SiteLock David Isaacs, DDS, Amanda Harris, DMD

Frequently asked questions

  1. Which type of toothbrush should I use?
    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. We also highly recommend a electric toothbrush called the Sonicare. Brushing at least twice a day, for two minutes, and in circular motions and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for dental cleanings will help keep your teeth healthy.
  2. Is one toothpaste better than others?
    Generally no. However, it is advisable to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. This helps decrease the incidence of dental decay.
  3. How often should I floss?
    Flossing your teeth at least once a day helps prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush just can’t reach. It also can help keep your gums healthy and prevent bad breath!
  4. What is the difference between a “crown” and a “cap”?
    A crown is a restoration that covers, or "caps," a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth. Crowns are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won't solve the problem. The restoration material can be made from porcelain, gold, or even stainless steel.
  5. How safe are dental X-rays?
    Exposure to all sources of radiation -- including the sun, minerals in the soil, appliances in your home, and dental X-rays -- can damage the body's tissues and cells and lead to the development of cancer. Fortunately, the dose of radiation you are exposed to during the taking of X-rays is extremely small. Advances in dentistry over the years have led to the low radiation levels emitted by dental X-rays. Some of the improvements are new digital X-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being X-rayed, higher speed X-ray films that require shorter exposure time compared with older film speeds to get the same results, and the use of film holders that keep the film in place in the mouth (which prevents the film from slipping and the need for repeat X-rays and additional radiation exposure). Also, the use of lead-lined, full-body aprons protects the body from stray radiation (though this is almost nonexistent with the modern dental X-ray machines.) In addition, federal law requires that X-ray machines be checked for accuracy and safety every two years, with some states requiring more frequent checks.
  6. What is the difference between “silver” versus “tooth-colored” fillings?
    Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use “amalgam” (silver fillings), and that more patients today are requesting the tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer them because they bond to the tooth structure and therefore helping strengthen the tooth that was weakened by decay. Pros for tooth-colored fillings: · No health risks associated with the use of composite fillings · Patients report less post-treatment discomfort and sensitivity when composite materials are used instead of silver materials · The tooth-colored material can be matched to blend in with surrounding teeth Pros for silver fillings: · The silver amalgam treatment takes less time. · Silver fillings do not require use of advanced dental tools or techniques, sometimes lowering the cost of treatment · They have been used for decades and have a solid long-term safety record
SiteLock David Isaacs, DDS, Amanda Harris, DMD