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It’s comforting to know that our Ooltewah TN family dentistry offers teeth whitening as part of our cosmetic dentistry services, but there are things that you can do to minimize the impact of stains and discoloration before this is needed to restore your pearly white smile. This month’s blog is dedicated to answering frequently asked questions about teeth whitening…

Why do teeth stain?

ooltewah tn teeth whitening

Teeth become yellow or gray for a variety of reasons that may be behavioral or simply the effects of erosion of the enamel over time allowing more of the color of the dentin to show through.

How can I maintain the whiteness of my teeth?

There are a few different things you can do to keep your natural smile looking it’s best. You’ve no doubt heard the expression “You are what you eat…”

Turns out, this is true, at least when it comes to the coloration of your teeth.

Because your teeth are porous, they naturally absorb the liquids that you drink. Avoid consumption of or exposure to products that are known to stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, sodas, grape or cranberry juice, popsicles, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, fruits and berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries, pomegranates, etc.), and beets.

Making some adjustments can minimize the impact of these foods and beverages, including swishing your mouth with water after eating or drinking something (or, if practical, brushing and rinsing immediately after consuming), adding milk to coffee to lighten it’s color, choosing green tea over black tea, choosing light colored sodas, drinking apple juice instead of grape or cranberry juice, avoiding popsicles with dark coloring, switching to light-colored or creamy sauces over deeply colored sauces, adding a lighter vinegar to salads, and adding greens like lettuce and broccoli that create a film on your teeth to prevent staining from occurring. You can also use a straw so the liquid from beverages that stain bypasses your front teeth.

Foods like beets are packed with good nutrients, but they stain everything they touch. You don’t need to skip foods high in antioxidants and vitamins that your body needs just to avoid staining teeth. Research suggests that gum disease accelerates and is potentially more severe in people with poor nutrition.

You DO want to consider eliminating sodas because of the artificial sugar and acid, which are terrible for the enamel on your teeth. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. “Energy drinks” can erode enamel, so drinking water during workouts is a better alternative.

The color of a drink does not always dictate the full extent to which it can stain teeth. The dark, rich color of red wine makes it an obvious culprit, but white wine actually contains more damaging acid

What else can I do to keep my teeth white?

We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing at least once daily. Use a whitening toothpaste once a week only to remove surface stains, using your regular toothpaste the rest of the time. 

Are All Stained Teeth the Same?

Whitening may be more effective on yellowish teeth than brownish-colored teeth. Grayish-hue or purple-stained teeth present the biggest challenge. Blue-gray staining can require months of treatments. In some cases, veneers, bonding, or crowns may present a better choice than bleaching. It’s also important to note that teeth whitening is not permanent as patients may expose their brightened teeth to the same foods and beverages that stained their teeth in the first place. A touch-up treatment in 6 months or after a year or two may be needed.

Can a Cosmetic Dental Procedure Whiten my Teeth?

Certainly! Tedford Family Dentistry helps our patients restore their gorgeous smiles with procedures such as teeth whitening, dental implants, dental veneers, cosmetic fillings, and contouring the shape of teeth.

Our professionally applied products meet ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. The first step to ensuring safe and effective us is a professional consultation. Call us at (423) 238-8887 to arrange a cosmetic dental appointment at our office at 9380 Bradmore Lane, Suite 108, Ooltewah TN 37363.


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Blog © 2019 Tedford Family Dentistry: Tedford Keith DDS | Ooltewah TN 37363

In our Ooltewah Dentist Office, we see patients who suffer from regular teeth grinding, also known as “bruxism.” Since stress is a major contributor to teeth grinding, we are dedicating this month’s post to suggestions to help you lower your stress levels. 

ideas from ooltewah dentist office to treat stress related teeth grinding

Ways to Reduce Stress that Causes Teeth Grinding

Pain in the jaw from clenching teeth too tightly is bad enough, but stress can trigger many negative responses in our bodies, including headaches, high blood pressure, tense muscles, high blood sugar, heartburn, depression, and a weakened immune system. Here are a few ideas for getting your stress under control.

Ways to Relieve Stress at Home

We’ve all felt stress and wished we could escape the pressures of modern life to experience complete relaxation like the people in those bath power commercials from the 70s and 80s, pleading, “Calgon, take me away…” The home is usually a sanctuary for taking a break from stressors, but this doesn’t work if the pressure comes from a growing credit card bill or a baby that won’t stop crying.

Ask for Help and a Sharing of the Household Burden

You don’t have to keep up the façade of being Superman or Wonder Woman around the house. If other members of the household aren’t pitching in, speak up and let them know ways they can help. Talk to your spouse or a child about cutting back or getting a job if their spending is making it more challenging to manage debt. Don’t be afraid to accept help from a support system of family and friends, especially if you are the primary caregiver for a child or an aging parent. Keep a stress diary to track what triggers episodes of clenching teeth and other symptoms.

Exercise and Eat Better

It’s stressful knowing you’ve put on weight, aren’t getting enough activity, and not giving your body the nutrition it needs to perform at a normal level. You don’t have to hit the gym hard to experience changes. Simply walking around the neighborhood more often can make you feel more energetic and sleep better. Moderating your intake of stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and sugary foods can also help the nerves.

Calm the Mind with Reflection

Whether it is a daily prayer or meditation, taking a short pause to look inward can lead to a feeling of gratitude and inner calm. Try mindfulness to shift your focus away from negative thoughts and anxiety. Yoga has been found to increase body and breath awareness, lowering cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. Soothing music and visits to the woods can also be very calming.

Do Things that Make You Smile, Laugh, and Feel Good

We’re all in favor of you showing off that beautiful smile. If watching a comedy takes your mind off stressors, make a date night of it. Light a scented candle if the aromas are pleasurable. Relish in social connections, including your church family, and take opportunities to cuddle, hug, and kiss when appropriate. A hobby like gardening may be enjoyable to you rather than hard work. A massage can alleviate physical pain from tense muscles. The companionship of a pet can also reduce stress, assuming your dog or cat behaves.

Defeat Chaos by Getting Organized with Checklists

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you don’t know where to start. Sometimes getting a grip on stress is as simple as wrapping your head around what needs to get done to change things for the better. With an action plan, you can focus on doing something specific each day that removes or improves a stressful thing from your life, better manage your time, and stop procrastinating.

Avoid Things You Know Stress You Out

If you get riled up reading political posts on Facebook, don’t jump into debating someone whose views differ from your own. If something bothers you, limit your exposure to it. If coming to a dentist’s office for a regular cleaning fills you with dread, DO keep the appointment, but definitely let us know so we can find ways to alleviate those feelings when you arrive at our Ooltewah Dentist Office. 

Get More Sleep

Easier said than done if you stress manifests as insomnia. As much as possible, give your brain time to calm down before going to bed and try to go to sleep at roughly the same time each day. 

Ways to Relieve Stress at Work

For many people, stress is synonymous with work: Making sure we get to the office on time, meet deadlines, say the right things to the boss. Earning a living doesn’t have to mean feeling miserable, though.

Take a Vacation

Easy enough, right? If your company offers paid vacation, it’s because it’s been proven that you’ll be more productive when you return from a bout of leisure. If you can’t afford a 2-week cruise to the Bahamas, find ways to do fun things closer to home. If you are feeling sick, your body needs time to rest so it can recover more quickly.

Learn to Say ‘No’

It’s easy to take on too much when we want to be liked at work and fear missed opportunities as a result, but you can find nice ways of letting people down gently and communicating when you are overburdened

Options If Reducing Stress Does Not Resolve Grinding Teeth

If you employ these strategies and feel relaxed yet still experience tenderness in jaw muscles, your dentist may use X-rays to detect temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or other dental problems. A sleep study might assess whether episodes of teeth grinding are due to sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder. Splints and mouth guards that fit over the upper and lower teeth keep them separated to avoid damage from clenching and grinding. Another treatment for severe bruxism is Botox injections. In severe cases affecting a patient’s ability to chew properly, reshaping of a tooth or use of crowns may be needed to repair the damage.

Finding Solutions for a Less Stressful Life

These are a few of the common strategies people use to reduce their stress levels and address teeth clenching or grinding. Consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition or before starting new exercise routines. Consider visiting a licensed therapist or counselor if the bruxism is related to anxiety. Please feel free to ask Dr. Keith Tedford for ways to treat bruxism or other dental conditions. You can schedule an appointment at Tedford Family Dentistry by calling (423) 238-8887.


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Blog © 2019 Tedford Family Dentistry: Tedford Keith DDS | Ooltewah TN 37363

cosmetic dentistry ooltewah tnWe all want a more youthful appearance, especially as we approach middle-age and worry about getting passed over for jobs in favor of younger candidates or fear that we are losing our sex appeal. Millions of Americans fight to hide signs of the natural aging process with injections to tighten the skin and products to conceal gray hairs. One positive impact of cosmetic dentistry performed at our Ooltewah TN dental office is a more youthful appearance. For those with teeth in good condition, teeth whitening or dental veneers can give the illusion of a more youthful smile. For others who’ve lost teeth over the years, dental implants surgically positioned into the jawbone create a similar effect.

Cosmetic Dentistry: The Fountain of Youth?

Teeth Whitening and Dental Veneers

Think back to when you were a younger person, perhaps in your twenties, with beautiful white teeth freshly aligned from wearing braces in your teens. Wouldn’t it be great to have those pearly whites again? Like the circles inside a tree marking the passage of time, the shade of the enamel on our teeth can reveal our age, even for those who’ve taken great care of their teeth, brushing and flossing daily and scheduling regular cleanings twice a year as recommended. It’s simply inevitable for teeth to stain as a result of aging, combined with tobacco use, years of drinking colas or coffees, eating acidic foods, or possibly as a result of some trauma experienced along the way. Teeth whitening at our Ooltewah cosmetic dentistry office lightens teeth and helps to decrease this discoloration. Another alternative is applying thin pieces of porcelain veneers to add strength and mask natural teeth that are chipped, stained, or worn-down over time.

Whitening is the cheapest and easiest way to make a smile look younger, says Bruce Seidner, a fellow at the Academy of General Dentistry. “However, not everyone can have their teeth successfully whitened. Sometimes a person's enamel or damage to the teeth make it difficult to achieve lasting results. In those cases, a veneer covering the tooth may be a better option,” Seidner told US News & World Report

Dental Implants

When simple teeth whitening and veneers fail to improve the look of teeth, dental implants become the next option if someone wants to avoid dentures, which can slip and not feel as natural. It’s important for surgically implanted teeth to match the tone of the surrounding teeth, if any, in order to appear natural. Missing teeth can cause a more “sunken-in” appearance and add wrinkles to the face. The effects of gum disease building over generations can impact the look of our smile as well and may require grafting to restore receded gums. It’s comforting to know that age doesn’t disqualify us from having a better smile.

Explore Cosmetic Dentistry Options for a Whiter, More Youthful Smile

No two people age in exactly the same way. Regardless of the condition of the mouth, we can always look better with some effort. With cosmetic dental procedures performed in Tedford Family Dentistry’s Ooltewah TN office, you can enjoy and embrace your age with a more confident, youthful smile that helps you compete for that job or win the attention of that special someone.

Dr. Keith Tedford can consult with patients who want to improve the appearance of their teeth and achieve a more youthful look. To meet with him and our staff, call us at (423) 238-8887 or stop by our office at 9380 Bradmore Lane, Suite 108, in Ooltewah TN to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tedford.


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

If you experience frequent jaw pain, headaches, migraine, or a painful sensation around your ear, you may have an inflamed TMJ, or temporomandibular joint. You might hear clicking or popping while chewing or talking if this condition affects you. In this blog, we’ll talk about the symptoms and possible causes of TMJ pain, how Dr. Tedford diagnoses the disorders, and how to treat TMJ and the jaw damage causing the painful symptoms.

TMJ Disorder Treatment in Ooltewah TN

Possible Causes of TMJ Pain

TMJ Pain Treatment Ooltewah TNIf you’re under a lot of stress, you may constantly clench or grind your teeth, which eventually damages the joint connecting the lower jaw to the bone on the side of the skull. You may not even be aware that you are doing this during the day in stressful situations or while asleep at night. This damage from putting pressure on the jaw usually rears its ugly head as the pain of headaches.

You can treat the condition by focusing on relaxation techniques, stretching exercises to ease the strain on muscles while exhaling and by using mouth guards to prevent jaw clenching. Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to manage the pain but their use should be limited to avoid possible side-effects like gastrointestinal bleeding.

Of course, you can experience pain in your jaw even if you’re a relatively relaxed person. TMJ pain can also result from arthritis as the surface of bones wears away, the connecting joint ligament becomes inflamed, or as a consequence of gum disease, neuropathic nerve pain, vascular pain, sinus conditions, or a condition called osteomyelitis that is essentially an infection in the bones and surrounding tissues. Whatever the cause, the result is suffering that lowers the patient’s quality of life. By the time TMJ is diagnosed, a lot of damage may already be done. That’s where Tedford Family Dentistry comes in to offer solutions from those patients suffering from TMJ/TMD disorders in the Ooltewah TN, Collegedale TN, greater Chattanooga, and Cleveland TN communities.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

Of course, the occasional headache may have another cause, but if TMJ is suspected, Dr. Keith Tedford discusses symptoms and examines the jaw to observe the range of motion, identify specific sites of pain or discomfort, and listen as the mouth is opened or closed. Dental X-rays may be needed to inspect the bones and reveal problems. To arrange a visit to discuss your jaw pain, call (423) 238-8887. We can set up a time to visit our dental office at 9380 Bradmore Lane, Suite 108, Ooltewah TN 37363.

TMJ Pain Treatments

In addition to the relaxation techniques and mouth guard described above, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may be relieved with prescribed pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, low doses of antidepressants like amitriptyline that can sometimes be effective for TMJ, or short-term use of muscle relaxants. As mentioned on our dedicated page about TMJ/TMD Disorders, surgical procedures to treat the condition are typically only employed only after other treatments have failed.

The first step is to attempt the at-home treatments we recommend, then Dr. Tedford can repair the jaw damage for long-term dental care.

Don’t Suffer Any Longer: TMJ TMD Treatment is Here

To arrange a visit to discuss your jaw pain with Dr. Keith Tedford, call (423) 238-8887 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This can be the year that he offers TMJ treatments that work for our patients in the Chattanooga, Ooltewah, Collegedale and Cleveland communities.

For more information on Treating TMJ:

https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter10/articles/winter10pg15a.html

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/temporomandibular-disorders-tmd

https://www.medicinenet.com/temporomandibular_joint_syndrome_tmj/article.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/tmj-exercises 


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Blog © 2019 Tedford Family Dentistry: Tedford Keith DDS | Ooltewah TN 37363

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.


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

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. 


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

Senior Dental Care Chattanooga

Our seniors are precious and need special consideration to remain healthy. Dr. Tedford works to provide affordable senior dental services like dentures, implants, bridges and more to the Ooltewah, Chattanooga, Collegedale, and Cleveland, TN communities. In fact, we have a dedicated page on this website to specifically address senior citizen dental care needs.

Readers can learn more about minimizing root decay that can lead to age-related gum loss and tooth loss. Lost Bone mass can also harm the jaw and increase the need for dental implants. Wear and tear related to time also impacts how well dentures fit. Decades of exposure to coffee, wine, and sodas show erosion of the dental enamel. Dr. Tedford assists seniors with routine dental care and cleanings, implants, dentures, veneers, bridges, and teeth whitening.

It’s important that our retirement years be spent comfortably, which includes retaining our ability to chew food correctly and without pain to nourish the body. Poor dental health can lead to problematic infections, according to experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Brushing teeth twice daily, flossing and going for regular dentist check ups are recommended as part of a Consumer Reports Health Checklist for Seniors

The Importance of a Senior Dental Care Program

senior dental care chattanoogaIt makes perfect sense that our teeth and gums require extra attention as we get older, the same as other health conditions complicated by age. Some of the unique situations affecting seniors:

  • Tooth Decay from old fillings.
  • Less exposure to tooth-protective fluoride in water systems over their lifetime.
  • Dry Mouth as a side effect of medications to treat chronic health conditions.
  • Reduced saliva production, making plaque more likely to stick to teeth.
  • Receding Gums leaving tooth roots exposed, sensitive to temperature extremes and vulnerable to germs.
  • Tooth and Gum Damage related to diabetes.
  • Oral Cancer Screening after long-term smoking.
  • Loose-fitting Dentures.
  • Complications brushing or flossing due to Arthritis.
  • Seniors generally become more susceptible to disease.

And just because someone is of advanced age, that doesn’t mean we never see patients wishing to correct crooked teeth by getting fitted with braces or have teeth whitened. If someone has been sensitive about his or her smile for most of their life and now have the discretionary income to do it, why not?

Special care is needed when treating dementia patients who suffer from jaw, tooth and gum pain. It’s also a good idea to prepare a list before an appointment to tell Dr. Tedford during visits about all drugs taken by seniors, the dosage and how often these medications are taken. Such information can affect the recommended Senior Dental treatment plan.

Dental Implants Ooltewah

Seniors are the primary consumers of dental products like dentures, bridges, and dental implants. The later can be a great option following tooth loss, but the patient needs healthy enough gums and bone to hold an implant in place. Bone density loss is a significant concern for women age 65 and older in particular. Discuss this Dr. Tedford during the initial consultation before such a dental procedure happens.

Dental Care for Seniors with Medicare

Access to regular dental care is often difficult for seniors. Medicare doesn’t cover it, and Medicaid coverage is limited. Out-of-pocket expenses can be prohibitive to those on a fixed income. Most seniors must rely on either Medicare Advantage plans or private insurance to get coverage, but there are options.

Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a Medicare and Medicaid program that allows people 55 or older who otherwise need a nursing home-level of care to remain in the community, covering dentistry, x-ray services, and other services. There are two PACE organization plans in Tennessee, both through Alexian Brothers Community Services

The Senior Dental Care insurance program is available to most Medicaid recipients at no additional cost.  Veterans may be eligible for dental benefits provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Ask us about payment options such as payment plans and reduced prices based on need.

Affordable Dental Care for Seniors

Dr. Tedford wants to help seniors keep their natural teeth longer and maintain good oral health so they can smile through their golden years. Call us at (423) 238-8887 or make an appointment to visit our office at 9380 Bradmore Lane, Suite 108, Ooltewah Tn 37363.


Photo: © Vadim Gozhda / 123RF Stock Photo

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

dental veneers Chattanooga TN cosmetic dentist

Dental Veneers: What They Are and How to Take Care of Them

A great smile can be positively life-changing. Taking good care of our teeth helps, but cosmetic dentistry procedures like dental veneers can take us “over the goal line”, as the saying goes. In this month’s blog, we look at reasons for getting dental veneers, some of which go beyond merely cosmetic considerations.

Veneers Mask Stained Teeth

Dental Veneers are the next step after unsuccessful teeth whitening

When teeth whitening fails to completely decrease stains and discoloration, dental veneers become the recommended cosmetic dentistry procedure. The thin wafer of porcelain becomes bonded to camouflage the actual color, shape, or position of the existing tooth. All cosmetic procedures work best when they enhance your smile rather than radically change it. You want people to notice the positive change but remain puzzled as to what was done. The smile should improve without appearing fake.

Porcelain Veneers Can Fix Teeth that are Damaged and Worn Down

Veneer Teeth Address Chipped Teeth

Veneers can be done to one tooth (as in, say, repairing a single chipped tooth after tripping and falling) or a group of teeth, depending on your needs and budget. Veneers also support natural teeth that have been weakened or compromised by broken or old fillings.

Dental Veneers Fix Teeth Gaps and Crooked Teeth

Veneers and crowns are methods of fixing gaps in teeth, along with dental bonding, implants, dentures, retainer/orthodontics, braces, and teeth gap bands. The differences between Crowns and Veneers? Both involve the bonding a thin porcelain shell to teeth with the goal of fitting properly and looking natural. Whereas veneers bond to the front of the tooth, dental crowns fit OVER most of a tooth. The term “bridge” refers to a type of crown to fix several teeth at once.

Another distinction: Veneers primarily address cosmetic needs, creating a uniform look. Crowns, in contrast, usually fix broken/cracked teeth caused by some sort of trauma or decay. You may also see the term “Lumineers,” which refers to a brand of veneers that are thinner than traditional veneers. 

Dental Veneers Improve Strength and Resilience

It’s pretty amazing that veneers have the durability to withstand years of wear and tear (while repelling stains) even though they are composed of the thinnest dental porcelain. Ideally, when shopping for a dentist nearby to add dental veneers, you’re able to ask a former patient who had the procedure a decade before if he or she remains happy with the results. Sometimes you can use a person’s Facebook photo gallery as a way of seeing before and after photos to at least get a sense of the cosmetic benefits of dental veneers.

What to Know Before Getting Dental Veneers

Veneers are an Irreversible Procedure

The natural enamel of your teeth gets eaten away by years of consuming acidic foods and drinks. Lost enamel does not grow back, but veneers can serve as a treatment for enamel abrasion and enamel erosion. Because we remove a portion of the outer layer of enamel on a tooth before bonding veneer teeth (for the purposes of a snug fit), the procedure cannot be reversed.

Let your dentist know about other cosmetic procedures you’re planning

Perhaps veneers are just one part of cosmetic enhancements you have planned. It’s important to discuss these with your cosmetic dentist because other forms of facial plastic surgery can negative what we are trying to accomplish. Lip injections, for example, can cast a shadow over teeth, making them appear gray. To find the perfect shade of grey for veneers, to match other teeth and appear natural, some dentists use a person’s skin tone to customize the shade that looks best. 

How Much Do Dental Veneers Cost?

Affordability can be a factor in deciding whether to get this procedure done, as it is generally great to get but not usually essential. You should talk to your dentist to get all of the information needed to decide whether dental veneers are an investment that will make a positive change in your life. Factors affecting price can include the experience level of the dentist and how many veneers you get at one time. Incorrect placement can lead to requiring several trips to a dentist to have improperly placed veneers fixed. You also need to consider whether your dental insurance plan covers any part of the cost of veneers since they are a cosmetic procedure. We are happy to give you a quote when you call (423) 238-8887 to set up an appointment with Dr. Keith Tedford.

How to Take Care of Dental Veneers

Veneers are Resistant to Chips and Cracks, but…

Once you have your veneers, you should avoid gnawing on ice or using your teeth to open packages. Barring any accident impacting the mouth, you should not experience any breakage or damage to your veneers, even under the daily pressures of biting and chewing food. While there may be some increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures for the first few days after a procedure, this usually does not last. Drinking a hot coffee or eating a cold bowl of ice cream should not produce any noticeable effect on your veneers.  

Maintain Preventive Dental Care

To keep your veneers in top shape, keep up with regular visits to your dentist twice a year and be sure to brush and floss daily. You don’t want to develop any cavities because they can compromise the integrity of the veneers. If you’re going to go to this much effort to improve your smile, we’re sure that you probably don’t need too much reminding to take basic care of your oral health.

Dental Veneers to Achieve the Smile of Your Dreams

Veneers can make a big impact on the quality of your smile. Because the procedure is irreversible, you definitely want to put some forethought into the work that is to be done and the desired outcome. We encourage you to use this information when researching whether to pursue veneers for yourself. Learn more about our Cosmetic Dentistry in Ooltewah, TN, then call us at (423) 238-8887 to set up an appointment with Dr. Keith Tedford.

Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo

Written by Steven Stiefel

professional teeth whitening ooltewah tnA bride or groom feeling self-conscious about their smile may ask a wedding photographer to use Photoshop for the illusion of having white teeth in their wedding photos. Perhaps you’ve adjusted the settings on Instagram to hide a yellow tinge in your own smile before sharing a social media post. In real life, we can’t hide behind layers of pixels. Every time we encounter someone face-to-face, they see our teeth and recognize whether the enamel is yellowed or stained.

If you’ve worried about the appearance of your smile, perhaps you’ve researched how to whiten your teeth at home. Maybe you’ve wondered “how much does professional teeth whitening cost?” without ever following through to find out. But while the Internet may offer lots of ways to cut corners and save money, including home remedies for removing plaque naturally, you may not want to experiment with unqualified advice off the web about do-it-yourself bleaching yours with chemicals that may not even do anything.

Cosmetic services by a professional dentist, on the other hand, come with the expectation that procedures for teeth whitening to decrease such discoloration will be safely performed and prove effective, leading to better results and, in turn, more self-confidence.

In this month's blog, Tedford Family Dentistry (which offers teeth whitening at our Ooltewah TN dentist office) wants to shed some light on real solutions to this common issue.

What’s the Best way to Whiten Teeth?

Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

There is some merit to the idea of brushing with baking soda because it contains natural whitening properties, adds alkaline to your mouth that deters bacteria growth, and it is a mild abrasive so brushing with it can work sort of like buffing away stains while scrubbing your tub clean.

Studies of toothpaste containing baking soda do suggest some whitening occurs, although there’s no proof that it makes you ready for your close-up overnight. 

Does hydrogen peroxide whiten teeth?

If you are considering peroxide teeth whitening, you might experience more success if you ask your dentist to mold a gel tray to your mouth. Most of the products on pharmacy shelves are made to fit most mouths rather than being a snug fit for more optimal results.

Mixing hydrogen peroxide heavily diluted with mouthwash may help overall with oral hygiene because of its ability to kill bacteria. But be careful to avoid strong concentrations or overuse, which may result in irritation or increased tooth sensitivity.

Some other supposed natural teeth whitening methods include eating pineapples, mixing baking soda with strawberries, drinking apple cider vinegar, using activated charcoal, Kaolin clay, fruit peels, but there’s no scientific evidence these substances work effectively and are safe. In fact, excessive use could actually damage teeth. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is good for you, but don’t expect to wake up with a dazzling white smile after eating some the night before and remember that berries can stain teeth. 

Some solutions may only clean stains on the surface of teeth but not last long. Discontinue using any home remedies or commercially-available whiteners if you experience serious tooth sensitivity. To reduce the risk of using unsafe products, we recommend you look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.

Consider a Professional Teeth Whitening Treatment

During professionally applied treatments, dentists may use higher concentrations of bleaching solutions that aren’t available in over-the-counter products, but you have the comfort of knowing that procedures are done under supervision with protective steps taken before we begin.

Discoloration involves increased visibility of Dentin, a yellowish tissue under the enamel of a tooth, over time. Thinning of the enamel is a root cause of discoloration, so it’s wise to involve your dentist in the solution. Regular cleanings at the dentist’s office prevent the build-up of plaque. Keep on a schedule to stop plaque build-up. The best approach for whitening teeth at home may be to stay persistent in regular brushing and flossing.

The Bottom Line: It Can Take Weeks to Notice Results

When trying to get whiter teeth, patience is needed. It's dangerous to risk a “quick fix” solution in search of expediency. You need to talk to your dentist before trying any of the things we've covered here. He or she could save you time and money, along with protecting your gums from chemical oversaturation.

Take Action to Prevent further Tooth Stains

Whitening won’t be a major problem if you limit exposure to the things that stain teeth in the first place, like coffee, red wine, sodas, and dark berries. Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco too. Some changes to your diet can also help things along. Foods with calcium can help protect teeth erosion while eating less sugar can lead to less plaque buildup on teeth.

It’s understandable that we want to present a gorgeous white smile that communicates health and good hygiene, but we need to be careful and avoid risking damage from chemical remedies that aren’t proven to work. The best thing for patients to be is to be patient and not expect overnight results. Meanwhile, make some dietary changes, limit exposure to staining foods and beverages, and keep brushing and flossing daily to help see improvement.

Talk to your dentist before you try whitening your teeth with chemical solutions at home. Saving a little money, but correcting damage caused by careless use may cost more in the long run. 

Copyright: puhhha / 123RF Stock Photo Written by Steven Stiefel

dentists near collegedale tnDoes your mouth bleed when you brush your teeth? Noticing plaque and tartar above the gumline? Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, appears as the first sign of someone at risk for periodontal disease.

At some point, a dentist has no doubt warned you about it before, but you should take gum health seriously. If left unchecked, a domino effect of oral damage progresses, often resulting in the loss of one’s teeth and increased risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory infections, and other afflictions. Preventing that from happening is worth 3 to 5 minutes of your time, twice a day, right?

A survey reported in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that a majority of adults have gingivitis. This suggests that people aren’t taking good enough care of their teeth beyond occasional cleanings with their dentist. With that in mind, our dentists near Collegedale TN offer 5 ways to stop gum disease and the damage caused by gingivitis:

Brush Twice, Floss Once



The American Dental Association recommends taking the time to brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime. Flossing should happen during one of those cleaning sessions at home. It’s easy to forget or disregard if you’re in a hurry, but we should make oral health an important part of our daily routine.

Pay More Attention to the Gumline While Brushing



Gingivitis starts with plaque accumulating around the gumline. People often neglect the gums when brushing, but you can easily attack both areas at the same time by angling your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. You might also occasionally “scrape” the tongue with your toothbrush to remove bacteria and toxins.

Keep Your Toothbrush Germ Free



Brushing daily won’t have as much positive impact if we store our toothbrushes in moist environments that promote the growth of germs. Store in the upright position if possible. Possibly alternate between 2 toothbrushes so one can completely dry while the other is used.

Examine Your Nutrition and Lifestyle



Getting at least 800 milligrams daily of Calcium, known to strengthen bones, can reduce the chances of developing gum disease (which may eventually loosen teeth), according to a study from the State University of New York at Buffalo. The National Institute of Health recommends a daily dose of 100 to 200 milligrams of Vitamin C to check bleeding gums. Studies suggest Vitamin D shows anti-inflammatory benefits, which may reduce bleeding between the gums. Excessive smoking and drinking drain the body of vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetables clean and stimulate teeth and gums. Stress and exposure to toxic chemicals can also contribute to oral decay.

Use a Mouthwash After Brushing



A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology suggests that mouthwash containing the chemicals cetylpridinium chloride or domiphen bromide inhibited the development of plaque and reduced gingivitis. Listerine, for example.

Tedford Family Dentistry in Ooltewah offers preventive dentistry to help stop gum disease and other oral health risks. To learn more about our full preventive dentistry services and doing your part at home to fight gingivitis, visit http://tedfordfamilydentistry.com/dental-services-ooltewah-tn/preventive-dentistry-ooltewah-tn

Copyright: fsstock / 123RF Stock Photo

Written by Steven Stiefel

 

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