Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use?
A: We highly recommend electric toothbrushes such as Sonicare or Oral B**. They are gentle on the teeth and gums and much more thorough than average manual brushing. They also have timers that pace the process and have you brush long enough to be most effective. You also have to keep up on replacing the head, just like a regular toothbrush, and hold it with your fingertips and not like a hammer.
I also recommend the smaller heads for everyone as it seems to promote a finer "detailing" of the teeth.
Regarding manual toothbrushes, 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 smallish head is recommended because medium and hard brush bristles tend to cause irritation, contribute to recession of the gums, and wearing down of any exposed root surfaces. A small head also allows you to get around each tooth more completely.
It's important to GENTLY scrub each tooth with a circular motion and be brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
**we are not paid to endorse any dental product mentioned here.
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 contains fluoride. I am also not a fan of any of the special toothpastes as the additional ingredients can be very irritating to some people resulting in sore gums or teeth. One exception is the desensitizing toothpastes which in general do help and have very low abrasion. So just a nice, plain, polishing paste is fine.
Q: I see so many types of floss out there, what do you recommend?
A: I recommend a woven floss as opposed to a waxed or even unwaxed floss. The woven floss looks like yarn and has the ability to grab particles better. The waxed floss does a fair job but the slick flosses simply glide and slide over the plaque without removing it completely.
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 and also helps to keep your gums healthy by removing the bacteria laden plaque.
Q: At what age do you recommend my child's first visit?
A: I recommend that the parents educate themselves on how to care for a child's teeth. Keep them clean with a very small toothbrush and floss when the teeth are in proximal contact. Most children are ready to be seen at about age two. As the parent, you can judge when your child may be ready. Of course, come in for any concerns sooner.
It also helps the child a lot to do role playing at home. Try tipping a chair back to lay down, a light in the mouth, a dentist with funny big glasses, a mask and gloves, etc. This will all help your chlid to get use to unfamiliar procedures he or she will encounter at their first visit.
Q: Do you recommend the use of mouthwash?
A: Not usually. Brushing and flossing are vastly more effective. Mouthwash does little harm however.
Q: One of my medications list 'dry mouth' as a possible side effect. Why should I be concerned about this.
A: Dry mouth syndrome, also called xerostomia, can increase a person's risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush. There are several causes of dry mouth including certain diseases and conditions. This is a very serious and insidious side effect and there are many products to help. Do not use lemon or the like to stimulate saliva as the promote tooth decay.
Here is a link with more detailed information on Dry Mouth Syndrome aka xerostomia.
There are many products (e.g. Xylimelts & Theramints and etc.) now available to help prevent this condition and we recommend you use them. Talk with us during your next visit and we will develope a treatment plan for you.
Q: Why do you need to know all of the medications I am taking?
A: As noted above, medications can cause dry mouth syndrome which causes cavities and gum disease. Medications could also react adversely with the anesthesia we use and any prescriptions we may give you.
Q: Why do you need to know my entire medical history? After all, you are just working on my teeth.
A: Your oral health and the health of your body are absolutely connected. Many conditions in your body can have an adverse effect on your gums, teeth and oral health in general - and vice versa. Here is a link with more detailed information from the Mayo Clinic.
Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?
A: 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 teeth adjacent to the space whereas a partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures but implants are much better still.
Q: What is an "implant"?
A: A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a crown or bridge. Dental implants and crowns are the most desirable method to replace a tooth that has been extracted and have a much longer useful life and satisfaction result.
For a clear and detailed explanation, please click this link to the Academy of Periodontology.
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. Composite 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. We do not use amalgam "silver" fillings.
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.
Q: Do I really need xrays? I am concerned with the radiation.
A: X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process, and not to use them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an X-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
For more information about the radiation doses click here
Here is a list of what can be determined via an x-ray:
We can study the involvement and location in relationship with your sinuses
As you can see, there are numerous reasons to have x-rays taken - we are conservative with our x-ray schedule: we do not take xrays arbitrarily. We take the small bitewing x-rays, usually four films, about once every 2 years and a panorex film about every five years. However, each patient has different needs, so this schedule will change accordingly.
If you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact us either via phone, email.