Posts for category: Oral Health

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
March 06, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   periodontics  

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in gum diseaseadults. Luckily, periodontal disease is preventable and treatable. Catching periodontal disease early is crucial in successful treatment, making knowing the signs and symptoms of this condition an important factor in your oral health. Learn how to determine if you have periodontal disease with your dentists at Carey & Aylward Dentistry in Westland, MI.

What causes periodontal disease? 
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease comes from bacteria becoming trapped underneath the gums causing inflammation and infection. If bacteria remains on the teeth, it turns to the first stage of decay, the sticky white substance called plaque. If plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth, it eventually hardens into tartar, which only a professional dental cleaning can remove. While tooth decay provides its own damage to the teeth in the form of cavities, it also causes the irritation and inflammation which are signs of periodontal disease.

Preventing Periodontal Disease
Regularly flossing underneath the gums and between the teeth and seeing your dentist for routine dental cleanings removes the plaque and bacteria from beneath the gums, decreasing the chances of gum disease development. This makes a strong oral care routine the most important part of preventing periodontal disease and tooth decay alike.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease 
Periodontal disease is often characterized by symptoms including:

  • bleeding gums
  • sore, irritated gums
  • swollen gums
  • gums which pull away from the teeth or recede
  • loosened teeth
  • unexplained bad breath
  • difficulty chewing

Periodontal Disease Treatments in Westland, MI
In its first stages, patients can reverse periodontal disease like gingivitis with a professional cleaning and flossing once a day. This removes the bacteria and plaque from underneath the gums and gives them a chance to heal. More severe periodontal diseases like gingivitis in its later stages or periodontitis may require a deeper, periodontal cleaning, or procedures like flap surgery, which temporarily moves the gums to clean all the way up the tooth’s root.

For more information on periodontal disease, please contact Dr. Dennis Aylward, Dr. Brent Carey, or Dr. Allison Carey at Carey and Aylward Dentistry in Westland, MI. Call (734) 425-9130 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
January 18, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: jaw pain  
ChronicJawPainCouldbeRelatedtoOtherInflammatoryConditions

If you're suffering from jaw pain or impaired function, it may not be the only source of chronic pain in your body. Of the millions of adults with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), many have also been diagnosed — among other conditions — with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or sleep problems.

TMD is actually a group of painful disorders that affect the jaw joints, muscles and surrounding tissues. Besides pain, other symptoms include popping, clicking or grating sounds during jaw movement and a restricted range of motion for the lower jaw. Although we can't yet pinpoint a definite cause, TMD is closely associated with stress, grinding and clenching habits or injury.

It's not yet clear about the possible connections between TMD and other systemic conditions. But roughly two-thirds of those diagnosed with TMD also report three or more related health conditions. Debilitating pain and joint impairment seem to be the common thread among them all. The similarities warrant further research in hopes of new treatment options for each of them.

As for TMD, current treatment options break down into two basic categories: a traditional, conservative approach and a more interventional one. Of the first category, at least 90% of individuals find relief from treatments like thermal therapy (like alternating hot and cold compresses to the jaw), physical therapy, medication or mouth guards to reduce teeth clenching.

The alternative approach, surgery, seeks to correct problems with the jaw joints and supporting muscles. The results, however, have been mixed: in one recent survey a little more than a third of TMD patients who underwent surgery saw any improvement; what's more alarming, just under half believed their condition worsened after surgery.

With that in mind, most dentists recommend the first approach initially for TMD. Only if those therapies don't provide satisfactory relief or the case is extreme, would we then consider surgery. It's also advisable for you to seek a second opinion if you're presented with a surgical option.

Hopefully, further research into the connections between TMD and other inflammatory diseases may yield future therapies. The results could help you enjoy a more pain-free life as well as a healthy mouth.

If you would like more information on TMD, 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 “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
December 11, 2016
Category: Oral Health
AnyTimeAnyPlaceCamNewtonsGuidetoFlossing

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
November 26, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   braces  
StopWhiteSpotsBeforeTheyAppearWhileWearingBraces

Braces can be a long, involved process, but gaining a more attractive smile and better oral health is worth it. Sometimes, though, braces can produce unintended short-term consequences.

Brace brackets and wires do the work of moving teeth to better positions. They can, however, hinder the wearer's hygiene efforts to remove plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles, from tooth surfaces. Plaque buildup increases the risk of dental disease and other ill effects.

One such effect while you're wearing braces is the formation of tiny spots that look pale and chalky on otherwise smooth and polished enamel. These are white spot lesions (WSLs), where acid has remained for too long on the tooth enamel. They occur because acid-producing bacteria escape removal during brushing and flossing due to the braces hardware.

We want to try to prevent WSLs while wearing braces, and not just because they're unattractive. You're actually looking at enamel erosion, which could lead to cavity development at those weakened spots.

Although difficult for you as a braces wearer, daily brushing and flossing is crucial to WSL prevention. You'll need to take more time to be sure you're reaching all around the wires and brackets. You can improve your effectiveness with special brushes for braces and floss threaders or water irrigators. You can also help keep acid levels low by cutting back on acidic foods and beverages, especially sodas, coffee or spicy foods.

Even if you develop WSLs we can treat them effectively, especially if caught early. One way is by aiding enamel re-mineralization through saliva stimulation (the mouth's acid neutralizer) or applying fluoride to the teeth to strengthen enamel. We can also use caries infiltration, a technique that injects tooth-colored resin below the surface of the lesion. This strengthens the weakened enamel and gives the area the appearance of translucence like normal enamel.

While you're wearing braces, focus diligently on keeping your teeth clean of plaque and keep up your regular cleaning visits with us. If you notice any unusual discolorations or abnormalities, see us as soon as possible. Stopping WSLs from developing will help ensure your teeth are healthy and attractive after the braces come off.

If you would like more information on dental care with braces, 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 “White Spots on Teeth during Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
November 07, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Regular dental visits are important for patients of all ages, including kids. Scheduling regular dental visits for kids is a great way to set dental visitsthem on the path to good oral health for life. Kids who visit the dentist regularly are more likely to continue the habit as adults. Maintaining good oral health from childhood to adulthood can help contribute to better health overall. The dental professionals at Carey & Aylward, your Westland, MI family dentists, treat both children and adults.

Importance of Regular Dental Visits

One of the primary reasons for scheduling regular dental visits for your child is to ensure their teeth and mouth remain healthy. Regular dental visits that include professional teeth cleaning are an excellent way to help prevent the development of cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. In the event that your child does develop a dental problem, maintaining regular dental visits makes it easy to diagnose and treat the problem early before it gets worse.

Taking your child in for regular dental visits helps promote good habits. Your child will begin to recognize that visiting the dentist regularly is an important part of staying healthy. Your child might even be more likely to continue with regular dental visits as an adult if you’ve been scheduling regular appointments throughout their childhood. In short, taking your child to a family dentist in Westland regularly is one of the best things you can do for your child’s oral health both now and in the future.

Consider a Family Dentist

A family dentist is a great option for kids because they can continue seeing the same dentist into adulthood. There are a few important benefits to seeing the same dentist from childhood through adulthood. First, a family dentist will be familiar with your child’s dental history throughout their lifetime. Secondly, your child might be more likely to continue regular dental checkups on their own after reaching adulthood if they can continue seeing the same dentist they have become familiar with as a child and teen.

Help your child get off to a great start in maintaining good oral health by scheduling regular dental visits throughout their childhood. Call (734) 425-9130 to schedule an appointment for your child with Carey & Aylward, your Westland, MI dentists.