Frequently Asked Questions

Read through our list of frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Which type of toothbrush should I use?
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.

Is one toothpaste better than others?
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 contains fluoride. Children who are unable to spit and thus swallow the paste on their brush should use a paste designed for children which has a lower fluoride concentration.

How often should I floss?
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.

What's the difference between a crown and a cap?
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”.

What's the difference between a bridge and a partial denture?
Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is cemented to the adjacent “abutment” teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and must be removed by the patient daily for cleaning. Patients are usually more satisfied with implants or bridges than with partial dentures.

What about silver fillings versus white fillings?
Although recent studies by both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Medical Association state there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting “white” or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also like tooth-colored fillings because they “bond” to the tooth structure and therefore may help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. White fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, white 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.

Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?
No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen and return them to normal form and function, most teeth needing crowns do not need root canal therapy.