expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. Jennifer Rankin

Dentist

Dr. Jennifer Rankin is a Dentist practicing in Aurora, Colorado. Dr. Rankin specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic procedures, and performing examinations, among many others.
Dr. Jennifer Rankin
  • Aurora, Colorado
  • University of Iowa
  • Accepting new patients

Why does my son have yellow teeth?

The color you are seeing is likely coming from the second layer of the tooth called the dentin, and this is where all teeth get their color. For some that color is more grayish READ MORE
The color you are seeing is likely coming from the second layer of the tooth called the dentin, and this is where all teeth get their color. For some that color is more grayish and others more yellow. You can discuss whitening options with your dentist, but if it does not bother your child, then the color is probably fine.

What happens if my son's baby teeth don't come out?

It is important to bring your son to the dentist office between 1 and 3 years of age for his first visit. There can be wide variation as to when children lose their baby teeth, READ MORE
It is important to bring your son to the dentist office between 1 and 3 years of age for his first visit. There can be wide variation as to when children lose their baby teeth, but your dentist can monitor that. Sometimes the baby teeth don't come out even when the permanent teeth erupt and that may have to do with the position of the permanent tooth. Other times, there can be a genetic component where a permanent tooth never forms, so the baby tooth remains in place. In the latter case, that retained primary tooth is treated as if it is a permanent tooth and unless there are problems that occur, the baby tooth may last for a lifetime. If the tooth needs to be removed, a dental bridge or implant are options. There is no reason to be concerned at this time.

How will chemo affect my oral health?

First of all, I am sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. Radiation usually has a bigger impact, with the potential of decreased salivary flow, which can then lead to an increase READ MORE
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. Radiation usually has a bigger impact, with the potential of decreased salivary flow, which can then lead to an increase in decay. Not knowing what the chemo meds are, I am not sure what the side effects are, but certainly I would look into that. If dry mouth is a side effect, be sure to stay hydrated with WATER. Other beverages do not count. Xylitol-containing products (gum, mints) have been shown to combat the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Biotene is a rinse that can be used to help with dry mouth as well.

Even if dry mouth is not a side effect, it is extremely important to be very diligent with your home care, brushing 2-3 times daily and flossing every day. Your immune system is down, so flood your body with produce. The healthier you can keep your mouth, the healthier your body and vice versa. It is all connected.
Hope this helps and best wishes as you go through your treatment.

In health,

Dr. Rankin

How long is a root canal treatment?

Typically, a root canal at a specialist's (endodontist) office will take an hour to an hour and a half for a molar tooth. Shorter for other teeth. Time may be similar at a general READ MORE
Typically, a root canal at a specialist's (endodontist) office will take an hour to an hour and a half for a molar tooth. Shorter for other teeth. Time may be similar at a general dentist office depending upon the experience. I would suggest calling the dentist office to get this information.

What is the difference between an oral surgeon and a dentist?

An oral surgeon specializes in the removal of teeth as well as more advanced jaw/facial surgeries. They go to school an additional 4-6 years longer than a general dentist. While READ MORE
An oral surgeon specializes in the removal of teeth as well as more advanced jaw/facial surgeries. They go to school an additional 4-6 years longer than a general dentist. While a general dentist can remove teeth, when the removal is deemed more complicated than the general dentist feels comfortable taking on, patients are generally referred to the specialist,
in this case an oral surgeon.

In health,

Dr. Rankin

How young is 'too young' for braces?

When there is crowding of the primary/baby teeth, that is often an indicator that a child may need braces. Other considerations are jaw sizes, discrepancies, narrow palate, habits READ MORE
When there is crowding of the primary/baby teeth, that is often an indicator that a child may need braces. Other considerations are jaw sizes, discrepancies, narrow palate, habits (i.e., thumb sucking, etc.). So, there are times when it may be suggested that a 7-year-old see an orthodontist for an evaluation. Sometimes the orthodontist will simply monitor the child until the time is appropriate for braces. There are mixed ideas on whether orthodontics should be done in phases or when the adult dentition has fully erupted. Each patient is unique so there needs to be a decision that makes sense to both the patient/parent and the dentist/orthodontist. Second opinions are always a good idea. You, as the parent, need to be comfortable with the options.

In health,

Dr. Rankin

What do sealants do?

Sealants are a flowable resin material that fill in the deep grooves in the back (molar) teeth to help prevent decay. Toothbrush bristles cannot get all the way into the deep grooves, READ MORE
Sealants are a flowable resin material that fill in the deep grooves in the back (molar) teeth to help prevent decay. Toothbrush bristles cannot get all the way into the deep grooves, which means that decay can develop, even with brushing. In a nutshell, sealants are a preventative option to ward off development of decay.

In health,

Dr. Rankin

What do healthy gums look like?

Healthy gums should have a pink appearance to them (not red), be firmly attached to the tooth and not bleed with brushing or flossing. There are variations in color depending upon READ MORE
Healthy gums should have a pink appearance to them (not red), be firmly attached to the tooth and not bleed with brushing or flossing. There are variations in color depending upon ethnicity, but firm and no bleeding always hold true.

Is gum disease hereditary?

While your family history can give you a predisposition to periodontal (gum disease), your habits and lifestyle choices can influence the development of that either positively READ MORE
While your family history can give you a predisposition to periodontal (gum disease), your habits and lifestyle choices can influence the development of that either positively or negatively. Avoid tobacco products, eat a diet low in processed foods and high in fruits, veggies, and foods you actually prepare at home (not from a box). Good oral home care including daily flossing and brushing 2-3 times per day as well as seeing your dentist and dental hygienist every 6 months are very important. You may want to consider having your dentist perform a quick 30-second saliva test so that the types of bacteria in your mouth can be evaluated, and if you do have high levels of bacteria associated with periodontal disease, you and your dental team can be proactive to prevent development of the disease.
Hope this helps!

In health,

Dr. Rankin

When is a periodontist preferred over a dentist?

There are several reasons to see a periodontist. Below are a few examples: 1. After a deep cleaning and subsequent follow-up treatments, the patient is not responding to treatment READ MORE
There are several reasons to see a periodontist. Below are a few examples:

1. After a deep cleaning and subsequent follow-up treatments, the patient is not responding to treatment and the disease is not stabilizing or is getting worse
2. Advanced bone loss requiring, either generalized or localized, that requires bone grafting
3. Advanced recession where gingival grafts are recommended
4. Placement of implants, especially in patients with periodontal disease

While this is not an exhaustive list, it covers the most common reasons to seek a specialist. In all cases, there should be a continued working relationship between the patient, the general dentist, and the periodontist so that the most optimal treatment can be achieved.

Dr. Rankin

How is TMD diagnosed?

TMD is diagnosed through a series of clinical as well as radiographic examination findings in conjunction with the patient's described symptoms. Risk factors can include inflammatory READ MORE
TMD is diagnosed through a series of clinical as well as radiographic examination findings in conjunction with the patient's described symptoms. Risk factors can include inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, fibromyalgia, and more.

Does a teeth whitening have long-lasting effects?

How long a whitening lasts depends on the whitening system and also habits such as coffee/tea consumption, smoking, red wine, dark berries, etc. Once you get to the shade that READ MORE
How long a whitening lasts depends on the whitening system and also habits such as coffee/tea consumption, smoking, red wine, dark berries, etc. Once you get to the shade that you are happy with, over time you may want to touch up every so often to maintain that shade.

Can eating betel leaves cause oral cancer?

From all that I have read, Betel leaves alone appear to have many very positive effects. It's when it's combined (quid) that there appears to be a potential increase in cancer, READ MORE
From all that I have read, Betel leaves alone appear to have many very positive effects. It's when it's combined (quid) that there appears to be a potential increase in cancer, but the studies I have seen are on animals, not humans.

How do you know when you need a dental crown?

Crowns are recommended for several reasons: a significant portion of the tooth is broken off, multiple fractures in the tooth structure, existing restoration encompasses more than READ MORE
Crowns are recommended for several reasons: a significant portion of the tooth is broken off, multiple fractures in the tooth structure, existing restoration encompasses more than half the natural remaining tooth structure, tooth has had a root canal. Most of these are identified by the dentist and with intra-oral imaging, you, as the patient, can see some of this as well. There are some symptoms you may notice that would indicate your tooth may need a crown. The most notable is discomfort on biting down and sometimes there is more discomfort on release of the bite versus biting down itself. Pain on biting can also mean an abscess. If you have any concerns, I would recommend making an appointment with your dentist to catch any potential problems early.

In health,

Dr. Rankin

Are there any home remedies to treat dry mouth?

Here is a link to information put out by mayo clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424 Hope READ MORE
Here is a link to information put out by mayo clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424 <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424>

Hope this helps!
Dr. Rankin

Is it okay to swallow the gel applied for a mouth ulcer?

Yes, it is OK to swallow the gel. Typically, medications that are safe to be placed in the mouth are safe for ingestion in small amounts.

Jennifer Rankin, DDS

What should be done for a chipped "baby tooth"?

The biggest concern is if the baby teeth were pushed upwards, as this could cause potential damage to the permanent teeth that are under the gum/bone as this time. If the baby READ MORE
The biggest concern is if the baby teeth were pushed upwards, as this could cause potential damage to the permanent teeth that are under the gum/bone as this time. If the baby teeth were not moved from the original position, then I would monitor them for changes in color (usually a grayish hue). The color change indicates that the nerve is damaged and dying and can result in an abscess. The abscess can negatively impact the permanent teeth. Outside of the chips being an aesthetic concern, if your child is not experiencing any discomfort, the chips do not need to be repaired. In any case, I would recommend visiting your dentist so that a baseline assessment can be obtained.

Sincerely,

Dr. Rankin

How can I stop my husband from grinding his teeth in his sleep?

There is not a straightforward answer to this issue. There are a variety of reasons he may be grinding including potential sleep apnea. Initially, I would have him see his dentist READ MORE
There is not a straightforward answer to this issue. There are a variety of reasons he may be grinding including potential sleep apnea. Initially, I would have him see his dentist for an evaluation. Sometimes, an occlusal guard is sufficient to protect the teeth and decrease the grinding at night. However, if the problem is associated with sleep apnea, then he needs to see his physician. The MD can order a test to evaluate sleep apnea.
So, in short, your husband needs to make an appointment with his dentist and/or MD. Over-the-counter mouth guards are not recommended as these often increase the grinding.

Jennifer Rankin, DDS

What calcium supplements do you recommend for my son's calcium deficiency?

I, personally, am not a fan of isolated supplements unless they are used short term to treat a specific issue. Our bodies better able to absorb nutrients from food than from supplementation. READ MORE
I, personally, am not a fan of isolated supplements unless they are used short term to treat a specific issue. Our bodies better able to absorb nutrients from food than from supplementation. There are many non dairy sources of calcium including:

Spinach
Kale
Okra
Collards
Soybeans
White beans
Some fish, like sardines, salmon, perch, and rainbow trout
Foods that are calcium-fortified, such as some orange juice, oatmeal, and breakfast cereal

Plant milks (almond, soy, etc) often provide the same or more calcium than milk.

Calcium absorption from calcium pills is poor and can lead to development of kidney stones so I will re-enforce trying to obtain the calcium from food.
I hope this helps.

How often should you floss?

I would disagree with the recommendation not to floss every day. When done correctly, flossing is very effective in reducing bacteria and plaque between the teeth and just under READ MORE
I would disagree with the recommendation not to floss every day. When done correctly, flossing is very effective in reducing bacteria and plaque between the teeth and just under the gum line. This in turn leads to healthier gum tissue and reduced decay between the teeth. If you are unsure if you are flossing correctly, be sure to ask your dental hygienist to demonstrate proper technique.