The Bracy Case

We wanted to write about a very special case that we just finished, in order to achieve two things:  show what a life changing event restoring your smile can be, and to show gratitude for being able to practice this profession.  We will talk about The Bracy Case. (Yes, we have permission to show photos!)

Mr. Bracy is the father of one of our employees.  He is the father of six kids, has worked his whole life in hard labor, has been a good husband and is a role model to his family.  His teeth showed this. A hard life giving everyone around you all of your time can result in self neglect. He'd been walking around for a couple decades with a flimsy partial and a compromised smile, to say the least.  He's the type of guy that has been giving everything to everybody he loves for so long that he forgot to take care of himself.

I immediately empathized with the guy because my father, Eddie Lopez, is the same way.  He sacrificed decades trying to raise three boys with my mother, working two full time jobs, putting us through school and trying to give us the opportunities he never had.  His teeth showed this. My older brother, Dr. Juan Lopez, who is also a dentist, fully restored his mouth and gave him his smile and function a while back, and my father is the better for it.  

There are a lot of people in life that go without much fanfare, don't ask for anything, not even any recognition.  They quietly build this world into a better one and don't expect anything in return. While it's not in their nature to ask, if anybody deserves a little leg up, it's them.  With the guidance of Dr. Nolan, we were happy to help Mr. Bracy. We will fix the bottom ones next. This has been one of the most emotionally rewarding cases we've had.

Godspeed to all of you who make this world better.

Dr. Lopez and Dr. Gely

Invisalign and braces

One of the most common questions we get asked about is if "We do braces" or if "We do Invisalign".  We wanted to delve a little deeper into these topics since it seems to be an increasingly common area on interest.  Dr. Gely recently took the Invisalign course to provide the service in the office and we wanted to write a little about it to inform patients.

A great frustration of ours is when patient can't get the desired treatment they want or need due to inaccessibility of a specialist near them, unable to financially afford it, or a combination of the two.  Orthodontics, or braces, is one of these services. For a lot of patients it has become impossible to afford for one, let alone three or more kids, full braces or even interceptive treatments that could avoid braces all together.  

Invisalign and other similar products have gotten very popular in recent years as an esthetic, less intrusive and more economical way of fixing the alignment of teeth.  Dr. Gely recently took the Invisalign course to start looking for a way to provide these services to our patients that otherwise can't access them. Invisalign is designed to correct minor orthodontic issues, which would need to be properly diagnosed before initiating treatment.  Not every patient is a candidate, but there are plenty that are. A visit with the dentist is needed to identify if you are or not.

Invisalign isn't full on corrective braces. These are the famous metal brackets, bands, and wires that we all know and love.  We are currently investigating several two year courses in order to provide this service to our patients that can't get them any other way.  It'll be a long process to take the necessary training, and we might not be able to correct all cases, but our goal is to provide our a patients a reasonable alternative to otherwise unattainable treatment.  

Please call and ask if any questions arise.  Thank you.

Dr. Lopez and Dr. Gely


Why Root Canals fail:  The need for crowns

We previously wrote a little summary on what root canal treatments are and what the procedure entails.  Now we'll go over a small review of why teeth with root canal treatments usually need crowns. 


The concept that we have to try to remember is that teeth need root canal treatments for a reason.  Those reasons are usually carious decay or trauma that fractured a sizable portion of the tooth.  Hardly ever, although it happens, do teeth need root canal treatments that have all of their structure present.  Because of the carious decay or trauma that caused the nerve to be involved and compromised, teeth that need root canal treatments already have a considerable amount of compromised structure.  When you do the root canal treatment, which hollows out the middle of the tooth, the tooth will be compromised further.  This means that functionality of tooth, be it for esthetic and chewing purposes, will not be met.  Hence, crowning the tooth will bring back it's function. 

Furthermore, crowning the tooth will maintain the root canal treatment from failing.  The number one reason for root canal treatments to fail is because the tooth never got crowned.  The reason for this is that since the tooth got hollowed out, the possibility of it fracturing or for leaking goes up.  Crowning the tooth will generally prevent fractures.  When people mention that they've heard that root canal treatments "don't work", they usually refer to a tooth breaking afterward the treatment and it needing to get pulled.  This is generally because they never got crowned.  Teeth with both root canal treatment and a good crown have a great prognosis of success, which is well documented.

These topics get a little technical and complicated, so if any questions arise, feel free to ask!

Dr. Lopez and Dr. Gely

Saint Apollonia, the Patron Saint of Toothaches

Ask anybody that has gone through it:  there's nothing quite like a tooth ache.  Did you know that Dentists and toothaches have a Patron Saint?  Her name was Apollonia, and we figured it'd be nice to share her story here.  

Saint Apollonia’s Story

"The persecution of Christians began in Alexandria during the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of the pagan mob was an old man named Metrius, who was tortured and then stoned to death. The second person who refused to worship their false idols was a Christian woman named Quinta. Her words infuriated the mob and she was scourged and stoned.

While most of the Christians were fleeing the city, abandoning all their worldly possessions, an old deaconess, Apollonia, was seized. The crowds beat her, knocking out all of her teeth. Then they lit a large fire and threatened to throw her in it if she did not curse her God. She begged them to wait a moment, acting as if she was considering their requests. Instead, she jumped willingly into the flames and so suffered martyrdom.

There were many churches and altars dedicated to her. Apollonia is the patroness of dentists, and people suffering from toothache and other dental diseases often ask her intercession. She is pictured with a pair of pincers holding a tooth or with a golden tooth suspended from her necklace. Saint Augustine explained her voluntary martyrdom as a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, since no one is allowed to cause his or her own death."


"The Church has quite a sense of humor! Apollonia is honored as the patron saint of dentists, but this woman who had her teeth extracted without anesthetic surely ought to be the patron of those who dread the chair. She might also be the patron of the aging, for she attained glory in her old age, standing firm before her persecutors even as her fellow Christians fled the city. However we choose to honor her, she remains a model of courage for us."

There is even a prayer for toothaces!  

"0 Glorious Apollonia, patron saint of dentistry and refuge to all those suffering from diseases of the teeth, I consecrate myself to thee, beseeching thee to number me among thy clients. Assist me by your intercession with God in my daily work and intercede with Him to obtain for me a happy death. Pray that my heart like thine may be inflamed with the love of Jesus and Mary, through Christ our Lord. Amen. 0 My God, bring me safe through temptation and strengthen me as thou didst our own patron Apollonia, through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Dr. Lopez and Dr. Gely


Sources:  and


What to do when dental trauma occurs

Last week we had the unique experience of having to deal with a very real dental
emergency. A great 17 year old kid with a perfect smile fell off his bicycle and laterally
luxated his two front teeth with an accompanied alveolar fracture. By that I mean, his
two front teeth were displace to his palate due to his upper jaw bone breaking. It was
very gruesome, very stressful for him and the parent, but it was of paramount importance
for him to have come so quickly as he did. He'll likely get to keep his two front teeth
instead of losing them and going through very expensive alternatives to replace them.

The key in these types of traumas, whether teeth completely come out of the mouth, or
are just moved around, is time. The sooner they are placed back where they are supposed
to and splinted into position, the better the prognosis. And if tooth completely comes out of the mouth, place it in milk immediately if you aren't going to try to place it yourself.  Parents usually take their kids to hospitals when this type of trauma occurs, and understandably so: they infer that this is a medical emergency that needs to be seen in hospitals, want to check for concussions, want to check for broken bones, ect. But when you go to a hospital for a dental trauma, and nothing else is evidently wrong, like big lacerations or unconsciousness, for example, you are not the priority, and you will not be seen immediately. By the time a dental resident gets around to see you, many hours will have gone by. By that time, prognosis of avulsed or luxated teeth has dropped dramatically, and the likely hood of saving them is very
small. If, on the other hand, these traumas are seen within the hour, which is what a
dental office should be able to accommodate, prognosis is increased.

Our patients mother had the good instinct of calling us first. We were able to see him
immediately, we relocated the broken jaw bone, and sent him to the appropriate specialist
afterwards. Please call your dentist first before going to a hospital if you or a loved one
hits their teeth. It might save you a lot of trouble later.

Dr. Lopez and Dr. Gely

Pictured: Not kid who suffered trauma written about in article.  Just our 1 year old son in his tricycle.  

Pictured: Not kid who suffered trauma written about in article.  Just our 1 year old son in his tricycle.  

Dentition on infants

One of the most common questions we get is "When should we take our kids to the dentist for the first time?" and "When should I start brushing their teeth?".  These are great questions and we've decided to write a small blog to go over it.

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