Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How often should I floss?

Flossing your teeth once time a day helps prevent cavities from forming between the teeth. Flossing also helps keep your gums healthy and prevent periodontal disease (gum disease).

  1. What type of toothbrush should I use?

The brand of toothbrush is not as important as what type of bristle you use and the size of the toothbrush. Typically, dentists will recommend a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, since larger heads and harder bristles often irritate the gums and can lead to gum recession. A small toothbrush allows you to get around each tooth more easily and is less likely to cause irritation.

  1. Is one toothpaste better than others?

Generally, no. It is advised, however, that you use toothpaste that contains fluoride as a way to decrease your chance of tooth decay. We recommend that patients use whatever fluoride toothpaste tastes good to them.

  1. What’s the difference between a “crown” and a “cap”?

Both a crown and a cap are used to restore broken teeth by first removing old fillings, any fractured tooth structure and decay, and then covering what is left of the natural tooth. Crowns and caps are made of gold, composites, porcelain, or stainless steel. Most often, a dentist will refer to all of these restorations as “crowns.” However, some refer to tooth-colored restorations as “caps” and other ones as “crowns.”

  1. What’s the difference between a “bridge” and a “partial denture”?

Both restoration treatments are used to replace missing teeth. Typically, a bridge attaches to abutment teeth or implants to remain fixed. Partial dentures attach to natural teeth with clasps, allowing patients to more easily remove the replacement teeth. More often than not, patients are more satisfied with bridges than partial dentures.

  1. What about “silver” fillings versus “white” fillings?

In 1993, the U.S. Public Health Service reported that amalgam (silver) fillings were not harmful to one’s health. However, more patients today are requesting “white” or tooth-colored fillings. Dentists typically recommend tooth-colored fillings as well because they actually bond to the natural tooth to keep it strong and protected from further decay. “White” fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature. Patients who receive tooth-colored fillings can preserve their natural smile without silver blemishes. “White” fillings cannot be used in every situation; if a tooth is too badly damaged, your dentist may recommend a crown as a more suitable treatment.

  1. Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to get a crown?

No. Most root canal treatments do require a crown afterwards, but not every tooth that needs a crown needs to have a root canal.

  1. What are the signs of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is caused by a buildup of bacteria, plaque, and other particles. The first sign of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which, due to a plaque buildup, causes the gums to become inflamed and swollen. Typically, early gingivitis can be treated with more careful brushing and flossing at home and at the dentist. If gingivitis is not treated, however, it will lead to periodontal disease. With periodontal disease, the gums start pulling away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected. The infection can spread to bone and other tissue inside of the mouth. Periodontal disease usually requires specialized treatment from your dentist.

  1. Why should I have my teeth cleaned twice a year?

Although we may brush and floss twice a day, plaque can still build up around our teeth and cause damage. Having a regular six-month visit to the dentist will clean off any hardened plaque and keep your mouth healthy. Regularly visiting the dentist can also mean finding and treating other problems early on. In some cases, it may be necessary to visit your dentist more than twice a year. Be sure to talk to your dentist to see what they recommend for you.

If you have any other questions about your dental care and how we can help you take care of your smile, or if you are ready to set up your next appointment with our experienced dentist in Lakewood, Colorado, please feel free to contact Academy Park Dental Assoc. today. Dr. Cathy Fermelia and our team are eager to see you here soon!