We’re Moving. Come On Over and See Us…

We’ve packed up all our junk and moved to another location. All future posts for this blog will be found at www.NashvilleDentistBlog.com . So head on over there and give us a house warming gift…

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Popular Dental Pain Pill Gets A Makeover

 

I don't know if I'm more concerned about the tooth pain or the feet growing out of your head

 

Unfortunately, we dentists are often associated with pain. “Ouch! You hurt me.” “Ouch! my tooth hurts.” “Ouch! My gums are bleeding.” “GIMME SOMETHING FOR PAIN!!!!”

So pretty much everyday I write prescriptions for pain medication. Let me give you a quick break down of the drugs dentists often use…

– NSAID’s: stands for Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug. These are things like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can get these without a little piece of paper from your doctor, and they can be pretty effective. I especially like ibuprofen.

– Opioids: Ahhh the poppy. These flowers are the source of a lot of pain relieving

Pretty.

medicines, as well as a lot of illegal drugs. Poppies are used to make morphine which is a powerful pain killer. Morphine derivatives include drugs like hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and codeine. These drugs are stronger than most NSAID’s and are addictive, therefore they should be used with caution.

One day, a drug manufacturer decided that if one drug was good for pain, then 2 must be better. The result was a combination of NSAID’s and Opiods… a match made in heaven it would seem.

Take 2 and call me in the morning.

So now we have drugs like Lortab and Vicodin which are combinations of opioids like hydrocodone, and NSAID’s like acetaminophen. These little pills have been used for years to help people get relief from pain associated with dental illness, after dental treatment, as well as other things that ail ‘ya like back pain.

The same combination and dose has been used for years. Since the opioids are the stronger drug, they tend to get more attention. But let’s not forget about the acetaminophen. You can OD on that stuff too.

Therein lies the problem. Too much of a good thing can be bad, and in this case it’s too much acetaminophen. High doses of acetaminophen can be toxic to your liver. Combine it with alcohol or other drugs that are hard on your liver, and you can be in serious trouble. In fact, acetaminophen poisoning is one of the leading causes of liver failure, and it is often used as a method to commit suicide especially in the UK. Bad stuff.

This has led the Food and Drug Administration to put a limit on the amount of acetaminophen in these pain medications. I think that this is a smart decision as people often forget how much acetaminophen they are ingesting when taking pain medication.

So there you have it. A smart move by the FDA to prevent over dosing.

If you have any questions about dental pain medication, or if you are experiencing dental pain, please give us a call at 615-298-2385 or check us out online at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .

P.S. prescribing of these drugs is monitored closely, and you must see a doctor to get a prescription.

Out With The Old, In With The New…

It’s a new year, and everyone has resolutions to make changes in their lives. Teeth are no exception in the whole make-changes-for-the-better thing. They need a makeover too! Here’s a few teeth that recently achieved their New Year’s Resolution by getting a makeover. We removed the old silver/mercury amalgam fillings and replaced them with white composite resin fillings. The old fillings were no longer sealing the tooth and they were leaking all kinds of bad stuff underneath them. Yuck.

The before. Teeth full of silver fillings

 

... and the after. Ta-Da!

I think it is worth noting that these fillings were replaced before the teeth started hurting. This is important because teeth may feel fine even though they need some attention. Typically teeth don’t hurt until there is some sort of damage to the pulp tissue on the inside of the tooth. The pulp tissue is where the nerve lives, and if it is damaged we are talkin’ root canal or removal of the tooth. Boo.

So take care of those teeth before they hurt!!

If you live in the Nashville area and have questions about teeth or if you want to develop a plan for a New Year’s Tooth Resolution, please give our NAshville dental office a call at 615-298-2385 . We are also on the web at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .

The “F” Word is Back in the News

Too much of a good thing?

I know I just talked about this, but there has been a timely update to the fluoride debate, debacle, miracle, or whatever you want to call it. Seriously, I had no idea that the government was about to make new recommendations concerning the use of fluoride in public drinking water to help prevent cavities.

“So Dr. McGee, what’s the deal-e-o?” Turns out, the U.S. government has announced plans to recommend a reduction in the amount of fluoride in the drinking water.

“But you just told us that fluoride helps prevent cavities and is a good thing. So, Dr. McGee you must be a liar liar pants on fire!”

Hey! Why Are My teeth All Polka-Dotted?!

Actually no. It would appear that we may be getting too much of a good thing. With all the fluoride in the water, and in toothpaste, and mouthwash, etc we may be ingesting too much of the stuff. The problem with too much fluoride is that it causes the teeth to develop white spots and in severe cases can even turn them brown. Eeeew.
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I think a lot of this is due to the fact that Americans have many more sources of fluoride at their disposal than they did years ago when it was first introduced into water systems years ago.

All this may have you asking what the right amount of fluoride is. As far as drinking water goes, it’s about 1 part per million. Contact your local water utility to find out how much water you are getting.

“Hey, Do You Take My Insurance?”

Lookie what I found... it's a bill

This time of year here in Nashville we seem to get more questions about dental insurance than any other time. Do y’all accept Cigna, Health Spring, Delta Dental, Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc, etc. With a new year often comes resolutions to lose weight as well as changes to dental benefits.

Here’s a quick list of changes to most dental insurance plans in the new year…

1) New plan year maximum. Most dental insurance plans pay a certain amount of benefits each year and that’s it. At the end of the year what you don’t use doesn’t roll into the next, you start over with a new amount. So with each new year you get another batch of funds to help cover your dental expenses. That means if you have work you’ve been waiting to do, now is the time when you have the most available funds to get it done.

2) New plan. Employers often change their benefits and that can mean new dental insurance for you. This can be good or bad. A new dental insurance plan may cover more procedures. That’s good. High five! On the other hand, a new plan may have a waiting period (it won’t cover procedures until a certain amount of time has passed) or it may cover fewer procedures. That’s bad. Booooo.

Do as Indiana Jones did and chose your dental insurance wisely

3) Different plan options. Patients are often given a choice of plan near the end of a year or at the beginning of a new year. So it’s time to chose and chose wisely. One plan may have a low premium, but you may not get as much coverage. Another may cost moe, but provides better coverage. Which dental insurance plan is right for you depends one your personal situation and dental health.

Confused yet? Good, ’cause there’s more…

4) Deductible. Tax deduction.. wha? No deductible. This is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before the plan benefits kick in. Again, it’s different with every dental insurance plan, but with each new year you have to meet your deductible.

Another issue that we run into is people who are current patients who change dental insurance plans and think that they can no longer come to our office. That is not necessarily the case. We participate with many dental insurance plans, so the chances are that if you switch insurance plans, we accept the new plan too.

Just in case you are wondering, our office is in network with Delta Dental of Tennessee, Cigna Dental PPO, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Health Spring, Connection Dental Network, and accept many other dental insurance plans. So if you live in Nashville and are looking for a new dental home, well, now you’ve found one.

If you have any other questions about dental insurance please call our Nashville office at 615-298-2385 or visit our office website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com

 

I Think There’s Something in the Water

Raise a glass of cavity fighting goodness

You may not know that a simple glass of tap water is one of the best means of maintaing good dental health.

“No way”, you say? Way. That’s because there is something in the water. Fluoride specifically.

“Oh yeah. I forgot about that Dr. Matt. So what’s the deal with it anyway?”

This is the cavity fighting molecule... or maybe just a stack of balls

Fluoride can actually be found naturally in the environment. Seriously. In fact, in the 1940’s people started noticing that communities with fluoride naturally occurring in the water had much less tooth decay than communities without fluoride in the water.

This discovery led to many communities adding fluoride to the public drinking water resulting in one of the greatest achievements in public health since it resulted in a drastic reduction in tooth decay.

So how does it work? Basically fluoride helps reduce the rate at which a tooth

Thanks Mr. Fluoride man for keeping me cavity free!!

breaks down due to tooth decay, and it also helps to remineralize (i.e. rebuild) a tooth after a small cavity has started.

It’s simple and cost-effective since it only costs about 95 cents per person per year… that’s a good deal! Plus it adds no color, flavor, or smell to the water. No spoon-full of sugar to make this medicine go down.

Lots of us have had fluoride in the water as a part of our lives for several decades. Some of us just assume that cavities are no longer a problem, but forget why we don’t have dental problems as much as people in the past.

we do not help fight cavities

Fast forward from the early days of fluoridation to now. Bottled water. I bet people from back-in-the-day would flip out if they knew that people are selling water. I mean I get it and all… pure (maybe), convenient serving size, nothing but hydrogen and oxygen, status symbol. That’s all fine and good, but you may be missing out on the good ‘ole cavity fighter fluoride.

Most bottled water companies are so excited about making their product pure, that they take out the fluoride. What happens next is that people stop drinking tap water in favor of bottled water, and in doing so they are no longer getting fluoride to help prevent cavities.

So why am I telling you this? I just want the good people of Nashville to know that if they are drinking bottled water, they may not be getting the cavity protection that they once were.

“Aw man!” you say. Fear not… there is a website that can tell you which bottled water companies put fluoride in their water. And here it is .

So maybe there is something in the water… or not. Check it out and just know how it affects your teeth.

Stuff That May Be in Your Teeth is Back in the News… Again

This stuff looks cool, just not in your toof...

Quicksilver. A brand of car. A god. A planet. The lead singer for the rock band

"Uh this thing... Amal-gam... I just... can't handle it..." Really, you're not supposed to touch it

 

Queen. Liquid metal. Toxin. Filler of holes in teeth. Mercury!! Depending on what you think of when you hear mercury, it may or may not be a good thing. And therein lies the problem… no one can decide if it’s a good or a bad thing.

I’ve talked about this before, and I thought that the Food and Drug Administration had settled the debate once and for all. Alas no.

 

Dentist or Mad Hatter. You decide. P.S. nice hair dude

Dentist or Mad Hatter. You decide. P.S. nice hair dude

Let’s recap shall we.  Mercury is found in lots of things: thermometers, blood pressure meters, various types of light bulbs, and your teeth. It also used to be used to make hats. The thought was that the mercury made the hat makers crazy and thus the saying “as mad as a hatter.” Mercury makes up approximately 50% of the filling material amalgam, which has been used to fill teeth since it was first introduced in France in the late 19th century.

We are molars and we are storing your mercury. Our cousin lives in a thermometer.

It’s also a toxin. Yup. Toxin as in it is bad for your central nervous system, kidneys, endocrine system, and other organs. Long term exposure to mercury has been linked to several syndromes and neuropathies. It’s bad stuff.

So the concern now is whether the mercury contained in your fillings are causing

ADA Headquarters. The mothership of dentites everywhere

 

any of these health problems. Some say yes, some say no. Those who say that mercury is harmless include organizations like the American Dental Association, the Food and Drug Administration (sort of), dentists (not all), and the amalgam making people (I assume).

Those who claim that amalgam fillings are bad include a bunch of health do-gooders, and now some scientists and doctors. They may be right.

So now I’ll get to my point. The previous statement by the ADA and the FDA was that dental amalgam fillings are ok except for maybe pregnant women and children. Well, as of this week they may be revisiting this. Lots of petitions have been presented and doctors are now saying that the vapors released by mercury containing fillings may be harmful to everyone. See, even Katie Couric thinks there may be a problem… watch the video here

I’m not sure what to tell you. As a dentist I’ve always been told that these fillings are ok, but if I spill amalgam in the office, I have to treat it as a hazardous substance. However, it’s sill ok to put it in your tooth.

I’ve never told anyone to remove their amalgam fillings because of the mercury

Look out! There's a giant ball of mercury right behind you !

 

content, but I rarely use the material to fill a tooth. If the claims that the vapor from this material is bad, you may actually release more vapor during removal of the filling. That stinks because I remove that stuff all the time… maybe I’ll turn into a mad hatter.

 

So I guess maybe the FDA and ADA are going to look at this whole safety of mercury fillings thing again. Who knows what they will decide this time but I assume it will be more waffling… mmm waffles.

Let me know what you think. Are you concerned about the mercury  in your fillings affecting your health? Do you want to replace them with a non-mercury material?

If you have questions about  mercury, hats, or would just like to get together and sing a few Queen songs, give us a call at 615-298-2385 or mosey on over to our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .

Floss on my friends, floss on…