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Posts for: October, 2014

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
October 27, 2014
Category: Oral Health
GrandpaKnowsBestHowKristiYamaguchiManagesHerKidsOralHealth

When Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi wanted to help her kids develop good oral health habits, the gold-medal-winner made good use of a family connection: Her father Jim Yamaguchi is a practicing dentist in the San Francisco Bay area who treats her entire brood. As she said in a recent interview, when she suspects the kids may be spending a little less effort on oral hygiene than they should, she playfully admonishes them: “You've got to brush your teeth better than that. Papa-san is going to know!”

Not all kids are lucky enough to have a grandpa who's a dentist — but every child can learn how to help take care of his or her oral health with age-appropriate techniques, plus plenty of parental guidance and encouragement. What's the best way to help your kids develop good oral hygiene routines? We're glad you asked!

Through babyhood and the toddler years, parents have the main responsibility for keeping kids' teeth clean. But as they begin to put away pacifiers and cease sucking thumbs — around ages 2 to 4 — children can also begin to help with their own oral hygiene routine. By then, kids will probably be used to the feel of gentle brushing, and may be eager to try it themselves.

A soft-bristled brush with a pea-sized dab of toothpaste is all they need to get started… along with a good dose of parental patience. Show them how to wiggle the brush back and forth from the gum line, and all around the upper and lower teeth, both in front and in back. At first, they will probably need plenty of help. But after the age of 6 or so, as their manual dexterity increases, so will their ability to get the job done.

You'll still have to check their work periodically — but you can also teach them how to do it on their own: Have your child run his or her tongue over the tooth surfaces. If they feel smooth and silky, they're probably clean too. If not… try, try again. This test is a good guideline to brushing effectiveness — but if you want to know for sure, use a temporary dye called a disclosing tablet (available at many drugstores) to reveal unseen buildups of plaque bacteria.

What else can you do to give your children the best chance at keeping a healthy mouth and sparkly teeth? Set a positive example! Make sure you (and your kids) eat a healthy diet, get moderate exercise, limit between-meal treats — and visit the dentist regularly. The encouragement you'll get after having a good dental checkup will make you feel like a gold medalist — even if the praise isn't coming from grandpa.

If you would like more information on how to help your child develop good oral health habits, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dentistry & Oral Health For Children” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”


By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
October 09, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  
SettingtheRecordStraightonRootCanalTreatments

If there was an “Unsung Hero” award for dental procedures, the root canal treatment would win hands-down. Much aligned in popular culture, today’s root canal treatment is actually a valuable tool for saving teeth that would otherwise be lost. And contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they relieve it.

To help you understand its true worth, here are some common questions and answers about the root canal treatment.

What problem does a root canal treatment fix?
A root canal treatment stops a bacterial infection that has invaded the innermost part of a tooth — the pulp — and is advancing toward the end of the root through small passageways known as root canals. Most people first notice the problem as a sharp pain in the affected tooth that may suddenly dissipate in a few days. The infection has attacked the inner pulp tissue, rich in nerve fibers; when the nerve fibers die they stop sending pain signals. The infection, however, hasn’t died: as it advances, you may then begin to experience pain when you bite down or when you encounter hot foods. You may also notice tenderness and swelling in nearby gums.

How does the procedure stop the infection?
A root canal treatment removes all the infected or dead tissue and cleanses the pulp chamber. We enter the pulp chamber through a small access hole created in the tooth’s biting surface. After tissue removal, we then “shape” and prepare the empty chamber and root canals (often with the aid of microscopic equipment) to be filled with a special filling. After filling, the tooth is then sealed to prevent re-infection (most often, we need to install a permanent crown at a subsequent visit for maximum protection).

How much pain can I expect during and after the procedure?
During the procedure, none — the tooth and surrounding gums are fully anesthetized before we begin the procedure. Afterward, you may experience mild discomfort for a few days that can be relieved with over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.

What’s the ultimate value for a root canal treatment?
The procedure can save a tooth severely damaged by the infection. Even covered by an artificial crown, a living tooth continuing to exist and function normally within the mouth is usually more conducive for optimum oral health than an artificial tooth replacement.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, 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 “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”


By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
October 08, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
Nothing’s scarier than having an unhealthy smile!
 
Nothing says fall quite like the turning leaves, crisp weather, and the smell of pumpkins. With the welcoming of fall also comes the festive celebration of Halloween; a night for kids to parade around in costumes indulging in a sack full of yummy treats. While we might love those snaggle-toothed pumpkins that line our porches and yards, we certainly don’t want our smiles to emulate these spooky decorations. Your Lagrange family dentist is here to offer up some helpful hints for keeping your child’s smile healthy while also still enjoying everything fun this haunting holiday has to offer.
 

The Lesser of Two Evils

 
All that delicious candy creates the perfect environment for decay to thrive, which can cause toothaches, cavities and plaque buildup. While it’s important to enjoy these treats in moderation, hard and sticky candies (like lollipops and caramels) often remain on teeth longer, which can be more harmful to you or your child’s smile. Plus, they can cause damage to braces and retainer. If you or your child wants to enjoy some Halloween treats this season, opt for softer candies like chocolate that can wash away a bit easier.
 

Trick or Alternative Treat!

If you’re giving out candy to the neighbor kids, here are some smile-friendly options:
  • Look for sugar-free treats when buying candy, as this can reduce decay-producing bacteria.
  • Opt for non-candy treats like small toys and stickers. Kids will still receive a fun treat that won’t be bad for their health.
  • Practice good oral hygiene
If your children are going to partake in the candy-eating ritual that is Halloween, make sure they brush and floss their teeth immediately after indulging. Make sure they are brushing for at least two minutes and really getting into those hard-to-reach spots with their toothbrush.
 
Follow these health-conscious tips and the only scary thing about Halloween will be the costumes. If it’s time to schedule your six-month cleaning or you suspect that you may have a cavity, then call us today to see your LaGrange family dentist.



Call Today (708) 352-7358

4727 Willow Springs Road
LaGrange, IL 60525

James M. Maragos, D.D.S.

Dr. Maragos’ commitment to his community parallels his commitment to his profession. In 2007, he was elected to... 

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