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A: They're essentially the same! They are both restorations to repair a severely broken tooth. It's done by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay.
The restoration material is 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: Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth. A bridge is permanently attached to your teeth or, in some cases, implants.
A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient when desired. Patients are usually more satisfied with bridges than with partial dentures as they're a more permanent solution and require less maintenance.
A: Brushing can't reach everywhere, and flossing your teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth, and also helps to keep your gums healthy.
A: 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, the reverse is not true. Not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal. We can help make this determination.
A: The U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings). However, more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings.
We as dentists also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth that has been weakened by decay. White fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature and 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 and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient.
A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a toothpaste that has fluoride to decrease dental decay. We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.
A: The brand of toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and size of the head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium or hard one tend to cause irritation and contribute to recession of the gums. A small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure gums.