Dr. Mary Blakeley

Get to Know Dr. Mary Blakeley

Mary Close Up New 9.26.16Dr. Mary Blakeley
 founded Willow Creek Dental back in 1998. It was located in a small office at the corner of Quebec & County Line in the Willow Creek Shopping Center, hence how we got our name. She has since moved the office twice, most notably to our current location in Lone Tree. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry and also has advanced training in dental implantology, neuromuscular dentistry, sleep apnea treatment and TMJ disorder therapy. 

You grew up in a big family in Wyoming and went to undergrad in Nebraska. What brought you to Colorado? 

I knew I wanted to practice in a larger city but still wanted to be close to home. Denver fit the bill. It’s a great place to live, has lots to do, and is a great place to raise a family.

Have you always wanted to be a dentist? What got you interested in dentistry? 

I was a dental assistant for the local dentist in Pine Bluffs in high school so that gave me exposure into what the dental industry was like. When I started college, I was undecided. I always loved my science classes and knew that some sort of medicine is what my heart desired. When I attended a health-career fair my junior year in college and spoke with the admissions director from the UNMC College of Dentistry, I immediately knew that dentistry was what I wanted to do.

You started Willow Creek Dental in 1998 after working as an Associate in a practice for one year. What made you decide to start your own practice? 

I have always been an independent person who wanted to be in control of my own destiny so it made sense to start my own practice. I also wanted to be able to control how my patients were cared for without the constraints of being “managed”.

Are there any specific areas of dentistry that you particularly enjoy? 

I get a lot of joy from helping someone whose teeth are failing them get a new, healthy smile that restores their confidence and are proud to show off.

If you weren’t a dentist, what career would you pursue? 

I probably would have pursued a career in medicine, although I can’t imagine not being a dentist! Dentistry has allowed me to still have a life outside of the office and have time with my family.

You were a student-athlete in college. What sport did you play? Do you still play today?

I played volleyball at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Even through dental school and after I moved to Denver, I still played club volleyball. I used to coach my daughter’s club team and I try to play on occasion. However, a busy family life prevents me from playing as much as I would like to.

Speaking of a busy life, you and your husband have a blended family with six children—all teenagers! When not busy with your kids and their events, what do you like to do for fun? 

I really enjoy going on an annual beach vacation with my husband, Ben. We also try to go on a vacation with the whole family once a year. I also enjoy going snowboarding, water-skiing, hiking, golfing and working out.

You are a country music fan—what has been your favorite concert? 

I like a lot of music…including country!!  My favorite concert was probably Garth Brooks. I saw him in Vegas and in Denver. Both were incredible shows!  He is such a gifted entertainer.

Tell us something about yourself that people don’t know. 

Two things. First, I grew up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming.The ranch is still owned and operated by my family and has been in operation since 1890. Second, my high school volleyball team was once featured on ESPN for having 12 state championships in a 15 year period.

Favorite Vacation Spot: 

Anywhere with water. Whether it is Grand Lake on a boating vacation or a Mexico beach vacation, as long as I am on the water, I am happy.

Favorite Movie or TV Show: 

I do not watch anything on TV regularly. I do love watching the Broncos on Sunday or the Huskers on Saturday, though. I don’t have a single favorite movie, but two of my favorites are Legends of the Fall and A Walk in the Clouds.

Favorite Local Restaurant:  

There are a lot of great restaurants in Denver, but, Carmines on Penn is one of my favorites.

Favorite Holiday Tradition:

Every other year, my entire family gets together for Christmas at my parent’s home in Wyoming. Our annual White Elephant gift exchange is a lot of fun for the kids and adults. It usually turns into a “snowball” fight that instead of snowballs, Christmas wrapping paper is wadded up into tight balls that work as ammunition. As you can imagine, in a family with mostly boys as grandchildren, it usually ends when something gets broken or someone gets hurt!!


To Floss or Not to Floss? We recommend you floss.

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes a small task can be so hard to do? What if we told you that doing a simple, inexpensive activity every day for 1 minute could help prevent painful dental problems in the future, potentially save you thousands of dollars in dental work, and help you look better? Would you do it?

Of course you would. Now if we tell you that means flossing every day, you may suddenly change your mind.

Is flossing really that beneficial? The answer is yes. Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, it is impossible for your toothbrush to clean in between your teeth and under your gums. So unless you have a strict diet of only water, there is bound to be sugar and acid from everything you eat and drink in those areas that ultimately doesn’t get removed by your toothbrush.

Flossing isn’t perfect, which is why you need to have your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months, however it does disrupt bacteria and food that is trapped between your teeth and gums, helping to prevent decay. Doing it the same time every day will help you develop a habit and you will get a pat on the back from your Hygienist at your next cleaning.

It doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost much money (in fact you get floss for free at your cleanings) and you can do it anywhere. So no more excuses—get flossing!

Same-day crowns, bridges, partials and dentures to help you maintain healthy teeth and gums

Why you should get your teeth cleaned every 6 months

Some people might wonder if cleaning your teeth every 6 months is necessary, especially if you brush and floss daily. As a dental office, we certainly believe so and here is why:

  1. Having your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months allows the Hygienist to use their special instruments to remove plaque from your teeth that your toothbrush and floss are unable to get before it eventually hardens into tartar. This preventive method can help prevent decay and gum disease, both problems that can result in future dental problems.
  2. Getting an exam twice a year allows the Dentist to check your teeth and look for any signs of decay or changes from your past visit. While you won’t need x-rays with every 6 month visit, having a dental exam can help identify and correct small dental problems before they get worse.
  3. Some people need to actually be seen more often than 6 months. If you have a fast rate of decay and tend to get cavities quickly, it is important that you not only go twice a year but possibly more frequently to help prevent dental problems. Other candidates who may require more frequent visits include smokers, diabetics, pregnant women, and those who already have been diagnosed with gum disease.
  4. Most dental insurance companies pay for two cleanings and exams a year so you might as well take advantage of a benefit you already pay for.
  5. Best of all—don’t you love how your teeth feel after they are professionally cleaned?

As always, if you are concerned with getting a cleaning twice a year, ask your dentist what they recommend.

Melissa Close Up

Using Technology to treat our TMJ Disorder Patients

Dr. Mary Blakeley is passionate about helping patients with Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)—also referred to as TMJ Disorder. In addition to undergoing extensive post-graduate training in neuromuscular dentistry and specifically the treatment of TMD, Dr. Blakeley has invested in the latest technology to aide in effectively treating her patients.

While headaches or migraines are the most common symptom of TMD, other signs and symptoms can include jaw joint pain or noise, limited opening, ringing in the ears and locking in the jaw. Patients who suffer from TMD are often faced with daily, chronic pain and other options for treatment often include prescription pain medication or surgery.

In her extensive study of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Blakeley has focused on the correlation between the patient’s occlusion (i.e. how their bite comes together) and TMD symptoms. Physiologically, if a person’s bite doesn’t come together in the most ideal way, either from the result of genetics or an accident, it can put additional stress on the TM Joint and produce painful symptoms. While not every patient who suffers from TMD has a “bad bite”, there are many people who may find relief by fixing their occlusion. TMD often means there is a discrepancy between where your teeth come together and where your muscles want to be therefore Dr. Blakeley works to find the position where the teeth, joint and muscles are in harmony. By adjusting teeth so they meet in the ideal position, whether through an orthotic, orthodontics or dental restorations, the stress on the TM Joint could lessen and reduce or eliminate painful symptoms.

To determine if the patient’s TMD symptoms are possibly the result of a “bad bite”, Dr. Blakeley must first determine what the patient’s ideal occlusion is. To do so, she uses a K7 Computerized Mandibular Scanner (CMS) and Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulus (TENS) to measure and record objective information about the patient’s TM joint.

The K7 CMS uses 3 non-intrusive technologies to gather and measure data—jaw tracking (tracks motion), surface electromyography (measures TM joint muscle activity) and joint sonography (assesses joint function through the use of vibration/sound).

TENSing provides a tiny electrical stimulus that travels through nerves that control the muscles of the head and neck. This causes the muscles to exercise mildly, forcing out accumulated waste products of metabolism and providing the muscles with fresh nutrients and oxygen. Any persistent muscle tension that may be present can then be relaxed to find an optimum bite position.

In addition to the use of the K7 and TENS, Dr. Blakeley also has her patients undergo a 3-dimensional x-ray called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). The CBCT scan provides high-resolution images to allow examination of the TM Joint anatomy, specifically the bone and joint space. The CBCT scan is done at Willow Creek Dental and only takes a few minutes to complete.

After the patient’s information has been gathered, measured and assessed, Dr. Blakeley is then able to recommend a course of treatment. The same technology is then used throughout the patient’s treatment to evaluate progress and determine its effectiveness.

If you or someone you know is suffering from TMD symptoms and would like to find out if you are a candidate for our TMJ Therapy program, contact our office at 303-779-2797 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Blakeley.

Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog

Home is where I’m happiest

New Year. New You. 5 Things you can do right now to ensure 2017 is a great year for your teeth.

  1. Quit Smoking and Chewing Tobacco: If this isn’t at the top of your resolution list, it should be. In addition to the increased risk of oral cancer, smoking and chewing tobacco can negatively impact your teeth and gums. Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, preventing infected gums from healing and causing gum disease to get worse. Using tobacco products also results in an increased buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth and increased loss of bone. Not to mention the yellowing and staining of the teeth. If there is one resolution you can make in 2017, this is the one to do.
  2. Drink (More) Water: We all know we should drink more water and often set a resolution to drink the recommended 8 or more glasses of water a day. This can be difficult to reach and sustain, however, if you aren’t used to drinking that much water. Start by increasing your daily intake by 1 glass each day. Then keep increasing it by a glass as your body gets used to drinking more water. The benefits of water are amazing for your entire body (think hair, skin, nails), but especially for your teeth. Drinking a glass of water instead of a soda or juice prevents sugar and acid from sticking to your teeth, decreasing the buildup of plaque and tartar and reducing the effects of erosion on your enamel. If you still need to drink a soda or juice, then follow-up with a glass of water to help wash away the harmful residue. If drinking plain water is too boring for you, try adding some fresh fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries), herbs (mint) or vegetables (cucumbers) to make it more refreshing. Additionally, flavored sparkling water can be a great alternative for those that crave carbonation.
  3. Floss. Every. Day: It really doesn’t matter to us whether you floss in the morning, at lunch or at bedtime. Basically, we just want you to floss each day so you can remove and break up particles of food that become trapped between your teeth. Otherwise that food can ultimately cause decay, leading to cavities or worse. We do recommend setting a routine so that it is done about the same time every day and easier to make a habit. And you know how you suddenly floss 3 or 4 times a day right before a dental appointment to catch up? Well, we can tell if you haven’t been doing it regularly. Basically—there is no such thing as cramming for a dental appointment.
  4. Don’t Chew Ice: A lot of people enjoy chewing ice however it can actually be harmful to your teeth. Ice is hard and can cause cracked or chipped teeth, in addition to causing problems with older dental work. So keep the ice in your glass.
  5. Don’t Sip Soda: You know how we feel about soda (regular and diet) and the negative effects it can have on your teeth. For those of you who refuse to give up your daily soda, we recommend you drink it in one setting, preferably with a meal. The impact of soda on your teeth is actually the most harmful when it is sipped all day long. In fact, every time you take a sip of soda, you are bathing your teeth for 20 minutes with acid and sugar.So if you have to have it, drink it at once and follow up with a glass of water.