Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? Let us know! We want to make sure all your questions are promptly answered.

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.

Electric toothbrushes are almost always better than a manual toothbrush because you simply put it in the correct location, and it does all the work for you! Many of them even have pressure sensors to let you know if you are brushing too hard. We have examples of our recommended electric toothbrushes in the office, and they are for sale for the best price around! We know because we looked!

Generally, no. However, it’s advisable to use a fluoride containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay and decrease tooth sensitivity. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride and is used on a regular basis.
Flossing of the teeth twice 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 and your breath smelling fresh.
The best kind of floss is the kind that you use! In most cases, the plastic flossers work well, especially for kids, people with small mouths, and those who lack the dexterity to use traditional floss. The pre-threaded flossers can get stuck if you have broken fillings, and they can’t clean under bridges because the teeth on the bridge are all joined together.
Yes! Water flossers use a jet stream of water to clean debris and plaque off the teeth, much like flossing and brushing. They are especially useful for people who have extensive gum disease or bridges to help clean in all those little nooks and crannies. Sometimes special mouth rinses can be added to the water used in the water flosser to help get the medicine to areas it would normally get with simple swishing.
Really, they are two words talking about the same thing. A cap or crown is a restoration that covers all the sides of the tooth because it has a large filling that we are concerned about breaking in the future, or has already broken and we are trying to return it to its natural shape and function. Crowns or “caps” can be made of gold or various tooth colored materials.
Technically, both are partial dentures! The real name for a “bridge” is a fixed partial denture, and the other is a removable partial denture. A bridge is a restoration that replaces one or more missing teeth and is cemented, or glued, to healthy teeth on either side of the missing teeth. This restoration does NOT come out of your mouth. A removable partial denture also replaced one or more missing teeth, but is held in by clasps, implants, or just by being made very precisely and leaning against healthy teeth. This restoration IS removable. Kind of confusing, we know. We have examples of each, so we can show you the difference here in the office. Just ask!
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 and in many cases significantly less tooth structure needs to be removed when using a tooth colored filling. 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 longevity of the tooth and overall satisfaction for the patient.
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. In fact, we recommend crowns to prevent tooth fractures which can provide access for bacteria to infect the dental pulp (nerves and blood vessels) leading to the need for a root canal.
Southern Oregon Dentist