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Can You Have Healthy Gums and Rotten Teeth?

August 22, 2013

Can you Have Healthy Gums and Rotten Teeth?  Yes, absolutely!

Rotten teeth, healthy gums!

Bacteria cause almost all the problems we see in patient’s mouths – except for trauma and muscle issues.  The problems directly attributable to bacteria are decay, cavities, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and infections,  So, if you can control the bacteria, you can control most of the problems we dentists see and spend our careers trying to correct.  The problem, as I see it, is that as soon as you remove the bacteria loaded, plaque biofilm from your teeth, there are more bacteria ready to move in and replace those that you have just removed.  And, that’s okay!  Bacteria – at least some of them – are also good and necessary.

Lots of decay or cavities noted, but gums are pretty healthy!

One of our office’s first steps in getting you healthy will probably be to improve your oral hygiene and do what we can to eliminate active gingivitis or gum disease.  The following photos will show that you can certainly have healthy gums around unhealthy teeth with obvious cavities or decay.  The efforts that you make controlling decay and eliminating gingivitis will pay big dividends in the future in helping to keep your teeth for a lifetime.  By keeping your teeth and gums clean, the process of decay will slow down and any restorations that are placed will last longer!  Totally worth your investment in time and effort!

Extensive decay - pretty healthy gums!

As you can see from this photo, the gum tissue is healthy and pink, hugging the necks of the teeth that need to be restored.  Our office loves to see healthy gums!  I know that any restoration that I complete for this patient – whether it be conservative bonding, crowns, or modified porcelain veneers – will last longer due to their excellent home care!

These restorations will last longer due to this patient's ability to keep his gums healthy.

Our office would be happy to tell you about what is going on in your mouth in as much detail as you would like.  We are also quite aware that some people do not want this information! 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

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 https://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”



Can You Tell If You Have a Cavity or Decay?

February 27, 2013

Can You Tell If You Have a Cavity?

Dark areas on your teeth are usually decay!

Gum disease and decay

Sometimes you can, ususally you can’t!  However, the more aware you are of what is going on in your mouth, the more likely you will be to notice if something changes.  Little things like your dental floss ‘catching’ on a rough area between your teeth or on the edge of a filling or a crown could mean that decay or a cavity has started between the teeth.
Decay is the process – a cavity is the hole in the tooth!  Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably.  No matter what you call them, cavities should be treated early whele they are small and not a lot of your tooth has been destroyed.  Teeth will often show signs of mineral loss that appears like white or discolored areas, or decalcification prior to actual decay forming .

Deep decay is present between the top teeth and decay is just starting between two of the lower teeth.

In the x-ray shown here, you can see a deep black or gray cavity between the two top teeth.  A cavity this size may or may not be sensitive and may or may not catch your dental floss.  Decay often starts between teeth in the flossing zone.  You can also see a white spike on the upper molar beside the decayed area where tartar has formed so thick that it shows up on an x-ray. A large restoration or possibly a crown will be needed to save this tooth.  If the decay has entered the nerve area, your tooth will need a root canal plus a large filling or crown to save the tooth.  If your dentist is taking regular xrays, we can treat a cavity before it gets this size.
See the small black triangle on the side of the bottom tooth?  That is a cavity just starting.  you may be able to prevent a small cavity such as this from spreading into the softer dentin layer of the tooth and requiring a filling by using good oral hygiene techniques like brushing and flossing! And, of course, seeing your dentist regularly!
If you would like to see images of your teeth and see the decay or cavity that 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.  Conversely, if you would just like to enjoy peaceful or rocking music while you are being treated and remain oblivious to the nuts and bolts of the procedures we would be happy to do this as well.  Once you make an informed decision about your dental care we will strive to treat you as comfortably as possible!  Our office is located in Grand Junction,
Colorado. Our office phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook (see Julie M Gillis DDS PC) or call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Julie Gillis DDS

This tooth may look totally normal in the mouth. An x-ray is needed to show the decay between the teeth!

Very large rough silver fillingLook for dark areas on the top or sides of your teeth

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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