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Thursday, 25 July 2019 18:47

The Importance of Preventative Dentistry

Preventative Dentistry Keep Your Mouth Healthy 


At Tedford Family Dentistry, we have been helping residents of Ooltewah and the surrounding areas maintain healthy mouths for years. While we offer services that help to fix dental issues once they have already happened, we feel that it is more important for our patients to understand that the benefits of maintaining a preventative dental routine in order to decrease the amount of dental issues that can arise during their lifetime. If you don’t take care of your teeth and properly manage your oral health, you may find yourself forking over thousands of dollars in restorative dental care. Did you know that a full mouth reconstruction can cost between $45,000 and $80,000? By practicing preventive dentistry, you can safeguard yourself from these exorbitant dental costs. In today’s blog post, we are going to go over some of the steps that patients can take to make sure that they are practicing proper preventative dental care. 


Preventive dentistry emphasizes the importance of ongoing hygiene procedures and daily practices to prevent tooth decay and other dental diseases and conditions. This is achieved by patients making sure that their at-home oral care is properly addressing the daily needs of their gums as teeth while also combining regular visits to the dentist in order to make sure that issues that are harder to address at home (such as plaque and tartar build up) are taken care of before they become major issues. 


The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a minimum of two dental checkups each year for professional cleaning and management of any developing conditions. Following this recommendation can help your dentist stop dental disease in its earliest stages, protecting your smile and limiting your expense as it relates to your oral health.


Preventive Dentistry Strategies


Preventive oral care strategies include a number of in-office and home care activities. Some of these activities include:


At-home oral hygiene: The most important prevention technique is brushing and flossing at least twice a day (or after every meal) to remove dental plaque. If plaque is not removed, it can build up and produce dental tartar, a hardened, sticky substance with acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and lead to gum disease. Trust us, it is better to prevent tartar from accumulating than letting it take hold. Once the tartar has taken hold, it can only be removed by a dental professional. 


Diet: A balanced diet is essential to overall oral health. Foods laden with sugars and carbohydrates feed the bacteria that produce dental plaque, while calcium-poor diets increase your chances of developing gum (periodontal) disease and jaw deterioration. We’re not saying that you have to be a health food fanatic but you do need to make an effort to eat food that is going to help your teeth rather than harm them. 


Fluoride use: Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. While you can visit the dentist for a flouride treatment, it is not always necessary to get the recommended amount of fluoride each year. Fluoride has been added to tap water in most areas of the country so when you brush your teeth twice a day, you’re also receiving a fluoride treatment at the same time! 


Regular dental visits: Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is one of the most important things a person can do in order to make sure that their oral health stays as good as possible. Because most dental conditions are painless at first, a person may not notice something is wrong until it gets to the point where pain occurs. For best results, schedule regular dental check-ups every six months. During this checkup, your dentist will remove any plaque or tartar that has built up, check for cavities, and generally make sure that your teeth, gums, and mouth are healthy. Additionally, your dentist should perform screenings for oral cancer to make sure that no abnormal tissue growth is happening on the gums or in the mouth. 


Sealants: Sealants are thin composite coatings placed on the chewing surfaces of back permanent teeth. Sealants are most commonly placed on children’s permanent teeth when they develop, however, adults can also benefit from sealant treatment. 


X-rays: X-rays enable dentists to look for signs of dental problems that are not visible to the naked eye, such as cavities between teeth and problems below the gum line. Even though your teeth may look perfectly fine at a glance, x-rays ensure that no problems exist below the gumline. 


Avoid smoking and drinking: Chewing tobacco, smoking, and drinking have all been linked to problems surrounding oral health. These substances work to weaken the enamel of the teeth which leads to discoloration, cavities, tooth decay, and even oral cancer. 


If you have any more questions about preventative dentistry or you would like to schedule an appointment at our Ooltewah office, please reach out to us today by giving us a call at 423.238.8887 or filling out our contact form.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 18:24

Is Flossing That Important?

Flossing Should be a Part of You Daily Routine


If you ask most people how they feel about flossing, you are likely to be greeted with answers that are less than favorable. It seems that across the board, most people don’t enjoy flossing and even fewer people actually take the time to floss on a weekly, let alone daily, basis. Why is flossing such a tough sell for people? Mostly because it is time consuming and can also lead to some uncomfortable feelings in the gums afterward. Despite the reluctance of the average person when it comes to flossing, we wanted to take some time in today’s blog post to go over the many reasons that flossing is one of the most important things a person can do in order to maintain good oral hygiene and reduce that amount of problems associated with bad oral health. Keep reading below to learn more!


What are the Facts?


In a world where it’s hard to believe anything that we are told at face value, many people may be wondering if flossing is actually worth it. Afterall, people tend to brush their teeth every day; shouldn’t that be enough? While brushing your teeth is an important component in maintaining good oral health, it is only the basest of activities that need to be completed in order to make sure that your pearly whites stay healthy. You see, brushing is great but it really only tackles the problems that are on the most easily accessible areas of a person’s teeth. Bacteria in the mouth are adept at finding nooks and crannies that are hard to reach, allowing them to take root and enjoy the plethora of sugars that find their way into our mouths every single day. When you floss, you are reaching areas of your mouth that a toothbrush just simply can’t. Cleaning out the areas in between teeth is one of the best ways to fight plaque build up, which can lead to all sorts of nasty things, and improve the overall health of your mouth.


What Happens When You Don’t Floss?


We can tell you all day about the benefits of flossing but we also want you to understand what can happen if you choose not to floss on a regular basis. When you don’t floss, you are at risk for two major dental issues: gingivitis and cavities between your teeth. Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease that presents itself as irritation, redness, and selling of the gum area that surrounds the base of a person’s teeth. If ignored, gingivitis can lead to a much more serious gum disease known as periodontitis and, eventually, tooth loss. In addition to gingivitis, people who do not floss are more likely to get cavities in between their teeth. If you have every had a cavity, you know that they are not fun to deal with. A cavity in between the teeth is even worse. While flossing will not completely eliminate the risk of gingivitis and cavities, it goes a long way in protecting your mouth from these uncomfortable and potentially harmful oral maladies.


How Often Should a Person Floss?


Ideally a person would floss every single day. However, as dental professionals, we know that this does not always happen. Flossing at least once every few days, in addition to brushing your teeth at least twice a day, can go a long way in making sure that your mouth stays as healthy as possible. We’ve found that many people find it easier to get into a flossing routine if they purchase disposable, one-time-use flossers. These tools are easier to use than traditional dental floss and can be kept in a small container directly on the bathroom sink. If you’re looking to incorporate a flossing regimen into your daily oral hygiene routine, we suggest that you floss every time that you brush. Even though it takes a few extra minutes, we promise that the health benefits will be worth it.


If you have any more questions about oral hygiene or you need to schedule an appointment to have your teeth cleaned, please reach out to us at Tedford Family Dentistry today and schedule an appointment. We have been serving patients in the Ooltewah area for years and we would love to help you make sure that your mouth stays as healthy as humanly possible.  




Thursday, 30 May 2019 12:18

Are Dental Implants Right For You?

Here at Tedford Family Dentistry, we want to make sure that all of our Ooltewah clients fully understand the cosmetic dentistry services that we offer. In the world of dentistry, people generally place dental services into two main camps - things that need to be done and things people want to have done. For example, getting a cavity filled is a need-based service. Walking around with a cavity can be quite painful and, as such, is a service that most people would consider necessary in order to maintain the overall health of their mouth. However, in today’s post we are going to talk about a service that, at first glance, doesn’t seem like a necessity but, after taking a moment to think about the benefits, can quickly blur the lines between what is necessary and what is wanted.


What are Dental Implants?


Before we dive into some of the benefits of dental implants and whether or not they are the right choice for your situation, we want to take a moment to explain what dental implants are. At the most basic level, dental implants are fake teeth that are placed in a patient's gums in order to replace a tooth that is dying or to fill in for a tooth that has already fallen out of the patient's mouth. Think of dental implants as an artificial tooth with an attached root. When dental implants are placed in the jawbone, they bond with the patient’s bone, providing a sturdy base for an artificial tooth (known as a crown) to be placed. In modern dentistry, dental implants are the best replacement for a lost or damaged tooth because they are the most realistic looking replacement available and, more importantly, they help to maintain the integrity of the jawbone.


When a tooth is lost or starts to die, the root is no longer firmly placed in the jawbone. While this might not seem like a huge deal to the average person, a missing tooth can actually create lasting damage that affects the integrity of the teeth closest to the missing or damaged tooth. The human jawbone is made to house teeth. The roots of teeth and the jawbone work together to maintain structural integrity of the jawbone. If a person is missing one or more teeth, the area of the jawbone where these teeth are missing becomes weaker. If left untreated, this weak spot can actually spread further away from the problem area, leading to an overall softening of the jawbone and, in a worst case scenario, damage to the roots of healthy teeth. Luckily, dental implants help to solve this issue by giving the jawbone a “root” to grow around, maintaining the natural strength of the jawbone itself.


What are Some of the Advantages of Dental Implants?


Aside from helping the jawbone maintain its strength, dental implants offer many more benefits when compared to other tooth replacement options:


  • Improved Appearance - One major advantage that draws people toward dental implants is the fact that they are one of the most natural looking tooth replacement options. When placed in the mouth, dental implants look and feel just like a natural tooth.

  • Improved Speech - A major complaint we hear from people with dentures is that they can slip in a patient’s mouth, causing a person to slur or to mumble their words. This occurs because the dentures may not sit properly in a person’s mouth. With dental implants, this problem does not occur because the implants are fused directly to a person’s jawbone, guaranteeing that no slipping will occur.

  • Improved Oral Health - Unlike dental bridges, dental implants do not require the reducing of surrounding teeth. Because the adjacent teeth are not altered to support the implant, a patient’s original teeth are left intact, greatly improving long-term oral health.

  • Durability - Another great feature of dental implants is the fact that they are super durable. The implant itself is made from medical grade stainless steel, while the crown can be made from a variety of materials including resin, ceramic based materials, or porcelain fused to metal. No matter the material, dental implants are made to last.

  • Convenience - Once a dental implant is placed in a patient’s jaw, they often times forget that they even have a false tooth. Other tooth replacement options, such as dental bridges or dentures, require a certain amount of upkeep and, unfortunately, must often times be removed from the mouth in order to be properly cleaned. Because a dental implant is a permanent, long-term solution that is designed to stay a in a patient’s mouth, upkeep is the same as it would be for a natural tooth.


Are Dental Implants Right for Me?


By this point in the post, you are probably wondering if dental implants are the right choice for you particular situation. While every patient’s situation is different, we are confident in saying that dental implants are almost always the best choice when it comes to replacing a damaged or missing tooth.


We hope that this blog helped answer some questions about dental implants and the advantages they provide. If you are interested in learning more about the dental implant services we offer at our Ooltewah location, please feel free to reach out to us through our contact form or give us a call at 423-238-8887.
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.


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

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