Oral Health

Comprehensive Exams

The mouth is often considered a window to the rest of the body because many other illnesses first present themselves as changes within the mouth. As a result, a comprehensive oral exam is recommended each time you visit a new practice to serve as a benchmark of your overall health. 

During an examination, your dentist will perform a visual examination as well as a more detailed dental examination using one or more X-rays to detect:

  • New cavities
  • Weaknesses in already installed crowns, fillings, and bridgework
  • Gum or bone recession
  • Teeth deterioration due to abnormal bite, bruxism, or TMJ

Your dentist will also perform a visual and digital examination of lymph nodes throughout the face and neck, looking for any abnormalities, pain or flexibility within the nodes that could be markers for disease. Likewise, a similar examination of your lips, gums, tongue, and other internal mouth surfaces will be conducted. Again, this is to seek out any signs of illness or disease.  

Since the comprehensive dental exam is designed to set a baseline of your health and to catch any early signs of serious illness that may be otherwise undetected, your dentist will be on the lookout for the following illnesses which can be detected during a comprehensive oral evaluation:

  • Diabetes
  • Leukemia
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Oral cancer
  • Immune abnormalities
  • Sinus problems

With a comprehensive exam every six months, we can manage small dental problems before they grow into larger, more complicated issues. Keep up to date with thorough dental checkups at Gallatin Dental Care. Call us at 615-452-2191 to schedule an appointment.

Fluoride

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Gentle Professional Cleanings

Everyone over the age of four or five should visit their dentist for professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. It's a procedure for the removal of tartar that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach during routine toothbrushing. Professional cleaning includes an examination of your teeth and gums, tooth scaling (removal of plaque) and tooth polishing. It involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. At Gallatin Dental Care, we provide comfortable, gentle hygiene cleanings. If we find a cause for concern, we may recommend a deep gum cleaning to remove tartar below the gum line, smooth out surfaces where plaque builds up and eliminate bacterial infection.

Important Reasons to Get Professional Cleanings

  • To detect possible health risks, such as oral cancer and gum disease
  • To prevent tooth loss
  • To maintain good physical health
  • To eliminate bad breath
  • To have a brighter, whiter smile

The Teeth Cleaning Process

  • Physical exam, using a small mirror to check teeth and gums for any signs of gingivitis or other concerns
  • Removal of plaque and tartar, using a scaler
  • Gritty toothpaste cleaning, using a high-powered electric brush
  • Expert flossing by the dental hygienist
  • Rinsing, to get rid of any debris
  • Applying fluoride treatment, to help fight against cavities for several months

Regular, professional teeth cleaning is vital to maintaining your oral health. Call Gallatin Dental Care at 615-452-2191 today.

Mouth Guards

Custom-fit mouth guards are prescribed and created by a dental professional from thermoplastic material and are based on a detailed mold taken of your mouth and teeth. They can be made for either sports or for nighttime teeth grinding and are created differently depending on the intended use. They're highly personalized, as your dentist can adjust the thickness of the mouthguard, and they're designed to fit perfectly in your mouth with no adjustments needed. 

First, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This is generally done using a dental putty that forms to all the crevices of each tooth and creates an exact mold of your smile. The mold is then sent to the lab, where the actual mouthguard is created. The structure is made by layering superheated plastic to precise specifications and is then cooled to create an extremely durable piece of dental wear.

Because custom mouth guards are so precisely made, they are able to provide you with optimal safety and comfort. The level of protection afforded by custom-fitted mouthguards is unrivalled by any other mouthguard, and their durability is enhanced by the snug shape, which hugs each tooth closely, eliminating unwanted movement.

For more information on customized mouth guards, please call Gallatin Dental Care at 615-452-2191 today.

Night Guards

If you're experiencing chronic headaches and migraines because of involuntary night-time teeth clenching, let Gallatin Dental Care help you with a night guard. A night guard is a thin, transparent device that is worn over the biting surface of your teeth while you sleep to prevent contact between the upper and lower teeth.  Night guards have also proven to be an effective remedy for patients who are suffering from the effects of grinding and clenching their teeth while sleeping.

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Oral Cancer Screening

The dental community is the first line of defense in early detection of oral cancer. The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured. When found at the early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80-90% survival rate. Early detection is imperative!

Read more about Oral Cancer Screening

Periodontal / Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is caused by bacteria in plaque. If not consistently removed, this bacteria builds up, infecting your teeth, gums and eventually the bone that supports your teeth, a common cause of tooth loss. Gum disease has three stages of progression: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis; the longer the disease has to advance, the more damage it causes. With advancements in detection and treatment, Gallatin Dental Care can discover periodontal disease early and begin treatment before complicated issues arise.

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Sealants

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Sleep Apnea

Struggling with snoring and sleeplessness? Call your dentist. Snoring and sleep disturbances are often signs of obstructive sleep apnea, and your oral health could be to blame. The condition causes repeated breathing interruptions throughout the night; the pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 or more times per hour. They happen because the airway is obstructed.

The first sign of sleep apnea is often tooth grinding (bruxism). Dentists look for worn tooth surfaces, a sign that a patient grinds his or her teeth. Grinding is just one oral health sign of sleep apnea. Other signs are a small jaw, a tongue with scalloped edges, or redness in the throat (caused by excessive snoring, which is another symptom of sleep apnea).

Read more about Sleep Apnea

TMJ/TMD Treatment

Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD, sometimes referred to as TMJ). These disorders occur as a result of problems associated with the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge joint on each side of your head in front of your ears that connects the lower jawbone to your skull.

Possible causes of the disorder are:

  • Injury to the jaw, the joint or muscles of the head and neck, such as from a heavy blow or whiplash
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Dislocation of the ball and socket
  • Arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew or speak
  • Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
  • Jaws that get "stuck" or "locked" in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Swelling on the side of your face

TMD can be painful. If you're experiencing any symptoms, call Gallatin Dental Care at 615-452-2191 right away.

Tooth Sensitivity

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