Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of toothbrush should I use?

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. A toothbrush that is too large or too hard can damage your delicate gum tissues. Additionally, a small toothbrush head allows you to more completely clean your teeth.

Brush twice daily, morning and night, for two minutes per session. Change your toothbrush or brush head every 4-6 months. Using a brush with damaged or broken bristles does not adequately clean your teeth. Along with routine brushing and flossing, remember to visit your dentist every six months for an exam and cleaning.

How often should I floss?

Floss your teeth once per day after brushing. This is an important, often skipped step. Flossing is necessary to remove food particles between your teeth to prevent cavities from forming in areas where your toothbrush can't reach and keeps your gums healthy.

What happens during a dental exam?

Even with the best oral hygiene routine, regular dental exams are important to prevent problems and protect your oral health. During these exams, the teeth, gums, and jaw are checked for signs of problems, such as decay or gum disease. The teeth are cleaned using special instruments to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar from the surfaces, especially in those hard-to-reach areas. Your dentist may request x-rays to assess the health of your teeth and bone.

Are “crowns” and “caps” different?

Dental crowns are tooth-shaped restorations that fit over a natural tooth to restore and strengthen the tooth. A crown may be needed to restore a tooth that is badly decayed, broken, or recently underwent root canal therapy. Crown materials may include gold, porcelain, zirconia, or resin composites. The doctors will help you decide which material best suits your needs. While all of these are crowns, patients sometimes call the tooth-colored materials “caps” and the gold or stainless steel ones "crowns."

What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture?"

Bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. The difference between fixed bridges and partial dentures is how they are attached. A bridge is permanently attached to the adjacent or abutment teeth. They may also be anchored by dental implants. Partial dentures are removable and use clasps to attach to the teeth.

How are silver and white fillings different?

Silver or amalgam fillings have commonly been used as the traditional material to treat dental cavities. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals that fill the tooth sealing out bacteria and decay.

Tooth-colored or resin composite fillings also bond to the tooth structure to restore a tooth. Patients often prefer the white fillings because of their more natural appearance. Additionally, white fillings are less likely to warp or break down due to temperature changes. However, white fillings are not suitable for every case or budget. If a tooth is badly decayed, a crown may be needed to fully protect the tooth.

Do I need to have a root canal if I need a crown?

No. Following a root canal treatment, the treated tooth is usually restored with a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth. However, crowns may also be used to cover a chipped or broken tooth that does not require additional treatment with a root canal. Getting a crown does not mean a root canal is necessary.

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