Dr. Chris Anderson is a Pankey© Institute trained Dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Our Reference Library:

Dental Health Online

American Dental Association (ADA)

Healthy Mouth by the ADA

Georgia Dental Association (GDA)

Frequently Asked Questions from our Patients:

Q: I'm over 60. Is teeth loss normal? What are the dental concerns for my age that I should be aware of?
A: Here's what the American Dental Association has to say for adults over 60.

Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use?
A: 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.   A small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums.
Click here for the American Dental Associations recommendations for toothbrushes.

Q: How long do I need to brush?
A: Manual brushing usually requires about 2 to 3 minutes for a proper cleaning.  With an electric brush, about 2 minutes (some electric brushes have their own built-in timer).  A thorough brushing should be done at least twice per day.
Here's what the American Dental Association has to say about brushing (proper brushing video).

Q: Should I brush manually or use an electric toothbrush?
A: As long as you are brushing twice per day, either method, or a combination is fine.  Most hygienists prefer you use an electric toothbrush because it is easier to use, thus may be used more regularly.  A recent American Dental assocation study indicates that both electric and manual toothbrushes perform similarily.  It's really a matter of preference.

Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?
A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a toothpaste which contains fluoride to decrease the incidence of dental decay.  We recommend our patients use what tastes good to them as long as it contains fluoride.  Remember to brush at least 2 times per day.
Click here for the American Dental Associations recommendations for toothpaste.

Q: How often should I floss?
A: Flossing the teeth at least once per day (many people floss after lunch and then in the evening) helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach.   Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.  Once you floss regularily, you won't feel right without flossing. Click here for flossing instructions from the ADA.

Q: Which should I do first, brush or floss?
A: This is really personal preference, as long as both are done correctly and at the recommended frequency. Here is an article with more details: floss or brush first?

Q: Are water jet devices better than flossing?
A: While this can be a personal preference, many hygenists feel that flossing gives the best results as long as it is done gently, correctly and daily. So does the Mayo Clinic.

Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?
A: The short answere is that they are the same thing.  These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and 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".

Q: What's the difference between a "bridge" and a "partial denture"?
A: Both bridges and partial dentures replace missing teeth.  A bridge is permanently attached to stable abutment teeth or, in some cases, implants.  A partial denture is attached by clasps to the teeth and is easily removed by the patient.

Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?
A: Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), this issue continues to have ongoing study.   More patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings.  Dr. Anderson also prefers tooth-colored composite fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay.  Composite fillings are usually less sensitive to temperature, and tend to look better.  However, composite "white" fillings cannot be used in every situation.  If a tooth is very badly broken down, a crown will usually be necessary and will provide better overall satisfaction and longevity for the patient.

Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I am having a tooth crowned?
A: While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the tooth and to return it to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.  Consult with Dr. Anderson.