Question for dr. ellie phillips


i hope this is the right email for “ask dr. ellie” questions.  my dentist informed me this week that an x-ray showed that an old filling, or whatever you call it, on the surface of a tooth, is starting to get some decay around it.  the thing is, she says this part of my tooth is unreachable because it is next to another tooth, so she says she will have to drill through the top of the tooth to get to it.  i HATE the idea of destroying perfectly healthy tooth/enamel just to get at this thing.  after all, that can only lead to more problems in the future.

(another thing that is weird:  my dentist says that, as it is otherwise unreachable, this filling or whatever must have been put in place when i was between the ages of 7 and 11, before the tooth in front of it grew in.  but i’m quite sure i did not get my first cavity until i was 18-ish.  i remember:  i thought i was invincible when it came to cavities, because i never had a single one as a child, so i thought i was special.)

anyway, part of my problem is that i want to at least discuss the possibility of alternatives to drilling with her but when i tried, she cut me off and was clearly annoyed.  she told me, sharply,  that the alternative was to let it continue to decay.

i’ve never been crazy about this dentist.  she seems preoccupied with money.  the first few years i went to her she kept trying to sell me on veneers for my front teeth.  my teeth are not beautiful, but i don’t think that beauty is important, i think that health is important.  i asked her how the veneer process works and when she told me that it involves abrading the surface of the tooth so that the veneer will “stick” i said NO WAY, i’m not going to damage my teeth in any way for aesthetics!

i’m thinking of getting a second opinion because i want to be able to TALK to a dentist about the exact location of the supposed decay, and any possible alternatives to the drill, without feeling like i am as my dentist treats me asking annoying and stupid questions and wasting her time.

i’m sorry this email is so long.  i read with interest your crest/listerine/act/xylitol/etc. regimen.  do you think it could do anything to reverse this supposed decay around an already existant filling on the side of this tooth, or is it just too late for that tooth and i must surrender to the drill?  i read that decay is only reversable if it doesn’t break through the enamel?  obviously my enamel is already broken.
a second question:  why listerine AND act?  aren’t they both basically the same thing?

thank you,


Hi C,

I don’t have time to reply in full get started on the system and trust me!!
I will be away for a few days and I will try to reply again then.

26 Corporate Woods
Rochester, NY 14623

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