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Use of Laughing Gas for Ooltewah Pediatric Dental Procedures

laughing gas ooltewah pediatric dental proceduresTo ease anxiety during dental procedures, a mild form of sedation called Nitrous Oxide can be used. We are happy to explain the procedure, why it relaxes patients, and how it makes them feel.

Among the benefits of its use are the reduction or elimination of anxiety in patients, enhancing patient communication and cooperation, raising the pain reaction threshold, making longer appointments more tolerable, aiding in the treatment of mentally or physically disabled patients, reduction of gagging, and general sedation.

Who Discovered ‘Laughing Gas’?

Nitrous Oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” is a colorless, almost odorless gas, first discovered in 1772 by the English scientist and clergyman Joseph Priestley (who was also famous for being the first to isolate other important gases such as oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and sulfur dioxide). He hoped it would serve as a preserving agent, but with no success. Humphry Davy of the Pneumatic Institute in Bristol, England, experimented with the physiological properties of the gas, such as its effects upon respiration. He noted that it appeared “capable of destroying physical pain” and might serve as an anesthetic agent in minor surgical procedures.

Before widespread use for that purpose was adopted, “laughing gas” was primarily used recreationally, sometimes at carnivals where the public would pay to inhale the gas, laughing and acting silly until the euphoric effect wore off.

During one of these public nitrous oxide exhibitions, a local dentist named Dr. Horace Wells watched with interest as a man injured his leg while staggering into some nearby benches, then went back to his seat, unaware of his injury until the effects wore off. The next day, Dr. Wells inhaled the nitrous while another local dentist extracted one of his molars. Experiencing no pain during the procedure, he declared that a dental and medical painkiller was born, replacing the far more dangerous (and explosive) ether as an anesthetic. Ironically, Dr. Wells would later be given the accolade of discovering anesthesia, but he was shunned while demonstrating with a tooth extraction at Harvard Medical School in Boston after the patient expressed some discomfort. Never mind that the patient would have experienced excruciating pain without the use of the nitrous!

More than a century later, dentists now use Nitrous Oxide as a mild sedative and analgesic. It offers some degree of painkilling ability while reducing anxiety that patients may have toward dental treatment.

Use of laughing gas is not always effective because it requires the patient to breathe through the nose while his or her mouth is open to allow access to the teeth and gums.

Risks of and Guidelines for Nitrous Oxide Use for Pediatric Dental Patients

Dentists today use laughing gas because it is safe and effective. Its use is mostly limited to professionals because it is a compressed liquefied gas and asphyxiation risk. The euphoria felt during use causes short-term decreases in mental performances and manual dexterity, as well as spatial and temporal disorientation. In other words, you’re fine inhaling it while comfortably seated during a dental procedure, but you don’t want to run a marathon or try to drive a racecar while huffing the stuff.

Nitrous oxide also depletes vitamin B12 levels, but this is generally not an issue when administered during a dental procedure. Nitrous oxide does have a negative environmental impact on the greenhouse effect, but this is primarily from natural emission from bacteria in soils and oceans, as well as the burning of fossil fuels. We also have to prevent room air contamination due to the occupational risks associated with prolonged exposure to the gas.

Like any substance producing euphoric states, laughing gas is susceptible to abuse. Many states have laws regulating the possession, sale, and distribution of nitrous oxide. Such laws usually ban distribution to minors or limit the amount of nitrous oxide that may be sold without a special license. Nitrous oxide/oxygen must be administered only by appropriately licensed individuals, or under the direct supervision thereof, according to state law. The practitioner responsible for the treatment of the patient and/or the administration of analgesic/anxiolytic agents must be trained in the use of such agents and techniques and appropriate emergency response.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, nitrous oxide exhibits a superior safety profile with no recorded fatalities or cases of serious morbidity when used within recommended concentrations. Nausea and vomiting are the most common adverse effects, seen in 0.5 percent of patients.

What to Know about Laughing Gas During Your Child’s Dental Procedure

When reviewing whether your child is a suitable candidate for nitrous use, medical history is assessed. It’s important to tell us about:

  • Allergies and previous allergic or adverse drug reactions.
  • Current medications including dose, time, route, and site of administration.
  • Diseases, disorders, or physical abnormalities.
  • Previous hospitalization to include the date and purpose.
  • Recent illnesses (eg, cold or congestion) that may compromise the airway.

Nitrous Oxide use has an excellent safety record precisely because it is used by trained personnel on carefully selected patients with appropriate equipment. The reason we ask questions during a procedure is to monitor a patient’s level of consciousness and to make sure the respiratory rate is suitable for normal breathing.

It's called "laughing gas" for a good reason. Reactions to dental anesthesia have been the stuff of memes. “David After Dentist” is the name of a YouTube video uploaded in January 2009 featuring a young boy’s reaction after a May 2008 dentist appointment. The clip is known for receiving more than 3 million views in three days, becoming YouTube's second most watched video of that year. After his surgery was completed, the youngster asked deep questions including "is this real life?" and "Is this going to be forever?" It was even spoofed in a Star Wars parody. A heavier form of sedation than nitrous oxide was likely used in this instance. 

At the end of most procedures, we administer 100 percent oxygen once the nitrous oxide has been discontinued. This usually results in patients feeling like their normal selves again before leaving our office. We encourage patients to communicate about any residual disorientation and to wait additional time in the waiting room before attempting to drive if there are residual effects felt from the laughing gas. Also, maybe make sure the person taking you home promises not to record you on video and share it with the world unless you are a really good sport about that sort of thing. 

Answering your questions about Nitrous Oxide and Pediatric Dentistry Services Ooltewah

Let us know if you or your child may benefit from laughing gas during a dental procedure. We are happy to discuss specifics at our office by calling (423) 238-8887 or scheduling an appointment to visit our family dentistry office located in Ooltewah, TN. We also serve Collegedale TN, Chattanooga TN and Cleveland TN communities.


Photo: © One Blink / 123RF Stock Photo

Blog © 2018 Tedford Family Dentistry: Tedford Keith DDS Ooltewah TN 37363

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Chattanooga Preventive Dentistry

Chattanooga Preventive Dentistry Eating for Healthy Gums and TeethPart of our mission for Chattanooga Preventive Dentistry is encouraging and educating patients to achieve a more balanced, healthy life in general. Poor nutrition affects oral health in ways that may not seem as obvious as usual culprits of gum disease or cavities. 

Eating for Healthy Gums and Teeth

Foods that can Damage Teeth and Gums

You’ve probably already guessed what we are going to say. The American Dental Association (ADA) has promoted the message for years: Junk Food is bad for you and your teeth. Sugars are easily the arch-nemesis of many a dentist. Cake, cookies, candies, milk, and other sugary foods may taste delicious but these can cause tooth decay. Starchy foods like pretzels and potato chips aren’t good for teeth either. The longer these carbohydrates stay on the teeth, the more damage is done.

Non-Food Consumables that can Damage Teeth and Gums

This time of year, a lot of people get a cough. Cough drops may contribute to tooth decay. The next time you have one in your mouth, run your tongue over the front of your teeth and you can feel it leaving a coating. The same concept applies to lollipops, hard candies, and mints. 

More Fruits and Vegetables = Nutritious Diets

More nutritious choices can include raw vegetables, fruits, plain yogurt, and non-microwave popcorn. Other nutrient-dense foods include salmon, seaweed, garlic, shellfish, potatoes, liver, sardines, blueberries, and egg yolks. Studies show these foods contain powerful antioxidants, can help us lose weight, lower blood pressure, and help to fight cancer. Potatoes can be very filling while also high in potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese, plus vitamin C and most B vitamins. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry, and fish. Try and vary your protein choices to include eggs, beans, peas, and legumes, too. Fortified soy drinks and tofu, canned salmon, almonds and dark green leafy vegetables all help to promote strong teeth and bones. Phosphorus, found in eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts, and beans is good for strong teeth. Vitamin C promotes gum health, so eat plenty of citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach. 

Strategies for Better Nutrition for Improved Oral Health

It’s easy enough to grasp what’s good or bad for us, but how are we to actually put better eating habits to work? There are a few suggestions you may want to try if you’ve always wanted to eat better but weren’t sure how to make it happen…

  • Limit sugar to part of a complete meal rather than as snacks throughout the day. A sweet dessert immediately following the entrée is the best time. Why? Because mealtime usually means increased saliva in the mouth, which always makes it easier to wash food particles away from the teeth. Swallowing a beverage at mealtime amplifies this process.
  • Substitute cheese for snacks instead of sugary, sticky and chewy foods. Snacks like raisins, dried figs, granola bars, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies, jelly beans, caramel, honey, molasses, and syrup all tend to stick to teeth, whereas cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and other aged cheeses at least trigger the production of saliva to help wash food particles away.
  • Substitute water instead of milk, formula, juice, or soda. Even milk contains sugar; water doesn’t. Adding more water aids in washing away food clinging to teeth. Some sports and energy drinks contain a lot of sugar, as you’d expect.
  • Reduce the frequency of snacking to two or three times per day. That’s more important than how much is eaten per snacking session, so remember it is frequency rather than quantity. Frequent bouts of snacking, without brushing teeth after, create more opportunities for bacteria to grow, increasing the likelihood of plaque developing on teeth and around gums.
  • Sometimes the best way to make sure you eat better is to make better decisions at the grocery store. Look for foods that come unsweetened or sugar-free. Foods with the sugar substitute xylitol can potentially help to prevent cavities.
  • Check the sugar content in everything you eat or drink before buying -- spaghetti sauce, cereal, and canned fruit may be loaded with a lot of sugar.
  • While reducing unhealthy foods from your diet, add more of the ones that are better for you. Good sources of calcium like broccoli and yogurt add calcium to your diet. Calcium, as we know, is good for strengthening bones, including the teeth.
  • When all else fails and you backslide on your old dietary habits, continue to use fluoride and brush and floss teeth every day to reverse tooth decay. A fluoride mouthwash also helps.
  • Get kids in the habit of brushing between meals and flossing at least once a day. If no toothbrush is available during the day, rinse the mouth with water several times to at least remove those pesky particles between teeth and below the gum line.
  • Beware of kids’ foods loaded with sugar like many breakfast cereals, trying a whole-grain cereal instead. 

How to Transition to a Healthy Eating Lifestyle

How do you get the family to skip candy, cookies, and cake to instead munch on kale? Follow a process to gradually wean yourself of these unhealthy foods and replace them with healthier alternatives. It is important to always replace bad food with healthy food that you enjoy. For example, eat fruits as snacks, drink water instead of soda, eat whole grain bread instead of white bread, add steamed greens to dinner, focus on poultry and seafood while limiting intake of red meats, make homemade pizza instead of ordering, and snack on nuts like unsalted peanuts or raw almonds instead of potato chips. Berries can offer a sweet substitute to satisfy sweet cravings instead of sugar-loaded chocolate candy.

Regardless of how it is achieved, fruits and vegetables need to make up half of what is eaten daily, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You don’t have to become a vegetarian to eat better, but you’ll end up healthier the more you transition away from sugary foods and starches to dishes that grow out of the ground instead of coming in a can. With these healthy eating guidelines, you can reduce your risk of enamel erosion and cavities to keep your smile looking healthier, plus you may just live longer too. 


Photo: © Evgenya Amanenko / 123RF Stock Photo

Blog © 2018 Tedford Family Dentistry: Tedford Keith DDS Ooltewah TN 37363

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“We’ll see you in six months for your next cleaning!” If you’ve been hearing that line from your Ooltewah dentist for as long as you can remember, you might never have stopped to question it. Or perhaps you’re one of those patients who knows they should stick to that six month appointment schedule, but find that life or anxiety gets in the way. Either way, there are several very good reasons why we hope you stick to this teeth cleaning schedule-- and it’s not just because we miss you.

You might wonder why you need to get your teeth cleaned twice a year. After all, there aren’t that many other things you have to do semi-annually-- besides certain sales at the mall, adjusting your clocks for daylight savings time, changing the batteries in your smoke detector, and get your car serviced. But just like those other matters of routine maintenance, your teeth need regular attention, too.

Even if you are a champ about brushing twice a day, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, you still need a proper cleaning to stay ahead of the plaque that can cause gingivitis and gum disease. Even if you never eat sugary foods and drink fluoridated water, you need to check in and make sure that no periodontal conditions are running rampant in your mouth. We want to see you every six months so that you can hopefully avoid more serious visits, like having to schedule a root canal or a tooth extraction.

Just like you want to change the oil in your car every few thousand miles to keep the engine in peak condition (and to avoid an unexpected trip to the mechanic) we want to give your teeth a tuneup. It’s easy to think that a serious dental condition will never happen to you-- especially if it never has thanks to genetics, good luck, and those regular teeth cleanings we keep on about. But without those semiannual appointments, you could be giving bacteria and plaque many extra months in your mouth, which could make them harder to evict.

If all that gunk really makes itself at home, you could be looking at tooth decay and gum disease. If those conditions progress to a severe point, you could be affecting your overall health beyond your mouth. Dental diseases can not only spread to your tooth roots and jaw bone, but even impact your heart health.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Your twice-a-year dental cleanings might not be the favorite item on your calendar, but they’re pretty important. And if it’s been a little (or a lot!) longer than six months, another old saying applies, too. It’s better to see your dentist late than never. So give us a call at Tedford Family Dentistry in Ooltewah TN today so we can give your teeth the attention they’re due.
Published in Blog
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 19:45

Should I Go to the Dentist If I’m Sick?

You may be asking yourself this question if you have a dentist appointment but are feeling a bit under the weather. As many dental appointments can be difficult to reschedule, you might find yourself uncertain of what to do. To cancel or not to cancel? Here’s a guide on whether you should cancel your appointment if you’re sick.

How Sick Am I?

The first thing you must decide is, “How sick am I?” The type of ailment, depending on your symptoms, can greatly affect your appointment. You must evaluate the severity of your sickness, and the level of pain and discomfort. Patients who are unable to sit still through an appointment should consider rescheduling.

Am I Contagious?

Contagious? If you don’t want to infect others, always reschedule.

However, you might not always know if you are contagious. If you are coughing or sneezing, you may have a common cold, a virus, or maybe even the flu. In this case, you should carefully listen to your symptoms.

Even if you are no longer sick, but have been feeling under the weather over the past several days, you might still be carrying the virus. Studies report that carriers can remain contagious to others for up to one week.

What Should I Do If I Keep My Dentist Appointment If I’m Sick?

In the event that you are experiencing congestion, let our Tedford Family Dentistry staff know. Patients who often have trouble breathing through their nose may also struggle through dental procedures, as their mouth is occupied at times during treatments or exams. If you choose to keep your dental appointment, always communicate to your hygienist, dental assistant, or Dr. Tedford, if or when you experience any discomfort during your visit.

Cancelling My Dentist Appointment

Whether you have a dental emergency or are getting a routine checkup, as a general rule of thumb, we recommend that patients only cancel an appointment in the event of an emergency (sickness included).

While the majority of dental offices understand the need to cancel at times, we do urge you to keep your appointment to avoid any unnecessary cancellation fees. Plus, rescheduling appointments may take time, depending on availability.

If you are sick or contagious, contact our office today and ask us about our policy for these situations. It’s likely we’ll reschedule you for a different date. Get well soon!

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 17:05

Super Foods for a Healthy Smile

53380148 lWe’ve all heard the saying that you are what you eat. Those words couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to oral health. According to the American Dental Association, your dental health is the first thing to suffer from a poor diet. Improve your overall health with these super foods:

Cheese
Cheese lovers, rejoice! Not only is it delicious, but it has been shown to increase the pH levels in your mouth and lower your risk of tooth decay by neutralizing the acids in your mouth. It is rich in calcium, protein and other nutrients. Cheese strengthens tooth enamel which protects your teeth from sensitivity.

Celery
Filled with vitamins A and C, celery is great for your gums. It can also act like a toothbrush, scraping away food particles and bacteria as you eat.

Yogurt
Plain yogurts with no added sugars are super foods for your teeth. Yogurt is filled with calcium and protein which help to create strong and healthy teeth. The probiotics, or healthy bacteria, found in yogurt also fight bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.

Leafy Greens
We all know that leafy greens are good for your health, but they are beneficial to our oral wellness too. Low in calories, yet packed with vitamins and minerals, spinach and kale promote oral health. Their high calcium content protects the enamel on your teeth and fights gum disease in pregnant women.

Apples
While most sweets can be harmful to your teeth, apples can be beneficial to your oral health. High in water and fiber, apples can fight bacteria and rinse away remaining food particles. Eating them can also stimulate your gums.

Carrots
Crunch away on carrots as they are filled with fiber and reduce your risk of developing cavities. They are also rich in Vitamin A which can help with vision and immune function.

Almonds
Almonds are healthy snacks for weight loss, but a good source of calcium for your teeth. Similar to leafy greens, they keep tooth enamel strong and healthy.

In addition to regular brushings and cleanings, drinking plenty of water and eating more dairy and vegetables can help to create a strong, healthy smile. For more information on strong, healthy smiles contact our Ooltewah dentist office at 423-238-8887.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 February 2015 16:10

Tips for Better Oral Health

Ooltewah dentist office Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so it’s important to keep it at its best. Brushing and flossing are important to overall dental health, but there are other steps you can take to keep your teeth pearly white.

Visit the Dentist
It is estimated that approximately 50% of adults in the United States do not have yearly dental appointments. One of the best ways to keep your teeth at their healthiest is by visiting the dentist twice a year. Regular dental visits will help to catch issues like decay and gum disease while they are still in treatable stages.

Brushing & Flossing
Good dental health starts with proper brushing and flossing. Bacteria and food particles can linger in your mouth long after meals. Brushing twice a day can help to remove the food build up. When brushing it is important to in gentle, short, circular motions. Flossing is the only way to reach the areas between teeth, so it is important that you floss regularly.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay. Sugary snacks and sodas make your teeth more susceptible to cavities and cause a plaque buildup which can eat away at tooth enamel. To keep your pearly whites at their best, try to limit your sugar intake and brush after meals.

Stop Smoking
You’ve heard it before, but smoking is detrimental to the health of your mouth and body. Not only does the nicotine and tar in cigarettes cause teeth to yellow, but smoking causes gums to recede. The bacteria found in cigarettes damages the gums and degrades the jaw bone that supports the teeth. Additionally, the chemicals in tobacco are a leading cause of oral cancer.

Along with proper brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist, you can keep your smile shinny bright.

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