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, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
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.
Q: How often should I floss?
A: Flossing of the teeth 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.
Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?
A: These are synonomous terms for restorations used 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.
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. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient.
Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?
A: White fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken, a crown may be necessary. White fillings are always used on anterior tooth for cosmetic reasons and can be used in the posterior region, however, may not last as long as silver fillings. Some insurance companies do not cover white fillings and they can potentially need replacement due to recurrent decay or fracture of the material. Silver fillings are very strong and often last a lifetime. Our office feels that silver is an ideal posterior restoration that may never need replacement and is less costly. In radiographic images, decay is more easily detected with silver fillings because they are radiopaque, while white fillings are radiolucent.
Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?
A: 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.