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Individualized Dental Care Should Be the Norm!

February 9, 2018

Individualized oral health care – Individualized dental care. 

The way it should be!

Our office believes in individualized dental care for optimal health. 

Dental care should be individualized to the patient.  What works for you is not necessarily what works for other patients.  Every patient deserved individualized oral health care. 

Take something as simple as the notion that every person needs to brush twice daily and floss once per day.  While this may be nice in terms of warding off bad breath, it does not really apply to all people when they want their teeth and gums to be as healthy as possible.   I see patients who really do brush and floss based on these guidelines and they still have issues with gum disease, tooth decay,  and periodontal disease!  So, there is more to this story.  Achieving oral health should be the goal of our oral hygiene procedures.  Well health and nice breath!

Treating people as individuals is not a new concept but it is one that I don’t think gets applied often enough.  This is, of course, true in medicine as well as dentistry.  Two patients with the same presenting symptoms and tests cannot necessarily be treated equally and achieve the same results.

Probably not the best way to have individualized oral health care!


My son in law, Jeremiah Joyce, wrote this piece recently published in the Mayo Clinic’s KER blog. It looks at the risks and benefits of adopting guideline-driven care.

This from Jeremiah, “Minimally disruptive medicine (MDM) is one of the aims of the KER unit (http://www.mayo.edu/research/labs/knowledge-evaluation-research-unit/overview) here at Mayo and they are doing some cool personalized medicine research dealing with not just disease but what individual patients themselves bring to the table.”


Is Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) the way to best treat patients?  Does this apply to dental patients?  I think it does!

Jeremiah is a third-year student at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.  Mr. Joyce responded to a writing prompt meant to develop his thoughts about the role of a primary care physician. The prompt: “The ideas behind MDM or contextualized care ask us to respect the needs and circumstances of the patient before us as we construct our care plans. But that puts us in a weird spot, yes? Because just as MDM is this decade’s push, last decade’s push was evidence-based medicine: the idea that, through science, we can find a ‘best’ way to handle a problem, a ‘best’ treatment. It becomes our job to apply the evidence with less and less spin to it, if we dedicate ourselves to EBM purity.” 

With that in mind, what is your opinion of the Minnesota Community Measures’ “D5” criteria (http://mncm.org/reports-and-websites/the-d5/)? What are the risks and benefits of adopting guideline-driven care? Do the D5 measures reflect a friendly contextualization of care?” 

Mr. Joyce’s response follows:

The Mayo motto “the needs of the patient come first” uses the singular noun; the patient is an individual. In practicing evidence based medicine, however, I think we often make the mistake of using population-based recommendations for individuals. There is an interesting precedent for the idea that a “one size fits all” model fits no one perfectly. In his book The End of Average, Todd Rose describes a U.S. Air Force study of pilot average body measurements, designed to tailor a cockpit that fit the average pilot. Out of over 4,000 pilots measured to determine the perfect dimensions, not a single one was within the average range in all of the 10 primary dimensions (Rose, 2016). This article is a fascinating physical example of a truth that undoubtedly applies to medical recommendations as well. 

In practicing medicine, we should focus on tailoring the recommendations to fit the patient, rather than forcing the patient to fit the recommendation. We are all aware of the benefits of D5 recommendations on the long-term health of populations, but we also know some patients have ASA-induced asthma and others have statin-induced myositis. Still others haven’t been able to quit smoking despite their best intentions. We as future providers risk losing a therapeutic alliance with patients if we push too far or too hard. Someone with a recent diagnosis of diabetes may quickly be overwhelmed if we add on all the D5 as soon as their A1c is at 7.1%. As Rose describes in his book, the Air Force’s solution to their cockpit dilemma was increasing flexibility in the design, allowing pilots to adjust their planes. This approach resulted in a dramatic decrease in casualties. We may see the same effect when we work with patients to achieve the greatest benefit to their health. Across a panel of patients, we would be much more satisfied with a population of half-treated and gradually improving diabetics than we would be with losing many patients to follow-up due to frustration and disappointment with a rigid healthcare system.

(Rose, 2016) “When U.S. air force discovered the flaw of averages.” https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.htmlhttps://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html 

Jess, Jeremiah and Tigris

I love the part in the title above that states, ‘the flaw of averages’!  This ties right in to the need for individualized dental care.

So what do dentists need to address if we want our patients to have optimal oral health?  In my practice, we do a complete oral health assessment for every patient and tailor our recommendations based on our findings.  If someone shows no signs of gingivitis, trauma, or periodontal disease then their current regimen of oral hygiene is adequate from an oral health standpoint.  If we see signs of disease then we determine what changes can be made to improve their oral health.  Then we continue to monitor for signs and symptoms of disease to see if modifications need to be made.

I know that I want to be treated as in individual and I believe our patients do too.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Caring For and Enhancing Your Smile



Dentists, Referrals, and Specials!

February 5, 2018

Filed under: Our Dental Office - What makes us unique — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 3:19 am

Your Referrals Matter

All dentists and especially good dentists always need referrals to keep their practice healthy.  Unlike doctors who tend to max out on the number of patients they can manage, good dentists tend to get their patients healthy and the patient then just needs to maintain their dental health with regular examinations and cleanings.

Woot, woot! It’s a win-Win Special referral program!

This Spring our office is offering a New rewards program to help us grow!

One of the things that our patients do – something that makes us feel great and confirms that you think we’re doing a great job – is referring friends, family, and colleagues.  In fact, our number one source of referrals is from our existing satisfied patients.

As a thank you and incentive to spread the word about our practice, we have started a new reward program this spring.  When a referred adult patient completes his or her first appointment, you will receive a $25 gift card of your choice and the new patient will receive a $50 credit towards their dental care.  

We’re always happy to accept new patients, but friends and family of existing patients are very special.  Please make sure that your friends or family let us know when they call that they’ve been referred by you and want to take advantage of this spring special!

Professional Cleanings and Exams – Are They Necessary?

December 21, 2017

Is this mouth healthy? You cannot tell just by looking.

Professional Cleanings and Exams – Are They Necessary?

An alternate title for this might be, “Isn’t it pretty obvious if I have a problem with my teeth or my mouth?  Why not wait I am concerned to have a professional cleaning and exam?”

Your dentist and dental hygienist can determine why the gums look different are positioned differently on the two upper centrals.  This is one of many benefits of a professional exam and cleaning!

Your dentist will be able to tell you if the dark area below this crown is okay to leave as is.

Is the mouth above healthy? Are their conditions that can’t be seen or felt?  Would you be surprised if I told you that there is a problem with the right front tooth? The gums are uneven and slightly red here for a reason and it will take a professional exam and cleaning and an x-ray to determine the reason!

Look closer at the lower left.  Is there a reason the tooth is so black here?  It doesn’t hurt.  These photos are only to help make you realize that you can’t often see what is going on in your own mouth and it is good to have a thorough examination and Professional cleaning as often as necessary to keep you healthy.  Our office knows that there is no substitute for an excellent quality professional cleaning and exam!

This patient thinks they are healthy. Thinks gums are healthy. Are they?

Professional cleanings and exams are a necessary part of your overall health care.  In our office when you are scheduled for these services, we are also evaluating your mouth for signs of oral cancer and other diseases.  We evaluate your jaw joint, your bite, the muscles that make chewing possible and we compare our findings to what was occurring at your previous visits.  And, of course, we check the health of your teeth and gums.

This patient feels their mouth is healthy.  They floss often (see the lines where floss went through the tartar between the teeth?).  They were unaware of bleeding gums and gum disease.  This inflammation could progress to irreversible bone loss between the teeth.  So, even though it is painless, only a dental professional and a thorough professional cleaning and exam can treat this infection.

Even severe gum disease like the photo shown above will be not be painful.   The patient may be unaware of this condition which is easily treated with professional dental care.

If you would like to save money and have the healthiest mouth possible, it is necessary to do these things:

  • Brush and floss your teeth (or do something that is as good as brushing and flossing)
  • Eat and drink a healthy diet
  • Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly

Problems with your teeth and gums are often not easily visible even by a dentist.  Decay (rotting) of the teeth may occur on any tooth surface susceptible to decay and may be below the gums or between the teeth where an x-ray is needed to evaluate for decay.  Tooth decay is painless until the decay progresses close enough to the tooth nerve to cause damage.  Think $$$ and possible loss of your tooth!  Gum disease and periodontal disease is also painless.  We see many people with these diseases that say their gums never bleed and we see bleeding with a gentle puff of air blown on the gums.  It is very easy to miss the signs and symptoms of mouth diseases like cancer, decay, gum disease and periodontal disease!

Our office cares about your health.  Please ask us about any concerns you might have!

Yours for better dental health, Julie Gillis DDS AAACD

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Dental Treatment is More Comfortable With an Isolite!

January 26, 2016

Filed under: Our Dental Office - What makes us unique — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 9:35 pm

The Isolite – Making Dental Treatment More Comfortable and Safer!

Dental treatment doesn't have to be scary!

Dental treatment doesn’t have to be scary!

Patients hate or at least don’t usually like having their teeth worked on.  Dental treatment is often avoided due to discomfort, so whatever we can do to make dental visits easier and more comfortable for our patients the better!  One of the things they do not like is having work done on their teeth and dealing with all the water spray.  Also the spray of powdered old fillings and decay can be annoying.  To help make your visit more comfortable, our office uses an Isolite during dental treatment.  See the video below to see how the use of an Isolite just might make you more comfortable and safer!

In our office we use the Isolite for all types of dental treatment that may involve water spray such as tooth colored fillings, crown and bridge preparations, periodontal treatment and any bonding procedure where we must be able to achieve good isolation and protection from water or saliva.  Most importantly, the Isolite makes having dental treatment more comfortable, safer and faster for our patients!

Pleased to have dental treatment completed from our caring, gentle team!

Pleased to have dental treatment completed from our caring, gentle team!

We hope you will always feel comfortable enough to tell us what we can do to make your dental treatment as comfortable as possible.  We have all had dentistry on our teeth so we know how we want to be treated. Our office will do what we can to pass this knowledge and gentle dental care along to you and yours!

Contact our Grand Junction office at (970) 242-3635. Or visit us on Facebook!  We would love for you to “Like” or “follow” us! And please let us know if you have other ideas that would help us do our job even better.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Teeth, Restoring Smiles!


Grand Junction Dentist Julie M Gillis

January 19, 2016

Filed under: Our Dental Office - What makes us unique — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 8:23 pm

Cosmetic and General Dentist Julie M Gillis sees patients from Grand Junction, Clifton, Fruita, and Palisade Colorado as well as surrounding communities on the Western Slope of Colorado and beyond.

      Some of dentist Dr Julie Gillis‘ patients wanted to tell others what they like about coming to our dental office.  We get it that most people do not like coming to see the dentist!  But we will do our best to try and make your visit as comfortable as possible!


We hope you would like Dr Gillis to be your dentist as well!

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