Q: What is the best type of toothbrush?
A: There are many good brands. The most important features to look for are the size of the head, and the type of bristles it has. Soft bristled brushes are better, because stiff ones can irritate sensitive gum tissues, possibly exacerbating gum recession. We also recommend a brush with a small head, because it is easier to navigate, cleaning all of the nooks and crannies without injuring gum tissue. How you brush is also important. You need to be thorough and clean every surface, but teeth do not need to be “scrubbed.” If you are brushing twice daily, you are removing plaque while it is fresh and soft, making excessive force unnecessary.
Q: What is the best toothpaste?
A: Again, the brand is less important than the features. We recommend PeriDent Tooth Soap & Whitener, and PerioComfort™ Soothing Gel, both of which contain non-toxic ingredients that naturally brighten your smile and preserve gum health. However, there are other non-fluoride, natural products available.
Q: How often do I need to floss my teeth?
A: A minimum of once a day is necessary to remove bacteria-laden plaque before it erodes tooth enamel, causing cavities. Flossing is also important for protecting the health of your gums and preventing oral disease.
Q: How is a “cap” different from a “crown”?
A: Both of these terms refer to the same type of restoration. It covers all exposed surfaces of a tooth to repair damage, or to prevent breakage in a weak tooth. Although the terms are interchangeable, some people refer to tooth-colored restorations as “caps” and the metal ones as “crowns.”
Q: How is a “partial denture” different from a “dental bridge”?
A: These are different types of restorations that accomplish the same purpose. They are used to replace one or several (but not all) teeth. A bridge is a fixed restoration, permanently attached to dental implants or existing teeth. A partial denture is removable, and secured by clasps.
Q: How is a “white” filling different from a “silver” filling?
A: There is a world of difference between these two! “Silver” fillings are actually amalgam, which contains about half mercury. “White” fillings are made with metal-free, biocompatible composite resin. They are not snow white; they are colored to match the surrounding tooth enamel, for a flawless appearance, and a healthy restoration.
Q: If I need a crown, does that mean I also need a root canal treatment?
A: No. Dental crowns (caps) are used in many situations, including for teeth with large fillings, extensive decay, fractures, or severely worn teeth. A root canal treatment is only needed if the soft center (dental pulp) of the tooth is injured or infected. However, if you need a root canal, there is a good chance that you will also need a crown to ensure that your restored tooth remains beautiful, healthy, and trouble-free for many years to come.