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Does Marijuana Affect Your Dental Health?

October 5, 2017

Filed under: Customer Service,Dental Health — Tags: , — Dr Gillis @ 4:45 am

Does Marijuana Affect Your Dental Health?

Peace ?

Some of this information is from the January 2016 issue of AGD Impact and from the July/August 2017 issue of Discover

Why should your dentist care whether you use Marijuana?  Because Marijuana can affect your dental health and your dental treatment!

As the use of Marijuana becomes more common, we will continue to see more of the possible side effects.  Thankfully, the legalization of this drug has made it easier for patients to report drug use.  Turns out marijuana can affect your dental health!

  • The rate of decay can increase. We have seen disastrous examples of this in patients using chewables especially when combined with a dry mouth from other drugs they are taking or diseases.
  • Marijuana use may make you more likely to consume sweet, salty, or foods containing a lot of refined carbohydrates and you may be less likely to maintain proper hygiene – a double whamy in terms of decay.
  • Marijuana use may leave a slimy dark stain in the tartar or calculus that forms on the teeth that may be difficult to remove. More slime, more tartar, more bacteria, more gum disease and periodontal disease, and more decay.
  • By using Marijuana, you may be at a higher risk of contracting HIV.
  • Marijuana abuse can lead to frequent vomiting which can severely harm the teeth by acid erosion. (there are some studies that THC can be helpful with nausea from chemo)
  • Long-term use can lead to panic disorders and psychosis. Repeated exposure can negatively affect the areas of your brain dealing with forming memories.  (remember to brush and floss correctly and eat healthy!)
  • And, yes, you can develop a dependence. If you are trying to kick the habit (Yea!) expect mood swings, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite.

Everyone may think they are immune to the risks.  The benefits must be compared with the risks.  Some risks can be minimized by proper oral hygiene (just a friendly tip).  So, what are the benefits?  I’ll have you ask your medical doctor for that one.   It is difficult to compare studies due to how the studies are fashioned and the doses and forms of cannabinoids used.


In the January 2016 issue of AGD Impact the following was noted:

Because Marijuana use can affect your dental health, it is important to be straightforward in informing your dentist about any drugs that you are taking as many can have oral side effects.  Even herbal, medicinal and recreational Marijuana.  Marijuana use has increased steadily over the last 10 years especially among adolescents, who may not really understand the risks.

Please keep this in mind if you are having a dental procedure completed, “Topical application or local injection of products containing epinephrine, which can dangerously prolong tachycardia, should be avoided . . . as they can lead to complications in the operatory (treatment room).”

What does this mean for you?

If you have recently used cannabis, and you are having any procedure that includes either topical anesthetic (a hygienist may use a solution or gel to make your cleaning more comfortable) or a shot and you need to inform the dental team.  Just tell your dentist or hygienist about your recent cannabis use and request that no epinephrine be used for your procedure.  Epinephrine could cause extended time with a high heart rate which can cause problems. Avoid marijuana for at least seven days before a scheduled dental appointment that includes anesthesia.

Not Marijuana

Your health history is confidential and the information you provide should help your dental team take the best care of you.  Let your dentist and dental team know the following:

  1. Recent use (smoking or ingesting)
  2. Type of use (edibles, smoking, both)
  3. How long have you done this?
  4. Purpose (for pain, recreation)?

More information will continue to surface about marijuana use and its affect on your dental health as the use continues and increases.  Our office will try to keep you posted.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, PC

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health



Managing Pain After Dentistry

January 3, 2017

Filed under: Pain control,Pain Medications — Tags: , , — Dr Gillis @ 7:00 am

It is very important to our office that we effectively manage pain during and after dentistry!  Managing pain after dentistry is typically done with Prescription opioids but may be more effectively managed with other safer medicines.

Pain following a typical dental procedure such as an uncomplicated extraction is effectively managed with over-the-counter (OTC) medications.   Manage inflammation and you will be managing pain after dentistry! Most dental pain is due to inflammation, so this is important to prevent.  Most NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs)  like ibuprofen have strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Trauma to front tooth led to the surrounding inflammation, gum recession and pain.

Managing pain after dentistry or dental trauma is important!  Trauma to the front tooth led to the surrounding inflammation, gum recession and pain.

What is inflammation? Inflammed skin or gums may appear red, swollen and painful. The tissue may also feel warm, and may have lost function.  Inflammation is part of the body’s response to harmful stimuli, such as bacteris,  damaged cells from surgery, or trauma.  This is your body’s response at a cellular level that includes your immune cells and your blood vessels.  Evidently, tissue becomes inflammed to help remove the cause of the cell injury, and begin the process of repair.  The downside of this is pain or discomfort.

Managing pain after dentistry leads to happier patients!

Managing pain after dentistry and of course, during dental treatment leads to happy, comfortable, satisfied patients.

Here are a couple other suggestions your dentist may do to help with managing pain after dentistry or dental trauma and be as comfortable as possible following dental treatment:  Note: goal is minimize inflammation, to delay the onset of pain, minimize the pain intensity and prevent acute pain.

  1. Give NSAID before pain occurs or while you are still numb!
  2. It is helpful to take prescription dose of NSAID (400 mg to 600 mg Ibuprofen) prior to your procedure.  Try taking two OTC Ibuprofen about 30 minutes before your appointment.
  3. Your dentist can add additional long-acting anesthetic (0.5% bupivacaine with epinephrine) at the start of a short procedure or near the end of a longer procedure.
  4. Take NSAIDs in the appropriate amount by the clock for 48 – 72 hours after treatment.
  5. Add OTC Tylenol as part of the medications taken after surgery if not taking Ultracet which contains acetaminophen. Tylenol 600/650 mg by the clock either with the Ibuprofen listed above or alternated every 3 hours to maintain blood levels of both medications.
  6.  Use ice if swelling present, 20 minutes on/20 minutes off for 24 hours
  7. Prescribing Tramadol (Ultracet) for 3 days may be very beneficial without the abuse potential of other narcotics. Ultracet combined acetaminophen with tramadol which is an orally effective opioid drug with much less abuse potential than an oxycodone or hydrocodone combination.  (2 tablets of 325-mg acetaminophen plus 37.5 mg tramadol (Ultracet) every 4 – 6 hours)
  8. For mild to moderate pain you may just need ibuprofen 400 mg to 600 mg every 4-6 hours by the clock for the first 48 – 72 hours until pain subsides.

Together we can help decrease opioid abuse!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, PC

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health


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