Washington’s Wooden Teeth Aren’t Actually Made of Wood

A lot has been written over the years about our nation’s first president. He led his troops across the Delaware. He chopped down the cherry tree… allegedly. And of course what I as a dentist am interested in, his wooden false teeth.

Some researchers recently set out to confirm or deny the actual materials that Washington’s teeth were made of. And they went all high tech to do this by scanning the “wooden” teeth with a laser.



teeth being scanned by a laser


Turns out that the dentures contain gold, ivory, lead, as well as human and animal teeth. The base was carved out of hippopotamus bone. Ew. Actually, animal teeth were used frequently back in the day to make dentures wit horse and donkey teeth being the most common. Maybe that’s where they got the phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

dental researcher examines George Washington's "wooden" teeth

Dentures today aren’t made out of wood, or ivory, or donkey teeth. We typically use acrylic resin to fuse to the teeth and hold them in place as opposed to the springs and bolts that were used to hold Washington’s dentures in place.

According to historians, George Washington began loosing his teeth in his twenties. Eventually he lost them all. Sadly, we still see quite a few patients who have lost all their teeth and require dentures. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way from the days of hippo bone and donkey teeth. While dentures will never be as good as natural teeth, with the help of dental implants to help stabilize them, we can do a lot to help people who are missing their teeth.

If you have questions about dentures or any other dental health topics, please feel free to contact pour Nashville dental office at 615-298-2385, or you can visit our office website .


Getting Your Teeth Cleaned Isn’t Just Good For your Teeth, It May Also Be Good For Your Heart…

dental cleanings in Nashville

getting your teeth cleaned may be good for your heart too

A recent study has found a link between getting your teeth cleaned, and a decreased risk for stroke and heart attack. This study published in the American Journal of Medicine is not the first to demonstrate this link between a healthy mouth and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Although no definitive causal link has been found, the thinking is that since oral disease such as gum disease is caused by bacteria,  these bacteria go on to run amok throughout your body and cause a constant state of inflammation in your arteries and veins.

Basically this study found that out of 22,000 Taiwanese adults over age 50 who had a dental “deep cleaning” in the last year, were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke over the next 7 years. Not bad.

Again, this isn’t the first time that researchers have found a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease such as stroke and heart attack. In fact, there have been links between gum disease and all kinds of systemic conditions. And it’s not the dentists who are noticing these connections… it’s the medical community. We have even heard some of our patient here in Nashville come in and tell us that their medical doctor told them to be sure and keep their dental appointments to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

So this is why we dentists encourage you to keep coming back to see us every six months. “It’s just a cleaning” you say? Well, researching is showing that it’s a little more. The bacteria that we are “cleaning” may be harming more than just your teeth.

If you have any questions about the links between gum disease and overall health, please feel free to contact our Nashville dental office at 615-298-2385, and we will be happy to answer any questions. And if you’re looking for someone to take care of those dental “cleanings” and check ups, we can do that too. Give us a call or check out our website for more information.

So go get your teeth cleaned… your heart will thank you.


Why Orange Juice + Toothpaste = Nasty

toothpaste makes orange juice taste bad

I wouldn’t drink this after brushing your teeth. You’ve been warned!!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever drank orange juice right after brushing your teeth. It’s nasty right? I will re arrange my whole oral hygiene routine if I’ve recently had some O.J.

Have you ever wondered why you get that bad taste? Probably not, but that’s what I’m here for. So here’s the deal… our tongues have lots of little receptors on our taste buds. Some detect sweet, others sour, others, salty, etc. When you brush your teeth, the toothpaste often contains and chemical called sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). SLS is in a lot of stuff that needs to be foamy and sudsy like shaving cream, car wash, and toothpaste. So this SLS stuff in toothpaste binds to taste bud receptors and alters the way when perceive the taste of some thing, most noticeably orange juice.

Here, watch this video. It explains it better than I can.

There you have it, one of life’s great questions has now been answered.

While we can’t help orange juice taste better after brushing your teeth, we can help you with other mouth related issues. If you have any questions about oral health, we’d love to hear from your. Also, if you live in the Nashville or Middle Tennessee area, call our Nashville dental office at 625-298-2385 for an appointment. We promise not to serve or orange juice after cleaning your teeth.


Study Shows That Teeth Whitening Doesn’t Harm Teeth

person applying teeth whitening gel

These days, everyone wants a whiter smile

Teeth whitening, teeth bleaching, teeth lightening, or what ever you want to call it, getting a whiter smile is very popular these days. These are some of the most popular procedures that we perform at my dental office her in Nashville, and patients always seem to ask the same question… “Does teeth bleaching damage my teeth?”

The answer I always give is “no, teeth whitening is safe and does not damage your teeth.” And now there’s a study that supports my answer.

Researchers in Brazil conducted a study on live actual patients (this is important because if a study is performed in a lab, the results might not be the same as in real people) to determine whether teeth bleaching damaged tooth enamel. Now, I could tell you about all the boring details of sample size, correlations, enamel hardness, blah blah blah, but let me just give you the bottom line… teeth bleaching did not alter the teeth of the patients in this study.

That’s good news because it seems like everyone wants a whiter smile these days.

While we are on the subject of teeth whitening, let me give a brief run down of the in and outs of getting a whiter smile…

– most teeth whitening agents use either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to oxidize (whiten) tooth structure.

– teeth that are stained by things like coffee, tea, red wine, or smoking respond best to teeth bleaching

– dental work like crowns, fillings, bridges, and veneers do not respond to the teeth whitening, so you may have to have those things replaced to match your new white smile.

– the main side effect is tooth sensitivity, but this is usually temporary but varies from person to person

– custom bleaching trays from your dentist are used to hold bleaching gel on the teeth for 30 minutes to an hour, 1-2 times a day

– whitening effects are typically noticed after 7-10 days of bleaching

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. It’s easy, and there are no shots or drills involved. Plus you get a whiter smile.


Here’s a cool little info graphic about whitening from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry


If you have any questions about teeth whitening or any other dental procedure, please feel free to check out our website, or call our Nashville dental office at 615-298-2385 .





Sounds Like Cavemen Had Better Teeth Than We Do…

Nashville dentists Dr. Matt McGee discusses how cavemen had better teeth than we do

Research shows that this guy probably had better teeth than you

A recent bit of research from Australia has revealed some interesting findings about teeth. Caveman teeth specifically. Despite the fact that cavemen didn’t have toothbrushes (as for as I know), and dentists hadn’t been invented yet, they seem to have had healthier teeth than we humans have today.

Scientists believe that our diets initially we composed of meats, and vegetables, and nuts. But as humans evolved, our diets changed and became more carbohydrate and sugar based. Correspondingly, the bacteria in our mouths evolved as well, and we began to experience higher rates of cavities and gum disease.

Alan Cooper, director of the Australian Center for ancient DNA, says “Hunter-gatherers had really good teeth, but as soon as you get to farming populations, you see massive change.  Huge amounts of gum disease and cavities start cropping up.”


As I’ve mentioned before, our mouths are filled with bacteria. Now, not all of these bacteria are bad, in fact some of them are very good. Necessary even. On the other hand, there are several species of bacteria in our mouths’ “ecosystem” which can cause dental disease whether it be decay (caries), or gum disease. This research indicates that these harmful bacteria weren’t always present in our mouths, and they have evolved along with our changing diet.

What could this mean for future dental care? I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that in the future we may be treating the population of specific species of bacteria in our mouths as a way of preventing problems in the future. Until then, don’t forget to brush and floss, and don’t be so critical of those cavemen on the Geico commercials, because I bet he has better teeth than you.

If you have any questions about this or any other dental health topics, please feel free to visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com , or you can contact our Nashville dental office at (615) 298-2385 .


Braces on the Red Carpet

Nashville resident Faith Hill wearing braces on the red carpet

Braces, the newest accessory on the red carpet?

Everybody knows that stars want to look their best on the red carpet. Whether it’s a one of kind designer dress, or ultra expensive piece of jewelry, or just a classic tuxedo, stars want to dazzle when the step out for an awards ceremony.

Well at this year’s Grammy Awards, Nashville resident Faith Hill was rocking a different accessory… braces. Yup, that’s right, the country music star flashed a smile completed with a full set of braces, and not that invisible Invisalign stuff, I’m talking the full on wires and brackets braces.

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Faith Hill is not alone in this orthodontics as an adult trend. Tom cruise and Nicholas Cage have also had braces to straighten out an otherwise crooked smile. As a matter of fact, lots of adults are visiting their dentist or orthodontist to find a solution for crooked teeth. The reasons people are interested in having braces as an adult are varied, but based on my experience it is usually because they didn’t have the opportunity to have braces as a teenager, or they had braces and didn’t wear their retainer. Either way, their teeth are not as straight as they would like and they are looking for a solution.

So what are the options for straightening teeth? Well, obviously braces are one, but did you know that there are different ways to move and straighten teeth? The first is traditional braces. Those wires, bands, and brackets have been used to straighten teeth for years. The advantage is that they are bonded to the teeth and they don’t come out. That means they are working to move your teeth 24/7/365. They get the job done. The downside is that they aren’t the most attractive things in the world. Of course you can always do what Faith Hill did and get clear brackets. It’s a better option, but still visible. Some orthodontists can even put the braces on the inside of the teeth. Another option where the braces are not visible, but between you and me, I wouldn’t want all that metal shredding my tongue.

Invisalign is another great option. This involves using clear plastic custom trays called aligners, that are placed over your teeth. They are clear so they are not visible, and that is an attractive option for lots of people. They trays are tight at first, but when the teeth move, they get lose, and then you move on to the next aligner. This is repeated over a period of a few months until the teeth move into place. The downside to Invisalign is that you can removed the aligners. This is only a problem though if you forget to wear them. Otherwise it’s great.

What do you think? Are braces just for kids, or can adults benefit too? If you have questions about braces or any other dental health topics, please feel free to contact our Nashville dental off at 615-298-2385. You can also visit us online at www.MusicCitySmiles.com .


The Great (dental) Recession

gum tissue recession

If you think the economy has been in a recession, just look what can happen to your gum tissue!

It seems for the last several years everyone has been worried about recession. Are win in a recession? Is the recession over? Will we have a double dip recession? Is there too much recession around my teeth?

Wait. What? Are we actually talking about a tooth recession.


Well actually a gum tissue recession. This is a condition where the gum tissue erodes or shrinks away from the tooth. The result is less tissue supporting the tooth, and it is often accompanied by an increase in tooth sensitivity. You may be wondering why the teeth become more sensitive. The answer is that when the gum tissue recedes, the roots of the teeth get exposed, and those root surfaces are very sensitive when anything rubs up against them, or when you drink things that are really hot or cold.

So let’s talk a little bit about some of the causes of gum tissue recession…

1) Brushing and Flossing. Or lack there of. Plaque loves to congregate around the gum line. Anytime your hear “plaque” think bacteria. So basically there is a party at your gum line, and the bacteria in plaque make themselves right at home and set up residence. If you aren’t cleaning all these little guys up by regular brushing and flossing, then they can do some serious damage. The gum tissue does not like bacteria, so in response to their presence the gum tissue basically gets real irritated. Inflamed even. If this inflammation continues long enough the gum tissue them says “see ya”, and you guessed it… recession.

2) Too Much Brushing. I know I know. I just told you to brush and floss better, but too much of a good thing can cause harm. Here’s what happens: when you brush too aggressively, or scrub back and forth too hard, it’s kind like rubbing sandpaper on your gum tissue. The result is pretty much what you’d expect… gum recession.

3) A few other random causes. The first 2 causes are the main ones, but gum recession can also be caused by excessive bite force, muscle attachments tugging on the tissue, and certain types of tooth movements.

So what do I do about gum recession?

Most types of gum recession are fairly mild. changes to brushing habits and better plaque control can stop the process. That doesn’t necessarily mean the gum tissue will return to it’s original position, but it keeps it from getting worse.

Medium and hard bristled tooth brushes can really do damage to the gum tissue. Always use a soft bristled tooth brush to reduce gum recession.

soft bristled tooth brush

Make sure you use a tooth brush with SOFT bristles. Medium and hard bristles can cause gum recession

In cases where the gum recession is accompanied by tooth sensitivity, your dentist may place a varnish over the exposed root to reduce sensitivity.

In severe cases of recession, the stability of the tooth may be affected. These cases may require a gum graft to cover the exposed root.

If you have questions about gum recession, with or without tooth sensitivity, please feel free to contact our dental office at 615-298-2385 . Our office in convenient to many areas in and around Nashville including Green Hills, Brentwood, Creive Hall, Oak Hill, Vanderbilt, Belmont, and downtown. You can also visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com 


New Fad For Braces? Wearing Them When You don’t Even Need Them…

Well I’ve stumbled upon another crazy dental fad. No not here in Nashville, but again from Asia. Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia to be specific. Brace yourself… get it. Apparently, braces are all the rage over there, even to the point of teens shelling out cash to have them put on their teeth as a fashion statement. All the cool kids are doing it.

Now when I was growing up, you got called “metal mouth” or “tin grin” when you had braces. Nowadays it seems as if things have changed a bit and braces are a sort of rite of passage for teens.

Nashville dentist Dr. Matt McGee treats a patient with braces

Oh yes, we can do braces at our Nashville dental office

Speaking of changes, did you know that there have been  a lot of changes in orthodontic treatment over the years? Yeah, it’s a lot better than it used to be. For instance, many people can have their teeth straightened these days without have to have teeth pulled. This is great because, I mean, who wants to have teeth pulled, but also because more teeth means that you will have a more pleasing smile.

Another change that we’ve seen over the years is the reduced amount of all those torture looking devices we call headgear. What used to be a huge antenna strapped around your head can now be accomplished in many cases with a small appliance that is barely visible.

Additionally, technology has developed “invisible” braces called Invisalign. These clear retainer type devices will move teeth without all the flash and sparkle of metal braces. Of course if you live in one of those Asia countries, isn’t that the latest fashion trend?

Do you have questions about braces for you or your child? If so, our Nashville dental office is convenient to many areas of town such as Green Hills and Brentwood, and we would be happy to sit down and discuss whether these new options for braces are right for you. Some cases we can treat right here in our office, and if your case is more advanced or if you are interested in invisalign, we can refer you to one of our local orthodontists that we work with here in the Middle Tennessee area. Just give us a call at 615-298-2385 or visit our office online at www.MusicCitySmiles.com to learn more.

How about you? What names were you called when you wore braces?


It’s Good To The Last Drop… Because It May reduce Oral And Throat Cancer

coffee may reduce the risk of oral cancer

Those of you that know me know that I love me some coffee. Starbucks coffee specifically. Now, I don’t get the fancy drinks with the triple shot, skinny, no foam, upside down and backwards coffee drinks. No, just give my a grande bold with a little room for cream. Simple. Just ask the baristas at the Starbucks in Green Hills, they know me by name and know exactly what I want.

It’s just part of my daily routine, and one of the simple pleasures in life for me. Well, now I hear that the cup of coffee may be more than just a simple pleasure in my morning routine. Turns out that a study has recently been released that indicates that people who drink coffee every day may reduce their risk of mouth and throat cancer by half! Half!! Even better, the study says this is for regular coffee. None of that decaf stuff.

They weren’t able to conclude whether it was the caffeine or something else in the coffee that has the cancer reducing effect, but never the less, there seems to be a benefit to drinking coffee on a daily basis.

Now the only problem I have is how to get all the coffee stains off my teeth. I wonder how you do that? Hmm, I’ll get to that later, stay tuned!

If you live in the Nashville area, or maybe I see you at the Green Hills Starbucks, and would like to discuss coffee and its cancer fighting benefits, just grab a cup of joe and let’s talk. Or you can call our Nashville dental office at 615-298-2385  or check us out online at www.MusicCitySmiles.com if you have any other oral health questions.


New Trend in Cosmetic Dentistry?

a new trend in cosmetic dentistry?

Could imperfections in teeth be the next trend in cosmetic dentistry?

Most of us here in America are at least somewhat familiar with cosmetic dentistry. Whether it be teeth whitening, cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers, or simply replacing old silver fillings with white tooth colored fillings, many of us have had some experience with dental procedures to improve your smile.

Well just when you think that a beautiful smile with perfectly straight and white teeth is all the rage, just listen to what may be a new trend in cosmetic dentistry in Japan. Apparently there are people in Tokyo who actually want to increase the number of imperfections in their smile. Yeah. To put it bluntly… they want a “jacked-up-grill.” So some dentists over there are actually working to make your smile look worse with crooked teeth.

Dental Salon Plasir in Tokyo is hocking the latest fad in cosmetic dentistry called  Tsuke-yaeba which means stick on teeth. These Tsuke-yaeba allow the wearer, both men and women,  to sport teeth that are anything but perfect, and this in turn is meant to make them more attractive to the opposite sex.

Of course this begs the question “what constitutes a perfect smile.” As has been said countless times before, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Of course here in America, we still crave the beautiful white smile with perfectly straight teeth. So what do you think? Is a smile full of imperfections still beautiful?

If you have questions about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry, and would like to know more about what options are available to you and your smile, please feel free to visit our website at www.MusicCitySmiles.com to learn more. And if you live in the Middle Tennesse areas like Green Hills, Brentwood, Belmont or Vanderbilt area, or even downtown, please feel free to contact our Nashville dental office at 615-298-2385 .