Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about dental care. Be sure to consult a dentist if you have an inquiry about oral hygiene or a persistent issue that may require medical attention.

Please click on any of the questions below to see the answer.

1. If I brush my teeth once a day and floss every other day, is that sufficient?
We recommend brushing twice daily (in the morning and before bed) and flossing once each day as a minimum guideline, though brushing and flossing after each meal is preferable.
2. Should dentists use amalgam (silver) fillings, and are they safe?
According to the FDA, dental amalgam fillings are safe for adults and children ages 6 and older. Dental amalgam fillings contain elemental mercury, but the amount of mercury measured in the bodies of people with dental amalgam fillings is well below levels associated with adverse health effects.
3. How frequently should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
Typically, our patients receive dental exams and cleanings every six months. However, if you have a condition that persists, please make an appointment immediately.
4. What should I do if I am experiencing some pain/sensitivity when I brush?
If you develop sensitivity, it may be caused by simple enamel abrasion or by normal gum recession. We suggest consulting your dentist to determine the cause. You also can try using desensitizing toothpaste, a fluoride rinse or a softer bristle toothbrush for relief.
5. Do you have any advice to help me with bad breath?
Brushing and flossing regularly will help address the root cause of bad breath. We also suggest using an antibacterial mouth rinse and drinking plenty of water. Itís also not a bad idea to brush your tongue regularly.
6. My gums sometimes bleed. Does this mean I have gingivitis (gum disease)?
Only your dentist can tell for certain if you are suffering from gingivitis, and while bleeding gums is one sign of gingivitis, the are many reasons your gums may respond in this way. Consult your dentist if the pain and bleeding persist.
7. If I brush my teeth after every meal, do I really have to floss?
As a general rule, brushing followed by flossing is an excellent habit toward achieving outstanding oral hygiene. Oftentimes food can be lodged between the teeth. If this occurs, brushing may do little good, and flossing is the best approach.
8. Are there benefits to cosmetic dentistry besides the appearance of my smile?
Cosmetic dentistry can be used to address chronic oral health issues, especially if there is a deteriorating element in the mouth. In addition, there are proven psychological advantages resulting from feeling confident in your smile and your appearance overall. These advantages go a long way toward emotional wellness, and emotional wellness plays a big role in physical wellness.
9. What are porcelain veneers?
Porcelain dental veneers are custom-designed shells of tooth-like ceramic material that, when applied over the surface of a tooth, can cover worn tooth enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing and chips or cracks.
10. Is there anything I can do about stained or discolored teeth?
Bristol Family Dental Center offers an array of options for stained or discolored teeth, including a safe, easy-to-apply, take-home whitening system. Consult your dentist to learn more about the many different approaches to whiter teeth.
11. Are there any foods that can help with the health of my teeth/gums?
Drink plenty of water to rinse the mouth of acids, sugars and starches that can cause bacteria and decay. In addition, cleansing foods such as raw vegetables, protein-rich foods such as nuts and calcium-rich foods such as milk and yogurt may naturally fight bacteria, remove plaque, strengthen the enamel and help freshen breath.