Category Archives: 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


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 .

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


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.

The Clock is Ticking… Why Mick Jagger Doesn’t Give Good Dental Advice


"Get your dental work done before the end of the year!"


“TI-eye-eye-ime… is on my side… yes it is!” sang Mick Jagger. Um, no it isn’t. Why? Your dental insurance benefits are about to expire!!

Here we are at the end of the year. Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, parties, shopping, etc, etc. It’s a busy time for all of us, but don’t forget about your teeth and your oral health. specifically, don’t forget about how to pay for your dental care.

See, the end of the year brings a close to a lots of things, and included in this are your dental insurance benefits. This is because most dental insurance plans operate on a calendar year, and that means that at the end of each year, your amount of coverage goes away if you don’t use it.


Basically, if you don’t use it you lose it. Here’s how it works: an insurance plan allows you to you a certain amount of their money to help you pay for dental care in a given year. At the end of that year, whatever amount you don’t use just goes away. Bye bye.

That being said, my advice to you is to get on it!! Make haste! Get ‘er done! Or whatever motivational phrase you need to hear to maximize your dental benefits. I mean for Pete’s sake (who is Pete by the way?), there’s a stack of cash out there to help you take better care of your health… don’t let it go to waste.

Here’s some ways you can save money and take good care of your teeth…

1) See you dentist every 6 months. This is because it allows any problems to be detected early and thus corrected in the easiest and least expensive way. Also, getting your teeth cleaned and checked ever 6 months is kinda like changing the oil in your car… it’s just proper maintenance.

2) Take care of any treatment needs before “it hurts.” I have this conversation daily with patients. People always seem to wonder if they need treatment if nothing hurts. Makes sense. But the problem is that teeth typically don’t hurt unless the nerve is damaged, and at that point we’re talking root canals and pulling teeth rather than fillings or crowns. Waiting until something hurts to fix it means more expense or having fewer teeth.

3) Make the most of your dental benefits. This means using as much of your yearly benefits as you can. Now, obviously if you have no treatment needs, don’t go looking for a way to use dental insurance benefits. But, if you have treatment needs, don’t just let those benefits sit there and go to waste. Even if you don’t have dental insurance, you may be able to deduct your dental expenses on your taxes!! Consult your accountant on that one.

Our office participates with several dental insurance plans including Cigna PPO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of TN, Delta Dental, Health Spring, and Connection Dental network just to name a few.

So don’t listen to Mick!! Time is not on your side. Don’t let those benefits go to waste. If you live in Nashville and need a dentist who takes Health Spring, or Cigna PPO, or Delta Dental, or if you just have questions about you dental benefits, please give us a call at 615-298-2385 or check us out online at .

Happy Brushing!

A Mission Trip to the USA… Helping Those Who Can Not Afford Dental Care

Remote Area Medical (RAM) is an organization near and dear to my heart. It was founded in 1985 with the purpose of providing basic medical care to people in remote areas of foreign countries with no access to care. When RAM began, they airlifted doctors and dentists into the middle of nowhere to help people.

Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee with RAM founder Stan Brock

RAM founder Stan Brock has now realized that there is a health care crisis right here in America, and has focused RAM’s efforts on helping people here at home. Many of RAM’s “missions” are conducted in or near Tennessee and are often held in remote communities that are underserved by the health care community, and have a population that is very poor.

RAM relies on a corps of volunteers that include health care providers including dentists, physicians, optometrists, and veterinarians. Other volunteers are just workers to help with auxillary functions such as patient registration, instrument sterilization, and food prep. Mmmmm, loved those donuts.

Dental clinic at a RAM event in Harrogate, TN

The events are held in a large facility ,such as a gymnasium or a community center, which is transformed into a health care clinic for a weekend. Patients are treated on a first come first served basis and are permitted to see as many health care providers as needed.

Oh and by the way… ALL HEALTH CARE SERVICES ARE FREE! Zip. Nada. 0. So, you can imagine that there is a high demand, because it don’t get any cheaper than free.

The following videos had a big impact on me and moved me to volunteer with RAM. It was an amazing experience. PLEASE WATCH THESE VIDEOS!! You will cry (or you’re heartless), but it is so worth it…

RAM video part 1

RAM video part 2

Someone please get me a Kleenex. Ugh. This breaks my heart.

By the way, did you notice that Stan Brock was the dude on Wild Kingdom? He got to wrestle hippos and snakes and stuff like that so he’s a bad-ass.

Ok, here’s the good news… RAM will be holding an event here in Nashville. Now, Nashville isn’t exactly remote, but the service will be provided all the same. So as a Nashville dentist, I plan to participate.

Here’s the details…

Feb 19-20 Davidson County, Nashville, TN – McGavock High School D, Vis, M

D= dental    Vis= vision   M= medical… you get the idea.

They’ll need lots of volunteers so I hope you’ll sign up. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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 .


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

Confession Time…

Just because I’m a dentist, doesn’t mean I enjoy flossing any more than the rest of yous. Ever feel like this?

I do. There’s my confession. I feel better.

How ’bout you?