Why do my gums bleed?

The short answer, bacteria.

We are constantly battling the bacteria in our mouths. It is the sticky white coating our teeth form all day, everyday. It’s called plaque.

Plaque does bad things to your gums. It makes them red, swollen, and very prone to bleeding.   This inflammation is the 1st stage of gum disease. It’s called gingivitis and it is absolutely treatable!!! With daily flossing and proper brushing, you can turn your gums around. In fact it can take as little as 10 days to see a HUGE improvement!

If left unchecked, gingivitis can progress to the next stage of gum disease, periodontitis. Nobody wants that. Periodontitis can cause bad breath and even worse, tooth loss. More people lose their teeth due to periodontitis than to decay!

Brush, floss, and come see us for your regular cleaning. We can help get those gums in tip top shape.

What is Gingivitis
What is Gingivitis
Healthy gum tissue
Healthy gum tissue


Tis the season for slushies, ice cream and delicious treats…….and for some that means sensitive teeth!  Nobody likes taking a delicious bite of refreshing, sweet, creamy ice cream just to feel like it has bitten them back!  So why are your teeth so sensitive? What can you do about it?  Are you doomed to an ice cream-less summer? There is a really informative article from the ADA (American Dental Association) you should read:   ADA Article on sensitive teeth

Then go eat a bowl of ice cream or a Popsicle (just make sure to brush your teeth afterwards!)  😉

My little Popsicle monster
My little Popsicle monster


We are living in a time where more people are becoming conscious about how their environment and things they expose themselves to have on their health.  Something we occasionally get asked is how safe are dental x-rays?  This is a really good question.

Well, first let me explain the important role that dental x-rays play in diagnosing dental issues and helping you maintain your oral health.  First of all, the health of your teeth and gum tissue has been directly linked to your overall well being.  This being the case, keeping a regular routine of oral hygiene along with diagnostic and preventive measures is very important.  As part of maintaining our health we routinely subject ourselves to unpleasant annual exams; mammography, pap smears, blood work, chest x-rays, colonoscopies.  We have all of these things done in the hope of diagnosing any problems at their earliest stage when matters are more treatable.  It’s the same concept with taking dental x-rays.  They help us to diagnose decay at its early stage when it is more easily treatable; before it has a large impact on your overall health….and your pocket book.

In adults, dental x-rays can be used to:

  • Show areas of decay that may not be visible with an oral examination, especially small areas of decay between teeth
  • Identify decay occurring beneath an existing filling
  • Reveal bone loss that accompanies gum disease
  • Reveal changes in the bone or in the root canal resulting from infection
  • Assist in the preparation of tooth implants, braces, dentures or other dental procedures
  • Reveal abscesses (an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth)
  • Reveal other developmental abnormalities, such as cysts and some types of tumors

In children, dental x-rays are used to:

  • Check for decay
  • Determine if there is enough space in the mouth to fit all incoming teeth
  • Determine if primary teeth are being lost quickly enough to allow permanent teeth to erupt properly
  • Check for the development of wisdom teeth and identify if the teeth are impacted (unable to emerge through the gums)

So all that said, how safe are dental x-rays?  This is always a concern that dentists and patients have.  The fact is, the level of radiation from dental x-rays is extremely small, lower than levels found naturally occurring in many areas.  Notice the chart below for some interesting facts.


I would like to reassure all of our patients that we take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety and ease their minds.  We use a wonderfully stylish lead apron to cover all of your 1,000 parts during dental x-rays and we only take x-rays when it is necessary.  We don’t take a casual view in our office of your health or concerns.  If you have any specific questions you would like to ask us when you come into our office, please feel free to ask!

Here is a link to the American Dental Associations official website that you may enjoy:  http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/x-rays


I think that one of the most common things that our patients ask us is about whitening their teeth.  They want to know what do you recommend in your office? Is laser whitening recommended? What kind of results can I expect; how long do the results last?  Does whitening my teeth cause damage?  What can I do to help if I have sensitivity while I’m whitening? These are all really good questions!

When you come in requesting a whiter smile, we will make custom molds of your teeth which we use to create personal trays for you to use with whitening gel.  We will give you detailed instructions in our office that you can take home with you.  This will help you to make sure to get the best results possible for you.  You will also receive additional gel tubes that you can use to maintain your new white smile!

There are benefits to having custom molded trays made versus chair-side whitening (laser whitening).  From my personal adventure with teeth whitening, it is much much MUCH less painful to whiten with trays.  Years ago, I had laser whitening done and the pain definitely did not outweigh the results.  That is why we do not offer this option in our office.  Usually, for those who have sensitive teeth, brushing with Sensodyne before you whiten your teeth with whitening gel and using it as your toothpaste while undergoing the whitening process is enough to help with sensitivity.

And no surprise, but results vary from person to person depending on the shade of their teeth before they start.  How long the results last greatly depends on you.  Are you a heavy coffee drinker ?  A smoker?  Eat blueberries all day every day?  Your results aren’t likely to last, regardless of which method you choose.

So does whitening damage your enamel?  I think that a lot of people ask this because of the sensitivity they feel when they use whitening products.  This is normal. Sensitivity with whitening is usually short term and goes away with time.


Whoa!!! A free sample giveaway!? Sign me up!

So I know I just posted this morning….BUT…we just got in some GREAT samples that we’re giving away in our office! First come, first serve! (as long as supplies last)  One per person that walks into the office.  What are we giving away?

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant deep clean, manually rotating Spinbrushes!  We’ve coupled them with mouthwash, floss and toothpaste samples.  Why not stop by in our office before the weekend to get some things to brighten your smile?  Free stuff is good.  You can’t go wrong!  Then you can give us feedback and let us know how you like the brushes.


Come by and make your smile sparkle!

How do whitening toothpastes work and how effective are they?

It’s Wednesday, sunny, warm and beautiful out there today.  Are you all enjoying it?  I know I am (except for the fact that I just got called to pick up a sick child from school).  Wednesdays are generally my day off from the dental world and I use it to spend with my two little munchkins (I’ll show you some pictures later) and to do my errands.  Before I get back to all of that, I wanted to take some time to get the ball rolling with answering some of your dental questions!

We’re still going through all of your suggested questions for discussion, but the question above is one that we hear a lot in our office so we might as well start there.

Well, all toothpastes help to remove subtle/mild surface staining through the action of mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide a little bit of additional stain removal. However, none of the at-home whitening toothpastes can come even close to producing the bleaching effect you get from your dentist’s office. They are not for professional whitening results.  Also, we find that whitening toothpastes tend to be too abrasive for most people to use on a daily basis without developing sensitivity.  So, I guess the next logical question would be: what do we recommend in our office to obtain professional whitening results?

If you would like to skip ahead for a preview, check out my official website link for whitening here: Tooth Whitening


Frequently asked questions


Well, like I promised, I’m going to take some time to answer your questions about myself and about dentistry.  Before I’m able to do that though, I need your feedback!  Tell me what your top three questions about me, dentistry, or oral health are.  I’ll be taking some time each week to answer one of your questions.  So take a moment to submit some questions on the form below.  I’m looking forward to hearing what is on your mind!

~Dr. Kellie

Welcome to my blog!

Hello, my name is Kellie Barnes. Welcome to my blog! After talking with some of my patients, I decided to start a blog. This is going to be a place where once a week I talk about dentistry, address frequently asked questions, and maybe even share some before and after photos with you guys of some of the beautiful dental work we do here in our office!

Our main goal in our office is to educate our patients about good oral health and hygiene. It’s amazing how it is a key directly related to your overall health and well-being. What do I mean? Stay tuned and you’ll see! Feel free to leave me a comment or a question! What would you like to know about our office and dentistry?  Feel free to check our my official website for more information as well.  www.drkellie.com

I’m looking forward to having a fun educational exchange with all of my patients!