Dentist - Grand Rapids
422 North Park St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Question: What type of toothbrush should I use?
Answer: We recommend an electric toothbrush.  Studies show that you can get the teeth much cleaner with today’s electric toothbrushes compared to manual ones.  It is a difference you can actually feel.  We recommend the Sonicare brush.  Oral-B also makes a very good electric toothbrush.  The most important thing with regards to toothbrushes, however, is that you only use a brush with soft bristles.  Medium or hard bristle brushes damage the teeth and gums.

Question: Is one type of toothpaste better to use?
A.  As a general rule you want to use toothpaste that contains fluoride and tastes good to you.  There are a couple of toothpastes on the market right now that I feel the studies show are a step above the others.  Those two are Colgate Total and Crest ProHealth.

Question: Is flossing really necessary?  How often should I floss?
A.  We have a saying in dentistry that you only have to floss the teeth you want to keep.  Flossing is essential.  A toothbrush can only clean 65% of the surfaces of your teeth. It cannot reach the other 35%.  Would you wash only 65% of your body?  Would you wash only 65% of your car?  Flossing prevents cavities between the teeth and keeps your gums healthy and should be done once a day.

Question:  If I’m not experiencing any pain, do I really need to see a dentist regularly?
A.  Absolutely!  Cavities and gum disease do not cause pain until it’s too late!  With regular check-ups we can find cavities when they are small and do a filling for around $200.  If you wait until you experience symptoms you will most likely need a root canal, which can run as much as $1200 and a crown for around $1100.   Cleanings cost around $81.  If you don’t have regular cleanings you will get gum disease.  It costs around $1000 to treat gum disease.  So just looking at this from a dollars and cents point of view, it makes no sense not to have regular cleanings and check-ups.

Question:  What’s the difference between a “crown” and a “cap”?  Why can’t I just have a filling?
A.  Crown and cap are two words that mean exactly the same thing.  Dentists use the term crown while patients often use the term cap.  When a filling becomes too large for the tooth to support it anymore a crown is needed to strengthen the tooth.  If it isn’t done the patient runs the risk of fracturing the tooth which can lead to more expense or extraction of the tooth.

Question:  At what age should my child begin orthodontic treatment?
A.  That answer is different for every child.  There are some children that we begin interceptive treatment at age five or six.  There are other children who don’t start treatment until they are well into their teen years.  The important thing is that we examine every child for orthodontic needs at every check-up appointment so that when the child is developmentally ready we make the parents aware and can begin treatment at the optimal time.