Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cosmetic Bonding

What do you do if you have a small gap in between your teeth?
You could get braces. 
You could get crowns or veneers. 

But both of those options are expensive and time consuming. 

What if there was a way to close gaps that didn't cost a lot that 
could be done in 1 appointment?

There is!
It's called cosmetic bonding. 
Here is a case that I just did today. 



Cosmetic bonding is a small amount of filling material that
is placed on the side of 1, or both, teeth in order to close the gap. 
There are other types of cosmetic bonding but the same concept applies. 
It's as strong as a normal filling because that's what it is. 

No numbing shots
No big bill
No weeks or months of treatment 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Which floss is the best?

People ask me which type of floss is the "best" type of floss. 
Thin Floss
Thick Floss
Floss on a handle

The answer to this is easy. 
The best floss is ........whichever floss you will use. 
The percentage of people who will floss daily is around 40%.
And the number of people who will never floss is around 20%.

So the "type" of floss you use is not nearly as important 
as actually "using" the floss.  Because it really doesn't matter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What is a Root Canal?

People ask me all the time....
"So what exactly is a root canal"?

Well it's really not that complicated. 
Let's make it a little easier to understand shall we.

The inside of your teeth are hollow. 
There is a CANAL running through them like a 
canal that carries water.

The canals run down the entire length of the the ROOT.

The canals in your roots carry the nerves of the teeth. 
When the nerve dies, and/or becomes infected, it will cause
pain and/or infection. 

A root canal is simply going into the ROOT to clean out the CANAL. 

The picture here simplifies it really well. 
The tooth on the left has a cavity that has gotten down into the nerve.
After a root canal, the picture on the right, there is no longer a nerve in 
the canals. There is now a filling. 

No nerve .......... No pain. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why do I need regular dental visits?

Some people refuse to come to the dentist unless it hurts 
or unless they can see something wrong in the mirror at their house.

These very same people are usually the ones that end up with the 
largest amount of crown, root canals, and broken teeth. 

Below is a perfect example of why REGULAR dental
visits are so important. 

The tooth below did not hurt. 
The patient couldn't see anything wrong with it. 

Once we took a digital image and blew it up a little however, 
the problem became very clear. 

There is a crack in the tooth. 
We were able to remove the cracked portion and place a new 
filling that will, hopefully, stop this small crack from progressing 
into a much larger problem in the future. 

The after image.

Please do not wait for pain, or actual tooth breakage, 
before you go see your dentist. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Replacing Amalgam Fillings

Sadly, one of the tactics used by shady dentists out there is to 
tell people that all of their silver fillings need to be replaced. 

Do silver fillings need to be replaced?
Almost everything artificial needs to be replaced. 
BUT, ALL the silver going bad at one time?!

Let's take the 2 fillings below as an example. 
This filling I WOULD replace. 
The border between the filling and the tooth is 
deteriorating and allowing bacteria to get down into the tooth. 

This metal filling I would NOT replace.
You can see that the border is perfectly sound. 
There is no reason to inject the patient with drugs, 
and further traumatize the tooth by drilling into it to
remove a filling that is serving its' purpose just fine. 

And NO there is no clinically proven studies that show that 
keeping silver fillings in your mouth is dangerous to your health. 
I will post a link below by the American Dental Association. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dental Advertising

You all have seen the billboards.
You've received the ads in the mail. 

Dentists advertising half price treatments. 
Offering cleanings, and/or whitenings for life. 

Why do they do it? 
Should you answer the ad? 
Are there any catches?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

My child hasn't lost any teeth yet. Should I be worried?

I get lots of anxious parents coming into my office asking me
if they should be worried about their child who hasn't lost any teeth yet.

We live in a society built on comparisons. 
We can't help it. 
You think your home is big .... until the neighbors build one bigger. 
You think your car is awesome ...... until the new model comes out.
Etc Etc Etc

So that is what is happening with most of these parents. 
They think that their kid is normal ..... but then they see the neighbor's
kids loosing teeth and they start to question their kid's normalcy. 

Well parents, just relax. 
In about 97.625% of cases your kid's teeth will fall out on their own
and everything will turn out totally okay. 
In a few cases, not many, your child may need help getting their teeth out. 

Here is a chart to give you the AVERAGE age a child will lose their teeth.
Remember this is a AVERAGE (see how I am typing it in caps ; )
That means that half of kids will be older then the graph suggests
and half will be older.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"It's like pulling teeth!"

When people think something is hard sometimes they say .....
"It's like pulling teeth!"

Well, here is exactly what they mean. 
I extracted this tooth today. 
One of the roots makes a complete 90 degree turn!
Inside of solid bone!

It's kind of like trying to pull  a fence post out of the ground 
if 5 feet under the ground the fence post bends 90 degrees.

So yah, it's hard.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A hole in your chin?! Why regular dental visits are so important.

Are regular dental visits THAT important?


Here is an example. 

A patient came into my office the other day complaining of
"pain in the chin area". 

I took an x-ray and was a little shocked by what I saw. 
Below you will see 2 x-rays. 
One is the unaltered x-ray. 
The other is the x-ray with the problem area circled in red. 

The dark area is a problem. 
Typically bone will have a look like cotton. 
Some white, solid, areas but also many darker
air filled spaces as well. 

A giant dark spot where bone should be is NOT a good sign. 
A quick test of all of the teeth in the effected area revealed that 
there was zero sensitivity related to the teeth themselves. 
No discomfort with hot, cold, chewing, etc. 
Still only pain when finger pressure was applied to the lower chin. 

I phoned the oral surgeon and the patient was sent right over. 
Below you will see a picture taken in the middle of the surgery. 

 There was a cyst below the lower anterior teeth. 
The cyst was removed and is currently being biopsied. 

Please make it a point to go into your local dentist on a regular basis. 
It looks as if this patient will be just fine. 
But things could have been much much worse. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Same Sonic Toothbrush. Only Better.

Wanting to buy an electric toothbrush?
Wanting the quality of the major brands? 
Without the cost of the major brands?

Would it be a plus if that toothbrush was designed
by an actual dentist who has worked in the field for decades?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sports Mouth Guards for Children

Kids are getting into sports earlier and earlier these days.
It seems as if your child doesn't make a decision about what
sport they will choose, for life, by the age of 4 that they 
are already too late. 

With all of these kids getting into the sporting realm the 
number of sports related injuries is bond to increase.

As a dentist one of the saddest things I see is broken, healthy, teeth.
Teeth that have been badly neglected break all the time, and the
person responsible for the neglect typically knew it was coming. 
But the little 7 year old didn't. 

To see a child headed for a lifetime of trouble due to a totally preventable
injury is not a happy day.

Please get your child a mouth guard. 
It does not have to be expensive. 
As long as the guard fits properly it should do the job.
The only worry is guards that fit so poorly that the child risks
have it come out during activity and fall into their throat
and become a choking hazard. 

Sprained ankles and broken collar bones will heal . 

Teeth won't.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tooth still hurts AFTER root canal and crown!!

Have you ever had a toothache?
Have you ever paid a lot for a root canal?
Have you ever paid even more for a crown?
Did it work, or does the tooth STILL hurt?!

What to do?

The tooth in the middle of the screen is just such a tooth. 
This patient came to me at the end of her rope. 
Too much time, to much money, and too much discomfort.

The failing tooth was extracted and an implant was placed.
The implant was then given 3 months for the bone to heal around it. 

After 3 months a tooth was placed on the implant.

No more pain. 
No more worry. 
If the bone holds (which it should in most healthy patients)
this will be one of the strongest teeth in the mouth. 
This tooth should need no more dental work for the lifetime of this patient. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is not a hard thing to understand. 
Sugars from sweets, fruit, milk, etc etc etc etc get into 
someone's mouth. 
The bacteria, naturally occurring in the mouth, ingest the sugars.
The bi-product of this bacteria - sugar combination is acid. 
The acids eat your teeth. 

That's it. 
Soooo, the take home point here is this........
The longer you have sugar in your mouth the more chances there
are for the bacteria to produce the acids that cause decay.

Time + Sugar = Decay

One of the saddest manifestations of this is Baby Bottle tooth decay.

Little tikes that get put to bed with a bottle. 
They will drink a little, fall asleep, wake up and drink a little, then fall asleep.
The result is that they have sugars on their teeth, essentially, all night long. 

Feed your little ones with a bottle if you so choose. 
But then after that make sure to brush their teeth. 
Or, at very least, give them a drink of water to help rinse the sugars away. 

Getting your 2 year old to obey you is tough. 
Getting them to sit still while I drill on their severely decayed teeth ......
nearly impossible. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Teaching my kids.

I wanted to let my kids know that they live in luxury. Not the giant ski boat, 4 car garage, 6,000 sq ft home, or vacation cabin in the woods kind of luxury. I don't own any of those things anyway. I mean food in the pantry, running water, and more than 1 set of clothes kind of luxury. So we went on a trip. We went to Peru. We wore flip flops in the hotel, at night, to keep from contracting anything. And during the day we worked side by side with local villagers in an attempt to give them a brighter future. My kids worked hard all day, ate simple food, and repeated the process, for days. All at 12,500 feet above sea level. It was very hard, and exactly what I wanted for my kids. We will never forget the experience and hopefully my children understand a little more about the world they live in and the blessings that are theirs. If anyone else has interest in going I would highly suggest it. Google search "eagle condor humanitarian Salt Lake City Utah" for more information.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Doc, help!! Moving my Jaw is Agony!!"

Patient came into the office the other day. 
He stated that he "hadn't eaten for 2 days"
due to intense pain. 

Click on the picture. 
It will blow up on the screen. 
See if you can see anything that might be look
different then anywhere else. 
We are pretty symmetrical as humans. 

There is another picture down below that will show you the problem. 

I asked if anything he knew had triggered the pain. 
He stated that he had gotten punched in the jaw
but that it didn't hurt too bad at the time. 
But that over the last 2 days it had been increasing in pain.

Well, click on the next picture. 
The red circle indicates where the patient's jaw is broken.
He had attempted to chew over the last two days with 
a broken jaw bone. 
Every time he went to chew the bones would move against each other. 
He went directly to the oral surgeon where he was wired shut. 
He will need to stay that way for 3 months. 

Simply "getting punched" can hurt. A lot. Not only physically
but the financial ramifications will also be pretty tough here. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Electric Toothbrush

The studies show that, hands down, an electric toothbrush
will clean your teeth 5x better then a manual one. 

So what keeps some people from going out and getting one?


Some electric toothbrushes are $150-$200!!

My name is Dr Jim Ellis.
I was tired of my patients getting the short end of the brush ; )
So I designed, and had manufactured, an electric toothbrush
that is just as good as the other guys, but at about 1/3 the price.

30 second quadrant timer. 
2 minute total brush timer. 
2 weeks on a single charge.
3 different modes. 
AFFORDABLE interchangeable heads. 

And for my loyal Blog followers put the code


in the box at check out for 20% of. 

Read the reviews. 
Check it out for yourself. 
Dentist designed with patients in mind. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I think they cracked my tooth in surgery.

Um ...... Yah it's cracked. 
Sadly we see a lot of this. 
There is a reason why they have you sign those consent forms
 that say, "during anesthesia your teeth may become damaged".
This patient went in for a throat scope and ended up having
to have her tooth removed. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Broken Tooth ..... Now What?!

Most people break a tooth and think the worst. 
Crowns, Root Canals, Bears, oh my. 
In many cases however, a filling is all that is needed. 
This is a great case in point. 
Patient came in today with a corner broken off.
We matched the color, filled it, and finished off with
a nice polishing. 

And here is the after. 
The patient was very happy. 

The moral of the story is that when things break just
get into the dentist. 
It's probably not as bad as you think.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Making teeth look like ....... teeth.

Are metal (amalgam fillings) bad?
And in certain circumstances we still use them. 
But they absolutely do not look like teeth. 
So when it comes time to change them the
transformation can be a thing of beauty.

Here we have an ordinary amalgam. 
It's a very well done filling actually.

But here we have the tooth after the old filling was removed
and the new, white, filling material is placed. 
Patient was very happy. 
This is a lower tooth and she said that she could see it every
time she looked in the mirror and wanted it gone. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cosmetic Bonding.

This was one of the more challenging cosmetic bonding cases that I have done.
Some teeth that we bond are slightly tilted.
Some are slightly rotated.
Some are too long or too short.

This tooth is rotated 90 degrees.
Meaning the tooth is turned completely sideways.
The bonding was tough because the proportions are off due to the rotation.
However, The patient was very happy with the result.
She was told that expensive braces was her only option.
Turns out 30 minutes in the chair.....
no shots
no drilling
and the cost of a filling later she looked like this.
This is simply filling material and it can be done in lots and lots of cases.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Oil Pulling & Stem Cells

There are a lot of questions out there right now about 
"alternative" dentistry.

I do not say alternative to be derogatory in any way.
I say alternative to simply denote that there is a more classical
view of dentistry and then there is an emerging view that holds
"alternate" views to that classical thought process.

Classic school of thought about teeth is that there 
are bacteria that live inside your mouth.
These bacteria ingest sugar. Their byproducts are acids.
These acids eat away at the enamel of your teeth. 
You keep your teeth brushed, flossed, and avoid ingesting
mass amounts of sugar and you shouldn't have a large 
scale cavity issue on your hands. 

And that school of thought, although very old, still
holds very true to this day. 

But what about the newer schools of thought?
What about using oil pulling and re-growing teeth with stem cells?

Well, here's my opinion. 
First, Oil Pulling.
If it works, for you, then great. I don't do it. 
I don't tell people to do it. 
The scientific studies are not yet what I would like
to see on the subject.
However, I see absolutely nothing negative about it, 
and if it works for you in regards to making your
mouth feel cleaner and you notice a decrease in the
amount of decay that your dentist is finding, then
go ahead. 

Second is re-growing teeth with stem cells.
This one is a little easier for me. 
Would I love to get a bunch of stem cells that I could
simply put into a patients mouth and get a new tooth back?
HOWEVER, if people understood what they would have to go
through to get to that point they wouldn't even think about it.
First off, your tooth has to go bad. It has to break, get infected, hurt,
or any other number of things that would be uncomfortable to go through.
Secondly, you then have to have the bad tooth removed.
Oral surgery.
Shots, forceps, blood, swelling, etc etc. 
You are going to have to brush the newly grown teeth anyway. 

Now, for trauma cases, congenitally missing teeth, etc. then
stem cells will be fantastic.
But for all of the other cases, that are far more numerous, 
stem cells are not all that they are cracked up to be. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Electric Toothbrushes

Which is better, an Electric toothbrush or a Manual?

The answer, and overwhelmingly so, is that an electric
toothbrush will get your teeth more clean then a manual
brush (used properly, of course). 


How many times the head of the brush moves across 
the tooth is the key. Every brush stroke is a cleaning stroke.

An electric toothbrush can move, up to, 40,000 times per minute.
I don't know how fast your hand is, but it probably is close to that. 
Therefore, the electric brush moves across each tooth more often then a manual. 

So why wouldn't you get one of them?

Some electric brushes can be up to $200!!
If only you could find an electric toothbrush that did a great job,
but was also affordable as well. 

Well............ your search is over!!

"I", Dr Jim Ellis decided to do something about my patients
getting gouged by the big toothbrush companies. 
I designed, tested, and had manufactured a sonic toothbrush
that has all of the high quality components of the leading brushes
but is around half the price.

How is that possible?!
Well, I don't have millions of dollars a year to pay in expensive
television advertising. I have a little blog. 

So, if you have always wanted an electric brush but never 
wanted to pay the expensive price of one then check it out. 

Designed by a dentist, with patients in mind.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Should I cover my toothbrush at night?

There is a decent debate, among the general public, as to 
whether or not you should cover your toothbrush when you are 
done using it, or simply let it air dry.

Those who say it needs to be cover will state that every time you
flush your toilet, germs come hurdling up out of the bowl
and cover everything in site. Thus, if your toothbrush is 
uncovered the bristles will get caked in these germs. 

Well, I sure hope this isn't the case. Because my towels, handles to 
my faucet and soap dispenser all all uncovered all the time.
It would be a shame if I was drying off with a poop germ 
covered towel every morning. 

So I did some research. I looked to see if there were any studies
done on the matter of toothbrushes being less germy in, or out
of a toothbrush head cover. 

And it turns out that the American Dental Association says:
"Do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms than the open air."

 So, according to the ADA, placing your moist brush in an 
enclosed environment actually is MORE conducive to the 
brush getting germy then leaving it out to air dry.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


I see people with with teeth problems all the time. 
I'm a dentist.
There are many reasons for the problems. 
Some have financial issues.
Some don't care.
Some are from drug, or other abuse.

But the saddest of all the cases is the person who has
bad teeth because they remember how bad it was the
last time and they couldn't bring themselves to do it again.

The problem with most of these people is that the bad experience
happened, sometime, 20 years ago. 

Why is that the saddest case?
Because things are sooooo different then they used to be.
What was your cell phone like 20 years ago?
Your television, car, etc etc. 

Things change over time. Dentistry is no different. 
Those people will tell me, "I can't stand that Novocaine stuff"!
Well .... we haven't used Novocaine in 15 years.

PLEASE do not let the things that happened in the past,
especially the long ago pat, dictate the things that you will do today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Crazy Wisdom Teeth

Hare are 3 of the craziest wisdom teeth that I have ever seen. 
And they all happen to be in the very same patient!!
Pointing backwards, completely upside down, and in the 
totally wrong place.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"I'll fix that cracked tooth later."

I tell people, on many occasions, that they have a crack in their tooth. Some people choose to fix the cracks asap. Others choose to put it off. Some people put it off for financial reasons, which is totally understandable. But some will simply say, "I will just wait till it breaks then you can fix the break". And sometimes that works. Other times it ends up like this tooth. There was a crack in the tooth. The crack progressed until the tooth broke. The brown line represents the gum line of the patient. The tooth fractured below the gums, below the bone, and almost all the way to the end of the tooth. So what can be done about a crack that bad?! Well, there is a reason the tooth sitting on my desk on a piece of gauze. Get the cracks fixed!