Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cosmetic Bonding

This is Ms B.
Like many people, there was something about Ms B's 
smile that she did not like.

She thought, as many folks do that the fix for her problem
would be a very expensive and painful process.

As it turns out, neither was true. 

Ms. B underwent some cosmetic bonding  today.
No shots
About an hour.
All for the cost of a few fillings.

Ms. B Before

Ms B After

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dentists and The Movies.

Why is it that in any movie where there is a dentist,
or something related to dentistry, that its bad.

I mean come on.... I'm a nice guy : )

Probably most famous would be 
Little Shop of Horrors

Another one is the seen from 
Finding Nemo
where the guy is screaming during his root canal.

Another is 
Cast Away
who can forget that poor guy knocking his 
abscessed tooth out with an ice stake.

Lets hear your favorite dental movie moment.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

 Okay. So my tooth had this HUGE metal filling in it. 
Well, now most of what was left of the tooth broke off.
What now?!

Well there are a couple of options.
One of the best options to to do an implant.
There are a number of reasons for this but that
would take more time then we have right now.
First step is to extract the broken tooth. 
In this case we placed a bone graft and waited a few weeks 
but that doesn't always have to be the case.

After the healing time we place a titanium implant.
Looks scary? 
It's not.
It's basically just an artificial tooth.
If we can replace hearts and hips then why not a tooth?


In about 6 weeks we will put a beautiful white (no metal)
crown on this implant and the patient should have no more troubles.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What is wrong with my tongue?!

It's called geographic tongue.

Geographic tongue is a condition where the tissue of the tongue will vary in
appearance from one section of the tongue to another.

The location, size, color and duration of the variations is different from person to person
and can even change within the same person over time.
There is no real threat with geographic tongue. Most people with geographic
tongue don't even know they have it. All they know is that they have always
had this funnysection of their tongue that changes texture and color from time to time.
The only main side effect coincidental with geographic tongue is a heightened
sensitivity to spicy foods form time to time. These episodes will occur as
the spots of the geographic tongue go through their phase of appearing and
then disappearing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mr C. came to our office one day with a failing root canal.
Like other medical procedures, root canals can fail.
After weighing the options Mr C. decided to have
 the tooth extracted and an implant placed. 

(Before the extraction.) 
Showing the root canal and a pretty decent sized infection.
Tooth was extracted and a bone graft was placed in the site.
Waiting time will be about 3 weeks.

Day of the surgery went very well.
Head of the implant is flush with the bone so our aesthetics should look great.
Infection now gone and infected area even starting to fill in a little.
8 weeks from now we will have a beautiful new tooth on there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This is Billie.
Billie didn't like the gap in her front teeth.
Billie didn't want to spend years and money with braces.

We told Billie that cosmetic bonding might be right for her.

Here are Billie's before and afters.
30 minutes
No shots
Cheap as a regular filling.

Billie is a happy patient

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Which Dentist Is Right For You?

Well, that's kind of like asking if all apples are the same. Apples come in different colors. Apples come in different sizes. Apples come with a variety of flavors.
So what apple is right for you? That depends on the situation. Is it a hot summers day and you just want an apple that will taste good? Or are you looking to make a pie and need an apple that is good for baking? The answer to these two questions would lead you to two very different varieties of apples. Yet they are both still called apples.
The same can be said for dentists. Every dentist has had to go to a qualified dental school to get his/her degree. Every dentist has had to take the same national examinations to prove that they are proficient at certain types of dentistry. Therefore, anyone that legally can be called a dentist is pretty much the same thing.
So what dentist is right for you. Like the apples, that depends on what you are looking for. If you want convenience then do an internet search for dentists and you can find the absolute closest dentist to you by mileage. If you want the cheapest dentist then call dental offices and ask what their cost is on a certain procedure. You can then find the cheapest dentist out there.
These factors are the easy ones. But what if you want a dentist that is good with kids. What if you want a dentist that has a good cosmetic eye and can not only fix your teeth but make them look attractive as well. What if you want a good bedside manner, etc. etc. etc.
These are some of the tougher ones. For this you need to do a little more homework. Go online and read reviews. Ask neighbors, friends, and family. Ask to see before and after pictures of work they have done. Ask if they have gotten any extra training in any particular aspect of dentistry. Ask if there are procedures that they choose not to do. Even though every dentist can do a root canal, some choose not to.
Once you have found all of this out you can choose which dentist is right for you. Last thing you want is to take a bite thinking you have a golden delicious and end up with a granny smith.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Implant case

Here is as straight forward of an implant case as you will see.

Patient had a failing root canal on a pre-molar tooth.

Tooth was extracted and a single implant placed.

After healing had occurred then a solid zirconium crown was put in place.

Patient is very happy with the result.

Dr. Ellis on Facebook

Monday, January 16, 2012

I don't have any back teeth. What are my options?

Over the years many people, for one reason or another,
 have lost some of their back teeth (molars). 

What are the options to replace these teeth?

Some of the more common options are dentures and/or implants.

But there is another option that most people are not aware exists.

It is called a cantilever bridge.

What is a cantilever bridge you say?
Well, first we need to discuss what a cantilever is.
The pictures below illustrate cantilevers.
It is when something is stretched out into space without any support on one end.

So what does this have to do with dentistry?
Below you will see a picture of a cantilever bridge.
You can place a crown on your furthest back tooth and then hang
another crown off the back of that. 
The conditions have to be right for this to happen, but if they are
then it can work really well. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

There has been a large push in the media over this issue but we are still
seeing it in the office so I think it bears repeating.

Early childhood cavities are bad news.
These cavities are costly to fix, it is harder to keep them intact,
and drilling on children gives them a bad perception
of what going to the dentist is all about, which will stay with them
for a long long time and effect how they view dental care in the future.
Simple rule of thumb here.

Do not give your children anything to drink, that is not water, in between meals.
At meal time they can have lots of stuff.
Juice, milk, koolaid, etc.
After the meal is over have them brush their teeth or swish with a glass of water.
This will help clean the sugars out of their mouths that they got form the meal.

ANY other time you should be giving them water.
It is the child that is continuously exposed to sugars that will get the cavities.

And for the love of all that is good and holy do not, under any circumstances,
put your child to bed with a bottle of juice, milk, or anything else.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Does my child need braces?

We get this question a lot.
And the answer is directly related to the definition of the word "need".

There are very few things that we "need" in life.
Water, food, and shelter being among them.

You only "need" to have braces if the misalignment of your teeth 
is so great that is causing you health problems.

Health problems such as the inability to eat properly, 
trouble speaking clearly, and/or experiencing extreme
amounts of tooth decay because your teeth are simply to hard to clean properly.

Other then these instances braces are a "want" and not a "need".
It is simply a cosmetic issue at that point.
Do women "need" to die their hair when it turns gray?
Do men "need" to trim their eyebrows when they get over 3 inches long?

So the determination of whether or not your child "needs" braces is
pretty much up to you and your child. 

For more information on braces and all other things orthodontic 
you can talk to your dentist or contact an orthodontist directly.

Monday, January 9, 2012

You may need an apicoectomy?

I may need a what!?

Okay, its not something you hear everyday but its something that can
be very helpful if you find your self with a failing root canal.

Root canals do not always work.
Just as a knee replacement or a back surgery may 
not always work, the same is true with a root canal.

So what can be done if a root canal you got is starting to hurt
and possibly become infected?

One option is called an apicoectomy.
This procedure is not for every instance.
Proximity to the sinus cavity and/or nerves 
may make this procedure impossible.

But if your tooth is a candidate then this is how it works.
Below is a picture of a tooth with an infection at the end
that has already had a root canal.

A small access to the root of the tooth is made 
by making a small incision into the gums and then the underlying bone.
The infected area and tip of the root is removed.
This will allow the root canal and tooth to remain intact 
while still removing the infection.
After the infection is removed the gum tissue is re-sealed and the healing can begin.
This procedure is very effective and does no further harm to the tooth.
This is especially important if the tooth was crowned after the root canal was finished.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cosmetic Bonding - Before and After

Cosmetic bonding is such a wonderful treatment.
Things that people have been dealing with for years can
be corrected in a matter of minutes without any shots and 
at relatively low cost when compared with the alternatives.

This is Nancy.
Nancy had always hated the gaps in her front teeth.
Nancy has 3 kids and did not want to go through braces.
She also did not want to spend gobs of money on crowns or veneers.

So we did a procedure called cosmetic bonding.
Cosmetic bonding simply means placing a small white filling
on the side of each tooth that makes up the gap.
The fillings simply glue on, like all other fillings, 
and are very durable.

Nancy Before.

 Nancy After

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


What is gagging?
Gagging is simply a defense mechanism that your body has to keep you from chocking.
Now this is typically a good thing. No one wants to get something down "the wrong pipe".
This however, can cause problems at the dentist office.
Having a bad gag reflex can make it almost impossible to get certain dental work done.
The picture below will show several items.
The soft palate is what we are interested in for this discussion.
When something touches the soft palate the bodies natural reaction will be
to close your throat off and prevent whatever it is that just touched the
soft palate from continuing down your throat and choking you to death.
Another spot where the gag reflex comes into play is tongue.
This can be a little more problematic then the soft palate gag reflex.
Not much will ever touch your soft palate but your tongue gets touched
all the time as you eat or whenever you go to the dentist.

Not much can be done for the soft palate gag reflex but there is help for the tongue.

Take your tooth brush and find the spot that makes you gag.
Start brushing your tongue at a spot that does not make you gag and
work your way toward that spot. Keep doing that day after day until you
can brush anywhere on your tongue without gagging.

Another trick would be to place a little bit of salt on your tongue, where it
makes you gag, before going to the dentist. That will, hopefully,
distract that spot long enough for you to get done what is you need done.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What does Meth do to your teeth? (WARNING, not pretty)

There is a drug out there known as Meth.
Its not good for a whole boat load of reasons.
But seeing as how I am a dentist I will focus on the dental problems.

The first problem is that Meth causes your salivary glands to stop producing spit.
This may not seem like a big thing, but it is.
Just imagine if your tear ducts stopped producing tears.
Your eyes would dry out in a big hurry.
Dry eyes would be painful and damage would begin to occur.
Same thing with teeth.
Dry teeth will end up being painful and damaged teeth.

(Early meth use)
The next problem is that Meth will make a person grind their teeth.
Scientists really aren't sure why but they have seen it enough to know that it happens.
Grinding of brittle dry teeth will cause fractures to begin happening.

(Moderate Meth use)
Finally Meth will cause people to just not care anymore.
And when you really don't care about your teeth you really don't
take care of them and you really don't care eat of drink anymore either.

The black spots on the gums are what's left of the teeth.
They have either rotted, been broken down to, the gums.

(Severe Meth use)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Do I brush too hard?

Some patients will tell me that they are noticing little 
grooves at the base of there teeth, right by the gums.

They wonder what they are, and if anything can be done to prevent
them from getting worse and/or to stop them from happening on their other teeth?

Here is what is going on. 

The white stuff that covers your teeth is called enamel.
The enamel only goes as far as the gums however.
If you start to feel  a little groove at the base of your teeth
or start to see a band of discoloration both of these may be 
due to something called "Gum Recession".

As your gums start to recede the root structure of your teeth 
starts to be uncovered.
The root structure of your tooth is much more sensitive  to 
hots and colds, is much softer and more prone to cavities, and
has a much darker color then the enamel.

The number one cause of this is brushing too hard, too long, and/or too often.

Nothing can be done to fix what has happened. 
Fillings can be placed over the effected area to cover it up
but the gums will never grow back up to the enamel line.

To stop this from happening in the future I recommend  using the softest toothbrush
you can find, the mildest toothpaste you can find, and making sure that you 
use very light pressure as you brush.

These things will aid in keeping your gums as healthy as possible without beating them up too bad.

Sometimes this gum recession is simply due to genetics and there is nothing
that can be done about this. In those instances the same steps should be 
used to slow the progress on the recession for as long as possible.