Dental FAQ


If you can't find the answers to your questions listed here, give our office a call.How often should I visit the dentist?
You should visit the dentist at least twice a year. A dental exam can reveal early signs of decay and disease that you may not see or feel. Detecting these conditions early can help control them before they get worse and are more challenging to treat. Additionally, getting a cleaning by a trained professional will remove plaque in areas you may have missed or cannot reach.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?
You should brush at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. You should floss once a day before you brush your teeth.

What is the proper way to brush my teeth?
The following guidelines are important to brushing correctly:
  • Make sure to use a soft or extra soft bristled brush. Hard or medium bristled brushes can wear down the enamel of your teeth.
  • Place your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gumline. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline.
  • Make sure to use gentle strokes while brushing. Gentle strokes are effective in removing plaque, and food while too much pressure can wear down the enamel of your teeth or cause recession of your gums surrounding your teeth.
  • Brush all surfaces of each tooth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • Don't cut your brushing short! Make sure to brush for at least 2 minutes.

What is the proper way to floss?
The following guidelines are important to flossing correctly:
  • Take 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle finger of each hand. You can use these fingers to take up floss as it becomes dirty. Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the floss leaving 1–2 inches in between for cleaning
  • Gently move the floss up and down in the spaces around your teeth. Never snap the floss down onto your gums, as it can cause damage
  • As you move the floss down into the space between two teeth, slide it up to the gumline making a “C” shape hugging the tooth and move the floss in a back and forth motion against the surface of one tooth. Repeat this for the other tooth
  • Repeat this process for all of your teeth

What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, clear film which forms every day on teeth, from food debris and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum disease and cavities. Regular dental check ups, along with brushing and flossing every day, can help prevent plaque buildup on teeth. In addition, avoiding sugary snacks and eating a balanced diet can help control plaque.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Typically, periodontal disease occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and hardens, often due to poor brushing habits. The gums can become swollen and red in the early stage of the disease, called gingivitis. As the disease advances, if left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to sore and bleeding gums, pain while chewing and tooth loss.

What are the signs of periodontal disease?
The following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease, and you should contact your dentist if you experience any of these:
  • Gums that bleed while brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn't go away
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be prevented by practicing thorough oral hygiene. This includes brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Also, make sure to eat a healthy diet to get the required vitamins and minerals necessary for your teeth. There are certain risks that can predispose you to or influence the severity of the gum disease. They may include diabetes, heredity, smoking, certain medications, or hormone changes in women.

Why do our teeth turn yellow?
While our teeth start out pearly white, they can discolor through the years as our enamel wears down. The wearing down of enamel allows dentin, a yellow colored substance that makes the core of our teeth, to show through. This is what gives our teeth a yellowish tint.

What are the different types of teeth whitening options?
Professionally Dispensed Take-home Whitening Kits
If you choose to whiten your teeth with a home whitening system, you will generally need two dental appointments. At your first visit, our highly trained assistants will take molds of your teeth to create customized plastic trays to hold the whitening solution.

After your trays have been fabricated, you'll have a second appointment where we'll verify they fit properly. You'll receive instructions on how to wear the trays for optimal results. In most cases, this will involve wearing them either once or twice per day for several days to weeks, depending on the strength of the gel used.

Over the Counter Whitening
Over the counter teeth whitening kits are generally store-bought and use a lower concentration gel than the take-home kits fabricated and purchased from your dentist. While they are less costly, they are typically not custom fit and can be less effective than professional methods of whitening because of the lower concentration gel.

How long does teeth whitening last?
Teeth whitening can usually last for several years before darkening of the teeth is noticed. Additionally, once your teeth have been initially whitened, typically only "touch ups" are required to maintain the whiteness.

Are implants the right decision for me?
Implants are made of titanium, a biocompatible material. They are used to replace one or more teeth, and can be an attractive option for most people. Some benefits of implants include:
  • They are integrated into bone and act like a tooth root to support new teeth
  • They cannot get a cavity
  • Implants look, feel, and act like natural teeth, unlike other options

Are implants or bridges a better choice?
A missing tooth would historically be replaced by a bridge. To anchor a bridge, the majority of the external tooth structure of the teeth on either side of the gap must be removed. With an implant, you only need a crown made on top of the implant itself to restore it, leaving the neighboring teeth undisturbed and completely intact.

Can implants be used to restore multiple teeth?
Yes, implants can also be used to restore multiple teeth, a full set of fixed or removable teeth or even a complete denture. If you experience tooth loss, the bony ridges in your mouth start to decrease and can be lost as well. Implants are placed and prevent bone from shrinking, leaving you many future options for tooth replacement.

Are implants Expensive?
The cost of implant care increases with the complexity of the case, the history of the tooth loss, and the position of the implant in the mouth

How long do implants last?
Research has shown that implants are 98% successful: a higher success rate than almost anything else in dentistry! With proper daily homecare, and regular dental professional care, implants may have a potential for lifetime durability.

When an implant is surgically placed, how long until I get my new tooth?
In every case, clinical experience along with the prevailing research guides our decision to finalize the implant restoration. Generally, there is a healing period after the implant is placed. Once the oral surgeon states the implant is ready to restore, our dentists at the The Elmwood Dental Group LLC can then restore a custom prosthetic to the implant, providing the patient with a permanently stable restoration that does not rely on neighboring teeth.

What can I do about bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors, including the types of food you ingest, periodontal disease, dry mouth, and other causes. Going to your dentist will help you determine the cause of your bad breath, so you can take steps to eliminate it.

Regardless of the cause of your bad breath, good oral hygiene and regular checkups with the dental hygienist will help reduce it. Brushing and flossing will eliminate particles of food stuck between your teeth, which emit odors. This will also help prevent or treat periodontal disease (gum disease) caused by plaque buildup on your teeth, which can lead to bad breath. If you currently wear dentures, they should be properly cleaned and soaked overnight in antibacterial solution. Finally, make sure to brush your tongue regularly to eliminate any residue.

What is the easiest way to improve my smile?
The least invasive route is whitening your teeth. This is one of the easiest and most noticeable changes that you can make to improve the appearance of your smile. When you come in and see us at the The Elmwood Dental Group LLC, we will evaluate your teeth and determine the best way to give you the whiter smile you are looking for.

What are composite fillings?
Composite is a tooth colored resin/ceramic filling material of many different forms that can be bonded to your teeth to create an excellent restoration and is used for white fillings.
At The Elmwood Dental Group LLC, our office is both parking and wheel chair accessible.
Locate Us
1132 New Britain Ave
West Hartford, CT 06110-2421


Located 5 minutes from Blue Back Square & Westfarms Mall

Call Us
(860) 331-8748
Office Hours
  • Mon: 7:30am to 4:30pm
  • Tue: 7:00am to 6:00pm
  • Wed: 7:00am to 4:00pm
  • Thu: 7:00am to 5:00pm
  • Fri: 7:00am to 4:00pm
  • Saturday by appointment
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