1190 Bookcliff Avenue #201, Grand Junction, CO 81501 Download Forms Like Us Read Our Reviews Visit Our Blog
(970) 242-3635

Laser Cavity Detection – Better Even Than Your Mom’s Dentist!

December 14, 2017

Laser Cavity Detection – Better Even Than Your Mom’s Dentist!

The cavity detecting wand is about the same size as a pen!

Some cavities are obvious some are not, but in all cases, it is best to find cavities when they are small and easily treated.  Laser cavity detection may not have been around for your Mom’s dentist, but it is here now!  Cavities, as most people know, are soft or rotten parts of your teeth that require professional treatment so that they do not continue to grow.

Is there decay in this tooth? The laser cavity detection says YES! Your Mom’s dentist and dental x-rays alone would have said no.

The stained areas in the tooth shown here may look like obvious cavities.  They were not soft to pressure.  This is and a very good situation to test with laser cavity detection.  There was no decay! We note the readings obtained with the laser.   We can then compare these readings when you return for other visits and we test the area again.

Testing your teeth with a laser is painless.  We scan the laser over your tooth and see a digital readout of any changes in the density of the tooth below the surface.  Our laser also gives an audible tone that starts when there is a significant density change and increases when the change becomes more significant.  There is a low level where it is okay to continue to “watch” for further changes over time, and a level where the appropriate treatment is to remove the decay.

Laser cavity detection: the laser is small, painless, and easy to use!

When your dentist or dental hygienist checks your teeth for cavities or decay, this usually begins with evaluating your x-rays and looking for areas of decalcification or weakened areas in your tooth.  Your dentist (and your Mom’s dentist)  will look for areas that are different in color from the adjacent teeth.  It should be noted here that cavities do not always change the color of the tooth.  Black or dark areas on your teeth may just be stains!  Your dentist will press on your teeth to check for areas that are soft.  These methods for checking for decay were also used by your Mom’s dentist.  Now we can detect a cavity even earlier with a cavity detecting laser.   Laser Cavity Detection did not even exist several years ago!

We know that cavities can start anywhere on the surface of a tooth.  The most likely place for cavities to start is in the grooves on the tops of teeth, below the areas where two teeth contact, or beside crowns and fillings.  The process of decay may penetrate the softer inner layers of the tooth leaving the surface intact.  So, pressing on the tooth doesn’t always tell you if there is decay below.  In our office, we use a laser like the one shown above to check your tooth for changes in the density of the tooth that would indicate decay below the surface.

The cavity detecting laser noted decay below the intact surface of this tooth. It is easy to see once uncovered and can be treated early!

The  laser cavity detection was used on this tooth and the decay was treated while the cavity was still small.  If decay had been left in the tooth until the surface had become soft, much more of the tooth would have been destroyed and weakened and the treatment would have been at a much greater cost to you!

This might look like decay. Time to test this tooth with a cavity detecting laser. Yea! No decay. We can retest this tooth later to compare the readings.

 

The laser cavity detection is here now!

We believe in embracing new technology when it is to the benefit of our patients and has been texted to be safe and accurate.  We do this because that is the kind of treatment we would want for ourselves or for anyone we care about!

 

With early cavity detection, we may be able to treat your cavities with the use of a special carrier like the one shown here that delivers medications and seals the tooth without drilling on it!

Treatment of early decay without drilling on the tooth!

Our office wants to make sure to stay up to date on technology that benefits you.  The laser cavity detection is just one of the ways that we do this!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles

 

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.

 

Marijuana

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

 

What is Disclosing Solution or Caries Detecting Dye?

February 1, 2017

Filed under: Cavities and Dental Decay,Fillings — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:00 am

What is Disclosing Solution or Caries Detecting Dye?

This blog describes the use of disclosing solution which is the same as caries detecting dye and shows photos of caries detecting dye used during tooth preparation.

Cavity between teeth shows up on an x-ray as a dark shadow.

Cavity between teeth shows up on an x-ray as a dark shadow.

The decay is removed and the tooth looks pretty good. Time to test with disclosing solution!

The decay is removed and the tooth looks pretty good. Time to test with disclosing solution!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your dentist is using disclosing solution or caries detecting dye that means they care about you and they care about your teeth!  Caries detecting dye or solution is like disclosing solution.  Both are composed of a liquid die that will stain bacteria and bacterial byproducts.

Disclosing solution or caries detecting dye is used by dentists and dental hygienists for the following reasons:

  • To show you where bacteria are sticking to your teeth
  • To improve your brushing techniques
  • To evaluate if there is decay on your teeth
  • To be conservative in tooth preparation by removing all the decay and leaving healthy tooth structure

You can see why these things would be good for you!  The photos included here illustrate the treatment of a cavity that occurred in the ‘flossing zone’ between two teeth.  The dentist has removed the obvious decay and shaped the tooth so that a tooth-colored restoration can be placed.  Dark, stained areas of decay have been removed.  The tooth looks ready to restore but it isn’t.  Now is the time to paint on the caries detecting dye! 

Disclosing solution or caries detecting dye is painted over the prepared cavity.

Disclosing solution or caries detecting dye is painted over the prepared cavity.

Disclosing solution or caries detecting dye is painted over the prepared cavity and then rinsed away. Remaining dye shows remaining decay!

Disclosing solution or caries detecting dye is painted over the prepared cavity and then rinsed away. Remaining dye shows remaining decay!

 The dye comes in several colors.  Red is the most common.  The dye is painted onto the cavity preparation and allowed to remain a couple seconds.  The excess dye is rinsed away and any stain that remains indicates the presence of bacteria or bacterial byproducts.  This is carefully removed by your dentist.  Since tooth-colored fillings or restorations bond to your tooth there is no longer a need to cut in undercuts to help hold fillings in.  Your dentist will want to be conservative in tooth preparation by removing all the decay and leaving healthy tooth structure.

The tooth is restored to ideal contours knowing that all decay has been carefully removed.

The tooth is restored to ideal contours knowing that all decay has been carefully removed.

In our office, we may paint on the dye several times.  Each time removing just the areas where decay remains and saving as much tooth as possible.  This is just one of the many ways we would like our teeth to be treated and so that is the way we treat our patient’s teeth!  Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns.  We would love to see you!

Yours for better dental health,

                 Julie Gillis DDS, PC

     Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles

Can A Tooth Cavity Be Hidden?

September 26, 2014

Filed under: Cavities and Dental Decay — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 4:18 am

Can A Tooth Cavity Be Hidden?

Healthy appearing molar - no symptioms.

Healthy appearing molar – no symptoms.

Without taking the time to really look at this tooth under different light conditions, and evaluating the grooves with a cavity detecting laser, this cavity or area of decay might be missed! The x-ray image was non-remarkable (no cavity or area of decay visible).  The surface of the tooth was very hard when felt with an explorer.  (Many of us have experienced a dentist or dental hygienist ‘poking’ at a tooth to see if their explorer ‘sticks’ as it often will in an area of decay otherwise known as a cavity!)  Our office noted the gray discoloration and tested the tooth with a cavity detecting laser.

See areas of concern. The cavity detecting laser will assist in determining if there is decay below the enamel of a tooth.

See areas of concern. The cavity detecting laser will assist in determining if there is decay below the enamel of a tooth.

Some cavities or areas of decay are easy to see and feel, while some are not!  If you are concerned about any of your teeth or gums please ask your dentist!  We are always happy to explain what is going on with your mouth and teeth. The enamel over the gray area on the tooth is carefully removed with a high speed handpiece and severe decay (seen in the photo as the large darkly stained area) was found below.  A conservative tooth colored restoration was placed to restore the health and color of this tooth.  Left untreated, the decay could easily have progressed into the nerve of the tooth!

Gross decay below enamel was causing the gray discoloration seen in the previous photos.

Gross decay below enamel was causing the gray discoloration seen in the previous photos.

As always, yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health!

 

Please check our our office’s website, go to www.juliegillisdds.com for more information on tooth decay, dental procedures and our team in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.

Photo shows the left side of the mouth in the patient with the gray area on the tooth above.

Photo shows the left side of the mouth in the patient with the gray area on the tooth above. Note healthy looking teeth and gums.  Excellent oral hygiene.

Obvious decay in the grooves of this tooth!

Obvious decay in the grooves of this tooth!

Decay restored with a conservative tooth colored filling.

Decay restored with a conservative tooth colored filling.

 

Small Cavity or Chipped Tooth? Your Best Fix is a Bonded, Tooth-Colored Restoration!

January 14, 2014

Bonded, Tooth-Colored Restorations –Still the Best Restoration for Small Cavities or Small Chips!

Small chip in tooth due to trauma can be easily restored.

Small chip in tooth due to trauma can be easily restored.

 

Tooth-colored composite material fills in the chip and is bonded  to the tooth.

Tooth-colored composite material fills in the chip and is bonded to the tooth.

Bonded, tooth-colored restorations also known as composite restorations have stood the test of time, and they are still the best restoration for small cavities! 

For years dentists placed amalgam or silver fillings composed primarily of a 50/50 blend of silver and mercury.  First, the dentist would remove the decay, then the dentist would deepen, widen, and undercut the opening into the tooth just so that the silver filling would not fall out of the tooth.  Bonded, tooth-colored restorations or composite fillings can bond to the tooth – even to a flat surface – so the dentist can place a very conservative restoration removing just the decayed and weakened tooth and preserving more of your healthy tooth structure.

 

 

 

 

Decay often starts in the grooves of teeth as this area is hard to keep clean and food and debris packs here.

Decay often starts in the grooves of teeth as this area is hard to keep clean and food and debris packs here.

 

Cavity is removed and tooth health is restored with a bonded, tooth-colored restoration.

Cavity is removed and tooth health is restored with a bonded, tooth-colored restoration.

Some dentists are still placing amalgams or silver/mercury fillings.  We have not used them in our office since about 1995 when I decided that I would not put in someone else’s mouth what I would not want in my own or my children’s mouthes.  Our office prefers bonded, tooth-colored composite fillings when a bonded restoration is the best solution.  Over time, amalgam or silver/mercury fillings act just like any metal and they expand and contract as the temperature of your mouth changes such as when you have a cold or hot drink.  This can cause fractures in the adjacent tooth structure requiring replacing the filling or restoration with an even larger, deeper filling, or with a crown.  Tooth-colored composite restorations are more technique sensitive to place and are generally more time consuming then the older amalgam or  silver/mercury fillings.  But isn’t it worth it? Aren’t your teeth worth it?  We haven’t even touched on the fact that the mercury found in all amalgam or silver fillings is a poison and who wants this in their tooth!

Very visible, stained restoration should either be replaced or polished.

Very visible, stained restoration should either be replaced or polished.

Our office wants you to have what is best for you and for your teeth!  If your tooth-colored restorations stain over time, it is sometimes possible to polish them. This will make them look significantly better, and allow the restoration to function well for much longer.

 

Most of the stain is removed and the restoration may last many more years.

Most of the stain is removed and the restoration may last many more years.

We decide to make the restoration last longer simply by polishing away the defective area!

We decide to make the restoration last longer simply by polishing away the defective area!

Our office would be happy to discuss with you options to restore your teeth or your children’s or loved one’s teeth.  Our goal is to treat you like we would want to be treated and to give you options about your dental care so you can make the right decisions for you! Please call our office to set up an appointment or to ask any questions that you might have. Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  You can email us at jgillis@juliegillisdds.com

Our office now has a Facebook page and we would love for you to ‘like’ us! On Facebook, find us at Julie M Gillis DDS PC.

As always, yours for better dental health,

 

Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

 

 

 

Older Posts »