Ellis Dental Blog

Oral Hygiene - Caring for Your Teeth

There are many questions about oral hygiene and what the correct steps are to achieve it. We’ve answered some of those questions here.

Author: Dr. Ellis | September, 2014

There are many myths, questions, and confusion when it comes to oral hygiene. How long should I brush my teeth? What kind of toothbrush should I use? Will junk food make me get cavities? What causes bad breath?

It’s time to take on these questions and help you understand what it is you should be doing to help keep your mouth and teeth clean and healthy.

How often should you brush your teeth?

The best answer is to give your teeth a scrub every time you finish eating something. However, we know that’s not really sensible. Typically a good compromise is to brush at least twice a day: once in the morning, and once at night. But if you find you have time mid-day after lunch, or you’ve eaten something very sticky, sugary, or that gets stuck in between your teeth it is a good idea to take the time to brush those teeth one more time.

How should you brush your teeth?

Everyone has their own technique; circles, up and down, back and forth. Our recommendation is all of the above. The more ways you move your toothbrush across your teeth the more areas you’ll reach that may not be reached from a previous method.

When should you floss? And how often?

Flossing is important to the health of not only your teeth but your gums. It’s important to floss BEFORE brushing rather than after, and should be done every time that you brush your teeth. When you floss before brushing, you open areas of your mouth that can then be cleaned better when you brush. Flossing does not have to be bloody and painful. Flossing should be done with care and not taken too deep, instead just getting the surfaces of the teeth that are hard to reach with a toothbrush.

Is brushing your tongue important?

Your tongue tends to be a harbor for leftover food that can then cause bad breath. For good clean oral hygiene it’s important to give your tongue a few swipes with your toothbrush and toothpaste so that you continue to have fresh, good smelling breath.

How to choose the right toothbrush and how often to change it?

Choose a toothbrush that has soft nylon bristles. They work well at getting plaque and food particles off of your teeth without causing damage to your gums. Avoid natural bristles that are made of animal hair since they tend to hang on to bacteria.

It is smart to replace your toothbrush about every 3 months. This is done for two reasons, the bristles tend to get worn out and worn down; and secondly, it is wise to replace your toothbrush frequently so that it doesn’t become a sanctuary for bacteria.

What kind of toothpaste should you use?

This is a good question to ask your dentist or hygienist. There are a number of different kinds of toothpastes available today: some for the prevention of cavities, others gingivitis, for those with sensitive teeth, and more. Your dentist should have a good idea of what kinds of toothpastes would help you get the results you are looking for with your pearly whites.

Speaking of pearly whites, should you ever whiten your teeth?

Many people want a whiter smile; some will go to far extents to do so. Nowadays it’s pretty easy to get your hands on at-home whitening supplies, there are even strips available that you can stick to your teeth and forget about for the next few hours. Many of these kits have the ADA sticker of approval, meaning that they shouldn’t hurt your teeth. However, everyone reacts to the products used in whitening strips differently. Some have felt pain in their gums and teeth, or have felt sensitivity in their teeth.

Another important thing to remember is what kind of stains will actually benefit from bleaching. Grey and brown stains from smoking and/or tobacco use typically do not respond well to bleaching. It is the yellow colored stains that respond well to bleaching techniques. Also keep in mind that if you’ve had any dental work done, the color of the materials used to do so will NOT be affected by bleach, so you may end up with slightly discolored teeth.





Crowns vs. Veneers - Dental Restoration

When considering dental restoration, the decision comes down to dental crowns or porcelain veneers, but which is right for you?

Author: Dr. Ellis | September, 2014

Dental Crowns vs. Porcelain Veneers

The technology and science behind dental restoration has come a long way in the history of dentistry. Whether you simply want to cover some stains or you wish to fix some cracked teeth, there are two options you may want to consider: dental crowns and porcelain veneers. But what is the difference and which is right for you? There are advantages to both crowns and veneers, but it is important you understand which will benefit you the most, because every case is different and unique. At Ellis Dental, we’d love to discuss these options for your case in greater detail, but for now here are some facts about crowns and veneers that should leave you more informed on which may be best for you and your teeth.


Both crowns and veneers use a dental porcelain to recreate the natural look of a tooth. Crowns and veneers both have the same purpose, but with some distinct differences. Improving your smile and the look of your teeth can greatly increase your confidence and cause others to take notice of how great you look. Veneers are essentially very thin porcelain covers that fit over the front of your teeth. They are customized to fit your teeth perfectly and are only about as thick as a fingernail.

Veneers are ideal for those who want better teeth for cosmetic purposes. Veneers just may be right for you if you are looking improve your smile because of stained teeth, minor chips or cracks, widely spaced teeth, or minor damage to the enamel. In fact, the process of putting on a veneer usually requires some of the enamel to be removed so that the veneer fits naturally and conforms to your bite. Veneers are meant to be a permanent solution, but require routine dental hygiene to maintain their lifespan. Daily brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings at the dentist should keep your veneers looking the way they should.


Crowns also can improve the look of your teeth, but they are more involved than veneers. Crowns are also made of dental porcelain, but instead of just covering the front of your tooth, they cover your entire tooth; a crown replaces the entire external portion of the tooth down to the gum. You should consider dental crowns when the health and strength of your tooth has been compromised. A tooth that has suffered trauma from cavities, root canals, or decay would benefit from a crown to restore the functionality of that tooth; a veneer would not be able to do this. Crowns can also help improve your bite.

If you’re thinking about getting crowns or veneers, be sure to make your appointment at Ellis Dental. Dr. Ellis has extensive experience in both forms of dental restorations and will help you determine which will work better for your case. Call us today!





Celebrities Who Fixed Their Teeth

Check out our list of well-known celebrities that have taken the effort to have their teeth fixed.

Author: Dr. Ellis | September, 2014

A great smile can go a long ways, especially in show business. While some actors embrace their unique, sometimes harsh appearance, others have made an effort to improve their look, and one obvious way to do that is to fix their teeth. Some of today’s hottest stars actually used to have some pretty horrific smiles. Thankfully, they visited a dentist or orthodontist and improved their teeth. Bleaching, braces, veneers, crowns, and implants are just a few ways you can vastly improve your smile. Just ask any of these celebrities:

50 Cent
Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson before and after getting teeth fixed

50 Cent has gone through quite the transformation throughout his career and he’s never looked better.

Zac Efron
Zac Efron fixes teeth

Even heartthrobs have their awkward phases. Luckily, young Zac has matured well and made sure his teeth matched his adult look. Fans everywhere thank him for doing so.

Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck before and after fixing teeth.

Before Ben Affleck started directing Oscar winning movies like Argo, and before he decided to put on the cape and cowl of Gotham’s most infamous crime-fighter in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben was yet another struggling leading man with awkward teeth. He’s come a long way with both his career and looks.

Matthew Lewis
Matthew Lewis as a child and an adult.

Who knew that arguably the least attractive actor from the Harry Potter series would grow up to be potentially the most attractive? Well done, young Neville Longbottom. The baby fat is gone and the teeth are perfect.

Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman before and after smiles.

We’ve always loved Morgan Freeman, but he’s proof that it’s never too late to improve your smile. We’re happy for you, Morgan, but honestly, as long as you keep making movies and doing voice-overs, we’re happy.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise fixed teeth.

It’s hard to think that one of the most famous and attractive actors in history used to have such horrible teeth! Not only did Cruise take the time and money to correct his teeth, but it’s been a long process to get them to where they are today. If you watch his movies over the past few decades, you can actually see them getting straighter and straighter over time. We tip our hat to you, sir.