Posts for: August, 2015

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
August 30, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   extractions  

Teeth crowding is a difficult bite problem (malocclusion) that often involves the entire jaw structure to be evaluated. Normally occurring when the jaw doesn’t have adequate space for normal tooth eruption, teeth coming in later put pressure on other teeth, causing them to develop improperly.

Crowding also makes it difficult to realign teeth with braces because there’s simply not enough room for sufficient movement to take place. The solution may then be to consider the removal of some of the teeth to create enough space for orthodontic treatment.

Not just any tooth can be removed, however — we must first conduct a careful analysis to determine which can be removed to facilitate optimum movement of the remaining teeth without disrupting normal mouth function or affecting appearance. The teeth most frequently removed for this purpose are the bicuspids, located between the cuspids or eyeteeth (which are positioned directly under the eyes) and the molars, the largest teeth in the back of the mouth. Sometimes one premolar tooth on each side of the jaw can be removed without sacrificing future form or function.

There are a few important considerations we must keep in mind when extracting teeth for orthodontic reasons; perhaps the most important is preserving bone at the extraction site. Because continuing bone growth depends on the forces generated by teeth when we bite or chew, bone near a missing tooth socket will tend to diminish over time. If there’s insufficient bone during orthodontic treatment, it may result in gum recession and root exposure — not only damaging to the teeth themselves but also to a person’s smile appearance. To avoid this, we sometimes will consider inserting a bone graft, which will stimulate bone growth, into the empty socket immediately after extraction. While this isn’t commonly done, it’s being considered if the patient’s bone is thin and a concern during healing.

We must also consider how to accommodate other, unrelated tooth loss to assure the final result is visually appealing. It may be necessary in these cases to maintain the space at the missing tooth site for a future restoration once the orthodontics is completed. This takes planning as well as the use of restorations like dental implants, bridges or partial dentures.

Regardless of your bite issues, the field of orthodontics has the appliances and techniques to overcome even the most complicated condition. When necessary, using procedures like tooth extraction can help turn an unappealing, dysfunctional bite problem into a beautiful smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic teeth extractions, 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 “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
August 15, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.

“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”

That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.

Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!

The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.

If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”

By Dr. James M. Maragos, D.D.S.
August 12, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tmj  

Are you one of the many La Grange residents suffering from the painful symptoms of a temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ? If so, visiting your dentist is one excellent way to get the relief you need. Here are four ways James M. Maragos, D.D.S. can help relieve your TMJ symptoms.

1. Diagnose Your Condition

The first step in treating TMJ, or any other dental health condition, is a proper diagnosis to ensure that your symptoms aren't caused by a different problem. To do this, your La Grange dentist will give you a physical exam, ask you several questions about your symptoms and take X-rays. Once your condition is confirmed, you'll be able to move ahead with treatment.

2. Suggest Lifestyle Changes

If your TMJ is mild, you may be able to effectively manage your symptoms using only the lifestyle changes your La Grange dentist will recommend. These changes may include avoiding gum, avoiding opening your mouth too wide, applying ice packs and reducing your stress level.

3. Prescribe Medication

If your pain cannot be controlled through these accommodations alone, Dr. Maragos may recommend or prescribe a pain medication to help. Depending on the severity of your pain, he may recommend a simple over-the-counter pain reliever, or he may write a prescription for a stronger painkiller, a sedative or a muscle relaxant.

4. Recommend Various Therapies

In addition to medication and lifestyle changes, your La Grange dentist may recommend additional therapies as well. Models may be needed to determine whether a bite guard or bite adjustment would be helpful to you. If you are having pain, a small bite device can be made quickly to help reduce the pain and keep you from grinding and/or clenching. Physical therapies, including stretches and ultrasound, can support healthy jaw muscles and reduce pain. Counseling can help you identify any underlying causes of jaw pain so they can be eliminated.

Your TMJ doesn't have to cause you jaw pain forever. Call and schedule an appointment with La Grange dentist Dr. Maragos to find the relief you need today.

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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