifically marijuana use and dentistry is a topic seen more often in the literature.  Marijuana use has a connection with your oral health.  So, yes, your dentist should care about your Marijuana use! This blogs reviews current findings and explains some of the dental associations related to Marijuana use and concerns your dentist may have.

Should dentists care about your Marijuana Use?  Definitely!  The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) published some of these concerns from a variety of sources in the January 2016 AGD Impact.



Peace Baby!

Marijuana use is increasing and is now legal in many states including Colorado.  The appeal of Marijuana is the association with pleasure, relaxing, perceived enhanced taste, sight and hearing.  Along with increasing use, studies are showing negative health concerns.  Our office recommends letting your dentist know about your Marijuana use and discuss possible oral health problems they may be able to see in your mouth.



The main concerns are the following:

  • Impaired thought processes
  • Impaired judgement
  • Increased consumption of carbohydrates and sugars
  • A weakened immune system
  • Irritated airways
  • There is a strong association with periodontal disease
  • Increased exposure to carcinogens

Increased eating of sweets may lead to more tooth decay.  In our office we have seen terrible tooth decay when marijuana chewables are combines with a dry mouth and a susceptible patient.  We care about your dental health and want to provide the best care possible for you.  We will always try to stay up to date with current recommendations related to your dental care.  Thanks for reading our blog!  We look forward to seeing you.  In the meantime, please see more about what our office has to offer on our website at www.juliegillisdds.com or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc.  We would love to have you follow us on Facebook!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles


Does Marijuana Affect Your Dental Health?

October 5, 2017

Filed under: Customer Service,Dental Health — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 4:45 am

Does Marijuana Affect Your Dental Health?

Peace ?

Some of this information is from the January 2016 issue of AGD Impact and from the July/August 2017 issue of Discover

Why should your dentist care whether you use Marijuana?  Because Marijuana can affect your dental health and your dental treatment!

As the use of Marijuana becomes more common, we will continue to see more of the possible side effects.  Thankfully, the legalization of this drug has made it easier for patients to report drug use.  Turns out marijuana can affect your dental health!

  • The rate of decay can increase. We have seen disastrous examples of this in patients using chewables especially when combined with a dry mouth from other drugs they are taking or diseases.
  • Marijuana use may make you more likely to consume sweet, salty, or foods containing a lot of refined carbohydrates and you may be less likely to maintain proper hygiene – a double whamy in terms of decay.
  • Marijuana use may leave a slimy dark stain in the tartar or calculus that forms on the teeth that may be difficult to remove. More slime, more tartar, more bacteria, more gum disease and periodontal disease, and more decay.
  • By using Marijuana, you may be at a higher risk of contracting HIV.
  • Marijuana abuse can lead to frequent vomiting which can severely harm the teeth by acid erosion. (there are some studies that THC can be helpful with nausea from chemo)
  • Long-term use can lead to panic disorders and psychosis. Repeated exposure can negatively affect the areas of your brain dealing with forming memories.  (remember to brush and floss correctly and eat healthy!)
  • And, yes, you can develop a dependence. If you are trying to kick the habit (Yea!) expect mood swings, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite.

Everyone may think they are immune to the risks.  The benefits must be compared with the risks.  Some risks can be minimized by proper oral hygiene (just a friendly tip).  So, what are the benefits?  I’ll have you ask your medical doctor for that one.   It is difficult to compare studies due to how the studies are fashioned and the doses and forms of cannabinoids used.


In the January 2016 issue of AGD Impact the following was noted:

Because Marijuana use can affect your dental health, it is important to be straightforward in informing your dentist about any drugs that you are taking as many can have oral side effects.  Even herbal, medicinal and recreational Marijuana.  Marijuana use has increased steadily over the last 10 years especially among adolescents, who may not really understand the risks.

Please keep this in mind if you are having a dental procedure completed, “Topical application or local injection of products containing epinephrine, which can dangerously prolong tachycardia, should be avoided . . . as they can lead to complications in the operatory (treatment room).”

What does this mean for you?

If you have recently used cannabis, and you are having any procedure that includes either topical anesthetic (a hygienist may use a solution or gel to make your cleaning more comfortable) or a shot and you need to inform the dental team.  Just tell your dentist or hygienist about your recent cannabis use and request that no epinephrine be used for your procedure.  Epinephrine could cause extended time with a high heart rate which can cause problems. Avoid marijuana for at least seven days before a scheduled dental appointment that includes anesthesia.

Not Marijuana

Your health history is confidential and the information you provide should help your dental team take the best care of you.  Let your dentist and dental team know the following:

  1. Recent use (smoking or ingesting)
  2. Type of use (edibles, smoking, both)
  3. How long have you done this?
  4. Purpose (for pain, recreation)?

More information will continue to surface about marijuana use and its affect on your dental health as the use continues and increases.  Our office will try to keep you posted.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, PC

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health



All Porcelain Crowns or Porcelain Fused to Metal?

September 25, 2017

Filed under: All Porcelain Crowns,Crowns — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 11:25 pm

All Porcelain Crowns or Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns?

Porcelain fused to metal crowns may be strong, but they often look fake.

A crown is not a crown is not a crown!  If you are deciding what type of crown is best for you – an all porcelain crown or a porcelain fused to metal crown – this blog will help by describing and showing you these types of crowns and explaining their advantages.  Your dentist should also be able to tell you the advantages and disadvantages of different types of crowns and why one type may be best for certain situations.   In our office can show you many photos of crowns that we have completed and we would be happy to answer your questions to find the type of treatment that is right for you and for your teeth!

When they are done well, an all porcelain crown is strong and beautiful!

Porcelain fused to metal crowns may be strong, but they often look fake.

In the photos shown here, you will see both all porcelain crowns and porcelain fused to metal crowns to restore the front teeth.  Although the porcelain fused to metal crowns have functioned well for years, they are not aesthetic.  Our patient was unhappy with her smile.  Her main concerns were the following:


  • The crowns do not look real, they look like fake teeth
  • The crowns are too opaque and too dark
  • There are gaps between the teeth that often look like I have something stuck there
  • The crowns make the teeth look old


In a porcelain fused to metal crown, the tooth is covered in a thin layer of metal before the porcelain is added to make the crown ‘tooth colored’.  How can you tell if the crowns are porcelain fused to metal?

  1. You will often see a dark or black line at the edge of the crowns where the metal shows through
  2. The crowns are often opaque due to the opaque layers of porcelain that must be used to hide or masque the metal
  3. On a dental x-ray, you cannot see the tooth through the crown

Note the much improved smile with the use of all porcelain crowns on the front teeth!

Why would dentists use porcelain fused to metal?

  1. Porcelain fused to metal used to be the strongest type of crown that was still tooth colored.
  2. Porcelain, especially older porcelains, can be prone to fracture and the metal below the porcelain provides support.
  3. The crown could be metal on the inside or tongue side of the tooth and metal is kind to the teeth chewing against the crown.
  4. All porcelain crowns should ideally be bonded to the teeth and there may be conditions where it is not possible to bond the crowns in place and the crown must be cemented.
  5. Sometimes a dentist will only do the types of crowns that they have been doing for years and porcelain fused to metal crowns have been around for years.
  6. The dentist’s laboratory may not be skilled at doing all porcelain crowns.

Our office completed a thorough examination and noted that the gums were very healthy and the teeth looked great on an x-ray.  We replaced the unaesthetic porcelain fused to metal crowns with all porcelain crowns and achieved a much more natural looking result.  Our office and our patient were very pleased with the result!  We still place porcelain fused to metal crowns in some situations and we would be happy to let you know the best type of crown for your teeth and your specific situation!  You can find more information about types of crowns in our other blogs or by visiting our website at www.juliegillisdds.com,  We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with the best dental care! Weather you live in Grand Junction, Colorado, Fruita, Colorado, Palisade, Colorado, Delta, Colorado, Montrose, Colorado, or any neighboring city; we would love to see you!  We see many patients from Utah as well.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles




Crooked Teeth? Correct with Braces or Veneers?

August 31, 2017

Crooked Teeth –  Should You Choose Braces or

Porcelain Veneers?

If your teeth are crooked and it bothers you, now is a good time to do something about this!  But what should you do?  Do you have crooked teeth – should you choose braces or porcelain veneers?  This blog will review a case that could be treated with either option or both.  See if you agree with our patient’s choices.  The right answer for you and your crooked teeth is something that requires evaluation of your smile and your concerns with a dentist who understands that the ‘best’ treatment option is different for different people. Braces may mean straightening the teeth with Invisalign, Clear Correct, an Inman Appliance or similar or limited orthodontics with braces.

Crowded and poorly aligned teeth detract from this smile!

Crowded and poorly aligned teeth detract from this smile! Note crooked teeth!

Your dentist should be able to review with you the advantages and disadvantages of one option over another to treat crooked teeth and help you make the decision that is right for you and for your smile.  If you have crooked teeth and you have made the decision to improve your smile, you probably want to do this right away!  That usually means having your dentist prepare your teeth for veneers or crowns that make it look like you have spent years in braces and were born with a beautiful smile.  While this may be the fastest decision, it is not always the best solution for crooked teeth.  You will have to live with the result for many years and your dental health – the health of your teeth should be one of your concerns.

Conservative treatment with a combination of orthodontic movement of the teeth and porcelain veneers made a big difference in this smile!

Conservative treatment with a porcelain veneers made a big difference in this smile!

In the case shown here, the teeth are very crooked and crowded.  You can see a very thin, worn area on the left front tooth that is almost see through.  The right lateral incisor appears to have an odd shape.  If the teeth were moved into better alignment with braces, these problems would still need to be addressed.  Our office likes to do study models of your teeth to show you the results you can expect with different types of treatment.  One of our concerns is being very conservative with the preparation (grinding!) of your teeth because we want you to have your teeth your whole life.

It is best to select a dentist for this type of treatment who is willing to show you before and after photos of patients they have treated in their office so that you can observe for yourself the quality of the dental care.  Anyone can post beautiful photos with amazing results, but your concern should be whether your dental office can do the dental work that you desire.  For this type of treatment, the dentist should have advanced training in cosmetic dentistry beyond just listing that they do porcelain veneers on their website.  The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) has an accreditation process that includes completing a written examination and presenting several different cosmetic cases for evaluation in front of a panel of experts in cosmetic dentistry.  An accredited dentist has met these rigorous standards with their dental treatment and can help you achieve your smile goals.

Before treatment

Before treatment

After movement of the teeth any further correction becomes very easy to accomplish!

After movement of the teeth any further correction becomes very easy to accomplish!


Our office carefully examines different treatment options and we can tell you approximately how long treatment will take and the advantages/disadvantages of doing different types of treatment.  In the case shown here, orthodontic treatment can be used to improve the alignment before the teeth are prepared for porcelain veneers.  As a patient you can decide if the small amount of additional time for the orthodontic treatment (six months) can fit into your schedule.

If you are trying to improve your smile and you would like to know your options, we would love to help!  Dr. Gillis is an accredited member of the AACD and now serves as an examiner for other dentists going through the accreditation process. She serves on the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry and is the chair of the Written Examination Committee for the accreditation process.  Our office wants you to achieve your smile goals in the best way possible for you!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles


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