There is a weird benefit to nighttime "mouth taping" that you should know about.

If you're like most people, the idea of taping your mouth shut while you sleep might sound a little crazy and maybe even scary. But as it turns out, mouth taping might just be the key to a restful night of sleep and so much more.

Helping your body nose breathe (rather than mouth breathe) during the night accomplishes a goal you might not even know exists. It greatly increases the amount of nitric oxide circulating in your blood, which has a range of benefits.

Why nitric oxide production is so important to your health

Nitric oxide is a molecule that occurs naturally in your body and plays a bunch of important roles in your health. There are two basic ways nitric oxide gets to your blood. The first is by eating nitrate-rich foods, like nutrient-rich vegetables, and the second is through the various ways your body creates its own nitric oxide, mainly exercise and nose breathing. While you have control over your diet throughout much of your life, your body's natural ability to produce nitric oxide through exercise and nose breathing decreases as you age. That's why it's vitalto develop good nose-breathing habits as early as possible—and not allow your body to fall into bad patterns again.

Science tells us that some of the major drawbacks of decreased nitric oxide from mouth breathing include:

Worsened vascular (heart) function
High blood pressure
Drop in cognitive function
Decreased immune function
Increased inflammation

On the other hand, improving your nitric oxide intake can help to not only improve your heart function, blood pressure, cognitive function, immunity, and inflammation but also:

Athletic performance
Weight loss
Neuropathic pain
Anxiety and depression

Are you a nighttime breather? Here are a few ways to tell:

The kicker here is that most people who mouth breathe at night don't realize it's happening.

Mouth breathing can be a silent, slow-moving detriment to your oral and overall health. No matter how much you practice nose breathing throughout the day, you could still be mouth breathing at night without knowing it.

Recognize any of these things happening to you on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, you might be a closet mouth breather:

Getting up in the middle of the night to pee
Tossing and turning through the night
Nasty breath in the morning
Gingivitis and or bleeding gums
Signs of teeth grinding
Drool on your pillow

If you know you have some form of sleep-disordered breathing, like sleep apnea, it's almost certain you're mouth breathing through the night. Let's talk about your sleeping and breathing patterns at your next appointment.

It's a matter of life and breath: Downtown Dental is the first dental practice in the southeast to invest in Surgically Clean Air purification system for patient care

Hospitals, Medical Labs, Dental Clinics and Surgery Centers throughout North America are using Surgically Clean Air Purifiers to improve the quality of their Indoor Air for their Patients and their Staff.  These world-class medical-grade air purifiers remove Chemicals, Toxins, Germs, Odors, and most importantly they kill airborne Viruses, to help reduce the spread of illness.


Dental offices are high traffic spaces: our regular, daily interactions with patients can introduce bacterial, viral, and fungal infections into the air. The indoor air within dental offices contains unhealthy and often infectious airborne pollutants. The ultrasonic instruments we use, along with the constant cleaning and disinfection of contact surfaces can create bio-aerosols that can contaminate the indoor air and increase the unhealthiness of the dental office. These pathogens can stay airborne for hours, even days.


The system doesn't just filter pollutants, germs, and other damaging toxins: it destroys them.

Dental procedures inadvertently generate aerosols, containing organisms and debris from each patient’s oral activity, and these can be harmful to everyone present in the clinic…. air filters result in the significant reduction of viable particles in the air. Hazardous bioaerosols created during dental procedures can be significantly reduced using an air cleaning system.


The purification system incorporates six (6) distinct stages that remove particles including Odors, Gases, Mold, Allergens, and Viruses.


Microbial air pollution is a real health issue and this is where technology helps makes us a better, healthier practice. Air purification systems can play a role in significantly reducing transmittable bio-aerosols.

We invested in a Surgically Clean Air system because we believe that paying attention to the quality and purity of the air in our office creates a win/win situation for our patients and team members. Learn more about what Surgically Clean Air is doing for other practices HERE.

Chronic and acute Migraine Headache relief can be achieved with breakthrough procedure called a SPG BLOCK.
So many people suffer from migraines in Nashville – yet there are few options for relief, but Downtown Dental now offers a new breakthrough therapy for migraine treatment. 
SPG is a revolutionary procedure for immediate relief from chronic and acute migraines, cluster headaches, and others. The treatment is performed without needles or pills by properly administering a small amount of anesthetic into each nostril and takes about five minutes. The anesthetic can “turn off” or “reset” the nerve pathways that keep headaches going and can work for people that have not responded to other treatments and medications.
The SPG is a collection of nerve cells located just under the tissue lining the back of the nose. By applying a local anesthetic to the area, nerve impulses can be temporarily blocked, providing relief from various types of pain.
Most types of facial or head pain can be treated with an SPG block. Temporarily blocking function of the SPG can provide prompt, and sometimes sustained, relief of pain. It is theorized that an SPG block provides sustained relief by disrupting dysfunctional neuronal activity, allowing restoration of normal function.
There are very few circumstances in which an SPG Block cannot be used.  There are no incapacitating effects like drowsiness or impaired function which would prevent you from continuing with your normal day.  
Are you interested in digging deeper into SPG block therapy for migraine headache relief? Call our office at (615) 254-1393 to schedule a visit with Dr. Clark. 
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It's one the most common human fears and phobias of all, particularly for those of us beyond our 20s, as we remember the sights, sounds, smells and sensations of going to the dentist in our childhood. The big needle. The high-pitched whirr and jarring vibration of the dentist's drill. The scent of antiseptic and freshly-ground cavities. Those vivid memories may trigger high anxiety and a great reluctance to return to the dentist for much-needed care. But anyone who has visited the dentist in more recent years has been pleasantly greeted by an ever-expanding array of technologies and techniques designed to make the dental experience far less fearful and far more effective. Pain-free injections. High-precision tools that barely make a sound. Digital imaging that creates instant x-rays and high-definition templates for making crowns. Even lasers that treat cavities without drills or anesthesia. Those technologies have made modern-day dentistry less well, like pulling teeth and more like what it should be: an easy-to-tolerate, even welcomed part of your overall health maintenance routine. Here's just a sampling of what you'll likely find at the dentist nowadays: The Wand: One of the greatest sources of dental dread in the past was the large needle used to inject anesthesia. Most of today's dentists are using a gentle, computer-assisted device called the Wand for delivering anesthesia. Held by the dentist like a pen, the Wand slowly administers anesthesia in computer-calibrated amounts through a small needle at the tip. Many patients say they don't even feel the injection. Digital x-rays: Remember those visits when your cheeks were stuffed with that film-strip apparatus used to take x-rays of your teeth? One section at time, you'd sit there mouth agape, draped in a lead blanket as the technician stepped out to throw the switch on huge camera aimed at your face. Today, those x-rays are captured instantly and comfortably with a hand-held sensor that processes the image onto a nearby computer screen. Radiation exposure is one-10th of what it was with the old method. Digital impressions: You know that goop that made you gag when they took an impression of your teeth for a crown or other dental restoration? Well, it has been all but replaced by digital technology. A hand-held device fitted with a camera goes gently into the mouth and is used to capture extraordinarily high definition images of your original tooth. Those super 3D images become the template for creating exact-fit crowns, bridges and other tooth replacements. Electric hand pieces: The often scary sounds and sensations associated with air-driven drills — the loud whine and the whirring vibrations — also are fading away. Following the lead of their European and Asian counterparts, U.S. dentists increasingly are using electric hand pieces, which are faster and more precise. They have a truer spin, a steady torque and don't slow down, stall or stop when the head of the device is applied to the tooth. They're also a lot quieter, almost inaudible when a dental air-vacuum tool also is being used. Dental lasers: Another fast-evolving technology used in dentistry, lasers are being used for both soft-tissue and hard-tooth procedures. In some instances, they are used to prepare cavities for fillings without the use of anesthesia, as the lasers have a numbing effect themselves. Lasers are able to narrowly target the areas of the tooth structure needing treatment and also remove decay with microscopic precision. Though they haven't replaced other time-proven dental technologies, lasers are an emerging trend. Regular dental care is an important part, not only of your oral health, but of your overall health throughout your life. That's one of the reasons why we're forever embracing new technologies and seeking ways to make the dental experience better for everyone. via Charles Nemser, DDS for Bennington Banner SaveSave
sleeping-1159279_960_720It has been estimated that as many as half of all Americans snore at least some of the time. Nearly everyone considers “snoring” to be a nuisance, but in many cases it is not considered to be a significant health risk. However, it may prevent the snorer or others sharing the bedroom from getting a good night’s sleep. The cause of snoring is well understood. When we fall asleep, the soft tissues of our throat, mouth and nose relax. In some individuals, this may partially restrict the flow of air. Breathing through the narrowed air passages causes the relaxed tissues to vibrate, which is the sound we hear. The more narrowed the air passage, the more difficult it becomes to breathe and the louder the snoring. Snoring tends to be more common as we age and may be worsened by certain anatomic conditions, such as being overweight, a large tongue or tonsils, and even a deviated nasal septum. It may also be affected by lifestyle choices, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. However about half of all snorers have a much more serious condition called “Obstructive Sleep Apnea” or “OSA.” In addition to snoring, people with sleep apnea have altered breathing patterns which can range from very shallow breathing to gasping, choking or even pauses that can last for a few seconds to a minute or more. This makes it very difficult to get enough air and lowers the amount of oxygen reaching their brain. OSA sufferers may find it difficult to reach or maintain deeper levels of sleep and may even waken briefly hundreds of times a night as they struggle to catch their breath. Sleep apnea can lead to daytime drowsiness, inability to concentrate, fatigue, irritability and other minor disturbances. However, it may also cause much more serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart attack and even strokes. It is important to understand that not every snorer has OSA. But anyone with OSA almost always has loud and frequent snoring. To tell the difference requires a sleep study where the individual has his or her breathing carefully monitored over the course of a night. The sleep study must be ordered and your condition diagnosed by your medical doctor. Treatment of snoring and OSA can be as simple as quitting smoking, losing some weight, changing the position you sleep in, wearing adhesive nasal strips that open the nasal passages or reducing the amount of alcohol you consume. For more severe cases of OSA, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine may be prescribed by your medical doctor. This device forces air into the lungs through tubes that fit into the nose or a mask placed over the nose and mouth while you sleep. The constant air pressure forces open the collapsed tissues and allows for normal breathing. While it is very effective, some sleep apnea patients experience difficulty using a CPAP machine, as it can be uncomfortable, embarrassing or inconvenient. Fortunately, a visit to the dentist may be your answer to a good night’s sleep. [caption id="attachment_1553" align="aligncenter" width="678"]The MicrO2 Sleep Apnea Device (image via The MicrO2 Sleep Apnea Device (image via[/caption] Research has shown that simple snoring and mild to moderate OSA may be successfully managed with an oral appliance that repositions the lower jaw and helps open the airway. The oral appliance is worn in the mouth while you sleep and fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. Many patients consider these dental appliances to be more comfortable to wear than a CPAP mask. They are also quiet, portable and easy to care for. If you and your doctor decide that oral appliance therapy is the best treatment option, he or she will write a prescription for a sleep apnea appliance and refer you to a dentist trained in sleep medicine. Even more good news — oral appliance therapy is also covered by many medical insurance plans. For those that cannot be treated with either CPAP or an oral appliance, there are surgical options. To open the airway, some tissue from the soft palate, tonsils and adenoids may be removed. This is normally done by an ear, nose and throat specialist, or an oral surgeon. Another way to open the airway surgically would be to reposition the jaws in a more forward position. This would require an oral surgeon and possibly an orthodontist. Surgical options should, of course, be reserved as a last resort. via Dr. Mark Pitel: Columbia University College of Dental Medicine
conebeam digital xrayDental technology has improved the way dentists practice their craft. Thanks to science, modern techniques allow patients to receive dental treatments without the pain and time associated with old-fashioned dentistry. Dental technology is even being developed to make dental X-rays safer and more convenient. While dental X-rays emit low amounts of radiation and every precaution is taken to protect patients from exposure, some dental patients may still put off dental X-rays for safety reasons. Dental X-rays bring up other issues for patients, including the wait time for film to be developed and environmental concerns. Dentists are addressing these issues with digital radiography, a high-tech replacement for traditional dental X-rays. How Does Digital Imaging Work? The physical process for digital radiography is actually similar to traditional dental X-rays that use film: With digital radiography, your dentist inserts a sensor into your mouth to capture images of your teeth -- but that's where the similarities between conventional and digital dental X-rays end. Although it resembles the film used for bitewings and other X-rays, the digital sensor is electronic and connected to a computer. Once the X-ray is taken, the image is projected on a screen for your dentist to view. There are several benefits to using digital radiography over traditional film X-rays: Less Radiation: The equipment used in digital radiography exposes dental patients to much less radiation. In fact, digital X-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than film X-rays. While conventional dental X-rays are relatively safe, digital radiography is an excellent option for those who take X-rays on a regular basis or for those who are concerned about radiation. Shorter Dental AppointmentsDigital radiography can also shorten your dental appointment! With traditional dental X-rays, you'll have to wait while your dentist develops the film. With digital radiography, the sensor develops the picture almost instantly and projects it onto a computer screen right before your eyes. Higher Quality Images: The standard size of traditional X-rays can make viewing difficult, but digital radiography has done away with the "one size fits all" mentality. Once on the screen, digital X-rays can be enlarged or magnified for a better visual of the tooth's structure. Brightness, contrast and color can also be adjusted, allowing your dentist to see small cavities easier. If you need a hard copy of your X-ray, digital images can also be printed out. Transferring Dental Records:  Digital images can be e-mailed to a digital specialist for immediate review. Digital X-rays are taking away the expense and time needed to copy files and mail them to another dentist, making it easier to transfer dental records or get a second opinion. As more offices are turning to electronic patient charts, computers may eliminate the need to mail dental records altogether. Environmentally Friendly:  Digital dental X-rays are better for the environment! With digital radiography, no chemicals are used to develop film. There's also no wasted space of a darkroom and no need to store film, which can pile up in a dentist's files. The Complete Picture While digital radiography is helping many dentists diagnose your dental problems, additional software programs are making their lives even easier! One such program is called subtraction radiography, wherein dentists compare current images to previous images of the same tooth, helping them find even the smallest changes in your tooth's structure. Digital radiography is slowly gaining steam in the professional dental community. With the expense of digital radiography equipment, digital X-rays are an investment that the majority of our dental practices have yet to make. No matter what type of X-rays you choose, dental X-rays are important part of your regular dental visits. Dental X-rays are necessary to help diagnose problems not visible to the naked eye. If you're concerned about radiation, talk to your dentist about your X-ray options.
We had a wonderful time at the 2014 NASBA Employee Health Fair! It's always great to see our community businesses emphasizing health and wellness and providing their employees with opportunities to interact with health focused local businesses. Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 11.26.27 AM NASBA has proven themselves to be a award winning in business strategy, growth, & service along with being recognized in past years as one of the best places to work!  It's no surprise that they have a history of focusing on health and wellness for their employees. We were in good company and appreciated the opportunity to show how easily addressing your dental needs can lead to overall health and wellness. As a vendor we spent time speaking with employees about the oral systemic connection that links oral disease and inflammation to MANY serious illnesses throughout the body.Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 1.58.55 PM There are signs to watch for to see if you are at risk!  And awareness of these warning signs are the first step towards better overall health and wellness: Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 2.01.00 PM And thanks to technological advancements in the dental industry experiencing these signs of dental disease and infection DOES NOT mean that you are in for an unpleasant trip to the dentist.  OUR WAY makes treating common dental diseases and ailments easy and pain free.

The easier the treatment, the more likely you are to get and stay healthy!

Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 2.01.23 PM If you are a local business and are looking to provide your employees with more opportunities for education in healthy and wellness let us know. We look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your event!
If you haven’t heard, the theme our staff has adopted for 2013 is staying healthy from head to toe and we’ve worked hard to keep that pledge going throughout the year. What’s been so inspiring is that many of you have joined us in making that commitment in your own lives from keeping your heart healthy through regular dental visits to running a half marathon. As we reach the halfway point in the year, we started to brainstorm some ways to keep our commitment level up while celebrating all of the incredible ways you’ve joined us thus far…. What better way to celebrate and encourage others than with a party? A BE WELL Party, in fact. As a way to encourage the entire downtown Nashville community to join our commitment to stay healthy from head to toe, we’re bringing in a host of local vendors for a night of food, entertainment, and healthy living education. On Thursday, August 1st from 5:30 pm -7:30 pm, we’ll host an evening for you stop by our office and enjoy food, drinks and music…
  • Nashville Running Company will be there to help runners find the right type of shoe for their style and discounts to get your run off on the right foot.
  • Massage Therapist Jules Saunders will be there to help relieve all the stress you’ve been building up with free massages.
  • Third and Church Healthcare will be there to provide you with resources to stay healthy throughout the upcoming months including free B-12 shots for our first 75 guests.
  • Nashville B-Cycle will be there to showcase how you can stay healthy and have fun all at the same time along with membership discounts.
  • We’ll be showcasing our new Waterlase iPlus Laser if you haven’t had a chance to see it in action.
There will also be a drawing for a new iPad mini for those that RSVP and attend the event. The more co-workers and friends that you bring, the better chance you have of winning! Complimentary food will be provided from Wrapper’s Delight, brews from Jackalope Brewery, and wine from Midtown Wine & Spirits. Finally, Josh Roberts will be be there to provide live entertainment. What should you do next?
  1.  The first thing you should do is RSVP.
  2. Immediately after you do that, don’t forget to mark it down on your calendar. You can walk, bike, or jog to our offices after work (and get extra points for staying healthy) or public parking is available underneath the Justice A.A. Birch Building.
We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate staying healthy from head to toe with a night of food, drinks, and inspiration with your friends and co-workers For more details or RSVP information, you can contact us here.
A few days ago we announced Downtown Dental now offers WaterLase iPlus Laser Dentistry which provides injection-free, pain-free dentistry for many of our procedures including fillingswhitening and gum disease prevention. Since our announcement, we’ve heard from several patients who are excited to try the new procedure at their next visit. Not surprisingly, many of them have asked the same question, “So how does it work?” At the same time, we realize that some of you might be skeptical of the pain-free WaterLase iPlus Laser. Today, we are providing a quick reasoning of how and why it works.

How the WaterLase iPlus Laser anesthetizes a tooth:

To understand why most dental work is painful, we must first understand how pain impulses work. Any pain you experience is caused by an electrical impulse that moves through nerve fibers from the source of the pain to your brain.  This impulse is a result of different ions moving into and out of the nerve fiber cells through gates.  When something hurts, the gates open, ions move, and the pain impulse starts. One way the WaterLase iPlus Laser prevents pain is by it's energy temporarily closing the ion gates.  If the ion gates cannot open, no impulse can travel to the brain to be perceived as pain, thus providing anesthesia.

The WaterLase iPlus Laser avoids contact and friction.

While the Laser provides a natural anesthetic, it also helps prevent pain and shots with a new, frictionless method. A normal dental drill works with friction, which causes heat and triggers pain. This leads to painful visits to the dentist and/or visits that leave your mouth feeling number after receiving anesthetic shots. The WaterLase uses a unique, powerful interaction of the patented YSGG laser wavelength along with trademarked water/air spray that cuts, etches and shapes target tissues without contact to remove tooth structure and decay. This means there is no heat, friction or pressure to cause the nerve to fire an impulse to your brain. Here’s a look at how it works: Laser   The procedures can be done painlessly with no anesthetic. Because there is no friction, there is no pain or reason for anesthetics. Because the laser acts as an anesthetic, there is usually no need for a shot, which means leaving the doctor’s office without any numbing. Its non-contact method will guarantee you won’t feel any pain even after the procedures is finished. If you want to know why we’ve invested in the future of pain-free dentistry, read this. If you want to make sure the WaterLase iPlus Laser is used during your next dental appointment, simply let us know when scheduling your next appointment. For more information on WaterLase and how it works, click here.
It’s not surprising that the main reason people don’t enjoy going to the dentist are the drills and shots. In fact, the piercing whine, unnerving vibration, and uncomfortable pain of dental drills and shots have prevented people from properly taking care of their teeth for decades. Because we know that stress and anxiety can prevent patients from seeking the dental care they need, it has always been our goal to offer the most comfortable and pain-free dental experience possible. Today, we are delighted to announce a new option that will make a pain-free dental visits a reality for all of our patients... Downtown Dental is one of the first dentist offices in Nashville to offer WaterLase iPlus Laser Dentistry, the most advanced and effective laser dentistry option in the world! This new technology allows Dr. Clark to offer injection-free, pain-free dentistry for many of our procedures including fillings, whitening and gum disease prevention. How will this innovative technology benefit our patients? Here are seven reasons you’ll want to try our new WaterLase System. What are patient’s that have dental work done with the Waterlase iPlus Laser saying?  We think you’ll be impressed with their testimonials. As we’ve mentioned before, our goal is to do more for the people in Nashville than just protect your smile, we want to make sure you’re able to live a long and healthy life. If you want to make sure your next dentist appointment is done with the Waterlase iPlus Laser, let us know. The future of pain-free dentistry has finally made it to Nashville and we can’t wait to see the smile on your face after you give it a try.