The majority of people living in the Denver Metro area may brush and floss twice a day and even sneak in an extra tooth brushing after lunch, but even doing this, they still might have bad breath. What’s the culprit causing this you ask? Your tongue. Until you start cleaning your tongue on a daily basis, you may not be able to get rid of lingering halitosis (aka bad breath). Each time you grab your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to take care of your teeth, let’s not forget to take of your tongue too. These simple oral health habits will make a difference.
Best Tongue Brushing Techniques
After you have spent 2 minutes brushing your teeth, it’s time to focus on your tongue. It’s important to focus on your tongue, each and every time you brush your teeth, because the tongue harbors bacteria and food particles trapped under a thin layer of mucus.
It can be as simple as using the bristles of your toothbrush to clean your tongue. To remove this odor-causing buildup, put a small dab of toothpaste on your toothbrush and carefully brush the top of the tongue. Start by reaching to the back of the tongue, and then work forward toward the opening of the mouth. Brush the entire top surface of the tongue using gentle pressure, and finish by rinsing with water. (Source: Colgate Oral Care Center)
Tips on how Best to Use a Tongue Scraper
If you want to up your game in the fight against bad breath, use a tongue scraper. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic and gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from the tongue. Rinse the scraper under warm water after each swipe of the tongue.
If your tongue feels sore or begins to bleed, you most likely are using the tongue scraper with too much force. Work slowly and with light pressure. Concentrate on the center of the tongue where the bulk of odor-causing bacteria lies.
How Often Should YOU Clean Your Tongue?
Our dentists and team of amazing hygienists at Willow Creek Dental recommend that you either brush your tongue or use a tongue scrapper each time after you brush and floss your teeth. A mouthwash rinse after cleaning your tongue will moisturize the mouth and kill any additional bacteria.
For good oral health and maintaining fresh breath it will take more than routine tooth brushing. Start today and get into the habit of focusing on your tongue every time you brush your teeth. Adding this ritual into your daily oral care regime will help you keep your breath neutral and fresh. If your bad breath continues even after weeks of cleaning your tongue every time you brush your teeth, call us 303-779-2797 to schedule an appointment for a dental exam and cleaning.
Brushing and flossing twice a day will keep your teeth clean, but there are a few other things you can do to keep your teeth healthy.
Check out these 5 simple things the team at Willow Creek Dental recommends that you start today to make a positive difference with your smile.
- Take Care of Your Toothbrush
For healthy teeth, your toothbrush is very important. After you brush your teeth it’s necessary to take care of your toothbrush. Rinse it well after brushing. Then, in an upright position, make sure to store it out in the open, away from your toilet, to allow for plenty of air flow around the bristles to keep your brush dry as microorganisms that can grow on your toothbrush tend to thrive in a moist environment. If the bristles on your toothbrush begin to fray or look worn, change it. Even if they don’t look worn, Willow Creek Dental and the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three months, sooner after an illness like a cold or flu.
- Think before you Drink
What you drink can affect the health of your teeth. Beverages such as soft drinks and sugary juices have been targeted as culprits of tooth decay. Drinking less soda and more water, milk and fresh juices can help protect your teeth.
- Brush your Tongue
When you’re brushing your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue to help fight the bacteria in your mouth. Tongue brushing is not only essential for keeping your teeth healthy, it also helps to stop bad breath. We recommend using a toothbrush with a cheek and tongue cleaner so you can easily remove bacteria from your mouth every time you brush.
- Avoid Tobacco
Do you and your teeth a big favor and avoid tobacco. By eliminating tobacco, it will save you from a higher risk of oral cancer and periodontal complications.
- Visit Your Dentist
If you haven’t been to a dentist in the last 6-months, that is okay, we won’t judge. Today is the day to change this trend and call us at (303) 779-2797 to set up a cleaning or for a free consultation on any of your dental issues, fears, or concerns. It’s important to visit your dentist at least twice a year to have a full hygiene treatment performed. During your visit, we will include a comprehensive exam with x-rays to help detect and prevent future dental treatments from occurring
This question, “Is it better to brush or floss first?” is asked a lot by new patients and followers on our Facebook and Twitter pages. There are many different theories on this subject matter, so we went straight to the source, Dr. Mary Blakeley. Her response, “If you are asking the question if you should floss or brush first means you are more than likely doing both, and that’s really all that matters. It isn’t the order in which you brush or floss, it’s more that you do both to keep your teeth healthy.”
Other questions we have received from our social pages, include:
Why should I brush my teeth after each meal? We recommend that you brush your teeth at least two times a day. While it is ideal to brush your teeth after each meal it is not always an option. In those instances, rinse with water or an antibacterial mouthwash to remove loose food particles.
Why is it recommended that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time you brush? To keep up with good oral hygiene, we recommend that you brush your teeth for two minutes. This allows you to focus 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth to remove food particles and help prevent future tooth decay and gum disease.
Why do I have bad breath? I brush and floss my teeth daily? Bad breath, or halitosis, is caused by bacteria in the mouth emitting sulfur-like smells. Certain foods you are eating can affect the production of bacteria in the mouth. Beverages like coffee and foods like garlic, fish, and spicy foods can trigger bad breath due to the residue that sticks to the gums, teeth and mouth lining.
Do you have a dental question you’d like a member of our Willow Creek Dental team to answer? Post your comment below, send us a Facebook message, or contact us on our website. We’re here to answer your questions.
It might be surprising to know that the benefits of having properly aligned teeth extend far beyond a confident smile. Teeth that are crowded or crooked can impact the health of your gums as it can be more difficult to brush and floss properly in those areas. Straightening your teeth can significantly affect your overall dental health because it reduces your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
If your teeth are crooked or misaligned and you’re worried about the impact to your oral heath, here are five reasons you should consider Invisalign® treatment.
- Invisalign® aligner trays are easy to remove at meal times. Simply remove before eating, then floss (which is very easy to do compared to dealing with metal braces) and put them back in.
- Invisalign ® aligners are clear and nothing like obvious metal braces. Most people won’t even know you’re wearing them, because they are virtually invisible!
- Metal braces can puncture and scratch the insides of your mouth and gums. Invisalign® trays do not have sharp edges, they are smooth and comfortable.
- Treatment time with Invisalign® can be less than with traditional metal braces. Invisalign® can take from 1 to 2 years on average to straighten your teeth.
- The technology behind Invisalign® is state-of-the-art. Dental patients undergo treatment plans that have been fully computerized. Our Dentists know exactly what to expect with each aligner tray so they can forecast when you will be done with your treatments.
To learn more about Invisalign® and if it is right for you, contact Willow Creek Dental at (303) 779-2797 to set up your FREE, no-risk consultation. To learn more about our full range of cosmetic dentistry services.
Willow Creek Dental is proud to support Freedom Service Dogs of America this month and below is a guest blog. For more information about FSD, visit their website at www.freedomservicedogs.org.
With the last name Collie, it’s almost a given you have to have a dog. So it should have come as no surprise when my husband approached me and said, “it’s time for us to get a dog, let’s go find one.”
Since we had never had a dog together, I thought dog fostering may be good way to ease us into this. I did wonder if I would fall in love with every dog who came in our home, but it was my husband, Brian, who fell in love with every dog we fostered. Our fostering adventure started simple enough. I was watching 9News one morning and saw a story about Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD). Their mission is amazing and I knew this was the organization for us. FSD truly gives dogs and their “people” a new lease on life. FSD rescues shelter dogs (breaking them out of jail) and then trains them for returning service members with PTSD, a physical disability or other individuals with service dog needs. Dogs are trained to open doors, pick up items, pull wheelchairs, go for help, turn on lights and more than 50 other commands. The stories of how these dogs become life changers is just incredible.
FSD service dogs in training are in “school” Monday-Friday. Every day they are in training, learning basic commands and the various specialty tasks they will need to complete for their person. One the weekend they go home with foster families. It’s time to kick back and chill. Since these are all shelter dogs, it’s important for the dogs to be socialized in a home setting since a home will be their eventual environment. Some families foster the same dog every weekend until the dog graduates and is placed with their person. Other foster families are substitutes; if the regular family is out of town or just needs a break. We were in the substitute category, which was perfect for us; we could have a different dog every weekend. We never really knew who we were getting until pick up day. During our fostering adventure we had Durango, Yardley who became Yards, Pivot who become Divot and Baraboo who become Bear. Whenever my husband decided he wanted to keep a dog he changed their name. He was like a little kid, “Mom, PLEASE, I want to keep him!!” Every Sunday evening that was that the conversation in our house even though we knew each dog was being trained for a greater purpose.
Though, not every dog makes the cut. Some fail because they don’t have the temperament to be a service dog, may be a little timid or any number of reasons. Others are calm and trainable but they just can’t break a nasty habit of chasing squirrels. This is where Umi comes into the picture. Umi was Ollie’s FSD name. We don’t know much about Ollie’s background other than FSD rescued him from a shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico and brought him to Denver for evaluation and training. He had been with FSD for three months and doing great, passing every test in front of him except for those darn Wash Park squirrels. When you’re a service dog, you can’t really be darting after a squirrel if your person has stability issues. Not good. We had Umi for about two weekends and falling in puppy love when we were told that Umi had failed his final test. What happens to the drop-outs? They get to find a forever family.
I brought Umi home that weekend and Brian tried to convince me all weekend to keep him. He used every reason one could come up with, but I just wasn’t biting. I don’t have a good reason. Umi was great, loved to snuggle, knew his manners and loved to play. I just wasn’t ready. So Monday morning, I dropped off Umi thinking about keeping him and even told FSD we were thinking about keeping, I just needed the week to think it over. FSD has web page of just their adoptable dogs and given their temperate and training, they are highly sought after so if you have interest you have to act fast and my husband did just that.
After dropping off Umi, I headed to the airport for a business trip. During the course of that four-day business trip, my husband adopted Umi (pushed me right over the cliff), renamed him Ollie and got him settled. He made the decision for our family and I don’t regret the decision one bit. I have to thank Momma Collie for coming up with the name Ollie. If she hadn’t said he looked like an Ollie Collie, Umi may have been Oozie. I would have liked to have been a part of the name change conversation, but I probably couldn’t have come up with a better name anyway, well may be one better than Oozie, so Ollie has stuck.
So many people stop us to ask where we got Ollie. No can believe we have such a calm, well behaved dog when he’s at a brewery or restaurant. I love telling the story. From the mission of FSD, to the volunteer opportunities they provide and those pesky squirrels, they all combined to bring us our Ollie. He’s only been with us for four months, but I can’t imagine our home without him. He’s the first to greet me when I get home from work in the evening and the first to remind me it’s 5AM (walk time). He knows the word “bark park” (goes nuts when we say it out loud), loves his car rides and morning snuggles and of course loves his bacon! Its amazing we live in such a dog friendly environment so we take him just about everywhere and every weekend includes a new bacon adventure.
Knowing his story, I feel Ollie has gotten three chances at a great life and sometimes I think he knows it too. I feel in my heart Ollie picked us, we were meant to be his family. Both Durango and Pivot were adoptable, but they didn’t have the same pull as Umi/Ollie. No, he picked us and now he’s our Ollie Collie and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Once we get Ollie settled we will start fostering again. FSD has become an important organization to both Brian and I. We believe in the mission, the work they do and forever grateful for bringing us Ollie. We can’t wait to see where this next adventure takes us and see how many dogs have a name change when they come in our home. I’ll never say never, but I hope I never go on another business trip and have my husband adopt a dog while I’m gone.
In 2017 our team at Willow Creek Dental is focused on giving back to our local communities by working alongside various non-profit organizations who do amazing work. Our first program partnership is with Freedom Service Dogs based in Centennial, Colorado.
We selected Freedom Service Dogs because they are a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by rescuing dogs and custom training them for individual client needs. Their clients include children, veterans and active duty military, and other adults with disabilities including autism, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The program is simple. During the month of April, we will donate $10 to Freedom Service Dogs of America for every new patient who schedules an appointment with our office. Appointments can be for any of our services, including teeth cleanings, teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry services, dental implants, Invisalign®, or any other dental procedure you’ve been putting off.
- The program is for new patients only.
- Your appointment must be made in April – however the date of your appointment to come to our office can be set for a time that works for you.
- When setting your appointment PLEASE mention that you want to support Freedom Service Dogs when you call (303) 779-2797 or when you schedule your appointment online at willowcreekdds.com/contact
The Willow Creek Dental team will also be volunteering at Freedom Service Dogs soon. We will be sharing our volunteer day on our Facebook page (so keep watch)! If you or a group or business that you belong to would like to volunteer or donate to Freedom Service Dogs, we know they would appreciate your support.
We hope you will consider supporting our cause. If you’re already a patient at Willow Creek Dental, thank you. If you know someone who would love a healthy smile and support a great cause, let them know and have them call us at (303) 779-2797 today!
Dr. Mary Blakeley founded Willow Creek Dental back in 1998. It was located in a small office at the corner of Quebec & County Line in the Willow Creek Shopping Center, hence how we got our name. She has since moved the office twice, most notably to our current location in Lone Tree. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry and also has advanced training in dental implantology, neuromuscular dentistry, sleep apnea treatment and TMJ disorder therapy.
You grew up in a big family in Wyoming and went to undergrad in Nebraska. What brought you to Colorado?
I knew I wanted to practice in a larger city but still wanted to be close to home. Denver fit the bill. It’s a great place to live, has lots to do, and is a great place to raise a family.
Have you always wanted to be a dentist? What got you interested in dentistry?
I was a dental assistant for the local dentist in Pine Bluffs in high school so that gave me exposure into what the dental industry was like. When I started college, I was undecided. I always loved my science classes and knew that some sort of medicine is what my heart desired. When I attended a health-career fair my junior year in college and spoke with the admissions director from the UNMC College of Dentistry, I immediately knew that dentistry was what I wanted to do.
You started Willow Creek Dental in 1998 after working as an Associate in a practice for one year. What made you decide to start your own practice?
I have always been an independent person who wanted to be in control of my own destiny so it made sense to start my own practice. I also wanted to be able to control how my patients were cared for without the constraints of being “managed”.
Are there any specific areas of dentistry that you particularly enjoy?
I get a lot of joy from helping someone whose teeth are failing them get a new, healthy smile that restores their confidence and are proud to show off.
If you weren’t a dentist, what career would you pursue?
I probably would have pursued a career in medicine, although I can’t imagine not being a dentist! Dentistry has allowed me to still have a life outside of the office and have time with my family.
You were a student-athlete in college. What sport did you play? Do you still play today?
I played volleyball at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Even through dental school and after I moved to Denver, I still played club volleyball. I used to coach my daughter’s club team and I try to play on occasion. However, a busy family life prevents me from playing as much as I would like to.
Speaking of a busy life, you and your husband have a blended family with six children—all teenagers! When not busy with your kids and their events, what do you like to do for fun?
I really enjoy going on an annual beach vacation with my husband, Ben. We also try to go on a vacation with the whole family once a year. I also enjoy going snowboarding, water-skiing, hiking, golfing and working out.
You are a country music fan—what has been your favorite concert?
I like a lot of music…including country!! My favorite concert was probably Garth Brooks. I saw him in Vegas and in Denver. Both were incredible shows! He is such a gifted entertainer.
Tell us something about yourself that people don’t know.
Two things. First, I grew up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming.The ranch is still owned and operated by my family and has been in operation since 1890. Second, my high school volleyball team was once featured on ESPN for having 12 state championships in a 15 year period.
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere with water. Whether it is Grand Lake on a boating vacation or a Mexico beach vacation, as long as I am on the water, I am happy.
Favorite Movie or TV Show:
I do not watch anything on TV regularly. I do love watching the Broncos on Sunday or the Huskers on Saturday, though. I don’t have a single favorite movie, but two of my favorites are Legends of the Fall and A Walk in the Clouds.
Favorite Local Restaurant:
There are a lot of great restaurants in Denver, but, Carmines on Penn is one of my favorites.
Favorite Holiday Tradition:
Every other year, my entire family gets together for Christmas at my parent’s home in Wyoming. Our annual White Elephant gift exchange is a lot of fun for the kids and adults. It usually turns into a “snowball” fight that instead of snowballs, Christmas wrapping paper is wadded up into tight balls that work as ammunition. As you can imagine, in a family with mostly boys as grandchildren, it usually ends when something gets broken or someone gets hurt!!
Isn’t it amazing how sometimes a small task can be so hard to do? What if we told you that doing a simple, inexpensive activity every day for 1 minute could help prevent painful dental problems in the future, potentially save you thousands of dollars in dental work, and help you look better? Would you do it?
Of course you would. Now if we tell you that means flossing every day, you may suddenly change your mind.
Is flossing really that beneficial? The answer is yes. Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, it is impossible for your toothbrush to clean in between your teeth and under your gums. So unless you have a strict diet of only water, there is bound to be sugar and acid from everything you eat and drink in those areas that ultimately doesn’t get removed by your toothbrush.
Flossing isn’t perfect, which is why you need to have your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months, however it does disrupt bacteria and food that is trapped between your teeth and gums, helping to prevent decay. Doing it the same time every day will help you develop a habit and you will get a pat on the back from your Hygienist at your next cleaning.
It doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost much money (in fact you get floss for free at your cleanings) and you can do it anywhere. So no more excuses—get flossing!
Some people might wonder if cleaning your teeth every 6 months is necessary, especially if you brush and floss daily. As a dental office, we certainly believe so and here is why:
- Having your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months allows the Hygienist to use their special instruments to remove plaque from your teeth that your toothbrush and floss are unable to get before it eventually hardens into tartar. This preventive method can help prevent decay and gum disease, both problems that can result in future dental problems.
- Getting an exam twice a year allows the Dentist to check your teeth and look for any signs of decay or changes from your past visit. While you won’t need x-rays with every 6 month visit, having a dental exam can help identify and correct small dental problems before they get worse.
- Some people need to actually be seen more often than 6 months. If you have a fast rate of decay and tend to get cavities quickly, it is important that you not only go twice a year but possibly more frequently to help prevent dental problems. Other candidates who may require more frequent visits include smokers, diabetics, pregnant women, and those who already have been diagnosed with gum disease.
- Most dental insurance companies pay for two cleanings and exams a year so you might as well take advantage of a benefit you already pay for.
- Best of all—don’t you love how your teeth feel after they are professionally cleaned?
As always, if you are concerned with getting a cleaning twice a year, ask your dentist what they recommend.
Dr. Mary Blakeley is passionate about helping patients with Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)—also referred to as TMJ Disorder. In addition to undergoing extensive post-graduate training in neuromuscular dentistry and specifically the treatment of TMD, Dr. Blakeley has invested in the latest technology to aide in effectively treating her patients.
While headaches or migraines are the most common symptom of TMD, other signs and symptoms can include jaw joint pain or noise, limited opening, ringing in the ears and locking in the jaw. Patients who suffer from TMD are often faced with daily, chronic pain and other options for treatment often include prescription pain medication or surgery.
In her extensive study of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Blakeley has focused on the correlation between the patient’s occlusion (i.e. how their bite comes together) and TMD symptoms. Physiologically, if a person’s bite doesn’t come together in the most ideal way, either from the result of genetics or an accident, it can put additional stress on the TM Joint and produce painful symptoms. While not every patient who suffers from TMD has a “bad bite”, there are many people who may find relief by fixing their occlusion. TMD often means there is a discrepancy between where your teeth come together and where your muscles want to be therefore Dr. Blakeley works to find the position where the teeth, joint and muscles are in harmony. By adjusting teeth so they meet in the ideal position, whether through an orthotic, orthodontics or dental restorations, the stress on the TM Joint could lessen and reduce or eliminate painful symptoms.
To determine if the patient’s TMD symptoms are possibly the result of a “bad bite”, Dr. Blakeley must first determine what the patient’s ideal occlusion is. To do so, she uses a K7 Computerized Mandibular Scanner (CMS) and Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulus (TENS) to measure and record objective information about the patient’s TM joint.
The K7 CMS uses 3 non-intrusive technologies to gather and measure data—jaw tracking (tracks motion), surface electromyography (measures TM joint muscle activity) and joint sonography (assesses joint function through the use of vibration/sound).
TENSing provides a tiny electrical stimulus that travels through nerves that control the muscles of the head and neck. This causes the muscles to exercise mildly, forcing out accumulated waste products of metabolism and providing the muscles with fresh nutrients and oxygen. Any persistent muscle tension that may be present can then be relaxed to find an optimum bite position.
In addition to the use of the K7 and TENS, Dr. Blakeley also has her patients undergo a 3-dimensional x-ray called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). The CBCT scan provides high-resolution images to allow examination of the TM Joint anatomy, specifically the bone and joint space. The CBCT scan is done at Willow Creek Dental and only takes a few minutes to complete.
After the patient’s information has been gathered, measured and assessed, Dr. Blakeley is then able to recommend a course of treatment. The same technology is then used throughout the patient’s treatment to evaluate progress and determine its effectiveness.
If you or someone you know is suffering from TMD symptoms and would like to find out if you are a candidate for our TMJ Therapy program, contact our office at 303-779-2797 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Blakeley.
Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog
- Quit Smoking and Chewing Tobacco: If this isn’t at the top of your resolution list, it should be. In addition to the increased risk of oral cancer, smoking and chewing tobacco can negatively impact your teeth and gums. Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, preventing infected gums from healing and causing gum disease to get worse. Using tobacco products also results in an increased buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth and increased loss of bone. Not to mention the yellowing and staining of the teeth. If there is one resolution you can make in 2017, this is the one to do.
- Drink (More) Water: We all know we should drink more water and often set a resolution to drink the recommended 8 or more glasses of water a day. This can be difficult to reach and sustain, however, if you aren’t used to drinking that much water. Start by increasing your daily intake by 1 glass each day. Then keep increasing it by a glass as your body gets used to drinking more water. The benefits of water are amazing for your entire body (think hair, skin, nails), but especially for your teeth. Drinking a glass of water instead of a soda or juice prevents sugar and acid from sticking to your teeth, decreasing the buildup of plaque and tartar and reducing the effects of erosion on your enamel. If you still need to drink a soda or juice, then follow-up with a glass of water to help wash away the harmful residue. If drinking plain water is too boring for you, try adding some fresh fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries), herbs (mint) or vegetables (cucumbers) to make it more refreshing. Additionally, flavored sparkling water can be a great alternative for those that crave carbonation.
- Floss. Every. Day: It really doesn’t matter to us whether you floss in the morning, at lunch or at bedtime. Basically, we just want you to floss each day so you can remove and break up particles of food that become trapped between your teeth. Otherwise that food can ultimately cause decay, leading to cavities or worse. We do recommend setting a routine so that it is done about the same time every day and easier to make a habit. And you know how you suddenly floss 3 or 4 times a day right before a dental appointment to catch up? Well, we can tell if you haven’t been doing it regularly. Basically—there is no such thing as cramming for a dental appointment.
- Don’t Chew Ice: A lot of people enjoy chewing ice however it can actually be harmful to your teeth. Ice is hard and can cause cracked or chipped teeth, in addition to causing problems with older dental work. So keep the ice in your glass.
- Don’t Sip Soda: You know how we feel about soda (regular and diet) and the negative effects it can have on your teeth. For those of you who refuse to give up your daily soda, we recommend you drink it in one setting, preferably with a meal. The impact of soda on your teeth is actually the most harmful when it is sipped all day long. In fact, every time you take a sip of soda, you are bathing your teeth for 20 minutes with acid and sugar.So if you have to have it, drink it at once and follow up with a glass of water.
As 2016 comes to a close, we are incredibly grateful for the amazing patients and team members that make Willow Creek Dental possible. We hope you have a fun and safe weekend ringing in 2017!
As a reminder, our office will be closed on Monday, January 2nd so we can enjoy some time with our family and friends. If you are looking for some fun things to do this weekend, check out these suggestions from 9News.
Happy New Year!
Mary Lou joined Willow Creek Dental in 2016 as our Front Office Coordinator, after spending over 20 years in Bookkeeping and Human Resources. A California native, she moved to Colorado in 1993 with her husband, Curt, of 27 years.
You have several years’ experience working in Bookkeeping and Human Resources. What brought you to Willow Creek Dental?
Most of my experience was in the retail industry – I worked for Albertsons and Target. I was looking to get out of that industry and into something that did not require me to work holidays. I was a patient here and loved the office and was very excited to hear they needed a front office person.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I love sitting up front and greeting all the patients as they walk in. It is fun getting to know them all. It has also been fun getting to know everyone that works here – feels like home.
What has surprised you the most working at a dental office?
All the treats that everyone sends us. Seems like we are always getting deliveries of cookies, candy, cupcakes, etc.
You are an avid volunteer. What organizations do you volunteer with? How often?
I volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House twice a month cooking meals for the patients there. Also, I do the Volunteers of America during the holidays delivering Baskets of Joy. On occasion, I will get together with friends and make sack lunches and deliver them to the motel families on Colfax.
You and your husband have two children, a son and a daughter. Your daughter is a local golf pro—does she get it from you? What activities do you like to do?
I did play sports all through high school – volleyball, basketball, and softball. But only played golf here and there as an adult. My husband played golf recreationally as well and decided to take our daughter with him one day when she was 13 years old and that lead to her golf career. I do enjoy outdoor activities and I do a lot of walking with friends. Mostly trails around the city.
What is something about yourself that would surprise people?
I love roller coasters!! Cedar Rapids is on my bucket list.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
Walks and shopping/dining with family/friends. I also love to go to the movies and just hang out with my husband and kids. My husband is a big hunter/fisherman and I will go with him and just walk trails while he is fishing.
Does Facebook count? I do not read books but love to go on Facebook.
Favorite Movie or TV Show:
Steel Magnolias – you get all the emotions and how can you not love crying one minute and then it turns into laughter. Such a beautiful movie about family and friendships.
Favorite Holiday Tradition:
Well, as stated above, I worked retail for over 20 years and therefore, I have never really had a lot of time to enjoy the holidays. I am looking forward to the holidays for the first time in a long time and hopefully creating some new traditions.
Would you like to get away? Whether it’s a weekend in wine country, a trip to see family or a new adventure, we’d love to help you finally take that trip you have been needing! Simply refer a friend or family member to Willow Creek Dental in December or January and you will be automatically entered to win a $1000 Getaway package! The package includes a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card and a $500 Marriott gift card. We will draw the lucky winner on February 1, 2017! Click here for the official rules.
Good luck and, as always, thank you for your referrals!
If you take a look around, you might notice that sparkling water is becoming an increasingly popular beverage. Available in both flavored and unflavored options, it provides the carbonation that many seek in drinking soda without the calories, sugar or artificial sweeteners. In terms of your dental health, this means it is a great alternative to soda. In fact, every time you take a sip of soda, you are bathing your teeth for 20 minutes with acid and sugar. Flavored sparkling water, in comparison, has zero sugar in it so it can help satisfy that craving for carbonation and ultimately be a better option for your teeth.
For those concerned about drinking citrus flavors (lemon/lime/high acidic fruits), you would need to add a considerable amount of flavor to have it be harmful to your enamel. Uncompromised tooth enamel is actually the 2nd hardest substance in nature, second only to diamond.
So if you are a soda lover, try sparkling water instead and your teeth will thank you.
Michelle joined Willow Creek Dental in 2011 and has been busy scheduling patients as our Hygiene Coordinator ever since. She is a Colorado native who grew up in Aurora and has two children living in North Dakota and Tennessee.
You have a background in Accounting with over 20 years of experience. How did you end up at Willow Creek Dental? Do you still do any Accounting work today?
I actually used to work for a packaging and shipping franchise with Dr. Blakeley’s husband and he told me about the opportunity at Willow Creek Dental. I still occasionally like to pick up Bookkeeping jobs on the side as Accounting is “relaxing” for me.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I love getting to know our patients and their families.
What has surprised you the most working at a dental office?
Truthfully, it is all the candy and junk food that we get at our office from other doctors and vendors!
You love country music and have been lucky to meet some pretty famous people. Who have you met?
I have been fortunate to meet Darius Rucker, Jana Kramer, The Band Perry, Kasey Musgraves, Lauren Alaina, and Eli Young Band.
You are always attending concerts. What has been your favorite concert so far? What is one you would love to go to?
My favorite concerts have been Luke Bryan where I was at the stage watching him perform and Blake Shelton. I have yet to see Kenny Chesney, whom I’d love to see, but I prefer the smaller venues and he plays at football stadiums.
What is something about yourself that would surprise people?
I am interested in learning more about “energy healing”. There are actually people who are licensed and paid to do energy healing work. I love learning about Chakras, Numerology and have a mentor who is helping me gain confidence and clarification with my intuition and medium abilities. I also love working with Tarot Cards. Handwriting Analysis is another subject I love learning about and I have basic skills with.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
Weekend trips to see my children or local trips to the mountains are my favorite. I also enjoy country dancing (two step, triple step, country cha cha, west coast swing) and want to learn salsa dancing next.
“The Secret”- a book about the power of your thoughts… what you attract into your life. The thoughts you put into the universe are what comes back at you, changing our thinking, having lots of gratitude and the feeling of abundance and ultimately it is what you get back. Again, it’s that energy thing.
Favorite Movie or TV Show:
Sweet Home Alabama is my favorite movie and I love the TV show Nashville.
Favorite Holiday Tradition:
We don’t really have any regular holiday traditions however my family does get together every Christmas Eve.
We deal with dental insurance all the time so we understand the lingo. If you are interested in learning more, below is a quick explanation of how dental insurance works.
What is a maximum?
Your maximum is the most amount of money your dental insurance will pay toward your dental benefits in one year. After you reach your maximum, any remaining costs will be out-of-pocket. Most plan maximums are in the $1,000 – $1,500 range.
If I don’t use all of my maximum in one year, does it roll over to the next?
No—typically it is a use-it-or-lose-it policy and you cannot carry forward any unused benefits to the next year. Exceptions do occur but are very rare. This is why it is important to utilize your benefits each year before they run out.
What is a deductible?
Your annual deductible is an amount of money you must pay first before your dental benefits will pay anything toward your treatment. Most deductibles are in the $50 – $100 range. On most plans, the deductible is waived for diagnostic and preventative services (i.e. x-rays and cleanings).
What do the categories and percentages mean?
Your plan will determine which services fall under which category. Typically:
- Diagnostic/Preventative—x-rays, cleanings, exams, and fluoride
- Restorative—fillings, perio (gum) therapy, root canals, and simple extractions
- Major—crowns, bridges, dentures, and implants
The percentages are the amount that your dental insurance will pay toward those services. Typically we see dental plans paying 100% for diagnostic/preventative, 80% for restorative and 50% for major services up to your maximum amount.
Do my regular cleanings/check-ups come out of my annual maximum?
Yes, most policies will pay 100% for your regular cleaning and exam however the cost will be deducted from your annual maximum benefits.
How are the fees determined?
As a participating PPO provider, our fees are contracted with your insurance company.
What is an EOB?
An EOB stands for your Explanation of Benefits. This is provided by your dental insurance company and should give a breakdown of the services that were performed, any amount they paid toward the services and the portion that is your responsibility.
What are waiting periods?
Waiting periods are the amount of time you have to wait before your dental insurance will provide coverage for that service.
Still have questions? Give us a call at 303-779-2797 and we are happy to help.
Katie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from CU-Denver and also a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from CU-Dental Health Science Center. She has been with Willow Creek Dental since 2008 and is also our OSHA and Infection Control Coordinator, ensuring that our procedures and equipment meet OSHA requirements.
You have a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. Were you always planning to go into the dental field?
Yes, I always knew I wanted to go into the dental field but I wanted something to fall back on in case my body doesn’t let me do hygiene for the rest of my life. At the time I was very interested in dental forensics, which is why I got a degree in Chemistry.
What advice would you tell someone who would like to be a Dental Hygienist?
I would tell them to shadow a dental office and a Registered Dental Hygienist to make sure you like it. Also, try to complete an internship if possible.
What hygiene habits are you instilling in your young daughters?
USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH FROM DAY 1. For my 3 year-old, we sing a song until I am done brushing her teeth. She gets to brush first and then I get to brush and I sing songs until I’m done.
You like to be active and played soccer growing up. Do you still play today?
Can’t say I still play but some days I miss it. I am still quite active, though, and enjoy going to the gym for spin classes.
You and your husband love to travel—how many different countries have you been to? What was the place that surprised you the most?
I have been to 16 different countries, I think. I survived the Bermuda Triangle back in 2014. I never ask someone who travels a lot which place was their favorite because each place is very different. I always ask, “if you could go anywhere right this second, where would you go?” I love Europe for the history. I also have favorite beaches that I love to visit for the water. United Arab Emirates surprised me the most I would say. The customer service was amazing and everywhere you went people were very kind. EVERYTHING is in English. including stop signs, which are in the shaped like ours and say it in Arabic and then underneath say “STOP”.
What would be your dream place to visit?
I have so many places still on my bucket list. As of right now, though, I am anxious to take the girls on a Disney cruise.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I enjoy family time, making cards and scrap booking.
I enjoy reading a suspenseful James Patterson book.
Favorite Movie or TV Show:
For TV shows, I like Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, Banshee, and Shameless. Nick and I also enjoy watching a good movie. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we really enjoy getting a good laugh.
Favorite Holiday Tradition:
We always watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for Thanksgiving and Christmas Vacation for Christmas. Growing up one of my siblings would wake up very early and wake all of us up. We would sit on my parents bed and go through our stockings. Then we would head downstairs and open presents. My mom would put some kind of pastry in the oven and we would eat that while watching one of our new movies. All of us would then fall back asleep watching the movie. We would stay in our pajamas all day and just hang out as a family. I loved it. I would love to start those kind of traditions with our daughters.