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 smaller head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and may contribute to recession of the gums. Also, a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. There are many different “makes and models” of toothbrushes made today. Find one you like and use it!

Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?

A: Generally, no. However, it‘s advisable for most people to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them.

Q: How often should I floss?

A: Flossing of the teeth at least once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. This also breaks down bacterial colonies, reducing inflammation, which is good for your overall health.

Q: Why do I need to have my teeth cleaned so often, like every 3 to 6 months?

A: Minerals crystalize on your teeth just like it does around water faucets coming from extra minerals we have in our body. The minerals come from our drinking water, food and dietary suppliments. Once these minerals are on your teeth they are referred to as calculus. Calculus is like a huge apartment complex for bacteria. The bacteria have a great place then to live and secrete their enzymes and toxins to breakdown your gum tissues. Researchers have also found these same bacteria found in the mouth are present in deposits in hearts. The frequent cleanings are needed to remove the bacterial homes before they have a chance to become invasive thereby keeping you as healthy as possible, not just in your mouth but all over your body.

Q: I‘ve been told I have gum disease. I also think my breath stinks? What‘s up?

A: Periodontal disease ( gum disease ) is a very common result of the bacterial activity in our mouths, if left unchecked by neglected care at home and not having professional dental cleanings often enough. The bacteria produces enzymes and toxins which breakdown the gum tissue and bone around our teeth. The bacteria often produce odorous sulphuric compounds which causes a distinctive bad breath. More information on this topic can be found here.

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. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures.

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. While 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.

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: I’ve heard that taking medicine for osteoporosis can lead to problems in my mouth. Is that right?

A: Medicines taken for osteoporosis can sometimes interfere with the body’s mechanism for healing resulting in bone destruction called osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). This is usually only seen in people who have taken high doses of the medicine in IV form but can occur in low dose patients as well. Excellent current information about this and other aspects of osteoporosis can be found on the National Osteoporosis Foundation website.