My Blog

Posts for: January, 2015

By Thomas Kemlage DDS / Andrew T. Kemlage DDS
January 28, 2015
Category: Oral Health

What would it take to get you to give up tobacco? For major league baseball player Addison Reed, it took the death of his former coach, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn, a Hall-of-Famer who played for the San Diego Padres in addition to coaching at San Diego State, was just 54 years old when he died of oral cancer. As soon as Reed heard the sad news, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ relief pitcher says he knew what he needed to do: He took every can of smokeless tobacco he owned and dumped them all in the trash.

“It’s just become a habit, a really bad habit,” Reed told an interviewer at “It was something I always told myself I would quit.” But quitting took him many years — in fact, Reed admitted that he first started using smokeless tobacco as a junior in high school.

People begin using tobacco — in the form of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or smokeless types (snuff, chewing tobacco, or dip) — for a variety of reasons. One major draw is that they see others doing it. And, while smoking is prohibited in most all Major League venues, the use of smokeless tobacco has remained fairly widespread.

Smokeless tobacco isn’t a safe alternative to cigarettes. According to the National Cancer Institute, it contains 28 carcinogenic agents. It increases the risk not only for oral and pancreatic cancer, but also for heart disease, gum disease, and many other oral problems. It’s also addictive, containing anywhere from 3.4 to 39.7 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco — and its use has been on the rise among young adults.

But now the tide may be turning. After Addison Reed’s announcement, his former college teammate Stephen Strasburg (now a pitcher for the Washington Nationals) resolved that he, too, would give up tobacco. “[The] bottom line is, I want to be around for my family,” said Strasburg. Mets left-hander Josh Edgin has vowed to try quitting as well. It’s even possible that Major League Baseball will further restrict the use of smokeless tobacco at games.

What does this mean for you? It may just be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for… to stop using tobacco. Dentists have seen how quickly oral cancer can do its devastating work — and we can help you when you’re ready to quit. The next time you come in for a checkup, ask us how. Your teeth and gums will thank you — and your family will too.

By Thomas Kemlage DDS / Andrew T. Kemlage DDS
January 13, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth wear  

Teeth are naturally strong and durable — if we can prevent or control dental disease like tooth decay or gum disease, they can last a lifetime. Still, teeth do wear gradually as we age, a fact we must factor into our dental care as we grow older.

Sometimes, though, the wear rate can accelerate and lead to problems much earlier — even tooth loss. There are generally four ways this abnormal wear can occur.

Tooth to tooth contact. Attrition usually results from habitual teeth grinding or clenching that are well beyond normal tooth contact. Also known as bruxism, these habits may occur unconsciously, often while you sleep. Treatments for bruxism include an occlusal guard worn to prevent tooth to tooth contact, orthodontic treatment, medication, biofeedback or psychological counseling to improve stress coping skills.

Teeth and hard material contact. Bruxism causes abrasion when our teeth regularly bite on hard materials such as pencils, nails, or bobby pins. The constant contact with these and other abrasive surfaces will cause the enamel to erode. Again, learning to cope with stress and breaking the bruxism habit will help preserve the remaining enamel.

Chronic acid. A high level of acid from foods we eat or drink can erode tooth enamel. Saliva naturally neutralizes this acid and restores the mouth to a neutral pH, usually within thirty minutes to an hour after eating. But if you’re constantly snacking on acidic foods and beverages, saliva’s buffering ability can’t keep up. To avoid this situation, refrain from constant snacking and limit acidic beverages like sodas or sports drinks to mealtimes. Extreme cases of gastric reflux disease may also disrupt your mouth’s pH — seek treatment from your medical doctor if you’re having related symptoms.

Enamel loss at the gumline. Also known as abfraction, this enamel loss is often caused by receding gums that expose more of the tooth below the enamel, which can lead to its erosion. Preventing and treating gum disease (the leading cause of receding gums) and proper oral hygiene will lower your risks of receding gums and protect tooth enamel.

If you would like more information on tooth wear, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How and Why Teeth Wear.”

January 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Thinking about having cosmetic dentistry work done in Fenton? You aren't alone. Cosmetic dentistry is more common than you might think, and more people are visiting Thomas Kemlage, DDS and Andrew Kemlage, DDS at Kemlage Family Dentistry to improve their smile, their self-confidence and their life than ever before.

Wondering what people are having done? Here are four of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures Dr. Kemlage performs Veneersat Kemlage Family Dentistry in Fenton.

1. Fillings (Composites)

Fillings don't just improve your oral health and help prevent tooth decay; they can also improve your appearance as well. With tooth-colored composite fillings by Dr. Kemlage, your fillings will blend right in with your teeth and your teeth will look like new.

2. Teeth Whitening

Are your teeth badly stained from too much tobacco or too much coffee from your favorite coffee shop in Fenton? Cosmetic dentistry may be just the solution for you. Dr. Kemlage provides teeth whitening services that will have your teeth white and bright in no time.

3. Contouring and Reshaping

Are your teeth crooked, overlapping, chipped or cracked? Restore your beautiful smile with teeth contouring and reshaping by Dr. Kemlage at Kemlage Family Dentistry. You won't believe the amazing results or how great you'll look when you're through.

4. Veneers

Veneers are an excellent option for badly stained teeth that don't whiten with usual teeth whitening methods and for teeth that have a poor shape or gaps. They are bonded to the front of the tooth, allowing Dr. Kemlage to completely change the shape, color or size of your teeth.

Trust Thomas and Andrew Kemlage at Kemlage Family Dentistry whether you need your teeth whitened, straightened or reshaped. Give us a call today to find out which cosmetic dentistry procedure is right for you. You'll be glad you did!