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Frequently Asked Questions

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century dental west
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What 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 bristled toothbrushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums. A small head allows you to clean around each tooth more thoroughly for plaque removal. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth. A scrubbing action can also lead to recession of the gums and doesn't necessarily remove more plaque. We advise using toothpaste that contains fluoride to decrease the incidence of tooth decay. Ask your hygienist about prescription toothpastes that are specific to your needs. back to top

 

How often should I floss?
Flossing your 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 to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease. back to top

 

What is the difference between a "regular cleaning" and a "deep cleaning"?
Regular cleanings in conjunction with daily brushing and flossing are preventative measures against gingivitis and periodontal disease. Plaque and tartar on the surface of the teeth create the right environment for bacteria to thrive. These bacteria irritate the gums and induce bleeding. If you notice your gums bleeding, you should see your dentist as you may have an inflammation of the gums or a condition termed gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can create periodontal pockets below the gumline where the bacteria can further damage the supporting bone. Gum disease can cause the tooth to separate from the bone, leading to mobility and tooth loss. A deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) is therefore advised in order to eradicate plaque, tartar, and bacteria below the gumline, to prevent the progression of gum disease. back to top

 

What are my options to replace missing teeth?
Dental implants are stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts (bridges, partials, and complete dentures). Implants look and function like your own teeth. They don't require reducing other teeth like a bridge and allow you to speak and eat without moving like a partial or complete denture. Implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss because they are designed to fuse with the bone.

A bridge replaces a missing tooth by anchoring a "false" tooth in between two adjacent teeth. The two adjacent teeth have to be reduced and prepped with crowns to fuse the false tooth to each crown. Dental bridges improve your appearance, bite issues and speech problems that occur as a result from missing teeth.

A partial or complete denture is a removable appliance that replaces missing teeth. They might be ideal for someone who desires to replace missing teeth, but are not a candidate for Implant or bridge, or due to financial limitations. Patients are usually more satisfied with Implants or a bridge than with partial or complete dentures. back to top

 

Do I need to have a root canal just because I have a crown?
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. back to top

 

Why do I need a crown instead of a filling?
A crown encases the entire portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. Fillings are dental restorations that cover a select portion of a tooth. The following are some reasons why placing a crown is more ideal than placing a filling:

  • A tooth that has had a root canal should have a crown placed to strengthen the tooth and prevent the canals of the tooth from getting re-infected.
  • Teeth that exhibit more than one-third filling material should be crowned. Remember that fillings need to be supported by tooth structure. As the filling gets larger, the tooth structure gets smaller, weaker and more brittle.
  • A tooth with a large filling and new decay. Removing the new decay and existing large filling will reduce the amount of tooth structure.
  • Teeth with fractures cause the tooth to be weak. Temperature and applied force can eventually cause the tooth to crack completely.
  • Patients who wear their teeth down through clenching or grinding. Placing a crown restores the esthetics and function the patient had before the damage took place.
  • Patients who want to improve their smile due to misshapen, crowded, rotated, or darkened teeth. back to top.