Frequently Asked Questions

A: The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the head. We recommend a soft toothbrush with a small head because medium and hard bristles tend to cause irritation and contribute to gum problems. A small head lets you get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. When you brush, try not to “scrub” your teeth, but use gentle, circular motions to avoid damaging tooth enamel. That should be enough as long as you are consistently brushing at least twice a day and visiting Highland Dental at least every 6 months for professional cleanings.

A: Generally, no. However, we recommend choosing a toothpaste that contains fluoride to lower your potential for dental decay. Beyond that, it’s fine to choose whichever toothpaste you like best.

A: Flossing your teeth at least once a day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. Some patients may want to floss more frequently, especially after meals to remove food particles that get stuck between teeth.

A: Both are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing any old filling material, any broken or fractured tooth structure, and any decay. The restoration material can be 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.

A: Bridges and partial dentures both replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to the surrounding teeth or, in some cases, implants. A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is removable. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures because they require less maintenance and tend to be more comfortable.

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. White 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.

A: No. While most teeth that have undergone root canal therapy do need crowns to strengthen them and to return them to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs root canal therapy.

A: The Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and the Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degrees are essentially the same degrees. Most dental schools award the DDS degree; however, the education is the same as a DMD degree.

A: There are many solutions to whiten your teeth at home that can be purchased from your dentist or over-the-counter. Bleaching solutions contain peroxide which actually bleaches the tooth enamel. These whitening products typically rely on carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent, usually available in different concentrations from 10% to 22%. Although many teeth whitening products do lighten teeth, only dentist-dispensed home-use 10% carbamide peroxide tray-applied gels carry the ADA Seal. If you encounter sensitivity during whitening treatment, contact Highland Dental about the side effects of teeth whitening.

A: Your diet during the nine months of pregnancy directly impacts the development of your baby -— including its teeth. Because your baby’s teeth begin to develop during the second trimester of pregnancy, it is important that you receive recommended amounts of calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and D. Talk to your physician and Dr. Brooks for information about proper nutrition during pregnancy.

A: According to the ADA, more than 15% of Americans suffer from chronic facial pain. Common symptoms include pain around the ear and clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth. The complex system of muscles, ligaments, and bones that comprise the temporomandibular joint (the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull) can cause facial pain and discomfort or popping when a problem prevents this system from functioning properly. There are several ways a TMJ disorder can be treated; however, proper diagnosis is a critical step before treatment. Dr. Brooks can recommend the right treatment for your particular problem or refer you to a specialist if your case is especially complex. In many cases a non-invasive treatment plan that involves several stages is quite effective.

A: Night-time teeth grinding can have a negative impact on your oral health as well as your overall health. Teeth grinders often experience a sore jaw and dull headaches. Severe grinding can also cause teeth to become loose or fractured. Although your dentist can fit you with a mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep, grinding is often caused by stress. Reducing your stress level through physical therapy or relaxation techniques will often stop the cause of the grinding.

A: An X-ray is like a photograph. An image is created on film when X-rays pass through the mouth — more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums) before striking the film. Because fewer X-rays penetrate the teeth to reach the film, teeth appear lighter. Cavities and gum disease appear darker because of greater X-ray penetration. Because many diseases exist under the surface and cannot be detected without the use of X-rays, an X-ray is a valuable tool to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities. At Highland Dental, we prefer to use digital X-rays, which require very little radiation. In any case, dental X-rays pose a far smaller risk to your health than undetected and untreated dental problems.

We love patient reviews!

Top St. Paul Dentist
I felt welcomed!! The dental hygienist was fabulous! Even before I sat down Angie worked towards ensuring I felt comfortable. The dentist was also great. The administrative assistant called my insurance to find out if I was eligible for certain treatments. I’m definitely returning to this dentist!!! Everyone in the office deserves a GOLD STAR.
Marisa Rivera Lugo, Ph.D.
Marisa Rivera Lugo, Ph.D.
15:30 10 Jun 22
I received excellent care from the receptionist, the hygienist, and the dentist!
john5876 University of Minnesota
john5876 University of Minnesota
01:23 30 May 22
Friendly staff and great hygienist! I’m definitely returning and would recommend.
Sue
Sue
01:21 11 May 22
I wanted a second opinion and felt very good about the visit. The Dentist was informative and candid with me and gave me a referral for the work I needed. It gave me a lot of peace of mind.
Ona Conroy
Ona Conroy
17:46 02 May 22
Highland Dental has a great reputation! Emily, at the front desk is friendly and can answer anything dental related. Dr. Brooks and his lovely assistant pointed me in the right direction. Ashley is a gentle hygienist. I definitely recommend Highland Dental. Everyone there is awesome!
Charynanne Hawkins
Charynanne Hawkins
23:26 06 Apr 22
Well satisfied
Michael Rivers, FSC
Michael Rivers, FSC
21:24 10 Mar 22
I always feel in good hands with Dr. Brooks and his assistants. They do top notch work.Angels. All of them!
Jim Horwath
Jim Horwath
21:26 01 Mar 22
The people working at the front were nice and easy going, welcoming. Angie was very nice and gentle. She cleaned my teeth very good. I was in and out with a brighter smile.
Billy Kue
Billy Kue
06:03 06 Jan 22
I have been going to Dr. Brooks for about 20 years. While going to the dentist isn't something I look forward to, I've been very pleased with Dr. Brooks and Highland Dental ave the care they've provided for me and I'd recommend them wholeheartedly.
Chris Montbriand
Chris Montbriand
00:33 05 Jan 22
Ashley was not only excellent, she kind , caring 👼👼.
Jimmy Welton
Jimmy Welton
23:38 19 Dec 21
Over the past 3+ years have had two hygienists and the dentist. All are great, reasonable with recommendations, and just plain nice.
Simon Nussbaum
Simon Nussbaum
15:14 16 Dec 21
Been There More than 10 times, The only thing unpleasant is the Fluoride lolGreat place, Great people
Jackson Smallman
Jackson Smallman
23:06 15 Dec 21
Welcoming patients until 7 pm on weekdays & open Saturdays!

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