1939 Erringer Road
Simi Valley, CA 93065
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Dr. Ellison's Blog

Posts for tag: Dentist

By Dr. Ellison
November 29, 2018
Category: Health
Tags: Dentist   vaping   e-cigarette   inhale   dry mouth   dry cough   chemical burns   youth   smoking  

For years my mother smoked cigarettes, from as early as I can remember until she finally quit. Come to think of it, she apparently smoked some while pregnant. This was not entirely uncommon. It’s a well-known fact that smoking causes lung cancer among other health concerns, but it is also known that smoking is an addictive habit not easily stopped by most people who start. Fast forward several decades and e-cigarettes, or vaping as it is also referred to, came along as perhaps a less harmful, possibly less addictive alternative for people trying to move away from traditional (combustible) cigarettes. I think the idea was that these are less damaging than cigarettes and may be used as a transition for those wishing to quit smoking cigarettes because they contain little or no nicotine, but let me tell you, more and more studies are showing that vaping/e-cigarettes are detrimental in their own right. I asked my grandchildren if they were familiar and learned that it is an unfortunate and all too common practice among some high schoolers. Kids congregate in the school bathrooms and inhale. The media has brought forth a host of stories on this alarming trend to be called an epidemic among youth. These have been dubbed the most commonly used tobacco product among teens in the US. As a result, the FDA is pushing hard to restrict access of e-cigarettes to youth and enforcing legal action and fines on retailers that have and continue to sell to underage users. It seems blatantly obvious that the marketing is directed at teens, with the colors and flavors resembling candy and other sweets. E-cigs are often designed to appear like ordinary objects like pens or flash drives. I have recently learned that e-cigarettes can also be used for delivery of marijuana or other drugs as well. I am not even going to address that at this time. I find this particularly concerning because the yet undeveloped adolescent brain is especially vulnerable to nicotine addiction.

Flavored liquid is vaporized and inhaled through a handheld electronic vaping device. A given liquid may or may not contain nicotine, although this trend is still new enough that the long term effects on oral health and overall health are unclear. The liquid also contains propylene glycol, a petroleum byproduct used in antifreeze, paint, liquid detergent and thousands of commercial food products. When heated, studies have shown these e-liquids to contain toxins such as diethylene glycol (also used in antifreeze), lead and chromium. I have seen patients with dry cough or chemical burns on the palate as a result of inhaling the e-liquid, but more often they are unaware because they perceive them as harmless. It makes me wonder how it affects their lungs. Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is another effect that can lead to increased tooth decay. I believe it’s important to educate patients and make them aware that e-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to smoking. By explaining the negative effects and showing them the oral health issues with the  use of the intraoral camera it becomes more real.


By Dr. Ellison
September 10, 2018
Category: Health
Tags: Dentist   pain   mouth   canker sore   aphthous ulcer  

Recently my granddaughter experienced a canker sore, not an uncommon occurrence for her, but this one was on her throat. The pain was excruciating, more so because of the location. It hurt to swallow, to speak, and pretty much hurt constantly. It even kept her awake at night. Canker sores, also referred to as an aphthous ulcer, are small, shallow sores inside the mouth, under the tongue, cheeks, or along the gums.These lesions are usually no larger than a centimeter, are usually self-diagnosed and self-treatable and often clear up within a week or two, but the common point is they can be quite painful and irritating. I have seen patients from children to adolescents to adults who get them, but they seem to be more common in adolescents and young adults. The treatments, when necessary, range from over the counter natural remedies to mouth rinses, pastes ointments or sometimes a prescription medication.

Canker sores have varying causes, but can sometimes be prevented. Some people are more susceptible, so avoiding spicy or acidic foods, mouth injuries (like brushing too vigorously), and minimizing stress could help. Canker sores are not directly caused by a virus or bacteria, but are an autoimmune response, meaning the body attacks itself.  In some cases, they could be caused by a vitamin or mineral deficiency, a hormonal imbalance, or a food allergy. Some medications can actually make certain individuals more prone, as in the case of some cancer treatments. Canker sores can even be hereditary. Determining the cause is not always easy, although doing so will help prevent them in the future. This is of little comfort to people when they already have one or are unable to directly attribute the cause to any of the aforementioned.  

If and when I get the rare canker sore, I use a prescription oral paste to relieve discomfort. There are many different treatments and remedies I have heard of and some I have suggested. Rinsing with warm water and baking soda or salt, rinsing with an over the counter antiseptic  oral rinse like Biotene, drinking chamomile tea with honey for the inflammation (not too hot), using an over the counter oral gel, ointment or paste. Clove oil has been shown to have fantastic ability to numb pain. My daughter uses clove oil and other essential oils for her canker sores with excellent results. As for my granddaughter and her canker sore on her throat, she found Chloraseptic sore throat spray brought the most relief. If you happen to get a canker sore you can try one of these suggestions or your own remedies. If you have recurring canker sores or some that last longer than fourteen days it could require more than an over the counter pain reliever and further investigation.


By Dr. Ellison
May 24, 2018
Category: Cosmetic
Tags: Dentist   invisalign   straighten   braces   brackets   aligners  

If you’ve ever thought about straightening your teeth but you didn’t want to go through the lengthy process of metal braces, then Invisalign just may be the answer you are looking for. The clear plastic aligners have become a popular alternative choice among adults and teens as well. Many of my patients who had metal braces years ago wish that Invisalign had been available to them.

Patients who want their teeth straightened and are considering braces ought to consider Invisalign. Here are some reasons why:

  • The aligners are completely removable for eating, brushing and flossing.
  • They are pretty much invisible.
  • There aren’t really any dietary restrictions as with traditional metal braces and the risk of breaking a wire or bracket.
  • The thin, flexible material is comfortable and will not irritate the mouth as metal braces can.
  • The aligners can act like a mouthguard to protect the teeth from grinding.

The treatment plan for Invisalign is broken into stages. With the use of special computer software, Invisalign designs the clear plastic trays that will be worn for two weeks for a minimum of 20 hours per day. You then move on to the next set and so forth in order to gradually move the teeth into the best alignment.

Ask me about Invisalign if it is something that interests you. It has been a clear choice for many of our patients with remarkable results.

By Dr. Ellison
February 27, 2018
Category: Family
Tags: Dentist   teeth   tooth  

The last of the baby teeth are not usually lost until around age 11, although by then many children stop believing in the tooth fairy long before. Often it is kids at school or older siblings that ruin it for the younger ones. Children (like my granddaughter) will happily play along just to collect a little money for their teeth. A recent patient asked me if I knew where the myth of the tooth fairy began and because I did not have an answer I did some digging. There are differing accounts as for the very first, but many cultures have stories.

In the Middle Ages it was believed a witch could place a curse on someone with the use of their teeth, so they had to get rid of them by swallowing, burying or burning. Sometimes they were left for rodents or crows who reportedly had strong teeth. People thought a tooth fed to a rodent or crow could then lead to development of a good and strong adult tooth.

In 18th century France, the tooth fairy myth took on more fairytale features. A bedtime story, La Bonne Petite Souris, tells the tale of a mouse that turns out to be a fairy and helps a good queen imprisoned by an evil king. The mouse hides under the evil king’s pillow and defeats him by knocking out his teeth.

The idea of leaving the teeth under the pillow in exchange for money may have originated in Scandinavia. The Vikings paid children coins for a lost tooth. The teeth were then made into necklaces and worn as good luck charms in battle. You can just picture an image of a fierce Viking in a horned helmet taking the teeth of children.

The more delicate description of a fairy came later, as recent as the 1900’s. When WWII ended, American society became more prosperous, families became more focused on children and the tooth fairy idea gained popularity.

Many legends of the tooth fairy have been passed down throughout generations and cultures.


By Dr. Ellison
January 26, 2018
Category: Implants
Tags: Dentist   teeth   dental implants   jawbone  

Dental implants restore a lost tooth and function just like a natural tooth. I have talked before about dental implants as far as the safety, the benefits and whether they are right for you and you can find more of that information on our website. I want to specifically address how you can ensure the longevity of dental implants. They are strong and stable and, in fact, the next best thing to natural teeth. Dental implants are designed to last and can last a lifetime if they are properly placed and cared for. There aren’t any uncomfortable or embarrassing moments of them loosening or falling out while talking, eating or laughing like with removable dentures.Dental implants allow ease and confidence in any situation. Dental implants go into the jawbone where the missing tooth was, alongside healthy adjacent teeth. The jawbone then supports the implant just like with the natural teeth, thereby strengthening and stimulating bone growth.

Let me be clear. Like any medical device, there is no 100% guarantee on how long they will last or whether adjustments will need to be made. There are many risk factors that impact the survival of dental implants such as patient’s medical history, smoking, periodontal disease, oral hygiene. Basically, it will depend on how well you care for them and your periodontal health. If you follow the care protocol and come in for maintenance there is a much better chance the implants will last. Statistically speaking, more than 90% of implants will still be functional at ten years and I tell patients that the majority can expect the implants to function at a high degree of success for a minimum of five years, but I have seen ten years and longer. While we do not implement a general warranty for dental implants,  I address this topic on a case-by-case basis after careful consideration of the patient and circumstances.