October Is National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM)

This October marks the 8th National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM), with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) working collaboratively to increase public awareness about the importance of maintaining good oral health.

This year’s campaign focuses on the four components of good oral health maintenance:

The Daily 4

Brushing teeth twice daily

Always brush two minutes, two times a day, every day. Brushing for two minutes twice a day is crucial to maintaining healthy smiles. Proper brushing technique cleans teeth and gums effectively. Click here for tips on proper brushing.

Flossing Every Day

Ensure Flossing is a Daily Habit. Daily flossing (or other methods of interdental cleaning) removes plaque and food particles that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, particularly under the gumline and between teeth. If you resist flossing, open up to your Hygienist about it. Your Hygienists may recommend using a different floss and improved technique which may make it more comfortable for you. Click here for tips on proper flossing technique.

Rinsing with Antimicrobial Mouth Rinse

Use mouthwash to improve oral health. Rinsing your mouth with an antimicrobial mouth rinse every day is the best defense against gingivitis or gum disease. Consult your dental hygienist in determining which mouth rinse is best for you. Click here for a simple guide to rinsing.

Chewing Sugarless Gum

Chewing gum (without sugar) after eating can help fight tooth decay. It may seem too good to be true, but research shows that chewing gum (without sugar) after meals helps protect your teeth.  Chewing gum after a meal stimulates saliva, which can help clean food particles and neutralize plaque acids on the teeth. Click here for to learn more about the effect of chewing gum on plaque.

Maintaining and following a routine of good oral health habits is the single most effective way to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and other plaque-related diseases.

We challenge you to The Daily 4!




3 Ways to Improve Your Smile

“A smile is the universal welcome.” Max Eastman

We love to see you smile! Providing you with options to improve the quality of your smile is chiefly what we do. For some, modern cosmetic dentistry provides a true smile transformation while boosting confidence and self-esteem. For others, a few minor changes to routines may be all that’s needed to enhance the quality of their smile.

You can quickly improve your smile by following the 3 suggestions below.

1. Eliminate Stains

If your teeth are stained, consider cutting back on the consumption of caffeine, red wine and other foods that may be the cause of staining. Professional teeth whitening may also be an option. In-Office whitening systems are safe, effective and fast. In just over an hour, your teeth will be dramatically whiter.

2. Brush & Floss Regularly – Even On The Go

Brush regularly and make it a habit to carry floss or dental picks with you. No need to worry about your smiles appearance if you have been maintaining it throughout the day.

3. Visit the Dentist Regularly

This may seem obvious, but regular visits to your dentist’s office give you an opportunity to discuss cosmetic options. Crowns, bridges or braces may all be an option to improve your smile and your dentist can best suggest the correct procedure when they have a complete knowledge of your oral health.

Schedule your checkup, or teeth whitening online by clicking here, or call us at (615) 346-3007.






Tips To Send Your Child To School With A Healthy Smile

Back to school means new school clothes, school supplies, forms to fill out and new routines to learn. In short, it’s a busy, busy time! With all the hustle and bustle back to school brings, one appointment you don’t want to forget is your child’s dental check-up. In fact, the American Dental Association states,

 “A dental examination is as important as  booster shots and should be a regular part of back to school preparations.”

Along with regular check-ups, the ADA makes the following recommendations to protect your child’s oral health and send them to school with a healthy smile.

Plan Ahead

August and December are some of the busiest times. Plan ahead and schedule your child’s dental exams early.

Every Child Should Have an Orthodontic Evaluation By Age 7

Early evaluation and treatment can reduce the severity of a bad bite later in life.

Consider Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants protect your child’s teeth by forming a barrier on the chewing surface and can last several years.

Have Your Child Fitted For A Mouthguard

Sporting injuries to your child’s teeth can be minimized or prevented by use of a well-fitting mouthguard.

You may read all of the ADA Back-to-school recommendations by clicking here. Schedule an appointment online or by calling the office at (615) 346-3007.



The Indispensable Role of the Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienists play a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of oral diseases which not only affect a patient’s teeth but can impact their overall health.

Regular cleaning appointments allow the Dental Hygienist to perform oral health care assessments that include the review of patients’ health history and evaluation of gum health. Often, they are the first to recognize potential issues and implement preventative measures to circumvent more costly procedures. (more…)


Scaling & Root Planing

We remove the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.


Medications may be used with treatment that includes scaling and root planing, but they cannot always take the place of surgery. Depending on the severity of gum disease, we may still suggest surgical treatment. Long-term studies will be needed to determine whether using medications reduces the need for surgery and whether they are effective over a long period of time. Here are some medications that are currently used:


What is it?

Why is it used?

How is it used?

Prescription antimicrobial mouthrinse A prescription mouthrinse containing an antimicrobial called chlorhexidine To control bacteria when
treating gingivitis and after gum surgery
It’s used like a regular mouthwash
Antiseptic “chip” A tiny piece of gelatin filled with the medicine chlorhexidine To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets After root planing, it’s placed in the pockets where the medicine is slowly released over time.
Antibiotic gel A gel that contains the antibiotic doxycycline To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets We place it in the pockets after scaling and root planing. The antibiotic is released slowly over a period of about seven days.
Antibiotic micro-spheres Tiny, round particles that contain the antibiotic minocycline To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets We place it in the micro-spheres into the
pockets after scaling and root planing. The particles release minocycline slowly over time.
Enzyme suppressant A low dose of the medication doxycycline that keeps destructive enzymes in check To hold back the body’s enzyme response
— If not controlled, certain enzymes can break down gum tissue
This medication is in pill form. It is used in combination with scaling and root planing.


Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied in the dental office on the chewing surfaces of back teeth, which are prime spots for cavities. Sealants act as a barrier to prevent bacteria and food from collecting and sitting on the grooves and pits of teeth.

Sealants are best suited for permanent first molars which erupt around the age of 6 and second molars that erupt around the age of 12. It is important to have the sealant applied as soon as the tooth has fully come in. They are also indicated on the pre-molars if there are deep pits and fissures present.

Before the sealant material is applied, the tooth surface is prepared by cleaning with a dental solution that helps the sealant stick to the tooth by penetrating the enamel.

Sealants may last for several years once applied, but should always be examined at the child’s regular checkup. Even if the sealant becomes lost, the material that has penetrated the enamel will still provide protection. Sealants are easily replaced if lost.

Sealants are nearly 100% effective in preventing decay in the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Fluoride helps fight decay on the smooth surfaces of the teeth.



Flouride Treatments

Dental decay is a common condition all over the world. One way to help prevent cavities from occurring is through the use of fluoride.

Fluoride helps harden the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to tooth decay. A small cavity can be stopped and even reversed by the remineralization process enhanced by fluoride.

Fluoride can be delivered to the teeth in 2 ways: topically (direct contact on the teeth) and systemically (enters the blood stream).

Systemic Fluoride

Systemic fluoride is delivered to the tooth surface via the bloodstream. Systemic fluoride can be derived from a food source, water source, or dietary supplements (pill, tablet, lozenge, drop). Fluoridated water is an effective way to reduce the problem of dental decay. It has been shown that fluoridated water and dietary supplements can reduce up to 60% of tooth decay.

Some water supplies naturally contain fluoride, but for others fluoride is added to the water supply. If you would like to know if your community’s water supply contains fluoride, call your local water or health department.

Children from birth to 16 years of age will benefit the most from systemic fluoride. Sixteen is currently the age at which the American Dental Association recommends children can discontinue fluoride vitamin supplements. This is because when fluoride is ingested, it circulates through the bloodstream and into developing teeth. The fluoride is then built into the enamel structure of the developing tooth, making the tooth more resistant to acids.


Topical Fluoride

Even though the benefits of fluoride are maximized before the teeth erupt (come in), fluoride is still very beneficial for children and adults after the teeth are fully erupted. Topical fluorides are applied directly to the tooth structure to delay or slow down the tooth decay process.

Topical forms of fluoride include:

  • Toothpaste – used daily, must have an ADA or CDA Seal of Acceptance on the label .
  • Professional fluoride application – this is a gel that is applied for 1 to 4 minutes, usually in a tray at the end of a dental appointment. Not everyone is given a professional fluoride application; it depends on your oral health needs.
  • Fluoridated home mouthrinses – can be purchased over-the-counter and used for children over 6 years of age and adults who are susceptible to cavities.
  • Home care fluoride gels – applied by trays or by brush, these gels are for those who are highly susceptible to cavities.

People highly susceptible to cavities:

  • Adults with a high incidence of root cavities.
  • Those who experience an extremely dry mouth.
  • People who wear braces or orthodontic appliances.
  • Those who have rampant or excessive cavities.

Even though the benefits of fluoride are maximized before the teeth erupt, fluoride is still very beneficial as a daily defense against decay. Fluoride gels can be purchased over-the-counter or by prescription. Ask us for a daily home fluoride program that is individualized for your needs.

Fluoride Safety

Fluoride is very effective in controlling dental decay when used properly. If not used in the proper doses, fluoride toxicity and dental fluorosis can occur.

Fluoride toxicity occurs when large amounts of fluoride are ingested over a short period of time. This can be dangerous to your health. Symptoms of fluoride toxicity may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, increased salivation or increased thirst. These symptoms generally begin 30 minutes after ingestion and can last up to 24 hours.

Depending on the amount of the toxic overdose of fluoride, certain emergency procedures should be implemented. If you feel nausea, drink milk or try to induce vomiting and call us or physician. If these symptoms do not subside, or the conditions worsen (difficulty breathing), call an emergency service to transport you to the hospital.

Dental fluorosis is an excess of fluoride intake during the stages of tooth development. Dental fluorosis ranges from mild (white specks on teeth) to severe (brown staining and pitting of enamel).

To ensure your child does not experience any adverse effects from fluoride, follow these basic rules:

  • Fluoridated products should not be swallowed.
  • Only a small amount of toothpaste, the size of a small pea, is needed for a child.
  • Fluoridated products, especially mouthrinses should not be given to a child under 6 years of age, or to anyone who cannot rinse and spit ( those you suspect are swallowing some of the product).
  • Keep fluoridated products out of reach of children.
  • Parental supervision is needed for children when brushing or using any fluoridated substances.



Bruxism and Mouthguards

Bruxism (Habitual Grinding of Teeth)

Have you ever been told that you grind your teeth? Tooth grinding [bruxism] is an oral habit which involves clenching and grinding of the teeth. It is not uncommon in our society. Approximately 50% to 96% of adults experience bruxism and 15% of children acquire this behavior. Most often, this habit goes unnoticed by the person. Bruxism can occur during the day or night.

What causes bruxism?

This condition has no specific cause, but is believed to be more prevalent in certain individuals such as:

  • People with emotionally stressed personalities characterized as being aggressive, controlling, precise, or having time urgency and achievement compulsion, tend to develop bruxism malocclusion (teeth that are not aligned properly).
  • Children whose parents brux are more likely to develop this habit than children whose parents do not brux

Signs of bruxism:

  • tooth wear
  • fractures of the teeth and fillings
  • grinding noise noticed by a sleeping partner
  • facial muscle pain and fatigue
  • locking, cracking, and clicking of the jaws
  • headaches
  • tooth mobility
  • sensitive teeth

Treatment of bruxism: Night Guard

We can make you aware of the habit and suggest behavioral therapies to stop the bruxism. Stress reduction and coping techniques can be initiated to reduce the emotional stress you may be experiencing.

A removable intra-oral appliance can be made for you called a nightguard or bruxism splint. The mouthguard protects the teeth from the forces of clenching and grinding the teeth together. A mouthguard or nightguard is more practical for treating the night bruxer than for those who have daytime clenching and grinding habits.