Category Archives: Dental Health

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.

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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

 

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…

 

 

 

Happy Late Thanksgiving… Why Your Teeth Are Thankful

Hi. Welcome back. How was your Thanksgiving? I got to travel to Memphis to stuff my piehole and hang out with family. We also saw the movie “Tangled” and had dinner at a place that used to be a beauty parlor. The hair dryers were still there. True story.

Did you think about your teeth on this day that celebrates chewing? Of course you didn’t, that’s what you have me for. And I did think about your teeth and all that you may have put them through. But his time I have good news. I stumbled on a report that tells of research that shows that some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods may actually help prevent tooth decay.

This little dude actually lives in your mouth!!

First the bad news. While you are feasting away on Thanksgiving, millions of little friends living in your mouth are feasting too. They are called bacteria, and they cause cavities in your teeth. So while you were watching football after a belt-loosening meal, the bacteria in your mouth were just getting started on their feast.

The real meanie in this group of microscopic gluttons is known as Streptococcus mutans. This bad boy is responsible for most of those bits of silver in your mouth. Ole’ S. Mutans takes the food you eat and turns it into acid which destroys the enamel of your teeth.

Pass the cranberry sauce please, because this Thanksgiving staple can help prevent damage to your teeth. Researchers have found that compounds in cranberries can actually help prevent our leetle friend S. Mutans from producing acid. Nice. So basically the glob of molded red gelatin can be our ally in the fight against tooth decay.

Take That! you cavity-causing bacteria.

But wait! There’s more. Sit down and pour yourself another glass of red wine because this magic elixir also helps in the fight against S. Mutans and cavities. See red wine contains alcohol, so the bacteria just get drunk and fall asleep on the couch. No wait. That must have been me. Actually the red wine helps because it reduces the amount of acid that S. Mutans produces. So you get tipsy and fight tooth decay. It’s a win-win.

Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee fighting cavities!!

 

Well, dear readers, betcha didn’t know all that. So what have we learned? The main bacteria that causes cavities goes by the moniker Streptococcus mutans. Cranberry sauce and red wine help to combat cavities. An that Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee enjoys said red wine and napping.

If you live in Nashville and would like to discuss other means of obtaining better oral health, please feel free to contact our office at 298-2385 or check us out on the information super-highway at http://www.MusicCitySmiles.com .

 

The 70’s Called, They Want You to Take Better Care of Your Teeth

If you grew up in the 70’s or early 80’s you should remember these. I’m always on the lookout for great ways to communicate dental health to patients, and I think that these videos are great!!

This first one had me rolling on the floor. Who knew that the germs that cause cavities sound just like Louis Armstrong?!

Check out the yuck mouth video here…

And in this one an animated Danny Zuko tells us to exercise our teeth. O…. K.

Finally, a talking, hat-wearing Pac Man gives us oral hygiene instructions

Man, the last time I heard those I was sitting in a den covered in shag carpet in my Star Wars Pj’s.

Anyway, if you have any questions about dental care, or more vintage videos to share, or if you need a dentist in Nashville, please contact us at 615-298-2385 or check us out online at www.MusicCitySmiles.com

Rinse and Repeat


Why should your hair get all the fun? The mouth needs a rinse too, right?

swish, swish, swishPeople ask me this all the time. “what mouth rinse should I be using Doc?” or “I’ve been rinsing my mouth with hydrogen peroxide for years…” or “My great grand pappy only used baking soda to clean his teeth.” Nice.

So what is the deal with mouth rinses. Are they all that, or just hype. There’s all sorts of old wive’s tales and crazy stories about the benefits of rinsing with peroxide, Listerine, or mop n’ glow, or diesel fuel. Well, I’m going to provide a dentists perspective and help you decide what is best.

First things first. Brush and floss your teeth. Mouth rinses are no substitute for brushing and flossing as a means of keeping your teeth clean. After you’ve done that, and if you want get a little extra credit, you can use a rinse that will give you an extra dose of fluoride, or one that fights gum disease, or one that will help you have fresh breath.

Listerine is at the top of my list and is my personal fav. This stuff has been around for ever, and is the only rinse out there that is actually considered a drug. That’s right my little yuck-mouthed friends, it actually attacks and kills specific germs that cause gingivitis… and none of us want gingivitis, right.. RIGHT! Ok,moving on. This is a great addition to your oral hygiene regimen , and I’ve seen it really make a difference for lots of patients. It’s burns like the dickens, but you gotta feel that burn to get results baby!!

If you are one of those who has a sweet tooth and like to eat a lot of candy, you could probably use some extra fluoride. Well then Mr. & Mrs. Sugarbug say hello to my leetle friend Act. I get on to people’s cases about not getting enough fluoride. As a dentist it is my obligation to fuss at the residents of Nashville for not taking care of their teeth. It’s part of the dental oath… :  ). Anyway, this is a nice little rinse to get a little extra fluoride. Why fluoride you ask? Because fluoride makes your teeth stronger and more resistant to cavities, and that means fewer trips to my chair for fillings. Wait, forget what I said. Fluoride is evil. It will turn your hair green and make you smell funny… and I need to buy my kids Christmas presents. Just kidding. Fluoride will help prevent cavities, and you should use it.

If it’s bad breath you’re wanting to eliminate, I have a suggestion. Don’t eat garlic… and try a rinse like Breath Rx. This stuff used to only be available in a dentist office, but now you can buy it at a pharmacy or grocery store.  Use caution though when purchasing a rinse for bad breath because some mouth rinses contain alcohol and that will dry your mouth and make the problem worse. Eeeew.

There’s other rinses out there, and these I have listed are not the only ones that are good. If you have any doubt or concerns about a mouth rinse, ask your dentist. If you live in Nashville, ask me, I’ll be glad to help and/or be your dentist. Feel free to contact us at 615-298-2385 or visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .