Posts for: January, 2016

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
January 21, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.

He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”

Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.

There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.

The Science Behind the Magic

There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.

The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.

How’s that for a disappearing act?!

If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Dr. James M. Maragos, D.D.S
January 19, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Food  

Eating Sugary Stuff Makes Me Happy; Is It Really So Bad for Me? The facts about eating sugar.

You like to eat sugary things; they taste good. The donuts, candy, wonderful desserts and sodas are just waiting for you to try them. But you should stop and think before you eat that tempting treat. Dr. James Maragos, your family dentist in LaGrange, Illinois can tell you; sugar does terrible things to your teeth and to your body!

When you eat sugar, it combines with your oral bacteria and forms a powerful acid, which can do damage to your tooth enamel. Your enamel is all that protects your teeth from dental decay, so guess what? You get a cavity, sometimes a big one!

  • Sugar has bad effects on your brain too. If you eat a lot of sugar, it can:
  • Change your brain to make you want more sugar
  • Impair learning and memory
  • Cause anxiety and depression

In addition to these problems, sugar causes weight gain, which has its own set of problems including increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Kicking the sugar habit is difficult, but not impossible. The first step is to be aware of how much sugar you are eating. Sugar comes in many forms including:

Fructose and corn syrup

  • Agave nectar
  • Lactose and maltose
  • Cane sugar and sucrose
  • While some of these might sound healthy, it is all SUGAR.
  • Let’s talk about your teeth again. While you are trying to reduce the amount of sugar you take in, you can protect your teeth against acids from sugar by trying these things:
  • Swishing your mouth out with water after eating sugar
  • Brushing your teeth after eating sugar

With sugary liquids, drink with a straw to keep the sugar off of your teeth

When you are eating sugar, just remember that the more frequently and the longer it takes you to eat it, the worse it is for you. When you are sipping on a sugary drink, eating hard candy, or lingering over a sweet dessert, you are bathing your teeth with acid!

If you are trying to kick the sugar habit, good for you! But don’t neglect a quick check up to make sure your teeth are in good shape. Call Dr. James Maragos, your family dentist in LaGrange, Illinois. He’s here to help you say goodbye to sugar. Call him today!

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
January 06, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to have straighter teeth, and you’re wondering if it’s time to seek help from a dentist or orthodontist. So you search online and find a YouTube video called “Cheap easy braces!! Without going to the dentist!!!!!” Your instincts are screaming “NO,” but you can’t help wondering… could it really be worth trying?

First of all, in case all of the exclamation points didn’t clue you in, the teenager who made this video doesn’t have any medical or dental training whatsoever. And just to make it clear right now, there’s no such thing as do-it-yourself braces — at least, none that are safe or effective. But the real problem with this video — along with many others in the same vein — is that if you try out what they suggest, you can seriously harm your teeth.

Recently, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) issued a consumer alert about the use of so-called “gap bands” and other home remedies for straightening teeth. It was accompanied by a graphic picture of teeth that had been seriously damaged by placing a rubber band around them (one of the methods suggested in the video). The New York Times followed up with an item about a young man who lost both front teeth as a result of DIY orthodontics. And Seventeen magazine ran a story called “Why the DIY Braces Trend is Seriously SO Dangerous: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.”

So we’ll add our voices to the chorus: Braces aren’t something you can do yourself. Seriously. Trust us on this.

Why not? Because it really does take quite a bit of training and experience to gain the necessary skill, knowledge and competence to move teeth safely. That’s why all practicing dentists successfully complete a four-year dental school program; orthodontists and other specialists have an additional three years of training on top of that. (And do you really think it would take seven years of training if it was easy?) We are familiar with the science behind moving teeth, and up to date on the best clinical practices. As medical professionals, that’s our job.

There is one tiny grain of truth in those videos: we do sometimes use elastics to move teeth. The difference is, we’re using them in safe and effective ways. We know, for example, that if an elastic band is placed around teeth the wrong way, it can work its way into the gums and destroy the ligaments and bone that hold the teeth in place. This can cause teeth to loosen and fall out.

So don’t be misled. If a promised treatment seems too good to be true, it probably is… even if it’s being touted on YouTube.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Moving Teeth With Orthodontics.”

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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