Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I told you so!!

There is something that I hate to see and hear at my office.
It is to see a parent tell a child "I told you to brush your teeth"
while they are shaking their finger at them.

This phrase is said by parents whose children have cavities
and will need to get their teeth filled.

Now, I am a parent of 5 children myself.
And I am all for natural consequences.
If I tell you to bring a jacket and you don't and you get cold,
well then that is the child's fault and a little cold air won't do any harm.

But the whole scene in the dental office is different.
If we are putting fillings into permanent teeth, then your child
is bound to need fairly extensive work on these teeth later in life.

A tooth that has no filling is MUCH better of long term then
a tooth that has even a small filling that is placed very young.

I know dentistry does not seem like a serious health issue, but it can be.
Its like taking your kids to get immunized.
They cry and say they don't want to.
You then say, "Fine but you'll regret it."
Then 10 years down the road your kids gets some life threatening disease
and you just shake your finger and say "See. Told ya you should
have gotten those immunizations."

You would never do that.
Some things are just too important.
You force your kids to take vitamins.
You make them get their immunizations.

You SHOULD make them brush their teeth.
Either under your supervision or you do it for them when they are young.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Are pacifiers bad?

Well, like most things, the answer is ............ it depends.

Sucking is a very natural and calming thing for a baby to do.

I have given each and every one of my 5 kids a pacifier.
None of them are delayed in their teeth coming in, have any speech problems, or had any thumb sucking problems due to using a pacifier.

There are some obvious thing you should be concerned with.

If you use a clip and a cord to keep the pacifier attached to your child's clothes make sure the cord is short enough that can't choke the baby.

Once your child gets to kindergarten make sure that they only use the pacifier at home. Being known as the only kid that had a pacifier in kindergarten could seriously damage your child's chances at getting asked to junior prom.

Seriously though, allowing your child to have a pacifier for the first few years of life is, in my opinion, not a problem.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My tooth just tipped over!

Most people think that its no big deal to get a tooth taken out. they will say things like "its just one tooth" and "I've got a ton more". Well, you do have a lot more teeth then just that one but this does NOT mean that getting a tooth out will not create many other problems in the mouth.
Some of the problems that can occur are as follows.

#1 The tooth that chews against the tooth you just took out will move up, or down, into the spot just vacated by the extracted tooth. This top tooth is moving down into the mouth.
#2 The teeth right next to the extracted one will begin to tip into the spot just vacated by the extracted tooth. These next two pictures were taken 5 years apart. The patients tooth tipped completely over and needed to be extracted.
Both of these can cause your bite to be thrown completely off and make chewing uncomfortable.

#3 As you chew hard and crunchy foods, they will pinch up against the gums where the tooth used to be.

Moral to the story is
if you can fix your teeth, then do it.
If you can't, then get the hole filled where the tooth used to be ASAP.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Will my fillings and crowns bleach?

Lots and lots of people bleach their teeth.
Lots and lots of people have fillings and crowns.

The big question that people have is
what happens when you combine the two?

Will the fillings bleach too?
Will the bleach hurt the crowns?
Etc. Etc.
The answer to these questions, and the solution to the
problems they present is fairly simple.

First, no, neither your crowns nor your fillings will be damaged by bleaching.
Second, no, your fillings and crowns will not change color with the bleach.
The solution to this is to bleach your teeth, as white as you want to go, then get
your crowns and fillings changed out to ones that better match the color
that your teeth have become by bleaching them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just take em out!!

Every once in a while we will get someone who asks us to take
all of their teeth out and just give them dentures.
In almost all cases the answer to this is no.

The reason for this is because these people are looking for a fix.
A fix to all of their dental problems.
They figure that if they have no teeth then they can't have anymore mouth problems.

Oh how wrong that is.
Dentures come with their own set of problems.
Do they fit?
Will they stay in?
Can I chew with them?

Now, for some people a denture is absolutely the right way to go.

But for most there are other options.
And once you go with a denture you can never go back to real teeth.

Its kind of a, the grass is always greener on the other side mentality.
Do dentures work?
But they require work, cleaning, and care just like teeth do.
If you aren't willing to work on your teeth then the problems you
had with your teeth will follow you to your dentures.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tongue Piercing = Bad Idea

Tongue Piercing

You see it all the time.
People with barbells sticking out their tongue.
You may even have one yourself.
But is it safe?
In a word...... NO!
Can you feel a stray hair on your arm? Probably not.
Can you feel a stray hair on your leg? Again, probably not.
Can you feel a hair in your mouth? Absolutely.
The reason for this is because the tongue has more nerves contained in it then almost any other part of your entire body. It is very sensitive and very precise. Therefore, ramming a large steel rod through it will certainly damage these nerves. Piercing the tongue can lead to a loss in ability to feel your tongue and ability to taste food.
Besides loss of taste and feel there are also other dangers.
Since the mouth can not be kept sterile, as other parts you may pierce,
the chance of infection is greater. The above picture is a very nicely infected tongue.
Cracking your teeth on a tongue ring is also a very real concern. I have treated many cracked teeth from people biting down on tongue rings.

Want another reason?
How about this one.
If you catch your tongue ring on something. You can actually pull it out of your tongue and cause, this......
Look Fun????

My suggestion, DON'T DO IT!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Does a root canal hurt?

If the conditions are right a root canal absolutely does NOT need to be
any more uncomfortable then any other dental procedure.

There are a ton of stories out there about root canals that were so terrible
that the people don't ever want to go back to the dentist.

Most of the stories about painful root canals comes from root canals that
were done many many years ago.
Technology has changed and root canal procedures
today are much better then they once were.

The second biggest reason why people have tough
times with root canals is they wait too long.
Please do not wait until your face is swollen to come into the dentist.
The swelling, and infection associated with it, make it very hard to get someone numb.

Being in some discomfort is okay. Just don't wait until it is agony before coming in.

A root canal is simply cleaning out the inside of the tooth.
Teeth are hollow. The inside is filled with nerves and blood vessels.
A root canal is a procedure where we clean out the inside of the tooth.
Since the tooth then no longer has any nerves it can no longer
feel pain and you are back to your old happy self.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Crown Just Fell off!!!

You are eating a meal and all of a sudden you feel something crunchy.
You search for the crunchy item with your tongue and pull the item out.
Its one of your crowns!
You don't know how it happened but it just came off.

First Rule: Do not panic.

Crowns can come off for several reasons.
Some of these reasons are very very easy to fix.
So just because your crown came off does not mean that its the end of the world.

First thing to do is to look into the crown.
If its empty then things are in good shape.
This means that the cement that holds the crown on simply broke loose and you just need to get it re-cemented.
If there is a bunch of stuff in the tooth then you may have a little more of a problem on your hands.
What is in the crown may be fragments of the tooth. If there are a lot of fragments then you may need to have a new crown made due to the fact that that one may not fit any longer.

So until you can get to the dentist to find out exactly which case is yours, what can you do?
Try to stick it back on.
If it fits snuggly then you may just be able to baby it until you get in to the dentist.
If it fits loosely then you can simply put a bit of toothpaste into it and then stick it back on.
The toothpaste will make up the difference in the fit of the crown and help keep it on.

Call your dentist ASAP and get his/her opinion.

Monday, June 13, 2011


TMJ is the abbreviation for Temporal Mandibular Joint. It is the joint directly in front of your ear that is used by your body to open and close your mouth. It is, like most other joints in your body, made up of cartilage, fluid, bones, and muscles.. And just like any other joint in the body any piece to this puzzle can deteriorate, get misplaced, damaged, or have any other number of problems.
If any sort of damage does occur then pain, clicking, popping may result.
If you have had any of the above symptoms the best thing to do
is to see your dentist right away.
He/she needs to determine what is the cause of your TMJ discomfort and
what, if anything, can be done to solve the problem.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ashley, Cosmetic bonding

This is Ashley.
Ashley's two front teeth have bothered her in the past.
They were flared slightly outward and a little longer then she wanted.

Ashley heard of cosmetic bonding and wanted to know if it was for her.
The answer was a resounding, YES!
No shots
Do drilling into her teeth
40 minutes of time in the chair
All for the cost of 2 fillings

Let us know if we can help you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cougars and Utes

As a dentist here in the Utah area I have been asked many times (or never)
to settle the dispute over who is better, the Cougars or the Utes.

A Ute is a Native American Indian that lived in the Utah area.

A Cougar is a large member of the cat family also known as a mountain lion.

Since I am a dentist I must use teeth as the determining factor for this decision.
It is evident from research that I have done that the teeth of a cougar
are far superior in every way to that of a Ute.

Please note this opinion is not biased (although I do have BYU season tickets).

In color, ability to rip meat from the bone, size, and strength the
cougars have a decided edge over the Utes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chipped tooth

A chipped tooth may, or may not, be a big cause for concern.

It all depends on how badly you have chipped it.

Some chips are very small and would require nothing but a little smoothing off.
Like this one.
Some are larger and may require a filling to get the tooth looking the way it used to.
Like this one.
And some may require as much as a root canal and crown.
Like this one.
Bottom line is this, if you have chipped your tooth do not panic.
It may be a bad thing but it may require almost nothing at all.
Just get into your dentist and let him/her discuss the options with you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Metal Fillings (amalgam)

Fewer and fewer people are asking this question, but occasionally we still do get it.

Are metal fillings safe?

The answer to this is, yes.

There have been studies done by the American Dental Association
and the Centers for Disease Control that both state that metal fillings
are safe to use.
In fact in certain cases we still use this material.

It is rare however, do to the fact that most people do not want the metal look.

You can go on the internet and find sites that tell you the horrors of amalgam.
But you can find a lot of stuff on the internet that isn't necessarily true.

If you have questions ask your dentist.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Soda Pop

Everyone on planet earth knows that drinking soda pop is bad for your teeth
Both the sugar and the acids lead to tooth decay.

Even though we all know this fact however, does not translate into
anyone of us no longer drinking it.

I myself throughly enjoy a Dr. Pepper when I am out to eat.
So what to do?
Do we all just end up looking like this guy?
Hopefully the answer to that is, no.

Simply do as the beer commercials say and, "Drink Responsibly".
Simply limit your soda drinking to meal times.
Then after your meal is done take one last drink of water to help rinse the sugars out.

Sipping on soda throughout the day is the worst thing you can do.
If you can't stop drinking soda pop then simply do it in a way that would
minimize the chance that you would get cavities.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Don't threaten your kids!!!

This post is not meant to be a lecture on how to raise children.

And trust me when I tell you that I do my share of threatening.
"You won't get any desert if you don't eat your beans."
"You wont get to watch the movie if you don't finish your chores."

The threatening that I am talking about is threatening your children
that they will have to get stabbed in the mouth with a needle by
the horrible mean dentist if they do not brush their teeth.

You may laugh, but it happens ALL THE TIME.
Children come in to get one simple cavity filled and they are out of
control and crying before they even walk through the door.
Their parents have scared them so badly that just the site of me sends
them into a screaming fit.

This wouldn't be so bad if the parent would then help me calm them down.
But that, usually, does not happen.
The parent will sit out in the waiting room and say things like....
"You knew this was going to happen" or
"Okay, you have to go get your shots now" or
"Don't cry, I told you he would drill on you if you didn't brush"

Do any of you know how hard it is for me at that point?
Do any of you know how hard it is on the child at that point?

Not only is it hard right then but this kind of thing will build an emotional
wall in that child that may remain for the rest of their life.
Most people that hate to come to the dentist due to experiences
when they were little children.

Bottom line is this.
If you can't get your children to brush their teeth by saying please or by using some
other type of positive reinforcement that is fine. Threatening to cut off the
x-box is, in my mind, a fine thing to do.

Just don't tell them how horrifying it will be to see the dentist.
It will makes things that much worse now, and later on down the road as well.

Dr. Ellis on Facebook

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Invisalign alternative

Clear, Removable, Braces.

Everyone calls these types of braces Invisalign.

However, another product is out on the market that
does the exact same thing except less expensive.
This product is called Clear Correct.
The trays are still clear.
Your teeth still move.
You can still take them out.
If you have orthodontic insurance you are still covered.

The bottom line is you simply pay less.