Frequently Asked Questions
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.back to top »
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.back to top »
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.back to top »
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".back to top »
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.back to top »
No. While most teeth that 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.back to top »
Tooth decay is like an infection. It is made of harmful microscopic bugs that use sugar to attack teeth. With time this creates a little hole in a tooth, and if not repaired with a filling, the cavity continues to grow.
If a cavity is not treated it can destroy a good part of the tooth, making it hard to be repaired with a conventional filling. If a lot of the tooth is gone, only a crown can fix it.
If the decay's micro-organisms reach the pulp chamber, where the nerve and blood vessels are located, then the pulp becomes irritated and infected. This can eventually lead to an abscess which can be very painful. Only a root canal can fix a tooth when its pulp is infected, and a crown is then probably needed as a final restoration.
There are also situations where a tooth is so much destroyed by a cavity that nothing can be done to fix it, not even a root canal and a crown. In that case the tooth would sadly need to be extracted.
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
In the past several years there have been used many theories to try and explain the fact that gum disease problems are associated with heart complications. One of these theories says that the bacteria that can be found in the mouth actually enter the bloodstream, and they attach to the plaques of fat on the arteries that can be found around the heart.
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