What’s With All The Plastic?


Arianna Marsden, RDH

Pizza Party


Ann Clark, RDH

Pizza Party!!
It’s like a dream come true!  Can pizza really be good for oral health?  Pizza is one fast food that is full of nutrition and helps ward off dental problems.  Pizza consumption among Americans is higher than any other Nation.  According to 1800dentist.com  pizza can be a powerful meal for fighting off many cancers and boosts your dental health.  Italian researchers have discovered eating pizza may reduce the risk of second heart attack, even among the obese. This study projected that eating 14 ou. of pizza a week may reduce the chance for heart attack up to 50%  Lets weigh the odds for 100 grams of pizza….
The following chart shows only 15 grams of fat is used in pizza, this is 5% of the daily intake. The fat source of cheese and oregano oil are both beneficial for health reasons.


Nutritional Facts-100 gems of pizza     Daily values based on 2000kcal diet

Protein                                                    11.21 gm
Carbohydrate                                          28.51 gm
Fat                                                           15.2 gm
Dietary Fiber                                           2,2 gm
Sugar                                                       none
Water                                                       42.44
Vitamin A                                                140 milligrams
Vitamin B1                                              0.22 mg
Vitamin B2                                              0.23 mg
Vitamin B3                                              2.47 mg
Vitamin B5                                              0.27 mg
Vitamin B9                                              47 micrograms
Vitamin B12                                            0.57 micrograms
Selenium                                                  19.6 micrograms
Vitamin C                                                1.9 milligrams
Calcium                                                   151 mg
iron                                                           2.41 mg
Potassium                                                 198 mg
Magnesium                                               24 mg
Phosphorus                                               207 mg
Sodium                                                     618 mg
Copper                                                      0.1 mg
Manganese                                                0.31 mg
Zinc                                                           1.48 mg
Pizza is full of calcium as cheese is one of calciums best sources.  Calcium is important for cell division and muscle contractions, including your heart beat.  It is also important to support bone health, lower the odds of tooth decay and gum disease.This mineral is needed by the cells of our body that carry nerve impulses, for salivary production and enzyme activity for the production and activity of hormones involved in digestion, energy and fat metabolism.  Calcium interacts with sodium, magnesium and potassium to regulate blood pressure and water balance.
Clinical evidence also suggests carvacrol (in oregano oil), may suppress redness and swelling as well as Candida Albicans infections.  It also tastes great!  Eating pizza will help you get your needed protein for building muscle and other bodily tissues, so put meat on your pizza!  Protein maintains tooth structure, mucosal connective tissue development, and immune function.
Carbohydrates give us fuel for the CNS, help fat metabolize and prevent protein from being used as energy.  Chewing on the crust aides to the daily chewing requirement.  This will increase facial muscle tone and decreases mouth sugars by stimulation salivary flow.
Vitamin A helps skin cells grow and maintain mucosal tissues and immune function.
Vitamin B deficiency is common and can affect the mouth.  It can provided a burning sensation in the mouth and the tongue can feel swollen making it hard to swallow, The cheeks may look pale and slough off.  B12  deficiency has now been linked as a contributor to periodontal bone loss.
Tomato sauce is high in vitamin C. This wards off infections and improves immune health.  A deficiency of vitamin C may lead to bleeding gums.  Tomato sauce contains calcium and lycopene.  Lycopene studies show it is used as a preventive carotene for oral cancer
Garlic helps with gum inflammation  and has allinase, foods’ most important cancer fighting and immune-boosting enzyme.
Fiber is an important part of your diet as it promotes digestive health and can reduce serious concerns like heart disease and cancer, so increase your veggie options. Leafy greens have tons of minerals and vitamins and  can protect eyesight, minimize aging problems, ward off gum disease and protect against oral cancer (Phytonutrients).
Evidence shows that pizza has healthy ingredients.  Remember to floss!

What is Xylitol?


Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

What is Xylitol?

What if I told you there was a sugar that actually prevents cavities?  Would you believe me?  Well, you should!  And it called Xylitol (pronounced zai-li-tall).

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in plants, fruits, and vegetables.  It looks and tastes just like sugar (sucrose).  Xylitol has about a third the calories as table sugar, and is a healthy alternative for diabetics. Not only does it make an excellent sugar substitute, but it aids in the prevention of dental caries, and reduces plaque formation.

How does it help prevent cavities?

Everyone has bacteria in their mouth all the time.  Bacteria is highly attracted to the sugars found in the foods and beverages that we eat and drink.  Most people think this means sweets, candies, etc.  While that is true, it also can mean carbohydrates (which are complex sugars) or fruit (which has fructose, a sugar) or any number of things.  The bacteria in our mouths eat all those sugars and excrete acid.  That acid is what causes cavities.

Now bacteria is way more attracted to xylitol than regular sugar.  The Bacteria head right for xylitol!  But bacteria cannot break down xylitol.  Meaning if they can’t “eat” it, they can’t excrete it.  The bacteria dies not able to make acid to cause cavities.  That is how xylitol can help prevent cavities!

How does it help dry mouth?

Many things, including prescription medications, can cause dry mouth.  But why is dry mouth such a big deal?  Dry mouth can effect you quality of life!  It decreases your ability to taste.  It can cause bad breathe.  It can make eating difficult.  It can make talking difficult.  It can even significantly increase your susceptibility to getting cavities!

Xylitol has a cooling effect, quenching the burning of dry mouth.  Xylitol also stimulates saliva flow, which fixes all of the problems previously mentioned.  Xylitol is also an humectant, which means it attracts moisture.  And Xylitol neutralized saliva’s pH.  An acid pH leads to dry mouth, a basic pH can lead to an overgrowth of plaque bacteria.  Nice neutral pH is where your mouth is the happiest!

Who can have Xylitol?

Xylitol is safe for all ages!  Great for the whole family!

Even diabetics can use xylitol.  “The body does not require insulin to metabolize xylitol. For this reason polyols like xylitol produce a lower glycemic response than sucrose or glucose. This has made xylitol a widely used sweetener for the diabetic diet in some countries. If you do have diabetes, however, it’s important to consult your doctor or diet professional before incorporating xylitol into your daily diet. (1)”

And, like chocolate, onions, raisins, or avocados, xylitol is not safe for our 4-legged furry family members.  Please do not share it with them.

Where can you find Xylitol?

Xylitol can be found in a wide array of products.  Most commonly, chewing gum, candies, and mints.  It is also found in tooth pastes, mouth sprays, and even as granulated crystals to replace table sugar.

Hope this has been informative and you have found a new way to incorporate the many benefits of Xylitol in your life!

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Dental Fears


Becky Larson, RDH


Dental Fears

I once had an elementary school teacher who would scream if she heard the word “dentist.”  About 75% of the population has some form of dental anxiety while about 5-10% of the population has an actual dental phobia.  There are various degrees of dental anxiety/phobia, some even requiring psychiatric help.  Those who experience this fear of going to the dentist will often avoid dental appointments until they are in extreme pain.  I think we all realize that sometimes going to the dentist is just not fun.  However, some signs that you may suffer from legitimate dental anxiety/phobia include trouble sleeping the night before a dental appointment, nervous feelings that increase in the dental office waiting room, crying or feeling physically sick when thinking about the dentist, and/or panic attacks or difficulty breathing when at or thinking of the dentist.

So what causes dental anxiety or dental phobia?  Some common reasons for experiencing dental anxiety are fear of pain, fear of injections, fear that injections won’t work, fear of anesthetic side effects, fear of not being in control, embarrassment, and loss of personal space.  The key to dealing with any of these fears is to talk to your dentist.  If your dentist is aware of your fear(s) he/she can suggest ways to make you feel more comfortable when in the dental chair.  Some helpful strategies include:

  • Having your dentist explain procedures in detail prior to and during treatment
  • Topical anesthetic and/or closing your eyes during injections
  • Establish a “stop” signal when you want your dentist to stop or give you a break
  • Nitrous oxide prior to treatment
  • Prescription pre-medication (such as Halcion)
  • Sedation/general anesthesia

Here in our Signature Dental offices, we do offer intravenous sedation techniques for dental treatment.  With these techniques, sedation drugs are administered through an IV in the patient’s arm or hand.  While the patient is sedated, they will still be still be conscious and able to respond to dental staff.  They will also be able to breathe on their own.

Recognizing dental fears and finding ways to cope with them is extremely important to your dental health.  Regular check-ups and cleanings can help prevent recurrent decay, which in turn can reduce the amount of time and money you spend at the dentist.

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No Insurance? No Problem!


Katie Moynihan, BS RDH

No Insurance? No Problem!

Just when you thought you couldn’t afford dental treatment because you do not have dental insurance, think again. We have you covered, and are here to help! Our offices offer an in-office savings plan for patients who do not carry insurance. This savings plan provides members preventative and diagnostic treatment at a discounted fee. Knowing how important preventative care is to keeping treatment costs low and your oral health high, we have designed our plan to reward you and your family for coming in for your regular check ups.

In-Office Savings Plan

Annual Membership Cost is paid each year by the 15th of the month during the month the patient first begins the plan with the office. This annual membership fee is due each year to remain a current savings plan member.

Annual Membership Cost

Single Member      $99/YR

Member +1            $165/YR

Member +2            $235/YR


New Patient Specials

18+ yrs – New Exam, Full Set of X-rays, Oral Cancer Exam and Routine Cleaning – $150

6-17 yrs – New Exam, X-rays, Child Cleaning, Fluoride Treatment and 2 Sealants – $150

1-6 yrs – New Exam, X-rays, Child Cleaning, and Fluoride Treatment – $100


Preventative and Diagnostic Treatments

Established Patient Exam $30 membership fee -vs- $59 full fee without insurance

Check-up X-rays  (7 films) $40 membership fee -vs- $100 full fee without insurance

Full Series or Panoramic X-ray $60 membership fee -vs- $140 full fee without insurance

Routine Cleaning (adult) $45 membership fee -vs- $102 full fee without insurance

Routine Cleaning (child) $30 membership fee -vs- $76 full fee without insurance

Fluoride Treatment $20 membership fee -vs- $47 full fee without insurance

Sealant (per tooth) $25 membership fee -vs- $45 full fee without insurance

*Periodontal Maintenance $70 membership fee -vs- $510 full fee without insurance


Restorative Treatment – tooth colored fillings, porcelain crowns, porcelain bridges, dentures, and partial dentures

First year on the plan = 20% discount off of Usual, Customary, Reasonable (UCR) Fees

Second year on the plan = 25% discount

Third year on the plan = 30% discount


Oral Surgery Treatment – extractions, implants, and bone grafts *Excludes Sedation

First year on the plan = 20% discount off of UCR Fees

Second year on the plan = 25% discount

Third year on the plan = 30% discount


Endodontic Treatment – root canals

First year on the plan = 20% discount off of UCR Fees

Second year on the plan = 25% discount

Third year on the plan = 30% discount


Periodontal Therapy – gum disease treatments *Excludes Periodontal Maintenance

First year on the plan = 20% discount off of UCR Fees

Second year on the plan = 25% discount

Third year on the plan = 30% discount


IV Sedation-

$450 – 90 minutes of sedation

$100 – 30 minutes following initial 90 minutes


Cosmetic Treatment – whitening, veneers, all porcelain crowns for front teeth, and Invisalign

10% discount off of UCR Fees


In-Office Savings Plan Disclaimer:

  • This plan cannot be combined with other office discounts such as prepayment discounts.
  • You must renew your plan the month of its anniversary to enjoy increases in % discounts for services year over year.
  • Every member on your plan must maintain the preventative care schedule of 2 exams, 1-2 sets of check up x-rays and recommended number of hygiene treatments indicated by your hygienist and dentist to maintain current % off of dental services.
  • Beyond the third year on the plan you will enjoy a 30% discount off services.  If hygiene appointments are missed or if the annual membership fee is not received the month due the % of discount resets to the 20%.
  • Payment for services including annual membership can be paid with cash or major credit card.  Outside financing with Care Credit can only be used on amount over $1000.
  • Payments are due at time of service unless arrangements are made prior to treatment being rendered.

If the cost of dental treatment is preventing you from scheduling an appointment with us, please think again. We are here to help you and provide you with all the resources you need. Our office happily accepts most insurance programs including but not limited to: Dental Dental, Cigna, Principal, Aetna, Guardian, Assurant, MetLife, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, and United Health Care. We also offer OAC (on approved credit) financing such as CareCredit. With CareCredit, you can pay for treatment and procedures right away and then make convenient monthly payments. For more information about CareCredit please visit: www.carecredit.com or visit our offices and we would be happy to help you!

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I am Sick, Should I Go to the Dentist?

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen, RDH

I am Sick, Should I Go to the Dentist?

Working in the dental field for twenty years I have seen many patients unsure if they should cancel their dental appointment due to not feeling good.  Many are concerned because they are unsure if it’s going to get worse or not.  Most offices charge a late fee if the appointment is not cancelled within a 48 hours’ notice.  Should I cancel or just go in for my appointment?

The biggest question “Do I have the flu?” It’s not always obvious how infectious you are to others. Also, it’s hard to know if you have the flu or a cold early on with your symptoms. The best thing you can do is take your temperature and monitor it.  If it continues to rise, more than likely you have the flu.

Center for disease control states the symptoms of the flu are fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, and headache are common symptoms of flu. Not everyone with flu will have a fever. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

If a patient is suffering from flu-like symptoms, we recommended that you reschedule your appointment.  The flu, or influenza, is spread from an infected person through small particles released into the air when you sneeze or cough; even talking may release small particles into the air. A single sneeze may infect numerous people.  Not only can you infect other patients, but you can also spread the infection to the dental staff.  Dental professionals work in direct contact with fluids in the mouth so if you’re infected, they may get the virus. Although they engage in frequent hand-washing and barriers such as: gloves, masks and eyewear to protect themselves from infectious diseases, these are not foolproof.

Be sure to phone the dental office and explain why you need to reschedule. Some offices appreciate that you’re considering their health and the health of other patients and will waive the fee if you’re not a frequent offender.  When in doubt, ask your dental office if the visit should be cancelled.

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Smiles For Life – Whitening Teeth and Giving Back


Arianna Ritchey, RDH

Smiles For Life – Whitening Teeth and Giving Back

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 4.21.16 PM

Every year from March 1st through June 30th, hundreds of dental practices across the United States and Canada perform professional teeth whitening for the Smiles for Life charity, and our practice is one of them!  Smiles For Life is a charity that benefits children who are ill, disabled, and/or underprivileged, and when patients make a donation to have their teeth whitened, 100% of the donation goes to charity.  Half of the donations are made directly to the Smiles for Life charity, and the other half are made to a charity that we choose to sponsor.  This year, we are sponsoring Hope Arising, a charity which benefits the village of Dera, Ethiopia, in developing perpetual self-reliance through education, healthcare, and micro-enterprise.


Teeth whitening works by applying a solution of hydrogen peroxide to the teeth, which diffuses through the enamel and breaks downs compounds inside the teeth that are causing them to be discoloured.  Once these compounds are broken down, the teeth are lighter!  Teeth whitening works best on clean, healthy teeth which are free from cavities, plaque, or tartar, while under the direction of a dentist.


There are many different over-the-counter whitening products available that use low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, but the safest, most effective, and most efficient way to whiten your teeth is by using professional concentration hydrogen peroxide, prescribed by your dentist.  By having your teeth whitening done in your dental office by a dental professional, or at home under the dentist’s direction, your dentist can ensure that you are a good candidate for whitening, can provide predictable results after your whitening, and can verify the whitening progress to determine when you have reached your maximum white shade, and when it is no longer safe to continue whitening.


Each individual has a limit to how white their teeth can become; this limit is called a whitening plateau.  A whitening plateau is reached when the discoloured compounds in the teeth have all been broken down, and the teeth will not become any lighter.  If whitening products, whether professional or over-the-counter, are applied to the teeth after this whitening plateau, the hydrogen peroxide begins to damage the teeth by breaking down the proteins in the enamel.  This is called over-bleaching, and can be avoided by following directions for safe use of whitening products provided by your dentist, or on the packaging of over-the-counter whitening products.


Other methods of whitening your teeth are available, but not always advisable.  Toothpastes and dental floss that are marketed as whitening products remove stain from teeth, but not in the same way hydrogen peroxide whitening products do.  Hydrogen peroxide whitening products remove stain from the inside of the tooth, whereas whitening toothpastes and dental floss use tiny abrasive particles that work like sandpaper to remove stain present on the outside of the tooth.  When used for a long period of time, these abrasive particles remove superficial layers of your enamel and can overall be detrimental to the teeth.  


Whitening your smile is safe when done as directed, and can be a great way to prepare for a special event such as prom, or a wedding, or just to enhance your everyday confidence.  If you’ve recently quit smoking, whitening away those tobacco stains can be a great way to reward yourself!  A beautiful white smile is important in making a first impression, and starting March 1st through the end of June, Smiles For Life whitening provides a unique opportunity to help children in need while treating yourself, too.

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Tips for Toddlers


Tips for Toddlers

Have you ever tried to brush the little one’s teeth and been so frustrated you just give up?!?  I have!  With 4 children of my own, I can tell you first hand that it’s not the easiest task to accomplish and each child is so different and will respond just a little differently.  So if one of these techniques don’t work for you, just try, try again.

Tip #1: For the babies who are teething or whose teeth are just breaking through, chewing on a toothbrush is an excellent idea!  No toothpaste needed, just the brush and lots of saliva!  

Tip #2:For the little ones, just when they’re starting to get their teeth – You sit on the floor, criss-cross apple sauce, and lay their head in your lap with their legs facing away from you.  (It will look like they’re laying in a dental chair, without the chair.)  Then have them extend their chip up towards you as you lightly brush their teeth in circular motions, just doing the best you can.  At first, you may be only able to brush for a few seconds, but after a while, they’ll get more used to it (and you, too) and before you know it, you’re brushing morning and night!  There are finger brushes that you can try as well if they don’t like the toothbrush.

Tip #3: Use a timer.  Any timer will do, just make sure that it stays in the bathroom where they’ll see it on the counter and use it.  It can be a one minute timer, one minute for the top and then flip it and do it again for the bottom teeth.  That way they are counting down to when they’re finished.

Tip #4: SING!  Sometimes I sing so much that my children tell me to stop, however, it truly works.  Find a song they like to sing or a number they like to count up to, and do it while you are brushing their teeth!  Some songs that worked well for my littles were “Itsy Bisty Spider,” sung twice, The ABC song, Wheels on the Bus, or London Bridges.  Whatever the song, decide how to break it up into two sections, brush the bottom teeth first, pause for a second to let them swallow and then finish on the top.  They think it’s fun and brushing time will go quickly and end up being fun instead of a drag.

Most importantly…..BE PATIENT!  It will come and eventually they will brush their teeth on their own.  It just takes time and lots of patience.  Don’t let this little thing become a battle early in their little lives.  If you need extra tips or help, don’t be afraid to ask your hygienist on your next visit in to see us!  Happy Brushing!
Wendy Parker, R.D.H. and also known as M.O.M.

Your Pets Teeth are Important Too!


Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

Your Pets Teeth are Important Too!

Next week is February and February is National Pet Dental Health Month.  Just like in humans, it’s very important for your pets to have healthy, happy teeth!  Plaque and tartar grow on animals teeth, just as they do in humans.  Animals can get periodontal disease, just like humans.  The down side is when your pet’s mouth hurts, they cannot tell you the same way humans can.

Mozart's Teeth

This is a 6 year old, male, Yorkshire Terrier.  His owners has taken care of his mouth his whole life.  He has received healthy, crunchy, dog kibble, and minimal human food.  His teeth are brushed.  He has appropriate chew toys and treats.  As you can see his teeth are white and shiny.  Gums are healthy and happy too!

Rosie's Teeth

This is a 12 year old, female, Yorkshire Terrier.  Her pervious owners did not take care of her mouth.  As a result you can see her yellow/brown teeth covered in tartar.  Her gums are angry and inflamed.  She has periodontal disease and will soon loose more teeth than she already has.  Until she has her cleaning and her teeth/gums are in health, she cannot eat crunchy kibble.  Her food has to consist of soft foods she doesn’t have to really chew.  She cannot enjoy the same treats as the previous dog.  And the vet has said that her periodontal bacteria has caused her to have a respiratory condition.

The American Veterinarian Medical Association has a wonderful article on the importance of your pet’s dental health.  You will find a lot of similarities between the importance of keeping your mouth keep and the importance of keeping your pet’s mouth clean!

“Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

What is veterinary dentistry, and who should perform it?

Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pets’ teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. These procedures should be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Subject to state or provincial regulation, veterinary technicians are allowed to perform certain dental procedures under the supervision of a veterinarian.

The process begins with an oral exam of your pet’s mouth by a veterinarian. Radiographs (x-rays) may be needed to evaluate the health of the jaw and the tooth roots below the gumline. Because most dental disease occurs below the gumline, where you can’t see it, a thorough dental cleaning and evaluation are performed under anesthesia. Dental cleaning includes scaling (to remove dental plaque and tartar) and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings.

Oral health in dogs and cats

Your pet’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

Have your pet’s teeth checked sooner if you observe any of the following problems:

  • bad breath
  • broken or loose teeth
  • extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
  • reduced appetite or refusal to eat
  • pain in or around the mouth
  • bleeding from the mouth
  • swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth

Some pets become irritable when they have dental problems, and any changes in your pet’s behavior should prompt a visit to your veterinarian. Always be careful when evaluating your pet’s mouth, because a painful animal may bite.

Causes of pet dental problems

Although cavities are less common in pets than in people, they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop:

  • broken teeth and roots
  • periodontal disease
  • abscesses or infected teeth
  • cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
  • broken (fractured) jaw
  • palate defects (such as cleft palate)

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jaw bone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays may be needed to determine the severity of the disease. Your veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist will make recommendations based on your pet’s overall health and the health of your pet’s teeth, and provide you with options to consider.

Why does dentistry require anesthesia?

When you go to the dentist, you know that what’s being done is meant to help you and keep your mouth healthy. Your dentist uses techniques to minimize pain and discomfort and can ask you how you are feeling, so you accept the procedures and do your best to keep still. Your pet does not understand the benefit of dental procedures, and he or she reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting.

Anesthesia makes it possible to perform the dental procedures with less stress and pain for your pet. In addition, anesthesia allows for a better cleaning because your pet is not moving around and risking injury from the dental equipment. If radiographs (x-rays) are needed, your pet needs to be very still in order to get good images, and this is unlikely without heavy sedation or anesthesia.

Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now than ever and continues to improve so that the risks are very low and are far outweighed by the benefits. Most pets can go home the same day of the procedure, although they might seem a little groggy for the rest of the day.

What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?

Prevention of the most common oral disease in pets consists of frequent removal of the dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth that are not kept clean. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian. Daily brushing is best, but it’s not always possible and brushing several times a week can be effective. Most dogs accept brushing, but cats can be a bit more resistant – patience and training are important.

There are many pet products marketed with claims that they improve dental health, but not all of them are effective. Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.”

Below is a video produced by the AVMA that is published on their youtube page.  It is very informative video on how to brush your pet’s teeth.  Check it out: https://youtu.be/wB3GIAgrTPE


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Reducing stress over the holidays


Karen Kelley RDH

Reducing stress over the holidays

I love the holidays with all the lights, delicious food, and good company, but they can be accompanied by so many activities; shopping, baking, cooking and so many other things that can fun, but can also be stressful. I feel sad when someone tells me they hate the holiday season. I think much of that feeling of dread is from the stress surrounding the holiday that can come from a variety of reasons.


We all know that stress is bad for our overall health. Stress can be a factor in “heart disease, including heart attacks, skin conditions, including psoriasis and shingles, digestive disorder flare-ups, such as symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, immune disorders, including flare-ups of multiple sclerosis and lupus, anxiety, depression, and insomnia and worsening pain, if you already have a pain disorder such as arthritis, back pain, and muscle spasms.”


To avoid getting sick at the holidays and having the sickness derail plans for a joyful holiday season, Ronald Nathan, PhD, clinical professor at Albany Medical College in New York says that, “When we think about the holidays, we dwell on the past and what went wrong, or we romanticize it and make it impossible to re-create,” He counsels people to carefully examine their thoughts and expectations, and not drive themselves crazy finding “the perfect gift” or planning “the perfect party.” “Instead,” he says, “lower your expectations, and overestimate — rather than underestimate — your time.”

We need to ease up on ourselves, plan well and if things don’t get done exactly the way we planned or the Christmas cards don’t get out on time, give ourselves a break and try to enjoy the time spent with family and friends.

If the holidays are particularly painful because of a loss of loved ones or other stress inducing memories during the season, consider doing something completely different so the expectations are changed completely. Go out of town, find some new friends to spend the holidays with, go serve Christmas dinner at a shelter. If you’re alone for the holidays, plan to have a meal at your home and invite new or old friends to spend the time with you. Let your friends know you will be alone, your friends and family will want you to be included. Also, don’t forget to be active and continue your normal exercise routine. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress.

Here are 10 ideas for reducing stress from WebMD

  1. Meditate

A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily medidation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.

  1. Breathe Deeply

Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.

  1. Be Present

Slow down. “Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food. When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.

  1. Reach Out

Your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others — preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what’s going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong.

  1. Tune In to Your Body

Mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress affects it each day. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels.

  1. Decompress

Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension.

  1. Laugh Out Loud

A good belly laugh doesn’t just lighten the load mentally. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals called endorphins, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, reading the comics, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.

  1. Crank Up the Tunes

Research shows that listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. “Create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece,” Benninger says. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes — or singing at the top of your lungs!

  1. Get Moving

You don’t have to run in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercuse, including yaga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs.

  1. Be Grateful

Keep a gratitude journal or several (one by your bed, one in your purse, and one at work) to help you remember all the things that are good in your life.

“Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,” says Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC.

Use these journals to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new task at work or a new hobby.

When you start feeling stressed, spend a few minutes looking through your notes to remind yourself what really matters.


In our family, we’ve had a difficult year, so I’m expecting to use many of these ideas to help us not just get through the holidays but to enjoy them. Stress is literally a killer so try some of these ideas to see if they help you also.

Take care of yourself and stay healthy!!

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