At our office in Memphis, Tennessee, we want you to be well-informed about every aspect of your care. Our dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Ryu, and our entire team are happy to answer any questions that you may have about treatments and your oral health and you should feel free to call us at any time! Below are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. If you need more information or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office at 901-767-3950.

Q: What brand of toothbrush should I use?

A: The brand of your toothbrush is not a critical issue. Instead, when you are picking out a new toothbrush, you should select one with soft bristles. This will ensure that you thoroughly clean your teeth without irritating your gums. Choose a toothbrush with a head small enough to reach every part of your mouth. Don’t forget to brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. Purchase a new toothbrush every three months or when your current toothbrush’s bristles begin to show wear. And of course, see our dentist at least twice a year for your cleanings and exams. You should replace your toothbrush every three months, or as soon as the bristles begin to show wear. You should also replace your toothbrush after an illness.

Q: Is one toothpaste better than the others?

A: Although it is a good idea to ask Dr. Ryu if there is a toothpaste that he recommends for you, for the most part, you should look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which will help fight tooth decay. Other than that, we suggest you use a toothpaste that tastes good to you.

Q: How often should I floss?

A: You should floss at least once a day. Flossing cleans the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach and promotes healthy gums.

Q: Is there a difference between a crown and a cap?

A: Actually, no. Dentists refer to restorations that cover a tooth down to the gumline as a crown. These can be made of gold, porcelain, composites or even stainless steel. They are used to protect teeth after root canals or in cases of severe decay or damage and can be used to hold a bridge in place. It is not uncommon for patients to call tooth-colored crowns “caps” while referring to the others as “crowns.”

Q: Is there a difference between a bridge and a partial denture?

A: While both are used to replace missing teeth, a bridge is permanently mounted and attached to what are called the abutment teeth, which have been covered in crowns. They may also be attached to dental implants. A partial denture is held in place with clasps that fit over the nearby teeth. Most patients prefer bridges to partial dentures.

Q: What about silver versus white or “tooth-colored” fillings?

A: More and more patients are interested in having white or tooth-colored fillings, which are also called composite fillings. Some people have a health concern about silver fillings. However, in 1993 the U.S. Public Health Services issued a report that silver or amalgam fillings are safe. At Jeffrey Ryu, DMD, we prefer to use tooth-colored fillings. They bond to the surface of your tooth, give it added strength and are shaded to blend in with the rest of your smile. In cases of severe damage or decay, we may suggest using a crown.

Q: If I need to have a crown, will I also need a root canal?

A: No. In most cases, a tooth that has had a root canal will benefit from the added strength and protection of a crown. But, not every tooth that receives a crown will require a root canal.