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Liberty, MO 64068


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115 Blue Jay Drive
Suite 104
Liberty, MO 64068

Posts for: October, 2012

October 25, 2012
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The trauma of injuries to the mouth and teeth may be reduced if action is taken as soon as the injury occurs.  Here are some suggestions to help lessen pain, speed the healing process and perhaps even save a tooth following a dental emergency.


Toothaches generally require immediate attention.  A bacterial infection can worsen rapidly and could require antibiotics.  If you have a toothache, gently clean the painful area using a soft-bristle toothbrush and floss.  Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.  Take an over the counter pain reliever and call your dentist as soon as possible.

Broken Tooth

First, gently rinse with warm and keep it clean.  Immediate dental care is necessary.  The treatment will vary depending on the severity of the fracture and could range from smoothing out a chipped area to placing a crown on the tooth.  If there has been damage to the tooth's nerve, root canal therapy may be necessary as well.

Soft Tissue Injury

If the tongue, lips or cheeks are bitten, cut or punctured, there may be bleeding.  Apply firm pressure to the injured area with gauze or a clean cloth.  If the bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, contact your dentist or physician immediately.  Stitches may be necessary.  If there is no bleeding, clean the area with warm water on gauze or a clean cloth.  Apply and ice compress to the bruised or swollen area and contact your dentist for further instructions. 

No matter what type of injury, keep calm and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. 

Should you take preventive antibiotics before a dental visit?   Many types of dental work, even routine cleanings, can cause bleeding.  This allows bacteria from the mouth to enter the blodostream and travel to other sites in the body.  For most people, the immune system disposes of these intruders without a problem.  In the presence of certain heart abnormalities, however, bacteria traveling in the blood can gain access to the heart's inner lining or valves.  The resulting infection, know as endocarditis,  can cause lasting damage to the heart muscle. 

People with artificial joints may also need to take antibiotics before having dental work.  Bacteria from your mouth can potentially travel to the joint, triggering an infection in the prosthesis.  The current recommendations state that all patients who have a total joint replacement in the past two years should take antibiotics preventively.  After two years, only certain individuals in high-risk situations need to continue the practice.

If you have a condition that puts you at greater risk of developing bacterial infection, be sure to tell your dentist, periodontist and other doctors.  Also, if you have taken antibiotics before having dental work in the past, be sure to talk to your doctor about how the guidelines apply to you before your next check up.

October 11, 2012
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Dental Care for Your Dog

Preventing and Addressing Dental Disease

By , Guide

Dogs need dental care, too! Unfortunately, dental hygiene for dogs is sometimes overlooked. Many people seem to just expect dogs to have bad breath, and few people brush their dogs’ teeth frequently enough. Dental hygiene is just as important to your dog’s overall health as things like nutrition, proper exercise and routine grooming. Help keep your dog healthy – pay attention to those pearly whites!

Monitoring Your Dog’s Dental Health

Catching teeth problems early will help avoid severe dental disease. The simplest way to keep track of your dog’s teeth is to look at them on a regular basis and be aware of signs that may indicate a problem. To inspect your dog’s teeth, lift the lips all around the mouth, looking at the front and back teeth as closely as possible. Be gentle and use caution so you do not accidentally get nipped! Your veterinarian will also take a look at your dog’s teeth during routine examinations, so make sure you keep up with these – visit your vet every 6-12 months for wellness check-ups. Contact your vet if any problems arise. Watch for the following signs:

  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Reluctance to chew / crying out when chewing
  • Increased salivation
  • Red and/or puffy gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Tartar / Calculus (hard coating on teeth that is usually brown or yellow; results from plaque build-up)
  • Missing and/or loose teeth
  • Anything else about the mouth that appears unusual

The Dangers of Dental Disease

Plaque builds up on the teeth and turns into tartar, or calculus. These areas grow bacteria and eat away at the teeth and gums. Halitosis, periodontal disease, oral pain and tooth loss can occur. However, the bacteria not only cause disease in the mouth – they can also affect other parts of the body, like the heart and kidneys. The most important thing to do is address dental disease as soon as it is detected, no matter how minor. Better yet, work hard to prevent it!

Preventing Dental Disease in Dogs

There are several things you can do to help keep your dog’s teeth in good shape. Start a dental care routine as early as possible in your dog’s life so he get used to the feeling of having his teeth brushed and inspected. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth that typically fall out by about six months of age. By this time, your dog should be getting his teeth brushed regularly. If you decide to brush your dog’s teeth, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  1. NEVER brush your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste – it can make your dog sick! Use special enzymatic toothpaste made especially for dogs. The same goes for oral rinses.
  2. Plaque begins to turn into tartar / calculus within 24-48 hours, so daily brushing is recommended. Work your dog’s tooth brushing into your own routine – consider brushing his teeth around the same time you do yours so it will be easier to remember.
  3. Use a “finger brush” or special long toothbrush designed for use on dogs. When starting out with brushings, the finger brush can help ease your dog into it, as these do not feel as awkward as hard brushes.
  4. Before you begin, ask your veterinarian to show you some techniques to make tooth brushing easier on you and your dog.

If you are not able to brush your dog’s teeth, there are other options. Consider using oral rinses made especially for dogs. You can also purchase special dental treats. Avoid real bones – not only can they lead to gastrointestinal upset, they may also cause tooth fractures. Most of all: make sure you keep up with vet exams. From time to time, a professional dental cleaning may be recommended. This requires general anesthesia. During the procedure, your dog’s teeth and gums will be examined closely for problems. The teeth will then be scaled and polished. If dental problems are noted, tooth extractions could become necessary. Alternatively, you may be referred to a veterinary dentist for specialty procedures. Some dogs need dental cleanings one or more times per year, while others can go longer. Be certain to follow your vet’s recommendations. And remember, what you do at home can really make all the differe


From Delta Dental

Stress Challenges Your Healthy Smile

by Jason 4/16/2012 9:58 AM

Let's face it, we all get stressed. It's the body's response to our crazy, on-the-go lives. Too often though, we become so accustomed to the physical and emotional symptoms of stress, that we stop paying attention. Well, somebody notices and chances are it's your dentist.

Researchers have found that when stress attacks, it often shows up in your mouth first. In fact, stress has been linked to a number of oral health issues. Grinding or clenching the jaw, known as bruxism, is one of the most common ways stress manifests. Between 80 and 90 percent of the population suffers from varying degrees of bruxism. It occurs for many different reasons; however, it is typically known as a coping mechanism for stress. Canker sores, dry mouth and gum disease are also indicators of stress.

Steps to Avoid a Stressed-Out Smile:

Lay off the caffeine
Coffee, soda and energy drinks all have caffeine, which is a stimulant that increases your energy and anxiety levels and can result in more teeth grinding.

Work it out
A daily workout during lunch or after work can help dispel any nervous energy that you've built up throughout the day. Feeling a little adventurous? Try adding yoga to your workout routine.

Stick to the basics
As directed by your dentist, and reinforced by your mom, brush your teeth twice a day using a circular motion (and don't forget your tongue), floss daily, use mouthwash and be sure to visit the dentist twice annually.

While under stress, it is important to remain vigilant in your oral hygiene regimen or you'll end up losing a lot more than your mind. So the next time you feel like your whole world has been turned upside down, just remember to take a deep breath and smile.

Sources used:
An article in Women's Day Magazine (Feb. 17, 2010) titled "A Stressed-Out Smile?",213


Daniel Colgan

 Dr. Colgans office provides gentle, compassionate care to all of our patients at our dental practice in Liberty MO. We make your comfort and dental health our top priority.

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