Posts for: April, 2021

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
April 26, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dentist   Dental Visits  

Do you need to see a dentist?

When was the last time you visited the dentist? Biannual checkups will keep your smile in check. Of course, there are pressing dental situations in which you will certainly want to turn to your Westland, MI, dentists sooner rather than later. Is it time to call us? It might be if:

You develop a toothache

A toothache can be downright miserable and can be a sign of a problem such as decay, damage, or an infection. It’s important that you don’t just take a “wait and see” approach to a toothache as this can lead to more serious issues. A toothache will not go away on its own because teeth cannot heal themselves. This is considered a dental emergency so it’s important to give your Westland, MI, family dentists a call right away for same-day care.

You sustain an injury

Whether you have bitten your cheek pretty badly or you were hit in the face with a ball and your tooth is loose, it’s also important to see a dental professional right away if you experience trauma or injury to the mouth. The sooner these issues are treated the better.

Your gums hurt or swell

Gum disease is more common than you might think. In fact, about half of all American adults have some degree of gum disease, according to the CDC. It’s important to catch gum disease during the early stages when it can be reversed and won’t cause significant damage. Early warning signs include gum bleeding, tenderness, swelling, and redness. Dealing with these symptoms? It’s time to come in for an evaluation.

You have headaches and jaw pain

These days more and more people are experiencing TMJ disorder-related jaw pain due to stress. If you find yourself waking up with headaches, neck pain, or achy jaws that pop when opening and closing your mouth then you could be dealing with a TMJ disorder. While this condition may go away on its own if you are having challenges with your symptoms our dental team can certainly help.

Routine checkups with your Westland, MI, family dentists twice a year are inexpensive and can save you from needing invasive dental treatments and procedures in the future. If you’re dealing with any of the issues above, call Carey & Aylward Family Dentistry at (734) 425-9130 and we will schedule an appointment for you.

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
April 20, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: x-rays  

X-rays are so interwoven into dental care that we often don't think twice about them. Even so, we shouldn't take this invisible form of radiation lightly—regular exposure at high levels can affect the human body, especially in children.

The ability of x-rays to pass through tissue greatly improves our ability to diagnose tooth decay and other dental diseases. But x-rays can also potentially harm those same tissues. Because children are more sensitive to x-ray energy, they run a greater risk for cellular damage that could lead to cancer later in life.

In reality, though, these potential risks from x-rays are extremely low—so low, in fact, dental professionals regard their use as altogether safe for children. Here's why.

The ALARA principle. Dentists and other healthcare providers perform x-ray diagnostics based on a principle known as ALARA (“As low as reasonably achievable”). This means dentists only utilize x-rays to gain the most diagnostic benefit at the lowest amounts of radiation exposure. As such, ALARA guides both the development of x-ray equipment and the protocols involved in using them.

Equipment advances. Today's x-ray devices are safer and more efficient, restricting x-ray emissions to a single beam without scattering radiation into the environment. A child's radiation exposure is further lowered with the use of digital x-rays, which produce images in less time than conventional film. Because of these and other advances, children are exposed to less radiation during x-rays than what they typically receive in a day from the outside environment.

Safe practices. Following the ALARA principle, dentists are quite conservative in their use of x-rays in children. The most common means of x-ray is the bitewing, which captures images primarily of the back teeth that are more prone to decay. Bitewings, which require a lower x-ray dosage than a full mouth x-ray, are usually spaced at least six months apart or longer depending on a child's risk for dental disease.

The efficiency of modern radiographic equipment coupled with their judicious use has drastically reduced the amount of x-ray radiation to which a child may be exposed, thus lowering their risk of future health issues. The benefit for saving a child's teeth from disease is well worth their use.

If you would like more information on x-ray safety, 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 “X-Ray Safety for Children.”

By Carey & Aylward, DDS, PC
April 10, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles  

Even though coronavirus lockdowns have prevented TV hosts from taping live shows, they're still giving us something to watch via virtual interviews. In the process, we're given occasional glimpses into their home life. During a Tonight Show interview with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, R & B performer Ciara, Jimmy Fallon's daughter Winnie interrupted with breaking news: She had just lost a tooth.

It was an exciting and endearing moment, as well as good television. But with 70 million American kids under 18, each with about 20 primary teeth to lose, it's not an uncommon experience. Nevertheless, it's still good to be prepared if your six-year-old is on the verge of losing that first tooth.

Primary teeth may be smaller than their successors, but they're not inconsequential. Besides providing young children with the means to chew solid food and develop speech skills, primary teeth also serve as placeholders for the corresponding permanent teeth as they develop deep in the gums. That's why it's optimal for baby teeth to remain intact until they're ready to come out.

When that time comes, the tooth's roots will begin to dissolve and the tooth will gradually loosen in the socket. Looseness, though, doesn't automatically signal a baby tooth's imminent end. But come out it will, so be patient.

Then again, if your child, dreaming of a few coins from the tooth fairy, is antsy to move things along, you might feel tempted to use some old folk method for dispatching the tooth—like attaching the tooth to a door handle with string and slamming the door, or maybe using a pair of pliers (yikes!). One young fellow in an online video tied his tooth to a football with a string and let it fly with a forward pass.

Here's some advice from your dentist: Don't. Trying to pull a tooth whose root hasn't sufficiently dissolved could damage your child's gum tissues and increase the risk of infection. It could also cause needless pain.

Left alone, the tooth will normally fall out on its own. If you think, though, that it's truly on the verge (meaning it moves quite freely in the socket), you can pinch the tooth between your thumb and middle finger with a clean tissue and give it a gentle tug. If it's ready, it should pop out. If it doesn't, leave it be for another day or two before trying again.

Your child losing a tooth is an exciting moment, even if it isn't being broadcast on national television. It will be more enjoyable for everyone if you let that moment come naturally.

If you would like more information on the importance and care of primary teeth, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”