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Why Do We Celebrate Valentine's Day Anyways?

February 14, 2020

We all know how much Valentine’s Day means to us in our personal lives and as a society, but so few of us think of the man to whom the holiday owes its origins: St. Valentine. Who was he and why don’t we talk about him nearly as much as we should?

Part of it has to do with the unfortunately dark origins of Valentine’s Day, all centered around St. Valentine’s acts of love that ran contrary to the official policies of the Roman Empire around the year 270 A.D. During the reign of Claudius II, also known as Claudius the Cruel, Rome had engaged in many unpopular military campaigns that resulted in numerous casualties. As Enlistments in the Roman legions declined, Emperor Claudius II concluded that it was because Roman men had become too attached to their wives and families to join the army. To combat the problem, the emperor banned all marriages and engagements in Rome.

However, an early Christian priest named Valentine married couples in secret in direct defiance of the emperor’s orders. When Emperor Claudius learned of Valentine’s secret weddings, he sentenced Valentine to be clubbed to death and beheaded. According to legend, prior to his execution, Valentine had left a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it “From your Valentine”, which is the direct inspiration for Valentine’s Day cards today. After his death, Valentine was officially declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

While St. Valentine’s story is tragic and influential, it should be mentioned that, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” As has happened with many historical figures from antiquity that have achieved legendary status, it’s possible that elements of all three St. Valentines became intertwined over the centuries as the holiday that we know today came into existence.

But just how did the holiday itself form? In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius I officially declared that February 14 become Valentine’s Day, thus merging with and putting an end to the original pagan holiday known as Feast of Lupercalia, celebrated at around the same time of year. This was a common practice in the early centuries of Christianity; as the faith spread across Europe, religious observances were set to occur at the same time as preestablished pagan holidays to better integrate Christianity into the consciousness of early pre-Christian Europeans.

It wasn’t until the 1300s that people started to associate February 14th as a romantic holiday, possibly because it marked the beginning of mating season for birds. The tradition of exchanging cards and gifts caught on in Great Britain in the 1700s and soon spread to America. Today, it is estimated that 1 billion cards, 35 million chocolates and 220 million roses will be exchanged on Valentine’s Day. It’s also estimated that 6 million couples will get engaged.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones from all of us here at Massapequa Family Dentistry!

7 Signs You Need a Dental Checkup

In General  * February 1, 2020

It was inventor Benjamin Franklin who wisely stated, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This quote applies to almost every field and area of interest, including dentistry. People avoid a dental checkup for a variety of reasons and increase the risk of causing more damage to their teeth. Here are seven reasons why you may be due for a checkup...


You Are Experiencing Toothaches

The American Dental Association, ADA, explains that toothaches can involve pain in the mouth or jaw that will “usually indicate a cavity," but, "can also signal gum disease.” A toothache is a symptom of various dental diseases and means that one should get his or her teeth looked at by a professional dentist. An individual experiencing a toothache for more than a day will want to seek dental treatment as soon as possible. Since a toothache has a variety of causes, it can be difficult to treat without a professional consultation first by Dr. Saggio or Dr. Polymeris.

You Have Sensitive Teeth

As with many of the signs and symptoms on this list, if the symptoms only last for a day or less, then it may not be serious. Sensitive teeth occur when an individual has trouble consuming hot or cold beverages. The ADA explains that sensitive teeth can result in “tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn down fillings, gum disease, worn down tooth enamel or an exposed tooth root due to gum recession.” Sensitive teeth can make it difficult to continue a regular schedule as even the simple action of drinking cold water can cause pain.

Bleeding Gums

If the gums bleed on a regular basis, seek a professional dental checkup as soon as possible. The ADA explains that this can be a sign of gingivitis. However, in other cases, a patient can also cause bleeding gums by brushing too hard. A dentist or hygienist can help to determine the cause of the bleeding gums and offer the best treatment.

Sores in the Mouth

The ADA states that oral sores can include “canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis.” A dentist can help figure out the cause of the sore and offer the best treatment method. If a sore lasts more than a week, schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible.

It Has Been More Than 6 Months Since The Last Visit

Has it been over six months since the last dental checkup? If this is the case, then a dentist appointment at our office is even more critical. A dentist can clean between the teeth and discover the signs of infection before it can spread.

You Have Chronic Bad Breath

Bad breath once in a while is normal since there are numerous causes of bad breath from certain foods to poor dental hygiene. However, with the cases in which a patient has bad breath for several days despite proper hygiene, the patient will need professional dental care.

Previous Dental Work Failing or Broken Teeth

A patient, who had any form of dental work done in the past, from a filling to a dental implant, will want to keep an eye on that area if he or she feels pain where the work was done. People believe that once they get dental work, they will not have to worry about their teeth ever again. While any sort of dental work will allow the patient to eat what he or she likes, there is still a chance the restoration can come loose or the tooth can break if the patient is not careful. When this happens, a patient should schedule a dental appointment immediately to take care of the problem and prevent it from getting worse!

If you believe that you have a dental issue or would like to schedule a checkup and cleaning at Massapequa Family Dentistry, call us today at (516) 735-6358.


When Was The Last Time You Visited The Dentist?

In General  * January 27, 2020

Some people go to the dentist religiously while for others life can get in the way and time just passes us by.  If it’s been more than 6 months since your last visit, now is the time to make an appointment.  Regardless of why you haven’t been to the dentist, we can help. 




Following are the top 4 reasons we typically hear from patients in regards to why they avoid dental visits.  Do any of these sound familiar?

Anxiety or Fear of the Dentist:  Some of us have had bad childhood experiences or even a dental procedure that’s gone wrong that has led to our dental anxiety or dental phobia.  Regardless of the reason there are a number of us who just don’t like going to the dentist.

We Can Help.  Prior to coming into the office we’ll do a phone consultation to understand your specific concern, anxiety or fear.  There are many things we can do for you, including but not limited to:

(1)  Visiting the office just to meet the team and discuss your options with Dr. Saggio or Dr. Polymeris, our Nassau County, NY dentists.    

(2)  Prescribing an anti-anxiety drug for the night before to ensure you get a good night sleep.                             

(3)  Providing pain-free dentistry using the latest techniques and technologies.                                                     

(4)  Providing nitrous oxide sedation, literally feeling like you are on cloud nine throughout the visit.

Cost:  Many people put off their appointments because they have no insurance or they are in no position to take on an additional expense.  The truth is, putting off your cleaning or any potential dental work typically increases your financial risk not to mention your health.

We Can Help.  Each person’s situation is different, we have a number of financial options we can review with you.  In addition, you will always be provided with a treatment plan (regardless if it’s for a filling or just a continuation of your cleanings) and the options associated with that plan.  We will work with you to accommodate the challenges that life sometimes throws at us.

Too Busy:  We do live differently in New York; things move at a much more rapid pace and there is a constant competition between our work and family obligations.  Because of the pace and demands, we often put taking care of ourselves at the bottom of the list.

We Can Help.  Our office is known not only for the quality of care but for keeping on schedule. We have flexible hours and depending upon your treatment needs we will always find a way to accommodate your busy schedule. 

Being Lectured:  Nobody likes to be lectured!  For a lot of us, we know what to do and when we don’t do it, we have our reasons.  The last thing we want to hear is about the importance of flossing or about how if we don’t take better care of our teeth we run a greater risk of gum disease.  We don’t need to take time out of our day and pay someone to lecture us.

We Can Help.  We do not lecture.  We do however spend time to educate you about what’s important to your oral health and lay out your various options.  For those patients who aren’t as vigilant with their flossing or overall home care we can help accommodate those lifestyles by increasing the number of professional cleanings.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in the last 6 months, please give us a call today at (516) 735-6358, we can help!


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