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Posts for: December, 2014

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
December 29, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral hygiene  
FactsAboutThoseAmazingWondersCalledTeeth

Each part of the human body is an intricate wonder. Take your teeth, for example: they’re so woven into everyday life we don’t notice them, yet they each work seamlessly with the jaws and mouth so we can eat, speak and even smile.

Here, then, are a few facts to help you understand — and appreciate — these tiny, amazing wonders we call teeth.

Layer Upon Layer. Rather than one solid mass, teeth are composed of different layers of slightly different tissues each with a unique role in protecting and enabling a tooth to function. Innermost is the pulp filled with connective tissue encasing blood vessels and nerves that transmit sensations to the brain. The next layer out is the dentin, a bone-like material sensitive to touch and other stimuli, which also absorbs some of the forces generated when biting or chewing. The outermost layer is enamel, the hardest material in the body and the tooth’s first defense against infection and other dangers.

Front and Center. Teeth perform different functions depending on their type and location. Front teeth are our “onstage performers” — they help us to speak and enunciate words clearly and, of course, contribute to our smile. They’re also adept at cutting through food when it first enters our mouths.

The Support Team. In keeping with our theater analogy, back teeth are our “backstage crew”: they help support our facial height, provide balance for the jaws as we swallow and protect the front teeth from too much vertical force. They’re also able to crush food before we finally swallow, which aids in the digestive process.

Intended for a Lifetime. If you consider all the environmental factors our teeth face — acidic foods, biting forces and temperature swings to name a few — you then can appreciate their resiliency. Of course, teeth have their enemies: decay, infection and trauma. With daily brushing and flossing and at least a couple of visits a year to our office for cleanings and checkups, you can help thwart many of those enemies. With both our efforts we can make sure your teeth really do last a lifetime.

If you would like more information on how your teeth function (and how to care for them), please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
December 26, 2014
Category: Oral Health
AWake-UpCallinMajorLeagueBaseball

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 MLB.com. “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 Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
December 15, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Your LaGrange dentist teaches you how to pinpoint the earliest signs of oral cancer.

Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth including the tongue and even the lips. If you are concerned about oral cancer or have noticed some changes in your oral health, here are the most common warning signs of oral cancer that you should look for:

  • The most common symptom of oral cancer is a sore or ulcer in the mouth that won’t go away. The sore may also be accompanied by persistent pain.
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Unexpected bleeding or numbness
  • Pain when eating or swallowing
  • A lump in your mouth or throat
  • Loose teeth

If the cancer is left untreated and spreads, you may also notice different symptoms developing. However, remember that the majority of these symptoms can also be indicative of other problems and just noticing one of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer. You need to have your LaGrange dentist perform the proper tests in order to offer a reliable diagnosis.

How does my LaGrange dentist test for oral cancer?

We will most likely perform a biopsy to diagnose your problem. A biopsy requires removing a small piece of tissues from your mouth to examine under a microscope to check for abnormal cells. Biopsies can take up to two weeks to get results back.

What happens if I have oral cancer?

If your biopsy does confirm that you have oral cancer we will need to perform further tests to see how far the condition has progressed. Ultimately we will want to know if the cancer cells have already spread to the lymph glands. A CT scan and an MRI will most likely be performed in order to find out what stage your cancer is.

How is oral cancer in LaGrange treated?

There are several treatment options available to our patients and a lot will depend on the stage of the patient’s cancer. Your LaGrange dentist will sit down with you and discuss your treatment options and which ones offer the best chance for a cure. Most common forms of treatment include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. We may also recommend certain medications to help ease pain and other symptoms.

If you experience any of these symptoms, then it’s time to see your LaGrange dentist right away. The earlier we can detect oral cancer the easier it is to cure your condition. Put your oral health first! Call us today if you have any concerns or questions.


By Dr. James M. Maragos DDS
December 12, 2014
Category: Oral Health

Oral CancerOral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth including the tongue and even the lips. If you are concerned about oral cancer or have noticed some changes in your oral health, here are the most common warning signs of oral cancer that you should look for:

  • The most common symptom of oral cancer is a sore or ulcer in the mouth that won’t go away. The sore may also be accompanied by persistent pain.
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Unexpected bleeding or numbness
  • Pain when eating or swallowing
  • A lump in your mouth or throat
  • Loose teeth

If the cancer is left untreated and spreads, you may also notice different symptoms developing. However, remember that the majority of these symptoms can also be indicative of other problems and just noticing one of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer. You need to have your LaGrange dentist Dr. Maragos perform the proper tests in order to offer a reliable diagnosis.

How does Dr. Maragos test for oral cancer?

Dr. Maragos will do a thorough examination of the tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth and front of the throat for any unusual looking tissue (lesion).  If there is a lesion we may ask you to return in 2-6 weeks to see if it has changed.  If at that time the lesion has not changed we will refer you to an oral surgeon or other surgical specialist for an examination and biopsy.

Oral cancer is very rare but unfortunately it is difficult to treat and can be fatal.


By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
December 11, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: partial denture  
TemporaryToothReplacementwithFlexiblePartialDentures

Modern dentistry offers several great ways to permanently replace missing teeth, including high-tech dental implants and traditional fixed bridgework. But sometimes, for one reason or another, it isn’t possible to have these treatments done right away. If you need an aesthetic way to temporarily replace missing teeth, a flexible partial denture could be the answer you’re looking for.

Certain kinds of removable partial dentures (RPDs) can be used as permanent tooth replacement systems, especially for people who aren’t candidates for dental implants or fixed bridges. But in the past, if you needed a temporary tooth replacement, one of the few alternatives was the type of rigid RPD often called a “flipper.” This consists of a firm, relatively thick acrylic base that supports one or more lifelike replacement teeth. It attaches to the “necks” of existing natural teeth via metal clasps, which gives it stability and strength.

However, the same rigidity and thickness that gives these rigid RPDs their durability can make them uncomfortable to wear, while the acrylic material they are made of is capable of staining or breaking. Over time, the RPDs are prone to coming loose — and they are also easy to flip in and out with the tongue, which gives them their nickname.

Flexible partial dentures, by contrast, are made of pliable polyamides (nylon-like plastics) that are thin, light and resistant to breakage. Instead of using metal wires to attach to the teeth, flexible RPDs are held securely in place by thin projections of their gum-colored bases, which fit tightly into the natural contours of the gumline. Their elasticity and light weight can make them more comfortable to wear. Plus, besides offering aesthetic replacements for missing teeth, their natural-looking bases can cover areas where gums have receded — making existing teeth look better as well.

All RPDs must be removed regularly for thorough cleaning — but it’s especially important for flexible RPD wearers to practice excellent oral hygiene. That’s because the projections that hold them in place can also trap food particles and bacteria, which can cause decay. And, like most dentures, RPDs should never be worn overnight. Yet with proper care, flexible RPDs offer an inexpensive and aesthetic way to temporarily replace missing teeth.

If you have questions about removable partial dentures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.




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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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