Regular dental visits important

Published 11:54 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Good oral health could help in living an overall healthy life.

Most bacteria that enters the body does so through the mouth. As poor dental hygiene develops it could lead to an increase in blood pressure and could affect blood sugar levels.

“They’ve isolated the same bacteria that is prominent in gum disease situations … in coronary arteries in the heart,” Dr. Michael Ellis said. “Not saying that there’s a direct cause and effect if you have gum disease therefore you’ll get heart disease from the gum disease but there is the same bacteria.”

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Ellis’ practice in Vicksburg believes in optimal oral health while fixing teeth problems along the way. The primary goal for Ellis is a patient’s overall health, which is why he became a doctor of dental medicine instead of solely focusing on teeth as a doctor of dental surgery.

The more common problems Ellis sees among patients with bad dental health are those who often skip out on regular checkups, and millennials who sip soft drinks throughout the day. He attributes the former problem to the fall the economy took in 2008.

“Given the current economy and the situation we have in this country so many people have forgone elective procedures. Many times in a lot of peoples’ minds going to the dentist for a regular checkup and a dental cleaning is elective,” Ellis said.  “They’re saving that money to buy gas, buy groceries and buy medicine.”

The longer a dental appointment is neglected the more bacteria and tartar builds up in the mouth and on teeth.

Another theory Ellis believes as to why people skip out on dental appointments is fear of his occupation, which could stem from a bad experience as a child. He has a colleague with a saying “Nobody dies of no teeth, but bad teeth will kill you.”

Ellis draws a comparison to having an infected tooth to having a splinter. Using medicine will make the situation better, but until the tooth is removed it won’t get well.

“We had a number of patients over the years that the amount of disease over the years was so severe, the only option for them was to remove their natural teeth,” Ellis said. “They will tell you the very next day they felt better.”

In 2012 Ellis’ practice went digital with CEREC technology, which allows for rapid restoration of teeth.

The CEREC technology has allowed him the ability to digitally scan a patient’s mouth to create crowns, fillings and veneers without physical impressions.

“It’s 100 percent accurate,” Ellis said. “Even if it’s a restoration we don’t manufacture here in the office, we can still capture the digital imaging send it over the internet to a traditional laboratory. They have similar technology on a larger scale and they produce the restorations digitally.”

Last year he also began using software to allow him to use digital scans for orthodontic treatment.

“It’s called Clear Correct. We’re real excited about that because of the 100 percent accuracy,” Ellis said. “We’re able to provide clear aligners to patients who are much more comfortable than were made with traditional impressions.”