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Is your child a mouth breather?

May 18th, 2022

Have you ever watched to see if your child is breathing through his or her mouth? Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose may lead to trouble for youngsters. Kids who typically breathe through their mouth—most often children who suffer from allergies—experience problems getting enough oxygen into their blood, a condition that affects their weight, size, sleep, and even their performance in the classroom and daily life.

Mouth breathing as a child can also lead to sleep apnea, behavior and learning problems, delayed speech, dental and facial abnormalities, and even breathing problems as your child grows. There are a multitude of reasons for an individual to mouth breathe, such as enlarged tonsils, adenoids, and deviated nasal septum, but the cause is usually allergies.

As bad as the condition sounds, we want you to know mouth breathing is a treatable condition. Doing so, though, requires early diagnosis and treatment. Since our team at Convivial Dental sees our patients every six months, we may be in a position to identify the symptoms of mouth breathing.

If you suspect your child is a chronic mouth breather, please give us a call at our convenient Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts office to schedule an appointment with Drs. Cartsos and Zavras.

Dental Emergencies while Traveling

May 11th, 2022

You’ve planned your dream vacation. Your reservations are made. You’re packed and ready. You’ve even scheduled a dental checkup at our Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts office to make sure you catch any potential problems, have finished any major work, and have an up-to-date chart.

But things don’t always go according to even the best of plans. So, what to do if you find you have a dental emergency while traveling? Drs. Cartsos and Zavras and our team have some recommendations for problems that might arise.

  • Toothache—Rinse your mouth with warm water and use dental floss to remove any food particles. Never put aspirin directly on a tooth or gum tissue. If the pain persists, call a dentist.
  • Cracked or broken tooth—Immediately rinse with warm water to clean the area and apply cold compresses to the face to minimize swelling. Get in touch with a dentist.
  • If you lose a tooth—Keep the tooth moist at all times. Put the tooth back in the socket without touching the root if possible. If that is not an option, place the tooth between the cheek and gums or in milk. See a dentist as soon as possible.

Know where to get help if you need it! If you are traveling in the United States, the American Dental Association offers Find-a-Dentist, a website that can locate a member dentist closest to you. If you are traveling to another country, there are steps you can take to prepare for an emergency.

  • If you are out of the country and need to locate a dentist, your local embassy or consulate, your hotel concierge, or friends abroad can be a useful resource.
  • Before you go, check your insurance to see if you are covered while traveling.
  • If you have travel insurance, find out if it covers dental treatment and can provide information on qualified local dentists and translation help, if necessary.
  • Good dental care is available in many areas internationally, but it is important to know what standards are present in the countries you plan to visit. The Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures offers a checklist for safe treatment in their “Traveler’s Guide to Safe Dental Care.”

If you have any questions, Drs. Cartsos and Zavras and our team are happy to do all we can to answer them. While it’s unlikely that problems will arise, we are always available if you need to contact our Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts office. Bon voyage, and we look forward to hearing about your trip!

Breakfast with Braces

May 4th, 2022

Breakfast is called the most important meal of the day for many reasons. Children need to refuel after a long night’s sleep, and studies suggest that school kids who eat a good breakfast have more energy, better attendance and behavior, and even higher test scores than kids who don’t.  

But sometimes, especially with new braces or braces that have just been adjusted, the last thing on your child’s mind is breakfast. Fortunately, Drs. Cartsos and Zavras can recommend many early morning options that will be both gentle on braces and healthy for growing bodies!

  • Yogurt

Soft, creamy, and filled with calcium and vitamin D, yogurt is an easy and nutritious choice. Try different fruit flavors or Greek yogurt for variety.

  • Eggs

Packed with protein, scrambled eggs are delicious on their own, or with the addition of cheese or soft veggies. If you’d like to add a bit of flair to the table, a cheese omelet is another great choice. Any egg option is a good one—just remember to skip the crunchy toast on the side.

  • Smoothies

Not only a great way to start your day, but a great way to get vitamins and minerals in one delicious meal. And with a flavor base of banana, mango, berries, or apple, no one will notice if some spinach or kale make their way into the blender!

  • Oatmeal

Unfortunately for the cereal lover, crunchy cereals and even granola are potentially damaging to wires and brackets. But oatmeal is a healthy alternative that can be made even tastier with the addition of soft fruits such as mangos, berries, and bananas.

  • Breads and Pastries

Crunchy and chewy breads and pastries can lead to broken brackets and wires. Soft breads, pancakes, non-crunchy French toast, and soft pastries are much kinder to braces. Because so many of these options are rich in sugar (especially with syrup!), it’s best to go lighter on foods like this and be sure to brush carefully afterward.

  • Fruit

Bananas, peaches, nectarines, berries—if it’s soft, it’s good to go! Cut larger fruits into bite-sized pieces. Dried fruits like raisins, dates, and cranberries can be chewy, sticky, and sugary, so best to take them off the shopping list for the time being.

It’s described as the most important meal of the day for many good reasons. With some of these easy-to-prepare breakfasts, you can add delicious, healthy, and braces-friendly to that description! If you stumble on a delicious recipe, don’t forget to share it the next time you visit our Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts office!

Why We Take X-rays And How They Help The Dentist With Your Oral Health

May 2nd, 2022

If you’ve been to the dentist for a regular checkup then you’re probably familiar with the process of having your teeth X-rayed. The heavy lead apron draped over your body, the (admittedly - sorry) uncomfortable inserts we make you bite down on, and the buzz of the machine as it takes a picture of your teeth.

Fun fact: the inserts you have to bite down on hold the film for imaging X-rays.

Why do we need to take x-rays and what are we looking for when we do? Good question. The short answer is: to find dental disease and how spread it is and to visualize your teeth, jaw bones, growth patterns and occlusion. 

Believe it or not, there isn’t just one type of X-ray. There are a few different types and each has a specific purpose. But first, what the heck is an X-ray anyway?

An X-ray is an invisible beam of energy that is absorbed by a dense object - like your teeth - and travels through softer objects - like your gums and cheek. The energy is used to create an image that will show up on a scan with teeth and bone appearing light colored and soft tissue appearing dark. The resulting picture helps our doctors get a deeper look at tissues we just can’t get with the naked eye. X-rays are a very important tool in diagnosing problems and assessing tooth health.

For new patients, X-rays (also called radiographs) help establish the current state of your oral health and give us a baseline to help identify changes that might occur later on. Subsequent X-rays help us find new cavities, the status of your gum health, and the growth and development of your teeth. We examine the images to determine if a dark spot on a tooth is a potential cavity, check for bone loss, abscess in the gum or root of your teeth, and to spot abnormalities that might be a cyst or tumor.

Radiographs and energy beams? Sounds like science-fiction, right? It’s actually science fact but you might wonder how safe X-rays really are. The dental X-rays we use at Convivial Dental use the latest technology and are actually very safe. Even though they do use a low level of radiation, any harmful effects to the body are minimal to none. 

While we take every precaution to limit your body’s exposure, including that heavy apron to help shield your neck, chest and lap from extraneous energy, modern dental x rays emit as little radiation as the one you get from the sun if you stay outside for a full day. In fact, our data source at the World Health Organization shows that your body absorbs significantly more radiation during an airline flight. Yet no one thinks twice to take a walk, to spend a day at the beach or to fly for vacation or work. 

Radiographs are indispensable because of the diagnostic information they provide. Like we said, there are actually multiple types of X-rays, five in fact, that we routinely use to get that deeper look at your teeth and jaws. Each one will give us a different view of the mouth for the dentist to inspect.


Like the name implies, the patient bites down on a special paper or small plastic surface while both sides of your mouth are being imaged. This allows the dentist to see how the crowns of your teeth are lining up and to detect cavities between teeth. This type of X-ray is generally taken every year.


This type of X-ray allows the dentist to see the full picture of your teeth, from the top (crown) to the tip of the root. In the early years the periapical radiograph  also allows us to get in to see those permanent teeth that lie under the primary teeth, especially bicuspids and molars. Often, this X-ray is utilized as a follow up to a procedure or to figure out what’s going on if you are having symptoms with a specific tooth.


This X-ray is not taken as often but can show us the roof and floor of your mouth to see how your teeth are lining up and to figure out other problems, like extra teeth, jaw issues and tumor growths. Think of an image of the arc of your teeth looking up or down from inside your mouth.


Again, the name of this X-ray tells you what it does. This is used to take an image of your entire mouth, rotating around your head. This X-ray is used to give us a good picture of the growth and development of your teeth and jaw. Panoramics are also used by an orthodontist for braces and oral surgeons before a procedure.

Cone Beam Computed Tomograph Scan (CBCT)

This imaging method is the state-of-science in dental diagnostic imaging and it is also referred to as a 3-dimensional radiograph. Traditional radiographs are two-dimensional and as a result the information the dentist receives is somewhat limited. The CBCT we use at Convivial Dental is an amazing technology. It can show us teeth and jaws in every dimension. While we do not use it for every patient, its use is increasing nationally as dentists realize its high fidelity and diagnostic power that can identify hidden issues and solve diagnostic mysteries.    

How often X-rays are taken, depends on the patient and their risk of developing disease. It’s recommended that children get an X-ray at least once a year to check on dental caries and tooth growth and development. For adults, X-rays will be taken every 1-2 years, depending on oral health. If a patient is experiencing problems like tooth decay or other issues, X-rays might need to be taken every six months.

Dental X-rays are a vital part of our plan to keep your mouth healthy and can show us things that we just could not find otherwise. If you have questions or concerns about the use of dental X-rays give our office a call. We’d love to talk to you.

Click below or call 617-735-0800 today to schedule a consultation. We can’t wait to meet you!

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