NOTE: Below is a Conversation between Dr. Ellie and a Blog reader. Dr. Ellie’s responses are in Blue:
Dear Dr. Ellie,
While I have read your blog extensively, I have a few questions still and would appreciate any more tips you can offer.
My Story: I recently noticed an area on a front tooth where there is a very small brown/black spot. From a side view I can see the enamel is eroded away in a shallow divot around this area. I have no sensitivity and am not sure if the “cavity” is below the enamel or not. Obviously if possible I would like to avoid an artificial filling. With regard to arresting the decay, am I correct in my understanding that your system works to kill bacteria in the cavity by managing the pH of my mouth. It is not needed to directly clean inside the cavity (which seems to small).Since I started doing some research on this subject I realized I have other problem. I lost a permanent tooth when I was in 5th grade and now wear a plastic “flipper” with a false tooth attached fashioned for me (15 years ago) by my orthodontist. I wear it all day and night, since taking it out at night (even soaked in water) tended to cause the flipper to crack. In dental visits over the years it has been suggested that I take it out at night, but the reason put forth was that it would better for my gums, since my gums seem very healthy, I ignored this advice.
When you eat the Zellies mints and use the rinses of the system- your gums will be healthy under this flipper no problem. Remember it takes about six months of 6 grams of xylitol daily to get healthy mouth bacteria. It will be best to eat some Zellies at the end of meals, snacks etc.
Use the rinses twice a day every twelve hours and let the ACT rinse really “soak” into your teeth to remineralize them.
However, I have for a long time felt that I had trouble cleaning the backs of my front teeth, they always seem to feel “fuzzy” (even after a professional cleaning). I now suspect that since I wear the flipper all the time a combination of not always cleaning the flipper out (especially when out in public) and the flipper limiting my natural saliva’s contact the rear of my front teeth that the enamel has slowly worn away. When I placed a mirror inside my mouth this theory is confirmed by the yellow appearance of the backs of these front teeth, although I will need a professional evaluation and recent cleaning to be sure.
Xylitol makes plaque less sticky and you may find a big difference quickly. I think having a professional cleaning after about two months on the system is a good idea it improves your progress by cleaning away any stains and giving you a “fresh” new start.
I am now in the process of finding a dentist in the greater Boston area who I can consult with on the natural remineralization of this damage. As yet I haven’t found one. The nearest dentist on the minimally invasive web site is 2 hrs away. In the off chance you know of a dentist in Boston who can better counsel me on my case with a working knowledge/belief in natural remineralization of cavities, I would appreciate the tip!
I will look into this for you!
Also, what determines the shape of the tooth after remineralization is “complete”, would you judge that the enamel regrows to some constant thickness, or that normal wear will result in smooth outer surfaces, so pits will eventually fill completely?
In fact enamel fills in quite quickly if there is already some kind of skeleton (like a pit in a tooth). In my own mouth, I had erosion on some front teeth which had formed a deep groove at the age of 20 (I used to brush with abrasive paste and always began by scrubbing my left front tooth). This groove used to catch food in it. Today I could not tell which of my front teeth was damaged -unless I remembered since there is no longer a groove. You can be sure that nature will do a good job! Just be patient and give nature a little bit of time!
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