Brush or Floss First, That is the Question

Ask Willow Creek Dental: Brush or Floss First?

This question, “Is it better to brush or floss first?” is asked a lot by new patients and followers on our Facebook and Twitter pages. There are many different theories on this subject matter, so we went straight to the source, Dr. Mary Blakeley. Her response, “If you are asking the question if you should floss or brush first means you are more than likely doing both, and that’s really all that matters. It isn’t the order in which you brush or floss, it’s more that you do both to keep your teeth healthy.”

Other questions we have received from our social pages, include:

Why should I brush my teeth after each meal? We recommend that you brush your teeth at least two times a day. While it is ideal to brush your teeth after each meal it is not always an option. In those instances, rinse with water or an antibacterial mouthwash to remove loose food particles.

Why is it recommended that you brush your teeth for 2 minutes each time you brush?  To keep up with good oral hygiene, we recommend that you brush your teeth for two minutes. This allows you to focus 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth to remove food particles and help prevent future tooth decay and gum disease.

Why do I have bad breath?  I brush and floss my teeth daily? Bad breath, or halitosis, is caused by bacteria in the mouth emitting sulfur-like smells. Certain foods you are eating can affect the production of bacteria in the mouth. Beverages like coffee and foods like garlic, fish, and spicy foods can trigger bad breath due to the residue that sticks to the gums, teeth and mouth lining.

Do you have a dental question you’d like a member of our Willow Creek Dental team to answer? Post your comment below, send us a Facebook message, or contact us on our website. We’re here to answer your questions.

Straight Teeth with Invisalign

Benefits of Straight Teeth

It might be surprising to know that the benefits of having properly aligned teeth extend far beyond a confident smile. Teeth that are crowded or crooked can impact the health of your gums as it can be more difficult to brush and floss properly in those areas. Straightening your teeth can significantly affect your overall dental health because it reduces your risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

If your teeth are crooked or misaligned and you’re worried about the impact to your oral heath, here are five reasons you should consider Invisalign® treatment.

  1. Invisalign® aligner trays are easy to remove at meal times. Simply remove before eating, then floss (which is very easy to do compared to dealing with metal braces) and put them back in.
  2. Invisalign ® aligners are clear and nothing like obvious metal braces. Most people won’t even know you’re wearing them, because they are virtually invisible!
  3. Metal braces can puncture and scratch the insides of your mouth and gums. Invisalign® trays do not have sharp edges, they are smooth and comfortable.
  4. Treatment time with Invisalign® can be less than with traditional metal braces. Invisalign® can take from 1 to 2 years on average to straighten your teeth.
  5. The technology behind Invisalign® is state-of-the-art. Dental patients undergo treatment plans that have been fully computerized. Our Dentists know exactly what to expect with each aligner tray so they can forecast when you will be done with your treatments.

To learn more about Invisalign® and if it is right for you, contact Willow Creek Dental at (303) 779-2797 to set up your FREE, no-risk consultation. To learn more about our full range of cosmetic dentistry services.

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: Blog

Michelle with Kids

Get to Know Michelle Meyer, Hygiene Coordinator

Michelle HeadshotMichelle joined Willow Creek Dental in 2011 and has been busy scheduling patients as our Hygiene Coordinator ever since. She is a Colorado native who grew up in Aurora and has two children living in North Dakota and Tennessee.



You have a background in Accounting with over 20 years of experience. How did you end up at Willow Creek Dental? Do you still do any Accounting work today? 

I actually used to work for a packaging and shipping franchise with Dr. Blakeley’s husband and he told me about the opportunity at Willow Creek Dental. I still occasionally like to pick up Bookkeeping jobs on the side as Accounting is “relaxing” for me.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I love getting to know our patients and their families.

What has surprised you the most working at a dental office?

Truthfully, it is all the candy and junk food that we get at our office from other doctors and vendors!

You love country music and have been lucky to meet some pretty famous people. Who have you met?

I have been fortunate to meet Darius Rucker, Jana Kramer, The Band Perry, Kasey Musgraves, Lauren Alaina, and Eli Young Band.

You are always attending concerts. What has been your favorite concert so far? What is one you would love to go to?

My favorite concerts have been Luke Bryan where I was at the stage watching him perform and Blake Shelton.  I have yet to see Kenny Chesney, whom I’d love to see, but I prefer the smaller venues and he plays at football stadiums.

What is something about yourself that would surprise people?

I am interested in learning more about “energy healing”. There are actually people who are licensed and paid to do energy healing work. I love learning about Chakras, Numerology and have a mentor who is helping me gain confidence and clarification with my intuition and medium abilities.  I also love working with Tarot Cards.  Handwriting Analysis is another subject I love learning about and I have basic skills with.

What do you like to do in your downtime?

Weekend trips to see my children or local trips to the mountains are my favorite.  I also enjoy country dancing (two step, triple step, country cha cha, west coast swing) and want to learn salsa dancing next.

Favorite Book:

“The Secret”- a book about the power of your thoughts… what you attract into your life. The thoughts you put into the universe are what comes back at you, changing our thinking, having lots of gratitude and the feeling of abundance and ultimately it is what you get back.  Again, it’s that energy thing.

Favorite Movie or TV Show:  

Sweet Home Alabama is my favorite movie and I love the TV show Nashville.

Favorite Holiday Tradition:

We don’t really have any regular holiday traditions however my family does get together every Christmas Eve.

Katie Camel Resized

Get to Know Katie Stager, Registered Dental Hygienist

Katie Stager Close up 4_6_15Katie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from CU-Denver and also a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from CU-Dental Health Science Center. She has been with Willow Creek Dental since 2008 and is also our OSHA and Infection Control Coordinator, ensuring that our procedures and equipment meet OSHA requirements.


You have a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. Were you always planning to go into the dental field?

Yes, I always knew I wanted to go into the dental field but I wanted something to fall back on in case my body doesn’t let me do hygiene for the rest of my life. At the time I was very interested in dental forensics, which is why I got a degree in Chemistry.

What advice would you tell someone who would like to be a Dental Hygienist?

I would tell them to shadow a dental office and a Registered Dental Hygienist to make sure you like it. Also, try to complete an internship if possible.

What hygiene habits are you instilling in your young daughters?

USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH FROM DAY 1.  For my 3 year-old, we sing a song until I am done brushing her teeth.  She gets to brush first and then I get to brush and I sing songs until I’m done.

You like to be active and played soccer growing up. Do you still play today?

Can’t say I still play but some days I miss it.  I am still quite active, though, and enjoy going to the gym for spin classes.

You and your husband love to travel—how many different countries have you been to? What was the place that surprised you the most?

I have been to 16 different countries, I think. I survived the Bermuda Triangle back in 2014. I never ask someone who travels a lot which place was their favorite because each place is very different.  I always ask, “if you could go anywhere right this second, where would you go?”  I love Europe for the history.  I also have favorite beaches that I love to visit for the water.  United Arab Emirates surprised me the most I would say.  The customer service was amazing and everywhere you went people were very kind.  EVERYTHING is in English. including stop signs, which are in the shaped like ours and say it in Arabic and then underneath say “STOP”.

What would be  your dream place to visit?

I have so many places still on my bucket list. As of right now, though, I am anxious to take the girls on a Disney cruise.

What do you like to do in your downtime?

I enjoy family time, making cards and scrap booking.

Favorite Book:

I enjoy reading a suspenseful James Patterson book.

Favorite Movie or TV Show:

For TV shows, I like Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, Banshee, and Shameless. Nick and I also enjoy watching a good movie.  It’s hard to pick a favorite, but we really enjoy getting a good laugh.

Favorite Holiday Tradition:

We always watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for Thanksgiving and Christmas Vacation for Christmas. Growing up one of my siblings would wake up very early and wake all of us up. We would sit on my parents bed and go through our stockings. Then we would head downstairs and open presents. My mom would put some kind of pastry in the oven and we would eat that while watching one of our new movies. All of us would then fall back asleep watching the movie. We would stay in our pajamas all day and just hang out as a family. I loved it. I would love to start those kind of traditions with our daughters.

Rachel Scuba Diving

Get to Know Rachel Holland, Registered Dental Hygienist

Rachel HeadshotRachel was born in St. Petersburg, Florida but has been in Colorado for the past 20 years. She has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene from Pueblo Community College.


You have an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene. Are you also getting your Bachelor’s degree? Have you always wanted to go into the dental field? 

Yes, I am. I am currently enrolled in the first bachelor program ever offered at Pueblo Community College. I will finish my degree in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene Education. I have known I wanted to be in the dental field since I was 19 years old. I shadowed an incredible dental hygienist and she inspired me to do what I love doing today, treating and educating patients!


What advice would you tell someone who would like to be a Dental Hygienist?

My best advice would be to do your research, shadow hygienists and get experience in the field before pursuing your degree. Make sure you enjoy it and study hard!


What is your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of my career is the patient care. I truly enjoy getting to know each and every one of my patients while being able to provide excellent care simultaneously.


You are a certified scuba diver. When did you get certified? What got you interested in diving?

I was certified in July 2016. So far, I have dove in Mexico and Florida. My dad grew up diving in Florida and always dreamed of showing our family how beautiful underwater life can be. So this past summer we all went to Mexico and were scuba certified together!


What would be your dream scuba trip?

My dream scuba trip would be in Hawaii, Bora Bora, Indonesia, or the Galápagos Islands.


You are currently learning Portuguese. What made you choose Portuguese? Do you speak any other languages?

Yes, I am currently learning Portuguese. My fiancé is Brazilian and speaks Portuguese fluently. I am interested in learning in order to interact with all of his family, especially when we visit them in Brazil. It is a fun language but very difficult to learn pronunciation. I also know and understand most of the Spanish language.


What do you like to do in your downtime?

In my down time I like to go for walks/ runs at cherry creek state park, ride my road bike in the mountains, spend the weekends with family and enjoy a glass of wine and a good TV show in the evenings.


Favorite Book: Currently my favorite books are hygiene school related while I’m finishing my degree (haha).

Favorite Movie or TV Show:
My favorite movie is A League Of Their Own. My favorite show is How I Met Your Mother .

Favorite Holiday Tradition:
My favorite holiday tradition is Halloween because we always dress up as different characters and act goofy.

Elizabeth Headshot 2

Willow Creek Dental Welcomes Dr. Elizabeth Trepka!

Elizabeth Headshot 2Willow Creek Dental is excited to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Trepka to our office!

Dr. Trepka grew up in Wickenburg, Arizona. She was a student-athlete at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. She went on to get her Master’s degree in Biomedical Science from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Dr. Trepka also worked as an Expanded Duties Dental Assistant for five years prior to starting dental school.

Dr. Trepka attended the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine and graduated in 2016.  While in school, she was involved in the Women’s Dental Club and received the “Quintessence Award for Clinical Achievement in Periodontics.”

Personally, Dr. Trepka married her husband Gregg in 2013 and they have two young daughters, Macie and Joanna. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, going to concerts, baking, and playing volleyball and basketball.

Dr. Trepka offers general and cosmetic dentistry services, in addition to sleep apnea treatment, Invisalign clear aligner therapy and implant dentistry. She can be reached at

Castle Rock

Refer a Friend and Enter to Win $250 to Castle Rock’s Finest!

Our local neighbor to the south, Castle Rock, has a ton of great restaurants, shopping and activities to keep you entertained. So when you refer a friend or family member to our office in July, you will be automatically entered to win $250 in gift cards to shop at the Outlets at Castle Rock and dine at Augustine Grill. We will draw the lucky winner on August 1st. Click here for the official rules of the program.

So refer away and check out what Castle Rock has to offer!

Elyse Braces On

Does my child need braces?

“Does my child need braces?” is a question we get a lot in our office.

Most orthodontists recommend that you bring your child in at age 7 for their first consultation. At this visit, the orthodontist will typically perform an exam in addition to reviewing photos and x-rays with you. The goal is to look at your child’s occlusion (how the teeth come together), see how much space is available for permanent teeth that still need to come in and determine if your child may benefit from braces at some point.

If nothing is needed at the time, the orthodontist may recommend that you come back at 6 or 12 month intervals to check on your child’s development. In some cases, your child may benefit from a palatal expander and/or Phase 1 braces to reduce the complexity and length of time needed in braces at a later date.

To get started, ask your dentist for a referral to an orthodontist and they will be happy to make a recommendation.

4th of July

Fun things to do over the 4th of July

Our office will be closed on Monday, July 4th so our team can celebrate Independence Day with their family and friends. In honor of the holiday, here are some fun ways to enjoy the long weekend:

Most importantly, have fun and be safe!