It’s Time to See the Dentist – Here’s Why

It’s Time to See the Dentist – Here’s Why

Between shuttling the kids to school and practice, holding down a full-time job, and trying to exercise, it’s hard to find time for anything.

Balancing a busy schedule is commonplace. And it’s great to lead an active life! But it’s imperative that you have your priorities in order, with your health topping that list. Unfortunately, we notice that a lot of people let their dental health fall by the wayside.

Part of a healthy oral hygiene regimen involves visiting a dentist every 6 months, but sometimes, there are telltale signs that you should pay yours a visit a bit sooner. Nashville dentists Drs. Elam, Fleming, and Vaughan are here today to discuss four red flags that indicate it’s time to see the dentist.

1. See the Dentist if Your Gums are Bleeding

One of the things that never fails to shock us at Dentistry of Nashville is just how many people think that it’s normal for their gums to bleed. Bleeding gums are indicative of serious oral health problems that need to be immediately addressed.

Bleeding gums can indicate

  • Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Bleeding, swollen, and tender gums are major indicators of the condition.
  • Poor Brushing Habits – If you brush with anything harder than a soft-bristled toothbrush, you’re inflicting major damage on your gums.
  • Adverse Reaction to Medications – Certain blood thinners are known to cause the gums to bleed.

If you notice a little blood in the sink, don’t ignore it. Get to your dentist as soon as you can.

2. See the Dentist if You Drink Coffee or Alcohol Regularly

We understand that it’s a tall task to ask our patients to quit their coffee habits. For some people, a morning cup of joe (or two) is the only way to properly start their days. Couple that with a few drinks of alcohol at night and your teeth are in major danger.

Tinted drinks like coffee, soda, and red wine have dark pigment in their chemical makeup, which can get stuck in the microscopic cracks of your enamel. If you don’t clean them promptly and properly, your teeth can end up permanently stained.

Next time you look in the mirror, check to see if your enamel has yellow or brown stains. If you notice some, give your dentist a call. It may be time to schedule a deep cleaning.

3. See the Dentist if You’re in Pain

You probably want to see the dentist anyway if you have a toothache. Toothaches are much more than minor inconveniences—they’re crises. They can be distracting, painful, and indicative of much more severe health problems.

Common causes of toothaches include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Infection
  • Malocclusion (bad bite)
  • Teeth grinding

If your mouth is in pain, don’t ignore it. The condition may not go away on its own. Keep your toothaches at bay by visiting your Nashville dentist as soon as you feel that something isn’t quite right.

4. See the Dentist if You Have Headaches

Headaches and oral health are closely linked. If you wake up in the morning with headaches, you may be grinding your teeth while you sleep. This not only causes a bad headache but can lead to damaged teeth and jaw disorders.

Plus, your dental health and sinuses are connected. When your sinuses grow inflamed due to sinusitis or sinus infections, your upper teeth and jaw can start to ache. Persistent and recurrent sinusitis can cause you to breathe through your mouth, which may dry it out and allow the bacteria to grow more quickly.

Make an Appointment with Your Nashville Dentist

Regular visits to the dentist can help prevent long-term oral health problems and ensure that your teeth stay healthy and strong. Make an appointment with Dentistry of Nashville to take charge of your oral health and maintain a bright and happy smile.

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Dentistry of Nashville

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Dentistry of Nashville

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Here in Nashville, families enjoy Father’s Day barbecues, outings, and spending time appreciating all of the wonderful things that dads do year round.

Why not think outside the box when shopping for gifts this year? There are plenty of thoughtful and useful things for dad that you can get in your dentist’s office. Why not get him something that will leave him smiling all summer long?

Teeth Whitening

As we age, our teeth tend to grow yellow or discolored. Unless your dad takes impeccable care of his teeth, he may benefit from teeth whitening treatments from the Dentistry of Nashville.

A professional teeth whitening treatment is a great and affordable way to help your dad regain confidence in his smile. We offer take-home teeth whitening treatments so he can whiten and brighten his teeth from the comfort of his home.

The Dentistry of Nashville’s take-home whitening kits consist of trays that fit over your teeth. The trays are filled with a whitening agent, and over time, the agents will reduce the appearance of stains and discoloration.


If your dad has crooked, cracked, or misshapen teeth, he might appreciate veneers. Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Because they can be individually tailored to his needs, veneers can repair even the most damaged of smiles.

A lot of Hollywood stars have perfected their signature grins with veneers because they yield stunning results. The entire process only takes a few visits, too. First, your dad will meet with our Nashville team to discuss the treatment plan best for him. He and the dentist will decide how many veneers are needed as well as the size and shape.

Next, he’ll have his teeth prepared. Depending on the state and nature of his teeth, he may have them polished or shaved down a bit to make room for the restorations. This process won’t hurt and can be completed very quickly. He’ll walk out of the office that day with a set of temporary veneers until the custom ones are ready.

Finally, he will return to our office to have the beautiful final pieces cemented to the front of his teeth. They will be so securely bonded to the front of his teeth that only a dental drill or laser would be able to remove them. After that, he’s finished! He will be able to flash his beautiful, straight smile for a lifetime.


If your dad paid for your braces when you were a teen, now could be the time to return the favor. If his teeth are crooked or misaligned, he may be able to benefit from Invisalign.

Invisalign aligners are clear, plastic retainers that fit over crooked teeth. Every few weeks, the aligners will be changed to slowly straighten crooked teeth, with the end result being a straight and beautiful smile.

And the best part? Invisalign aligners are completely invisible! Your dad won’t have to worry about dealing with noticeable metal wires and brackets, giving him the freedom to eat and smile without embarrassment.

Father’s Day Gifts at the Dentistry of Nashville

Drs. Elam, Fleming, and Vaughan aren’t just dentists—they’re all fathers, too. They love Father’s Day and spending time with their children and grandchildren in celebration. Why not take their advice and get dad something that he could use for the rest of his life—a confident smile! Contact our office for other Father’s Day dental work ideas.  

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Country Music Mecca — 5 Cool Facts About the Nashville Music Scene

Country Music Mecca — 5 Cool Facts About the Nashville Music Scene

country music in Nashville | Dentistry of Nashville From the twang of a banjo to the smooth blare of a harmonica, the foundation of Nashville is inarguably rooted in music. Dubbed “Music City U.S.A” back in 1950, the down-home sounds of the music scene here in Nashville continue to be heard across the country.

The influences of country music can be traced to gospel, bluegrass, and R&B. With the Nashville music scene dating all the way back to the 1700s, there are plenty of interesting facts that would surprise even the most dedicated country music buff.

1. The History Of “Music City U.S.A”

So, where did our hometown get the name Music City? There are several theories regarding Nashville’s nickname. Some believe the moniker can actually be attributed to WSM-AM announcer David Cobb who named Nashville “Music City U.S.A” on air back in 1950.

Others believe that the name originated from the Fisk Jubilee Singers from Nashville’s Fisk University. The group is one of the first musical acts to tour around the world. Rumor has it that Queen Victoria is responsible for the nickname because she said that the singers must come from the “Music City.”

2. Evolution of the Grand Ole Opry

There’s no question that the Grand Ole Opry is a key part of Nashville’s country music legacy. It all started with a Saturday night broadcast from WSM radio company that featured country music — known as the WSM Barn Dance. The program debuted on the night of November 28, 1925, with a fiddle player named Uncle Jimmy Thompson.

Quickly gaining popularity, the show now known as the Grand Ole Opry moved to a performance hall in order to accommodate the live audience. After several moves, the show eventually made its home at the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974.

3. A Songwriter’s Paradise

Boasting an impressive and eclectic music scene, Nashville is also known as the “Songwriting Capital of the World.” Musicians and songwriters flock to our city for its unique charm and opportunities to better their craft.

Bluebird Cafe, located just outside of downtown, is considered paradise for up-and-coming artists. The venue is recognized worldwide as a space for artists to perform their own songs. Garth Brooks is one of the many performers known to regularly play Bluebird Cafe’s open mic before he was discovered and signed to Capitol Records.

The popularity of Bluebird Cafe continues to solidify the city’s songwriting reputation with its regular appearance on the popular ABC drama, Nashville. The cafe is an important piece of the drama’s plotline showcasing the music industry in Nashville.

4. Home of The Country Music Association

If you’re a fan of country music, chances are that you’ve heard about the Country Music Association. This association was founded in Nashville back in 1958 to promote country music. According to the CMA, the association was formed in response to the growing popularity of rock ‘n’ roll on the radio.

The CMA started out with just 160 members and now has more than 7,500 professionals representing different areas of the country music industry. Today, the association is best known for the annual televised CMA Awards.

5. The Birth of Nashville Sound at RCA Studio B

What eventually became known as the distinct Nashville sound began at RCA Studio B, which was originally known as just RCA Studios in the 1960s. The famous recording studio is credited as reviving the popularity of country music and establishing the city as a music recording hub.

Some country music’s heroes like Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson have recorded in Studio B. The historic studio is now a popular cultural attraction for both locals and tourists.

Country Music Hits a High Note in Nashville

Whether you like the steady rhythm of Johnny Cash or the pop-infused sounds of Carrie Underwood, there’s no question that our city is the place to soak up country music culture for all honky tonk connoisseurs.
Don’t believe us? Just look at Nashville’s impressive legacy and contributions to our favorite music genre!

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Your Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery

Your Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery



These days it’s no surprise that so many people are choosing dental implants, the healthy, convenient, and long-lasting choice for replacing missing teeth.  This revolutionary technology offers numerous advantages over dentures and dental bridges, the two most common alternative treatments.

Preview the Dental Implant Process

Once you and your dentist have determined that dental implants are the best solution for replacing your missing teeth, one of our dedicated dental health specialists will sit down with you and come up with a timetable that matches your schedule.  At this point we will go over the entire dental implant process with you and address any questions or concerns you may have.

The Dental Implant Process

The dental implant process typically requires 3 to 6 months to complete.  However, this timetable could be expanded if our doctors determine that you require any additional procedures, such as bone grafting or treatment for gum disease,  to prepare for dental implants.

Here’s a list of the steps involved in the dental implant process, including pre-surgery procedures which you may not require:

  • Preparation of the surgical site. Any damaged or broken teeth are removed.
  • Pre-implant procedures. Dentist performs pre-surgery treatments, such as bone grafting or treatment for gum disease.
  • Your fixture is surgically fitted.
  • Your jawbone becomes firmly integrated with the fixture.
  • Your abutment and crown are attached to you implant.

Your Post-Surgery Instructions

We will provide you with detailed written instructions on how to prepare for each stop of the dental implant process, but please don’t hesitate to call us at any point if you have any concerns at all.  This is your smile we’re talking about and you have every right to know what to expect at every stage of the process.

Follow our Directions for Quick and Healthy Recovery

The surgical fitting of the dental implant fixture to your jawbone is a crucial to the success of the entire implant.  It’s essential that the fixture forms a strong bond with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration to anchor the entire dental implant to your mouth.  That’s why it’s so important that you follow your dentist’s directions during your recovery from the procedure.

Expect Some Swelling and Bleeding After Dental Implant Surgery

It really helps to know what to expect going into the dental implant process.  For example, some pain, bleeding, and swelling are a natural part of the recovery process and it should not alarm you to be feeling some discomfort after your implant fixture has been surgically fitted to your jaw.

Patients commonly experience some swelling after the fixture is fitted.  Typically the swelling reaches its peak 2 to 3 days after the procedure is completed.  However, your level of pain should reach its highest level about six hours after surgery.  You can place an ice pack on your cheekbone above the surgical site and you can should also use your pain medication as directed by your dentist.  And if your dentist prescribes any antibiotics, be sure to take all of them in order to fight against possible infection.

Like swelling, bleeding is another common side effect of dental implant surgery.  You can change your gauze every 30 to 45 minutes as necessary.  Wetting your gauze and biting down on it can make this process easier.  You should not feel alarmed if blood continues to leak from the site for up to 48 hours after the surgery.  But again, please feel free to contact our office about any concerns you might have.

Additional Side Effects Following Dental Implant Surgery

Dry lips and bruising on the cheek are two additional side effects that are a common part recovery from dental implant surgery.  You can use a lubricant such as Vaseline to treat your lips and the bruising should begin to subside by 2 to 3 days after the surgery.

Things to Avoid Following Dental Implant Surgery

In order to ensure a healthy recovery, the following should be avoided for at least five days following your implant surgery:

  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Drinking from a straw
  • Nicotine
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Hot drinks such as coffee and tea
  • Hard and crunchy foods

Your New Smile

Once your dental implant fixture has been successfully fitted, you are on your way to having that new smile.  You will look and feel attractive, healthy, and ready to face the world with a new sense of confidence.  Call us today at Dentistry of Nashville to find out what dental implants can do for you.






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By: Karen

By: Karen

Going to either Mexico or Costa Rica for Dental Tourism. I need to have bridge put in over two teeth. Must fix cavity on one of teeth before getting bridge. Would I be able to get work done completely within 3-7 days? Can anyone tell me where to go and who to see to get this work done? I need to have work done soon, so cavity doesn’t get worse. Local USA dentist said price would be ~$3000. I don’t have dental insurance and I don’t have money for it either. I would need a loan or put on credit card. I would be going alone on this trip and I’m >60 yrs old. Is this a good idea? I’ve not done anything like this before. Worried about going to terrible dentist. Not sure how to find out information about clinic and dentist.
Please help give me information. Thank you.

from Comments on: Dental Tourism – Interviews & Experiences of Treatment Abroad
Protect Your Smile: Top 5 Reasons To Wear A Mouthguard

Protect Your Smile: Top 5 Reasons To Wear A Mouthguard

Football playersWhether you’re racing down the field for a touchdown or going for a slam dunk on the court, the last thing on an athlete’s mind is the health of their smile. Despite this seemingly unrelated topic, more dental accidents occur while playing sports than you might think.

According to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, dentists estimate that between 13% and 39% of dental injuries occur while playing sports. What’s even more, 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth.

Although many athletes neglect the safety of their teeth, it’s critical to address this issue to avoid dental trauma. In celebration of National Facial Protection Month, all of us here at Dentistry of Nashville encourage our patients to protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard while playing any contact sports.

Why Is It Important To Wear A Mouthguard?

The importance of wearing a mouthguard should not be overlooked. Some of the top reasons to wear a mouthguard while playing contact sports include:

  1. Avoid Fractures: The most obvious benefit of wearing a mouthguard is protecting your teeth from breaking. If a fracture does occur, there are still several dental treatments that can save your tooth. However, we believe that preventative measures should be taken to avoid this problem altogether.
  2. Avoid Tooth Displacement: Even if your teeth remain intact without any chips or fractures, they can still be displaced. Displacement occurs when the tooth still remains partially or completely in the socket but has shifted. This is particularly dangerous because it can cause your tooth to move easily after the accident.
  3. Protect Your Jaw: A mouthguard can also be a useful tool for protecting your jaw. In the instance of impact, a mouthguard can help to absorb the shock and prevent a painful injury to the jaw.
  4. Protect Soft Tissue: A mouthguard is useful for protecting the soft tissues of the mouth, including the gums, cheeks, and lips. During impact, many athletes can bite through their lower lip or inner cheek. Wearing a mouthguard can protect your teeth along with these soft tissues.
  5. Save Money: In the end, investing money in a mouthguard will save you the pain and financial burden of costly treatment for dental injuries.

The Most Common Dental Injuries For Athletes

According to the American Dental Assistants’ Association, approximately 5 million Americans lose teeth due to injuries related to sports. The most common types of injuries fall into three categories:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Fractured roots
  • Tooth intrusion

No matter what category your dental trauma falls in, it’s critical to treat the issue as soon as possible. Avoiding treatment can impact the rest of your teeth, and you may even end up losing a tooth that initially could have been saved.

Types Of Mouthguards

If you’ve decided to invest in a mouthguard, we’d like to congratulate you on taking the first step to protecting your smile and dental health! The next important step is choosing the right mouthguard according to your budget and preferences.

A mouthguard should be resilient, comfortable, and not restrict your breathing. Some of your choices for mouthguards include:

  • Custom-made mouthguards: A custom-made device provides the best fit and the most protection. The mouthguard is made by taking an impression of your teeth to perfectly fit your mouth. While this is the most comfortable, effective option, it is also the most expensive.
  • Boil-and-bite mouthguards: These types of mouthguards come pre-formed and can be fitted by boiling the mouthguard and biting down. Most boil-and-bite mouthguards can be found at sporting good stores and are a more comfortable option than stock mouthguards.
  • Stock mouthguards: These mouthguards are preformed and ready to wear. These can often be the least comfortable.

Mouthguard Maintenance

Maintaining your mouthguard is also important for protecting your smile. According to a 2011 study published in Sports Medicine, researchers found a variety of molds and bacteria on the mouthguards of football players. Properly cleaning and caring for your mouthguard will ensure your mouth stays clear of bacteria while protecting your teeth. Some of the best ways to maintain your mouthguard include:

  • Keeping your mouthguard in a clean dry area between games
  • Rinse and brush your mouthguard before and after use
  • Soak your mouthguard in soapy water and rinse for thorough cleanings
  • Never leave your mouthguard in hot water or the hot sun
  • Look for signs of wear and replace your mouthguard when necessary

Contact Dentistry Of Nashville

Do you have additional questions about protecting your smile while playing sports? No matter what your dental concerns are, we are here to assist you! From family dentistry to restorative treatment, your smile is in the best hands possible with us! Contact our office today to learn more about how we can give you a healthier, beautiful smile.

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Quit These Habits To Maintain Health Teeth

Quit These Habits To Maintain Health Teeth

Your teeth are vital for your overall health and longevity. Strong and healthy teeth, helps you speak and eat with ease and helps keep your gums in great shape. Keeping your teeth healthy is very important to do. Maintaining them is necessary if you want to prevent oral diseases and the spreading of bacterial infections throughout the body.

Although many people may have a fantastic regimen to keep their pearly whites strong, certain common practices can have negative effects. View our top 5 common habits that can cause damage to your teeth.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

While chewing on ice cubes can be refreshing for the body on a hot day, your teeth may not enjoy it. Chewing ice can cause micro-cracks in the enamel and can cause tooth sensitivity over time. Chewing on ice can also damage the gums and cause gum recession.

Surprisingly, craving ice is often a sign of iron deficiency and stress. Sometimes taking iron pills can make the ice craving go away. Next time that you choose to chew on ice, substitute it for a great snack like carrots or celery, that will provide the same crunch effect but with healthy vitamins.

If you feel like you crave ice all of the time, speak to your healthcare professional to determine any further medical concerns.

  1. Brushing Forcefully

Many people believe that the harder that you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. That is not the case brushing your teeth too hard can actually cause many serious problems to your teeth and gums. If you apply too much pressure to your teeth when brushing your teeth, you run the risk of developing receding gums, cavities and enamel wear. Below you will find a few signs of over brushing.

  • Enamel wear
  • Receding gums
  • Cavities on teeth

Dental professionals recommend that you brush your teeth with a gentle toothbrush while using soft gentle strokes in a circular motion around each tooth. It is recommended that you brush your teeth for 2-3 mins to get optimal results. Finish your routine with flossing in between your teeth and using a mouthwash.

  1. Teeth Grinding

Over 30 to 40 million Americans grind their teeth consciously or unconsciously. The behavior is also called bruxism. It’s important for people who suffer from this disorder understand the consequences that happen to your oral health. It can cause chips, pain, and discomfort to your enamel.

If you don’t know if you suffer from teeth grinding, there are many symptoms that are noticeable when you are awake. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Dull constant headache
  • Sore jaw
  • Someone hears your grinding during your sleep
  • Indentations on your tongue
  • Tooth sensitivity

If you suspect that you may have the teeth grinding condition, schedule an appointment with your dental professional. They will provide the solution to combat the problem.

  1. Consuming Sugary Foods

According to the National Institutes of Health, 58% of teens aged 12 to 19 have cavities, with adults 20-64 at an astonishing 92%. Consumption of sugar is a primary reason that cavities and tooth decay are at a rise in the United States.

When you consume sugar, mouth bacteria feed on it. The bacteria then leaves its residue on your teeth, which leads to gum disease, tartar, and cavities. To prevent this, make sure to consume less sugar in your diet and to brush your teeth after indulging in it.

  1. Biting Your Nails or Cuticles

Biting your nails is a common habit that can cause by nervousness. According to the American Psychiatric Association, biting your nails is considered a form of the obsessive compulsive disorder. In a study conducted by a few researchers, nail biting is common in 45% of all teenagers of either gender.

Many people may not realize the damage that nail biting can cause on the enamel of the teeth. According to Colgate, patients who bite their nails chip the enamel away from their front teeth due to the pressure and stress caused to the enamel. In addition to the damage that it causes to the enamel of the tooth, a person can develop bruxism (teeth grinding) as a result of this habit.

Your dental professional may prescribe a mouth guard to help prevent patients from further biting their nails, resulting in damaging their teeth. Other professionals may develop a therapy that patients can learn that helps them learn different techniques that will eliminate them from biting their nails or cuticles.

Contact Us

Maintaining healthy teeth is important if you want to have great overall health. Our doctors and staff are dedicated to helping all of their patients achieve great oral health. If you have further questions on how to maintain a great oral health contact us today.

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