Fagan Family Dental


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Chicago Heights - 708.755.0433
Homer Glen - 708.301.2211
"Not Just Your Neighborhood Dentist"
Our Services include:
  Preventative Oral Hygeine
  Cosmetics & Bleaching
  Root Canal Therapy
  Gum Treatments
  Removable Dentures
  Occlusal Guards

There are a great many questions that people have in regards to Oral Hygiene. Dr. Fagan wants his patients to know as much as possible in order to maintain their healthy smiles. Please read through the following QUESTIONS & ANSWERS on this page to find solutions and advice regarding your oral hygiene.

If your question is not addressed, Dr Fagan invites you to ASK THE DENTIST. Remember, there's no such thing as a silly question when we're dealing with oral health, so ASK AWAY!!!

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Common Oral Health Questions, Answers & Advice
  What Do I Do For a Toothache? - rinse mouth with warm water. Use dental floss to remove any food trapped between the teeth, then rinse. If there's swelling, place an ice pack or cold compress on the outside of the cheek (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off). Do not use heat. An aspirin or aspirin substitute may be taken orally to relieve pain. Do not place directly on gum tissue as this may result in a burn. See Dr Fagan as soon as possible.

There's Something Wedged Between My Teeth; How Should I Handle It Properly? - try to remove the object with dental floss, and then rinse vigorously with water to remove any remaining particles. Do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. If you can't remove it, see Dr Fagan as soon as possible.

My Son Knocked Out a Tooth, How Do I Handle This? - if possible, retrieve the tooth. If it is a baby tooth, place it in a container of milk, salt water or the patient's saliva. If these are unavailable, use water. If it is a permanent tooth take care not to touch the root and carefully insert the tooth back in place.See Dr Fagan as soon as possible.

What Are Dental Sealants and How Do I Know if My Child Needs Them?
A dental sealant creates a highly effective barrier against decay. Sealants are thin plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of a child's permanent back teeth, where most cavities form. Applying a sealant is not painful and can be performed in one dental visit. Dr. Fagan can tell you whether your child might benefit from a dental sealant.

I've Got a Broken Tooth - gently clean dirt or debris from injured area with an antiseptic oral cleanser. Place ice pack or cold compress on the face in the area of the injured tooth to minimize swelling. If the tooth has created a sharp edge, cover with paraffin (wax) to prevent lacerations to the gums or cheek. See Dr Fagan as soon as possible.

Have You Ever Bitten Your Lip or Tongue? - apply direct pressure to the bleeding area for 15 to 20 minutes using sterile gauze. Rinse with an oral cleanser to alleviate bleeding and clean the wound. If swelling is present, apply ice pack or cold compress. If bleeding continues, go to a hospital emergency room.

How Do I Know if I Have Gingivitis?
Classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, tender gums that may bleed when you brush. Another sign of gum disease is gums that have receded or pulled away from your teeth, giving your teeth an elongated appearance. Gum disease can cause pockets to form between the teeth and gums, where plaque and food debris collect. Some people may experience recurring bad breath or a bad taste in their mouth, even if the disease is not advanced.

How Can I Prevent Gingivitis?
Good oral hygiene is essential. Professional cleanings are also extremely important because once plaque has hardened and built up, or become tartar, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove it. You can help stop gingivitis before it develops by:

  • Proper brushing and flossing to remove plaque and debris and control tartar buildup
  • Eating right to ensure proper nutrition for your jawbone and teeth
  • Avoiding cigarettes and other forms of tobacco
  • Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist

How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease can occur at any age, but it is most common among adults. If detected in its early stages, gum disease can be reversed so see your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Gums that are red, puffy or swollen, or tender
  • Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
  • Teeth that look longer because your gums have receded
  • Gums that have separated, or pulled away, from your teeth, creating a pocket
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Pus coming from between your teeth and gums
  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

How is Gum Disease Treated?
The early stages of gum disease can often be reversed with proper brushing and flossing. Good oral health will help keep plaque from building up. A professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. Your dentist or hygienist will clean or "scale" your teeth to remove the tartar above and below the gumline. If your condition is more severe, a root planing procedure may be performed. Root planing helps to smooth irregularities on the roots of the teeth making it more difficult for plaque to deposit there

When Should My Child Begin Flossing?
Because flossing removes food particles and plaque between teeth that brushing misses, you should floss for your children beginning at age four. By the time they reach age eight, most kids can begin flossing for themselves.

What Is Fluoride and How Do I Know if My Child Is Getting the Right Amount?
Fluoride is one of the best ways to help prevent against tooth decay. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride combines with the tooth's enamel to strengthen it. In many municipal water supplies, the right amount of fluoride is added for proper tooth development. To find out whether your water contains fluoride, and how much, call your local water district. If your water supply does not contain any (or enough) fluoride, your child's pediatrician or Dr. Fagan may suggest using fluoride drops or a mouth rinse in addition to a fluoride toothpaste.


How Important Is Diet to My Child's Oral Health?
A balanced diet is necessary for your child to develop strong, decay-resistant teeth. In addition to a full range of vitamins and minerals, a child's diet should include plenty of calcium, phosphorous, and proper levels of fluoride.

If fluoride is your child's greatest protection against tooth decay, then frequent snacking may be the biggest enemy. The sugars and starches found in many foods and snacks like cookies, candies, dried fruit, soft drinks, pretzels and potato chips combine with plaque on teeth to create acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel and may lead to cavities.

Each "plaque attack" can last up to 20 minutes after a meal or snack has been finished. Even a little nibble can create plaque acids. So it's best to limit snacking between meals.

What Should I Do For a Canker or Mouth Sore? - canker sores are small white wounds inside the mouth on the cheek, gums or tongue. They can be caused by cheek biting, vigorous tooth brushing, burns from hot foods and irritation from braces or dentures. The bubbling action of an oxygenating cleanser removes food particles and other irritants from the sore. As it seals, the liquid transforms to a thin, flexible protective barrier over the affected area, sealing off the nerve endings for hours so you can eat and drink without the pain.

Still have a question? Then by all means, ASK DR. FAGAN: