Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
February 29, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   crowns  
DentalCrownsfortheKingofMagic

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
February 26, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental filling  

If you have ever had dental work done to your teeth, you are probably familiar with a dental filling. As one of the most common dental procedures, a filling removes decay from the tooth before it reaches the tooth’s inner chamber, preventing infection of the tooth’s pulp dental fillingsand nerve. But is there any chance of decay after a tooth has been filled? Find out with help from your Westland, MI dentist at Carey & Aylward Dental.

What is a dental filling? 
When decay forms on a tooth, it eats away at the tooth’s outer enamel. However, cavities do not always hurt. A toothache only occurs when decay eats far enough into the tooth to infect or damage its inner pulp and nerve. The resulting infected pulp and nerve require root canal therapy, where the pulp and nerve are removed from the inside of the tooth altogether. When the decay is still at the outer layers, your Westland dentist removes it with a dental filling, leaving the pulp and nerve in tact.

Do I have to worry about cavities after a filling? 
Yes. Just because a tooth has been filled does not mean that decay cannot still form afterward. Tooth decay starts from the outside, with bacteria turning into plaque, a sticky substance which sticks to your teeth. If this plaque is not brushed away, it turns to decay-causing tartar. This is what makes brushing and flossing twice a day so important to the health of your teeth.

What can I expect from the procedure for a dental filling? 
A dental filling is a fast and easy procedure which usually takes around 30 minutes. First, your dentist numbs the area of the tooth. Then, he or she removes the decay using a dental drill. Thanks to the local anesthetic, this is painless. A filling material fills the hole made by the drill. The filling is then shaped to fit your bite correctly and checked using transfer paper. If the filling is too large to stand up to everyday activities on its own, your dentist may recommend a dental crown to strengthen it.

For more information on dental fillings and cavities, or to speak with an associate about scheduling an examination or cleaning, please contact Dr. Dennis E. Aylward, Dr. Brent L. Carey and Dr. Allison A. Carey at Carey & Aylward Dental in Westland, MI. Call (734) 425-9130 to schedule your appointment today!

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
January 26, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Crowns   bridges  

Do you have teeth which you consider to be unsightly? Are you annoyed by a gap left from an extracted or lost tooth? If you answered dental crowns, bridgesyes to these questions, you could benefit from two common dental procedures to repair these issues and renew your smile. Determining if your teeth require dental restorations is as easy as asking your Westland, MI dentist at Carey and Aylward DDS about crowns and bridges.

What do crowns and bridges do? 
Crowns and bridges are indirect dental restorations, meaning they are permanent and non-removable. Crowns are a tooth-shaped cap which fits over a compromised tooth to strengthen and stabilize it. Bridges use crowns to secure a prosthetic tooth in place, filling in the gap left behind from a missing tooth. The purpose of these restorations is to give you back your smile, boosting confidence and allowing you to chew and speak normally.

When do I need a crown? 
Dentists use dental crowns to strengthen and stabilize teeth. Teeth with the following abnormalities benefit from crowns:

  • broken
  • cracked
  • large fillings, particularly after root canal therapy
  • worn down teeth

In addition to strengthening compromised teeth, crowns also improve the teeth’s appearance. If a tooth is severely stained or misshaped, a crown can cover the tooth’s imperfections.

When do I need a bridge? 
Bridges fill the gaps left behind from missing teeth. The bridge itself is made up of three prosthetic teeth: two crowns on either end and a full prosthetic in the center, which sits on the gum line above the socket of your missing tooth. The two crowns sit over the natural teeth on either side of the gap, securing the bridge to the teeth permanently.

How are crowns and bridges made and placed? 
A specialist in a dental laboratory uses a mold of your teeth taken by your dentist to design your crown or bridge. Each restoration is customized completely for your mouth, ensuring a natural look and secure fit. Crowns and bridges require two dental appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist prepares your tooth to receive the crown. Your dentist shapes the tooth accordingly and a temporary crown may be placed until the permanent restoration arrives. A second appointment, scheduled after the dental lab sends your completed crown or bridge to your dentist’s office, completes the procedure. Your dentist removes the temporary crown and permanently attaches the permanent prosthetic to your tooth using dental cement.

For more information on crowns and bridges, please contact Carey & Aylward DDS in Westland, MI. Call (734) 425-9130 to schedule your consultation today!

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
January 22, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   oral surgery  
ExposingandPreservingImpactedCanineTeeth

The final emergence of permanent teeth in late adolescence marks the end of a long process beginning in the womb with the formation of our primary or “baby” teeth. Permanent teeth form in a similar way as buds high in the jaw, continuing to grow until the primary teeth ahead of them fall away. The crowns of the new adult teeth eventually break through the gum tissue and emerge (erupt) into view.

At least, that’s normally what should happen; sometimes, though, a tooth may only erupt partially or not at all, a condition known as impaction. The crown remains partially or fully submerged below the gum line, causing the tooth to press against other teeth, potentially damaging them. It can also make periodontal (gum) tissues adjacent to the area more susceptible to disease. Wisdom teeth are especially prone to this kind of impaction, to the extent they’re often surgically removed (extracted) to avoid future problems to adjacent teeth or the bite.

Upper canines (the “eye teeth” normally located directly below the eyes) are also subject to impaction. But because of their highly visible position, extracting them could have an adverse impact on the patient’s smile. In this case, we often attempt instead to expose and ultimately save the tooth.

Before taking any action, however, an orthodontic examination is conducted first to pinpoint the exact position of the impacted tooth and determine how that position might affect moving teeth into a more desired alignment. If we find the impacted canine is in a workable position, the next step is to surgically uncover the tooth from the gum tissue (a minor procedure usually performed by an oral surgeon or periodontist). Once exposed, an orthodontic bracket with a small attached gold chain is bonded to the tooth. The gums are then sutured back into place with the chain exposed and allowed to heal.

At some future point an orthodontist will attach the chain to orthodontic hardware that will pull the impacted tooth into proper position over several months. As a result, the upper canine becomes “un-impacted”; the dangers to surrounding teeth and tissues are also reduced. And, just as important, we can preserve the tooth and with orthodontics achieve an attractive, normal smile.

If you would like more information on the effects and treatment of impacted 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
December 23, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  
DentalAmalgamContinuestobeaDurableandSafeToothFilling

Recently, a number of new filling materials that mimic tooth color have come into popular use and, so far, have proven more durable than past versions. Even so, the traditional metal-based dental amalgam remains a viable choice, especially for less visible back teeth and their higher biting forces.

Used for more than a century, dental amalgam is a metal alloy composed of silver, mercury, tin and copper. The mixture is carefully proportioned so that potentially hazardous mercury is kept to a minimum and bonded with the other metals. Amalgam in its initial form is quite pliable so that it can be molded into the tooth structure under repair. Afterward it sets hard to form a durable filling that can withstand the daily force generated when we bite and chew food.

Besides durability, dental amalgam rarely causes an allergic reaction in a patient, and it’s easy for trained dentists to apply. On the downside, however, it can cause temporary temperature sensitivity in the tooth just after filling, and the tooth itself may require some removal of healthy structure to help keep the filling in place. And from an aesthetic point of view, its metallic appearance is considered unattractive especially for front teeth.

The presence of mercury in amalgam has also raised concerns over the years. “Free” mercury — atoms that escape through vapor emitted by the metal — can enter the bloodstream and potentially harm the nervous system. But after extensive study and research, U.S. and international health bodies including the American Dental Association have concluded any free mercury released during chewing is extremely low and well below any harmful levels. These studies have also found no ill effects in either children or adults with dental amalgam fillings.

Deciding on the type of filling material to use — dental amalgam or a newer composite resin, resin ionomer or glass ionomer — depends on a number of factors including the location of the teeth to be filled, the extent of decay and your personal preferences. Taking these into account, we’ll be happy to discuss which type of filling will suit you best for repairing decayed teeth.

If you would like more information on filling material options including dental amalgam, 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 “Silver Fillings — Safe or Unsafe?