Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Clear, Plastic, 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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Can too much fluoride kill you?

You bet it can.

But, ANYTHING taken in too great of quantity can kill you!

Take water for instance.
Water is a necessity for life.
However, you drink too much water too quickly and
you will soon find yourself dead from water toxicity.

People take Tylenol for headaches.
Take 3 bottles of it.
You won't be with us much longer.

People take iron supplements.
Take 3 bottles of that stuff.
See how healthy you feel.

And the list can go on and on and on.

ANYTHING that is taken in the improper quantities can harm you.

Fluoride can absolutely have harmful effects.
That is why it is prescribed by a clinician who is trained
on how to prescribe the drug according to a strict set of
guidelines that take into account the area in which a person lives,
their age, their size, what other drugs they are taking, etc. etc.

"All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison.
The right dose differentiates a poison..." Paracelsus (1493- 1541)

I give my children and my patients children fluoride supplements.
I would encourage anyone who is nervous about fluoride to read
up on the subject from CREDIBLE sources and then make
whatever decision they feel comfortable with.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Are pacifiers ok for my kids?

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 things 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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bulimia, sucking on lemons and acid reflux.

Teeth are like similar to anything else in the fact that they can be eroded by acid.

Acids can come from external or internal sources.

A good example of an internal acid source would be Acid Reflux. Most acid reflux will cause mild to moderate cases of heart burn. The stomach acid will travel up the esophagus toward the mouth. It usually makes it only as high as the level of the heart and this is what causes a sensation that the area around your heart is burning. If the Acid Reflux is more severe it the acid will make it all the way to the mouth. When in the mouth the acids will eat away at the enamel of the teeth.

Another example of internal acid is the condition known as Bulimia. This is where individuals will induce vomiting as a way of losing weight. After eating they want to rid themselves of the food they just ingested before it gets absorbed into the body. As they induce vomiting not only does the food come up but stomach acids will come up also.

An example of external acids would be sucking on things like lemons or other acidic foods. Many Carbonated beverages are also very high in acid. These acids may not be as strong as acids from the stomach but if the exposure is consistent over a long enough period of time the effects can be just as damaging.

This picture illustrates the effects of acid against your teeth over time.

The tooth should be covered in white. That is the protective layer of the tooth known as enamel. Where the teeth have a more yellow appearance is where the acids have eaten away the enamel. The yellow portion is the layer beneath the enamel which is much softer and much more susceptible to decay. These teeth will need to be crowned quickly to avoid decay from reaching the nerve and the need for root canals.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Need to hear from you.

This blog receives about 20,000 visitors a month.

Today I would like to open things up to your questions. 

Is there anything that you would like to know?

Any topic that I have not covered in the past?

Anything about dentistry?

New trends, how to become a dentist, concerns about dentistry
that you have received, fluoride, cosmetic dentistry, 
your kids, dentures, etc, etc.

Let me know and I will address them in the coming week.

You may stay totally anonymous if you wish.

Thanks in advance.

Dr. Jim Ellis

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tooth implants can be very simple and straight forward.

Very simple and straight forward implant case.

Ann broke a tooth. 
She didn't want a bridge.
She had great bone, great health, and no sinus floor problems.

This is Ann after the implant was placed.
The implant is below the gum line. 
She was given a fake tooth on a retainer to maintain aesthetics.
She was in this state for 6 weeks.

This is Ann with her crown in place.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How do I know if the dentist did a good job?

When you are involved in purchasing goods and services, how
do you know that the good or service is of high quality?

Well a good piece of advice is to do your homework.

Before you go to buy a car you can read up on reviews
of different makes and models. Read reports on the durabilty
of the cars you are looking at. Ask people who have that
same type of car. 

Before you get a message find out what to expect. How long
will it be. Is the message therapist a male or female.
How much will it cost? Will I be soar afterwards?

This very same line of logic should be used when going to the dentist.
What procedure are you having done?
Will it be done in one visit or will it take multiple visits?
Will I be hurting after, and if so, for how long?
What should the X-ray look like?

Here is an example of a root canal that we did yesterday.



After the patient was done with this procedure we showed her both of these
pictures and explained what it all meant.
If she had read up about root canals before hand she would have known
what to look for and could have asked questions.
This would ensure that she was satisfied with the work done.

Moral of the story?
Plan ahead.
Study what is going to be done.
Ask questions.
Ask to see before and after pictures.
Become educated.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cosmetic closing of the gap.

Here is a nice case.
A women in her 50's came into the office for her regular cleaning.
I talked to her about the gap in her front teeth
and asked if she ever thought of doing anything to close it.
She said that she had not.

I told her that if she wanted to we could help her close
the gap and explained how easy it would be.

We told her that it would take no shots, no drilling into the tooth,
and she would only need to be in the chair about 30 minutes.

It went very smooth and the patient can't believe the difference.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The trouble with thumb sucking.

Is allowing your child to suck their thumb a bad thing?

Yesterday I talked about letting your child suck on a pacifier and basically said that I had no problem with that.

I feel, that letting your child suck on their thumb is something completely different.

The biggest reason for this is the pressure that can be applied by the child's finger to the teeth and roof of the mouth.

A pacifier is passive. No force is applied by it. On the other hand, a child can use their thumb to apply a tremendous amount of force.

This force can have multiple side effects.

One of those side effects is that the upper front teeth are actually forced upward and outward.
With the teeth in this position it would become impossible for those teeth to function as they were designed to. The front teeth are meant to cut pieces of food into smaller pieces before they are moved to the back teeth for grinding it down before swallowing. If the upper front teeth do not touch the lower front teeth then it would be very difficult to cut through anything.

the next problem with teeth that do not touch would be that a child's speech patterns would be changed. During the formation of certain sounds the tongue needs to rest against the upper front teeth. If the upper front teeth are not in the proper position then the sounds made by the child will not come out as they should.

So what can be done to stop a child from thumb sucking?

There are lots and lots of ideas out there.
Some people choose the simple idea of painting hot sauce on their child's finger. Hopefully they still love you after that.

The next idea is to place an appliance in the child's mouth like the one below. The balls the sit on the wire prevent the child from getting any suction thus the child gets less satisfaction and gives up.

You can also go the route of putting something on your child's hand. The device below also prevents the child from completely sucking on their thumb.
Point is that you need to get your child to stop sucking on their thumb.
Any of these ideas would work.
The only thing I do not recommend is yelling at your kids. That never really helps anything.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Teeth can make a big difference.

Here are just a few stars of television and movies 
and the differences in their teeth before and after cosmetic dentistry.

Nicholas Cage

Hillary Duff

Zach Efron

Good looking teeth can make a huge difference.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Geographic tongue

So you look into the mirror at your tongue,
(or you are looking at the tongue of your child)
and you notice that it seems to look patchy.
Some parts are a certain color and others are another color.

What is wrong with you????

What is going on is called Geographic tongue. 

No no no..... that's not what I am talking about.

Yes, that's what I am talking about.
Not nearly as pretty as the 50 states but it more realistic.
It is really nothing to worry about.
It will come and go. It will move around.
That patches will get more and less intense.
When things flare up your tongue may be more sensitive
to acidic foods (tomatoes, lemons, etc.)

There are no known treatments but people say that several things 
have helped them in the past. 
People note that sucking on mint leaves, steroids, and 
antihistamines have all helped to alleviate flareups.

Take home here is that there is not much to be concerned about
death is not nearing (at least from your tongue).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I, or my child, just cracked my front tooth. Now What?!

Okay so you, your child, your mom, your brother, etc. etc. just fell face first into something, over something, under something, etc. etc. and broke the corner of your/their front tooth off.

What do you do now?

Well, that depends. Lets break this down into 3 simplified categories.
The nerve of a tooth is in the middle of the tooth.

#1 If you just broke off a small corner of the tooth and it didn't reach the nerve then a simple filling is probably all you would need.

#2 If you broke off a larger corner but still didn't reach the nerve then you more then likely would need a crown.

#3 If you broke your tooth so severely that you got down into the nerve then you will need a root canal AND a crown.
And although all of this may be a traumatic experience don't worry. Your cracked and broken smile can be completely repaired and have you back to being the model you know you were born to be.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Much has been made in the media recently about getting veneers.

Veneers are a great product.

They can fix a multitude of problems such as discoloration,
slight tooth rotations and crowding.

There are two types of veneers however.

The one that I will talk briefly about today is the kind of veneer called no-prep.

These veneers require no shots. No drilling. And disturb none of the natural tooth structure.

The patient simply comes to the dentist, gets a few impressions taken,
and shows up 2 weeks later to get the veneers placed.

The veneers are basically like fake fingernails except they do not need to be replaced
except for the rare case that they were to break off.

The only down side is that these types of veneers may make your teeth look a little bulky.

They are only .3 mm thick. But still your mouth is sensitive enough
to feel a human hair. So even at .3 mm they may take some getting used to.

I would highly recommend that if you have ever thought about veneers
that you take a look at some of these no-prep products.