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Oral Cancer – Sometimes A Portion of the Mouth is Removed – What Then?

October 14, 2015

Filed under: Oral Cancer,Removable Dental Appliances — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 8:55 pm

When it comes to complex cases like this – thank goodness for dentists, oral surgeons and prosthodontists!

Palate and upper posterior teeth have been removed due to cancer.

Palate and upper posterior teeth have been removed due to cancer.

Sometimes cancer invades your mouth and portions of your mouth are removed.  Than what?

A custom made appliance replaces teeth and the palate. Eating and talking are once again comfortable!

A custom made appliance replaces teeth and the palate. Eating and talking are once again comfortable!

Thank goodness there are options!

Oral cancer can be devastating and life changing.  In previous blogs we have talked about how to correctly complete a self-exam for oral cancer.  If it is caught later, the cancer could progress to a point that portions of the hard and soft tissues are removed and this may complicate a patient’s ability to eat, drink, and speak – all the things we take for granted when we have healthy mouthes – let alone that patient’s self esteem.Oral surgeons, dentists, periodontists and prosthodontists can work together to help get back most of the function that was lost due to oral cancer and the surgeries to correct this. We can help patients lead a normal life again!

Tissue side of the obturator

Tissue side of the obturator

Most of us take for granted the ability to swallow and to speak. There is a very close association between our oral cavity and the sinus passages.  If the roof of the mouth or palate is removed, the barrier between our nasal passages and our mouth is eliminated. The ability to create normal sounding speech is lost when the sinus cavities are open to the mouth. Swallowing works best when you can create a seal between the tongue and the palate. Plus, who wants food in their nose or nose ‘fluids’ in their mouth!  Many words are formed when your tongue, teeth and cheeks work together to compress air in various areas within your mouth.  This becomes very difficult when there is an unsealed opening into the sinuses.

Prosthodontists or general dentists can help alleviate these problems by creating a custom fitted, appliance known as an obturator to help seal off the nasal passages.  The appliance or obturator takes the place of the missing portions of the palate and tissues that have been eliminated or surgically removed. Impressions are made of the oral cavity (a necessary but not particularly pleasant procedure) to create the custom appliance or obturator.  Usually the obturator will be anchored to the remaining teeth to allow it to feel stable. Sometimes implants or even magnets are also used to help hold the obturator in place.

Sinus areas are covered and protected when the obturator is in place. The patient can enunciate much better also!

Sinus areas are covered and protected when the obturator is in place. The patient can enunciate much better also!

If you would like more information, our office would be happy to help! Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  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.  You can also email our office at jmgdds@qwestoffice.net for further information.
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.

Yours for better health,

Julie Gillis, DDS,

“Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health”

The NTI Appliance -What Is It For, Why Would I Want One?

September 16, 2014

Filed under: Appliances to Limit Habits,NTI,Removable Dental Appliances — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 2:25 pm

NTI – What is it? What is it for? and Why would I want one?

This information brought to you from my treatment assistant, Karen

Lower NTI in occlusion (bite) with upper central incisors.  Other teeth cannot touch with the NTI in position.

Lower NTI in occlusion (bite) with upper central incisors. Other teeth cannot touch with the NTI in position.

Lower NTI .  This device can be made on either arch depending on the patient's occlusion and preference.

Lower NTI . This device can be made on either arch depending on the patient’s occlusion and preference.

The NTI – a very special splint!

The small NTI appliance can become stained after years of use.

The small NTI appliance can become stained after years of use.

Do you suffer from headaches, clench or grind your teeth at night, wake up with sore jaw muscles? If so we can make you an appliance in our office called a Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibitiion Tension Suppression System or as we call it in our office a NTI. A NTI is a small acrylic device that Dr. Gillis makes in our office that is custom fit onto two to four front teeth.  The NTI can be made for either upper or lower teeth to be worn at night while you are asleep. Or we can also make one for daytime if needed. The nice thing about an NTI is since it is made and fitted to your teeth the day of your appointment in our office, you get to take it home the same day.

The inside view of two NTI appliances - one old, one newer! You can see where the teeth fit into the appliance

The inside view of two NTI appliances – one old, one newer! You can see where the teeth fit into the appliance

The NTI suppresses the muscles used to clench the teeth together. This not only alleviates the pain associated with this type of habit and also protects the teeth from continued wear and possible fractures. The NTI works because with the appliance in place none of the teeth can touch. Since you cannot contact the teeth there is no clenching which keeps the muscles from becoming fatigued from constant and usually intense contraction. If you feel like you could benefit from an NTI or have any questions or dental concerns please call our Grand Junction office at 970-242-3635. We would love for you to find our office on Facebook and Like us!

The patient wearing an NTI appliance.

The patient wearing an NTI appliance.

Close of of mouth closed with an NTI in place.

Close of of mouth closed with an NTI in place.

Lower NTI in contact with just upper central incisors.

Lower NTI contacts the upper central incisors.

 

Your friend in your oral health care,

Karen

What Would YOU Do To Replace A Missing Tooth?

February 18, 2014

What Would YOU Do To Replace A Missing Tooth?

 

Having a missing tooth can be very embarrassing!  We have seen some pretty innovative ways to fill in the gap left by a missing tooth but this was a new one for our office!

The toilet tissue tooth!

The toilet tissue tooth!

 

When we first saw this patient, the upper left lateral incisor was extremely loose and protruding towards the lip.  The patient refused to smile and held a hand over the protruding tooth during all conversations.  The tooth came out on its own after a couple days and the patient needed to have some replacement for the missing tooth until we could do something more permanent.  So in the meantime, the patient creatively folded toilet tissue into somewhat of a tooth form and filled the gap in the smile with this.  The patient notes a need to  replace the tissue several times daily!

Severe periodontal disease and the Tissue Tooth!

Severe periodontal disease and the Tissue Tooth!

 

Sometimes people with missing teeth– with or without periodontal disease – are embarrassed about their mouth to a point that it is difficult to even come to a dental office.  Please don’t be afraid to go to your dentist to see what your options are!  In our office, we believe every person has many reasons for having their teeth in their current condition when they arrive at our office.  By making an appointment and walking in our door they have taken the first step to see what can be done about their missing tooth or teeth or any dental concern, even if that is just to get out of pain.  We have been in practice in Grand Junction, Colorado for over 20 years.  (Almost 24 years if you are counting!) In that time we have helped a lot of people improve their oral conditions and not be afraid to come to the dentist.  This can be life changing!  We want you to feel as comfortable as possible coming to see us,  and we will  try to present several options until we find the dental solution that is right for you.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.

Are You a Candidate For ‘Clear Braces’?

November 6, 2013

The nearly clear Invisalign type appliance!

Clear braces or ‘invisalign’ type appliances can dramatically improve your smile and/or your bite!

Dramatic flaring of the lateral incisors and central incisors that are tipped lingually.

We offer many services to care for your oral health, from professional cleanings to complete smile makeovers. We may recommend removable appliances or clear braces for minor anterior tooth movement to improve your results.  We often use clear or ‘ invisible’ aligners to improve the position of your front teeth. Clear aligners, similar to Invisalign, and often called clear braces, may minimize the amount of treatment that is needed to give you the smile you have always wanted!

We also use removable appliances such as the Inman Appliance to improve the positioning of your front teeth. The clear advantage of removable appliances to straighten teeth is their ability to be removed for special occasions or when you just don’t feel like wearing your appliance.  Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and usually better looking.

Alignment is much improved with the use of Invisalign

Alignment is much improved with the use of Invisalign

The flaring of these teeth really detracts from the beautiful smile of this lovely lady!

The flaring of these teeth really detracts from the beautiful smile of this lovely lady!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although our team possesses the skills to treat complex restorative dentistry and cosmetic cases, we are still a general dentistry-oriented practice and will care for the majority of your dental needs. When necessary, Dr. Gillis works with a team of specialists including endodontists, periodontists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists to achieve optimum results. This team concept extends to our dental labs who we believe are the finest available in the country. All of our porcelain work is crafted by an AACD accredited lab technician. We believe the combination of an artistic, talented dentist and a high quality dental lab equals superior dentistry and lasting results.

Maybe not 'perfect', but a much improved smile for a lovely lady!

Maybe not ‘perfect’, but a much improved smile for a lovely lady!

We believe everyone deserves a beautiful, healthy smile, and no case is too difficult. Dr. Gillis has advanced training in complex aesthetic restoration, a process that re-establishes the function, health, and beauty of your mouth.

If you would like more information about our clear braces, or Invisalign-type appliances, or the removable Inman appliance,  our office would be happy to help! Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  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.  You can also email our office at jgillis@juliegillisdds.com for further information.

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.

Yours for better health,

Julie Gillis, DDS,

“Restoring Smiles – Restoring Health”

 

Minor Tooth Movement with an Inman Appliance

August 12, 2013

Is an Inman Removable Appliance Right For You?

This Inman appliance will bring the lateral incisors back in line and close the gaps.

Moving a few teeth can make a big difference in your smile.  This may be done for esthetics, for improved function, to allow more conservative restorations because teeth are positioned more favorably in the arch, or for some combination of the above.  The Inman removable appliance shown here is very useful to complete minor front tooth movement for either upper or lower teeth.

Patients are often unwilling to go into full braces to accomplish tooth movement but are quite willing to wear a removable appliance that will help to improve their smile.  If more advanced tooth movement is necessary to accomplish the goals of better esthetics and function, then braces or reconstructive dentistry may be a better option.

In a smile, most Inman appliances look like a retainer and are comfortable to wear.

The Inman removable appliance works by pushing on some teeth while pulling on others.  Smooth ‘bumpers’ press from inside the arch or pull back from outside the arch to help create a smooth, esthetic arch form.  We recommend wearing the Inman appliance for 15 or more hours per day, including sleeping with the appliance in at night.  Of course, tooth movement only occurs when the appliance is being worn, so patients in a hurry to complete their treatment know that they should wear the removable appliance as much as possible.  Because an Inman appliance is removable, the patient has the option of going without it should this be desirable – for example that party they have been looking forward to.

 

Following tooth movement, the Inman removable appliance can be worn as a retainer, or we will make one for you to help keep the teeth where they have been moved.  Retainers may need to be worn just at night – sometimes only a couple nights per week – to maintain the new tooth position.

We would be happy to discuss options to improve your smile with an Inman removable appliance.  There may be other options as well!  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. Or, please visit our website at www.juliegillisdds.com for further information.

As always, yours for better dental health,

 

Julie Gillis, DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

 

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