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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


Balancing Life and Dentistry! Part One :-)

September 14, 2016

Filed under: Cosmetic Dentistry,Customer Service — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:50 pm

Tips for balancing life with career, family, friends and self.

This article was submitted to the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry to keep the membership abreast of what’s happening in the world of credentialing.  I am far from an authority of life management but I do work on this daily and have found the following bullet points useful.  These ideas are intended to assist dentists who wish to improve their cosmetic dentistry skills by pursuing accreditation in the AACD, but I think the general principles apply to most of us. Hopefully you will too!

Keeping Life Balanced During Your Accreditation Journey!

Submitted by: Julie Gillis, DDS, AAACD

These before and after phtotographs display the enormous benefits to a patient choosing to have cosmetic dentistry by AACD accredited dentist, Julie M Gillis DDS. AAACD. Fluorosis stains on healthy teeth before and after treatment with porcelain veneers.

These before and after phtotographs display the enormous benefits to a patient choosing to have cosmetic dentistry by AACD accredited dentist, Julie M Gillis DDS. AAACD. Fluorosis stains on healthy teeth before and after treatment with porcelain veneers.

So, you have made the awesome decision to become a better cosmetic dentist by pursuing accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).  Great idea! The personal and professional rewards gained will make this process worth all of the effort you expend.  But first a word about keeping your sanity and your sense of fun!

Cardiologists Friedman and Roseman noted that some people in their waiting room – aka reception room in most dental offices – were unable to sit relaxed as they were waiting for their appointments.  Instead, this subset of patients waited impatiently sitting on the edges of their seats and standing up frequently.  The chairs wore down on the edges rather than the seat area as expected.  The doctors labeled this type of behavior as a ‘Type A personality.’ Research shows that people with this personality type run a higher risk of hypertension and heart disease. I want to minimize this!

Most dentists have type A personality and the process of accreditation in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) may occur during an especially stressful and busy time in a dentist’s career.  That’s okay!  You can do this! Based on a web search, people with type A behavior pattern tend to be competitive with themselves and with other dentists.  They also tend to be self-critical. They strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments. This may be related to a life imbalance.  There is no question that it is a juggle and possibly a struggle to manage a successful business, offer care, love, and support for a spouse and children, make time for family and friends, as well as having time and energy for personnel, spiritual and mental health.

I am certainly not an authority at life management. In fact, I work at this on a daily basis.  I will share the things that have made and continue to make a difference for me in the hopes that these ideas might be useful to others. Balancing life is especially difficult during times when you are challenged to push yourself to achieve the best possible results on a deadline as happens during the rewarding journey towards accreditation in the AACD!

  • Tackle the accreditation process in small portions and set reasonable goals.

When I became accredited, you were required to present all five cases at the same time in front of a group of accredited dentists/examiners at the AACD annual meeting.  And we had to use slides!  Imagine not knowing until the next day how your photos turned out!  The process is much more friendly, doable, and streamlined now.  Just pick your favorite case type or the ideal one that walks in your front door and work on getting just that one case documented and submitted. Just do it! Use your mentor and all the useful guides available through the AACD.  Your second, third, fourth, and fifth cases will be easier.  Really, they will!  If is okay to fail – like continuing education, the learning process improves your skills.  Someone very cool once said, “If you take risk out of life, then you take opportunity out of life.”

  • Enjoy a positive attitude.

You really do have control of your attitude and having a positive attitude will make your life better and the accreditation process easier!  Accreditation in the AACD is a time consuming yet fun process – not hard and stressful!  It is a simple matter of attitude!  i.e., Weeding the garden – fun, why? It will be like exercise, there is the potential of a suntan, the garden will look better, and I can pick the goods for dinner!

Underbite Described by Dr. Julie Gillis

March 10, 2016

Filed under: Customer Service,Occlusion or Bite,Uncategorized — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 4:36 pm

What is an Underbite?

There are many articles out there discussing the underbite.  If you ask around many people have heard this term but few know exactly what that means. It is important to note that an underbite is not necessarily a bad thing and may never need to be corrected.  Basically in dentistry, a ‘bite’ is how your upper and lower teeth fit together.  With an underbite, the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth when you bite down.  If you would like answers to questions related to your or a family member’s bite ask your dentist.  Our office would be happy to offer you recommendations and discuss treatment options.

There are many issues here! One of these is an underbite is present. Appearance with the teeth apart.

There are many issues here! One of these is an underbite is present. Appearance with the teeth apart.

There are many issues here! One of these is an underbite is present. Appearance with the teeth together.

There are many issues here! One of these is an underbite is present. Appearance with the teeth together.

Most poeple have some degree of an overbite.  This condition in which the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth is normal and somewhat protective.  The less contact of the incisal edges (the edges of your upper and lower front teeth) the less wear that is likely to occur over time.  An underbite is also called a Class III malocclusion or prognathism.  The lower jaw is often bigger than the upper jaw and/or the chin is farther forward in the face.  The classic underbite cartoon character for those who remember him is Dick Tracy.  An underbite may be visible or described as a ‘strong chin’ and the condition may be visible in a profile view due to the chin being too far forward.  Sometimes, people with this condition may hold their teeth apart as shown above and this may make the profile changes less noticeable.

What Causes an Underbite? 

  • Genetics – large lower jaw combined with small or normal – sized teeth
  • Genetics – small upper jaw combined with normal or large lower jaw
  • Habit – sometimes there really is not an overbite but instead a tendency to push the lower jaw forward.  Sometimes people with what we call an end-on-end bite will push the lower jaw forward to get more tooth surfaces together when they bite.

It is interesting to note that individuals of Asian descent have a higher liklihood of having the bite condition known as an underbite or mandibular prognathism than people of other ethnicities.

There are several complications – which may be largely cosmetic in nature – that may arise with having an underbite. Extreme cases can cause facial changes such as an overly pronounced chin, or difficulty chewing, swallowing and speaking. These bite problems can wear down the tooth’s enamel increasing a patient’s chances for developing tooth decay and other oral health issues.

The best way to treat an underbite is to catch it early. If you are concerned about your or your childs bite, it is important to consult with your dentist or an orthodontist to see if treatment can or should be completed to modify this condition.  It should be noted that not all underbites require treatment.

Yours for better dental health, Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Because We Care About Your Oral Health!

June 18, 2015

Because We Care About Your Oral Health!

This letter is for you, my patients,

Do you have gum disease, gingivitis, or periodontal disease?  Do you know if there is any infection present in your mouth? Do you have oral cancer? Ninety percent (90%!) of people have some type of disease or infection in their mouths!  My guess is that far less than 90% are aware of this.  Once you take ownership of the condition of your mouth, you can make decisions that are appropriate for you to address these concerns. If you don’t know the answer to these questions, ask us! We are happy to provide you with the tools and information you need to achieve the level of health you would like.

Periodontal disease prior to treatment

Periodontal disease and gingivitis  prior to treatment

Periodontal disease after treatment

Periodontal disease and gingivitis after treatment

Only you can make the changes necessary to get your mouth healthy, so it is very important for you to OWN these diseases if present and own the responsibility for their treatment.  One of the most important things I can do for my patients is to let you know exactly what is going on in your mouth – good and bad – and offer you options to address any areas of concern.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie M Gillis DDS PC

“Caring For and Enhancing Your Smile”

(970) 242-3635 office


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Drugs – It Pays to Shop Around!

April 8, 2015

Drugs – It Pays to Shop Around!

If you actually pay for your prescription medications out of pocket this may be important.  Our office does not prescribe many medications.  We leave that to the MD’s and other care providers.  Our office does prescribe occasional pain medications, antibiotics, and other prescription medications as needed for dental infections and pain.  We use a couple medications for our patients who are fearful of going to the dentist to make their appointments more comfortable.  It has become increasingly necessary to be careful that patients are taking their medications correctly and not creating the environment for super-infections and antibiotic resistant bacteria – but more on that later!

Drugs (1 of 1)

So many drugs, so many prices

If you would like to save money on your prescription medications and by doing this possibly decrease the cost of these medications for others you might want to try this.  We were surprised recently when we made a couple calls to local popular pharmacies to check on the price of some our most prescribed medications. The difference in price for one inexpensive medication was anywhere from $6.00 to $28.00 depending on where it was purchased.  Another prescription medication was offered in different concentrations (as many are) and the price changed dramatically between pharmacies and even from the same pharmacy when you ordered the same overall milligrams of medication but pills of different concentrations.  (For example 20 tabs of a medication at 5 mg/tab versus 10 tabs of the same medication at 10 mg per tab)  It is certainly NOT true that more pills means higher cost.  The cost probably fluctuates by the market for the drug and its availability. So, if the goal is to take 10 mg of something and you don’t care if you take one pill or two at half the strength then this might save you a lot of change!

So, I would suggest this:  Call a couple pharmacies about your needed prescription medication, and see where you would like us to call in your prescription!  Or alternatively, our office can give you a written prescription and you can decide where you want to have that filled.  It’s your choice and your money!

Yours for better dental health, Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Teeth/ Restoring Smiles

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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