Posts for: July, 2016


Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.

That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.

Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.

The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.

It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.

What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.

How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”


Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease pose the most common dangers to dental health. But there are some rare conditions that can also place teeth at risk to be on the lookout for during regular dental checkups.

One such condition is root resorption in an adult tooth, in which the root itself or its surface breaks down and is absorbed by the body. Resorption occurs naturally in a primary (“baby”) tooth so it can loosen and give way for an incoming permanent tooth. ├é┬áResorption still occurs in a limited form with young permanent teeth but should eventually stop.

Sometimes, though, it doesn’t, either from the inside of the tooth out (internal resorption) or more often from the outside in, usually around the neck-like (or “cervical”) portion of the tooth. This more common occurrence, External Cervical Resorption (ECR), can first appear as pink spots on the enamel and then progress into cavity-like areas. If not found and treated promptly, damage can occur quickly and lead to tooth loss.

We don’t fully understand the exact nature and causes for ECR, but we have identified risk factors for its development. Excessive orthodontic force on the teeth or any other trauma can cause damage to the periodontal ligament (which holds teeth in place with the jaw bone). Teeth grinding habits and some dental procedures like internal tooth whitening can also be risk factors.That being said, though, the vast majority of people who experience these issues don’t develop ECR.

Although the causes aren’t fully understood, we can still treat it: the key to success is early detection. You probably won’t notice early signs of ECR, but we can often detect spots from routine x-rays. We can then remove the tissue cells within the lesions causing the damage and restore the area with a tooth-colored filling material. If ECR has extended near the tooth’s interior pulp layer, then a root canal treatment may be needed.

Needless to say, the more extensive ECR occurs in the roots, the less likely the tooth can be saved and may need to be extracted. It’s important, therefore, to maintain regular dental checkups (at least twice a year) to increase your chances of catching a developing problem early.

If you would like more information on root resorption in adult teeth, 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 “Root Resorption: An Unusual Phenomenon.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
July 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Flossing  

Flossing is a pretty standard part of any oral care routine, but are you doing it right?

Flossing: Our Westland, MI dentists Dr. Dennis Aylward and Drs. Brent and Allison Carey do it when you come in for your six-month Flossingcleaning, but do you do it every day? Flossing is a big deal when it comes to keeping your mouth clean. Sure, a toothbrush can clean bacteria and food away from the surface of your teeth, but only floss can get into the hard-to-reach spots. So be honest with yourself: how often are you flossing, when you are flossing, and are you doing it properly?

How Often Are You Flossing?

You should be flossing everyday if you want to maintain the best oral care possible. By not flossing, you may still leave behind plaque and food particles in between teeth because your toothbrush just can’t get into those areas like floss can. If you leave plaque on your teeth, it can turn to tartar, which no amount of brushing will remove. Tartar is the nasty culprit responsible for gum disease. To protect your mouth against infections or diseases, it’s time you started flossing more regularly.

Are You Flossing Correctly?

If you floss properly, then you’ll be able to target and eliminate plaque from between teeth and under the gumline. In order to reap the most benefits from your daily flossing, follow these helpful hints from our Westland, MI family dentists:

  • Start with about 18 inches of floss (don’t be stingy!). Use your middle finger to wind the floss, leaving about one to two inches of floss to work with.
  • Hold the floss tight while gliding it between the teeth being sure to go against the curve of the tooth. Remember to be gentle with your gums, particularly if you aren’t a regular flosser (they might be more sensitive).
  • Don’t forget to also floss right beneath the gumline.
  • You’ll want to use a clean section of floss for in between each tooth.
  • When you want to remove the floss never force it, as it can damage gums. Instead, use the same back-and-forth motion you used to slide the floss in between your teeth.

Contact your Westland, MI Dentist

Adopt a daily flossing habit and you’ll quickly start seeing the major benefits. Of course, no oral care routine would be complete without a six-month visit to our Westland, MI dental office. If it’s time for you or a family member’s routine checkup then call Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC today.