Karen Besler, DDS
Stephanie Cooper, DDS

3605 Center Point Rd.
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 (319) 363-0267

Our Blog

Thanksgiving Trivia

November 26th, 2014

At Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.

The Turkey

There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.

According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.

Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.

The Side Dishes

The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.

While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.

The Parade

Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

Dr. Cooper and His Hands Free Medical Clinic

November 25th, 2014

Dr. Stephanie Cooper started working for His Hands Free Medical/Dental Clinic approximately two years ago when they added a new dental clinic to their facility. She had been contemplating going on a medical mission trip with her church, but for a variety of reasons, couldn’t justify such a trip at this stage in her life.

One day, a flyer from His Hands Medical Clinic arrived in the mail. They were recruiting volunteer help, including dentists, to serve the Cedar Rapids community. His Hands is a Christian-based, non-profit clinic that has the unique mission of trying to provide health care needs. This seemed like a great opportunity to serve the local community. Many of the patients at His Hands have not been able to receive dental care for a variety of reasons: finances, difficult circumstances, or fear of anything dental.

We never really know the impact that volunteering has on patients. Sometimes we have the privilege of seeing joy and great satisfaction from the work we do whether it be improving a smile, getting a person out of pain, or educating our patients for good dental home care. This certainly motivates her to want to continue her work with the clinic. His Hands Free Medical/Dental Clinic has been a much needed and welcome addition to Cedar Rapids.

For further information on the clinic or if you are in need of health care services or wish to offer your own volunteer skills, please visit www.hishandsclinic.org.

Early Detection is Key to Treating Oral Cancer

November 19th, 2014

Every hour of every day, someone in North America dies of oral cancer, the sixth most common diagnosed form of the disease. The five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved.

This grim statistic may make you think that oral cancer is a particularly deadly form, when in fact the high death rate has more to do with how late in its development oral cancer is detected. Routine screening is the key to early detection and survival, and in our continuing efforts to provide the most advanced technology and highest quality care available to our patients at Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids, we proudly screen our patients for oral cancer.

So, who’s at risk for oral cancer?

Anyone can develop oral cancer, but some people are at a higher risk. These high-risk groups include those over the age of 50 and men, who are twice as likely as women to develop the disease. Smoking or chewing smokeless tobacco products, consuming alcohol excessively, and constant exposure to the sun at a young age are also risk factors.

How is oral cancer detected?

Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper and our team at Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids suggest our patients perform a monthly self-examination to check for unusual red or white patches, sores, lumps, or thickenings anywhere inside the mouth, on the lips, or in the throat and neck area.

We encourage you to give us a call at our convenient Cedar Rapids, IA office if you find any of these symptoms or if you have trouble swallowing or experience a chronic sore throat and hoarseness. During your visit, Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper will inspect the oral tissues and neck to determine if abnormalities are present.

What happens if oral cancer is detected?

If we discover abnormal tissues during your visit, a biopsy will be required. The results from the biopsy will be sent to a laboratory to determine if the cells are cancerous or precancerous. If a diagnosis of cancer is made, surgery, as well as treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary. Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper and our team will work closely with your oncologist and other members of your medical team to ensure that you achieve the best possible oral health care both during and after treatment.

Finding out you have oral cancer can be devastating news. If you are concerned that you might be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to us about screenings and other things you can do to reduce your risk. Through a routine visual inspection, Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper and our team at Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids can often detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage when treatment is both less expensive and more successful, and can potentially save your life. Ask us about a screening during your next visit!

Are baby teeth really that important?

November 12th, 2014

Your infant’s first teeth will begin to appear around six to 12 months of age. You might wonder how important these primary teeth really are. After all, baby teeth are destined to fall out within a few years and be replaced by a full set of permanent teeth. However, baby teeth have important functions, and proper care can set the stage for excellent oral and overall health.

Promote Better Nutrition

The appearance of your baby’s primary teeth around six to 12 months of age coincides with changes in your infant’s nutritional needs. Beginning at six months, exclusive breastfeeding is no longer nutritionally sufficient; this is the age at which you should introduce solid foods.

At six to eight months, when your baby can start to chew, strained or pureed fruits and vegetables are appropriate. As your little one’s teeth grow in and chewing abilities progress through 12 months of age, you can gradually add cereal, bread, cooked meats, and other adult foods to his or her nutritious diet.

Increase the Life Expectancy of Baby Teeth

Although baby teeth are inevitably going to fall out and be replaced by permanent ones, making baby teeth last serves an important role that can have benefits into the future. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. If they decay and fall out too soon, permanent teeth are more likely to grow in crooked.

How to Take Care of Baby Teeth

Your baby’s primary teeth are already in his or her mouth at birth; they are just invisible because they have not broken through the gums. Since they are already present, your baby can get cavities if you do not practice proper oral hygiene from the beginning.

  • Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth.
  • Brush your child’s baby teeth twice a day as soon as they come in.
  • Floss your child’s teeth as soon as he or she has two teeth that touch.
  • Visit Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids for your baby’s first checkup when the first tooth arrives.

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