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Posts for: February, 2016

By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
February 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
ActorDavidRamseySaysDontForgettoFloss

Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.

“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.

Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.

“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.

Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?

Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.

Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a third to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.

Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”

Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.

If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”


By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
February 11, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental crowns  

Dentists use porcelain crowns to support fragile teeth and change the appearance of teeth. Dr. James M. Maragos, D.D.S., your dental crownsLaGrange dentist, explains how this dental appliance can help improve your smile.

What are crowns?

Crowns, also called caps, fit snugly over your teeth. Crowns are typically made of durable porcelain, but may also be made of other durable materials, including porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin, ceramic, or gold. The type of crown you receive will depend on your personal preferences and your insurance coverage.

Why do dentists recommend crowns?

Crowns are particularly versatile and can be used to treat a variety of dental issues, including:

  • Large fillings: Very large fillings can weaken teeth. A crown helps stabilize the tooth and prevents breakage.
  • Cracks and chips: If a tooth is cracked or chipped and you continue to bite and chew with it, the tooth can eventually break. Adding a crown prevents additional damage.
  • Broken tooth: If your tooth has already broken, a crown can restore the tooth and preserve its function.
  • Cosmetic issues: Crowns are often used if a tooth is a little smaller than other teeth or strangely shaped. They can also be used to cover a discolored tooth.

How are crowns attached to the teeth?

Before you receive your new crown, your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and send it to a local dental lab. Technicians at the lab use this mold to ensure that your new custom-made crown fits your mouth perfectly. Filing down the enamel on your tooth slightly is an important step in the process and will help ensure that your crown will fit comfortably. At the end of your first appointment, you'll be given a temporary crown and a return appointment to receive your permanent crown.

During your next appointment, your dentist will check the color and fit of the crown and make adjustments as needed. When both of you are sure that the crown fits well, he'll apply it permanently with dental cement.

Think a crown is a good solution for your dental issue? Call Dr. James M. Maragos, D.D.S., your LaGrange dentist, at (708) 352-7358 and find out if a dental crown is the right option for you.


By Dr. James M. Maragos, DDS, PC
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
StoppingToothDecayCouldRequireRootCanalTreatment

It’s absolutely critical to stop tooth decay and repair any damage to tooth structure. Hopefully, we’ve caught it early in the enamel and dentin where we’re able to repair any holes or “cavities” that might have developed by filling them.

But what if the decay has crept deeper into the interior of the tooth? In this case, you’re at a much higher risk of eventually losing the tooth. If the decay has spread into the bone, a root canal treatment is usually your best option.

The first sign that decay has invaded the pulp, the innermost layer of the tooth, and the root canals may be a severe toothache. It’s different from the wince of pain or discomfort caused by sensitivity to temperature or pressure. Inner decay pain is constant and often excruciating. This is because the infection is attacking the nerves bundled within the pulp chamber.

The pain can last for several days, and then suddenly stop altogether. No pain is good news, right? Wrong — the pain has stopped because the infected nerves have finally died and can no longer signal the brain. The infection, though, is very much alive and will continue to advance toward the root where the damage may eventually cause you to lose the tooth.

A root canal treatment removes decay in the pulp chamber and canals. We first drill an access hole to enter the pulp chamber. Once inside, we use special instruments to completely remove all tissue and disinfect the empty chamber. We then fill the chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the access hole to prevent further decay. A few weeks later we install a custom crown to protect the tooth further.

If you have a toothache, or you’ve had one that suddenly went away, you should schedule an appointment for a dental examination as soon as possible: this is the only way to accurately determine the cause of the pain. If a root canal is deemed necessary, the sooner we perform it, the less chance the infection will cause you to lose your tooth.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Signs and Symptoms of a Future Root Canal.”




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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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