Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use?
A: The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums. A small head also allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It is advisable to brush at least twice a day and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Electric or sonic toothbrushes may be recommended in specific cases.
Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?
A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it has the ADA seal of approval. In certain cases (dry mouth or sensitive teeth, for example) a specific type of toothpaste may be recommended.
Q: How often should I floss?
A: Flossing of the teeth at least once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy. Flossing should be part of the regular hygiene routine and also performed any time there is food debris stuck between the teeth.
Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?
A: The short answer to this question is, nothing... there is no difference between the two. These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as "crowns". However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones as "crowns".
Q: What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture"?
A: Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants, and is not removable by the patient. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the existing teeth and is easily removed by the patient. The best options for replacement of missing teeth are evaluated on a case by case basis and are dependent on a variety of factors. The dentist will review the advantages and disadvantages for each treatment option prior to making a final decision.
Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?
A: Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. White fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, composite fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.
Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?
A: No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.