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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.