Howard Posner, DDS | Pediatric Dentist
Marc Henderson, DDS, FAGD | General Dentist
Matthew T. Goslee, DMD, MPH | Pediatric Dentist

255 North Main Street
Bristol, CT 06010


Dental FAQ

What is the practice of dentistry?

Dentistry is a branch of medicine that involves the study, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the mouth, gums, teeth, and entire jaw. The practice of dentistry is not only for oral health, but also for the health of the entire body. 

What does a dentist do?

A dentist is a trained professional that will work in your mouth to diagnose, treat, and prevent any oral health problems that occur. A certified dentist will have completed a minimum of eight years of schooling and will have received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD). A pediatric dentist will have specialized in preforming dental procedures and check-ups on children. Pediatric dentists work with children from infancy up until they become an adult. There are other specializations within the field of dentistry, some of them include: 

  • Endodontics (root canals)
  • Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
  • Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics
  • Periodontics (gum disease)
  • Prosthodontics (implants)

Why should I visit the dentist?

When you make it a priority to visit the dentist on a consistent basis, you will be able to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Keeping your mouth healthy will also help you keep your body healthy. Dental care is important because it will:

  • Minimize the chances of tooth decay
  • Protect your teeth against 
  • Protects against gum disease, which can eventually progress to bone loss
  • Help you get rid of bad breath. Dentists can help you minimize the bad breath-causing bacteria in your mouth
  • Help you have the smile you want and increase your self-confidence
  • Minimize staining that can occur from food, drinks, and tobacco
  • Strengthen your teeth so you will have a beautiful and healthy smile for as long as possible

If I don't feel a problem with me teeth, should I still see the Dentist?

Although you may not feel like there is a problem with your teeth, visiting your dentist on a regular basis can ensure that problems inside your mouth are fixed before you even realize they are there. Not only will your dentist fix problems you cannot see or feel, but your dentist will also help you keep your smile healthy and strong. As technology and dental research progresses, you do not have to settle for stained, chipped, missing or damaged teeth. Some of the dental treatments that you can choose from, include:

  • Professional teeth whitening
  • Fillings that look like a natural tooth
  • Tooth replacement
  • Full smile makeovers

How should I choose the right dentist for my situation?

Finding the dentist that is right for you and your family is very important. Take time to consider a few different dentists before you choose the dentist that you want to go with. When you visit a dentist for the first time, take time to ask these questions:

  • Is it easy to schedule an appointment at a time that works for you?
  • Is the office located in a convenient location? 
  • Is the office clean, organized and in order?
  • Did a member of the staff go through your medical and dental history and record both histories in a permanent file?
  • Does the dentist explain ways that you can improve your oral health?
  • Before the doctor schedules a treatment does a staff member talk about the cost of the treatment?
  • Is your dentist a current member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?

How do I care for my teeth on a daily basis?

  • Never forget to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss your teeth on a daily basis. 
  • When brushing, use toothpaste that contains fluoride. When you are at the dentist's office, ask if you need a fluoride rinse to help protect your teeth from cavities. 
  • Minimize the amount of sugar you eat on a daily basis. Sugar will increase bacteria growth in your mouth and promote the spread of plaque and even cavities. 
  • Avoid all tobacco products. Tobacco can permanently stain your teeth, cause gum disease and even be the cause of oral cancer. 
  • When you brush, brush your tongue. Your breath will be more fresh when you brush your teeth and you can also minimize the amount of food particles and plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth. 
  • Schedule your routine checkup with your dentist every six months, so preventative treatment can be taken if necessary. 

When should a child start visiting the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children start seeing a dentist anywhere from six months old to one year old. The dentist will be able to inspect the health of your child's first teeth and make sure that they are coming in properly. 

How many times do I need to go to the dentist?

No matter what age you are, it is important to be going to the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Talk with your dentist to see if you are at greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease and will need to see the dentist more than just two times in a year. 

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a small hole that is caused by tooth decay and forms inside of the tooth. A cavity is able to form on the tooth when plaque builds up on the surface of the tooth and then combines with sugars and starches that come from the food that you eat. This combination often produces an acid that can eat at the enamel on your teeth. By brushing and flossing consistently, you may be able to avoid the majority of cavities. 

What is a filling?

A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist will put in your tooth to fill the cavity after the dentist removes the tooth decay from your tooth. Your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic before filling your tooth. You can have your tooth filled with composites, gold, or even ceramic. Talk with your dentist about the material that is going to be the best for your tooth and for your mouth. 

How many times do I need to brush my teeth?

You should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day. The American Dental Association recommends brushing after each meal. When you brush your teeth, you will be able to keep your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth clean and healthy. Brushing will enable you to remove bacteria that may potentially cause plaque in your teeth. As you brush, you should only use a soft bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Brushing for two minutes will give you enough time to brush your teeth properly.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

While you are brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, your toothbrush will inevitably wear out. You should change your toothbrush at least every three months. When you are brushing with an electric toothbrush, you will want to read the manual to see how often you need to change the toothbrush head. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you may want to change your toothbrush every four to six weeks to make sure that bacteria is not spreading throughout your mouth. When you have finished brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water. If you get sick, change your toothbrush as soon as you can. 

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is often referred to as periodontal disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria that is not treated in its early stages. Periodontal disease can also be caused by tobacco use, teeth grinding, specific medications, and even genetics. Gingivitis can turn into gum disease, if it is not treated. If gingivitis is treated early on it can be treated. Advanced gum disease can also lead to tooth and bone loss, which is a permanent condition. To prevent gingivitis, it is important to brush regularly and visit the dentist every six months. The most common signs of gum disease are:

  • Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
  • Extreme tooth sensitivity
  • Receding gum line
  • Abscessed teeth

If I have braces should I go to the dentist every six months?

Visiting the dentist every six months becomes even more important when you have braces. When you have braces, food can be caught in places that your toothbrush will not be able to reach. If food gets caught in your teeth it can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist and your orthodontist will work together to be sure that your teeth are clean and healthy while you have your braces on. 

How can I schedule a checkup?

All that you have to do to schedule a checkup is call our office. Our front desk staff will help you schedule your appointment at your earliest convenience. If you are a new patient, mention that to us and we will provide you with the information you need for your first dental visit. 

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