All posts by Fairfield Dental Arts

The Process of a Root Canal: Problems and Treatments

Experiencing a toothache? Can’t bite or chew normally? Unable to smile due to pain? All of these symptoms can be characteristic of a root canal problem.

Before we begin, a brief understanding of the anatomy of the tooth will be helpful. Inside the tooth—after passing both the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin—exists a pulp chamber, which houses the root canal system and pulp. The pulp, a soft tissue, consisting of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues, is needed during tooth development; however, after maturation, a tooth can survive without the pulp. Root canal, or endodontic treatment becomes necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected; left untreated, it can cause abscess and further damage to the surrounding tissues and bone.

Endodontic treatment may take a day or two, depending on the condition and severity of the symptoms. Briefly, here are the steps of a root canal treatment:

1. The very first step is to numb the tooth and the surrounding gum area, so the patient doesn’t feel any pain.

2. A dental dam is applied to isolate the tooth being treated. This avoids contamination from bacteria present in the rest of the mouth, including those in saliva; in this sterile environment, a hole is drilled to access the pulp chamber and root canals.

3. The unwarranted pulp tissues are removed; the root canals are cleaned and disinfected with antiseptic and antibacterial solutions.

4. A rubber-like material called gutta-percha is filled into the canals. Since gutta-percha is prepared with adhesives, it essentially seals the canals, preventing further access points for bacteria.

5. A filling is inserted to seal the access hole. Occasionally, a post (metal or extremely sturdy plastic) may be placed in the canals to hold the filling in place for a weaker tooth.

6. Finally, a crown or filling is placed to completely restore and seal the top of the tooth.

A few weeks after the procedure, pain should be non-existent, and tooth restored completely. If pain persists, please see us for a follow up visit immediately!

Can Brushing Your Teeth Too Much Be Bad?

Many of us brush our teeth several times a day. This begs the question of whether or not that may be too much. Is there such a thing as brushing too often? The answer may surprise you.

When you brush your teeth, you should always do so with a fluoride toothpaste. This helps prevent cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and all kinds of other dental issues. At Fairfield Dental Arts, we recommend you brush for two minutes, three times a day.

Should you brush your teeth less, it could lead to plaque buildup. Although you may have heard this term before,  plaque is a buildup of bacteria on the teeth. This build-up creates a thin, sticky film on the teeth and having too much of it can eventually lead to tooth decay and cavities. Gum disease can also occur by not brushing your teeth enough.

Brushing too often can also cause trouble. A common misconception is that teeth get cleaner the harder you brush. The opposite is true as the amount of pressure applied has no effect on how clean your teeth get. This could potentially lead to damaging the enamel on your teeth. This protective covering plays an important role in keeping teeth from becoming too sensitive and exposing the nerve. Existing dental work such as fillings and root canals can become damaged due to over brushing. 

The staff of Fairfield Dental Arts is happy to bring you this information and remind you that regular dental checkups will help keep your smile looking youthful and vibrant. For more information, you can visit our website and be on your way to a bright, beautiful smile.

Which Toothbrush Is Right For You?

We all have a preference on feel when it comes to oral hygiene and how we take care of ourselves. With toothbrushes, there are so many shapes, sizes, brands, bristle strength, and more, so how do we know which one is right for us? Here’s what you should look for:


The smaller the head, the farther a toothbrush can reach and the more plaque/debris it can remove. The back teeth are the ones doing the most work when it comes to chewing your food, so make sure you can give them enough attention for a clean mouth!



A toothbrush handle can vary from non-slip or smooth grips, arched or straight necks, and skinny to wide in shape. This really depends on what feels right to you. Everyone’s mouth is different, so choose a brush that gives you the ability to easily provide your teeth a thorough cleaning.


Try an Electric Brush

Manual brushes might seem like your #1 choice, but with electric toothbrushes, we tend to brush more thoroughly and for longer periods of time. This is especially true with an electric toothbrush that has a quadrant timer. Another plus to electric toothbrushes is ease for children or the elderly allowing an easier brush overall.


If you have more questions on toothbrushes and which one is right for you, contact us.

How to Brighten Your Smile this Holiday Season

Believe it or not, the holiday season is officially here! Are you ready for all of those parties, gatherings, and photos? If you’re looking to bump up the brightness of your teeth (without a phone app), then we have you covered! Without further ado, here are some helpful teeth whitening tips you’ll be sure to love:

Fairfield - November 17, 2017

  • Teeth Whitening Toothpaste – There are several different teeth whitening toothpaste brands out there. While these will not provide immediate or dramatic results, they can help prevent buildup.
  • Drink Plenty of Water – Remember to stay hydrated! Drinking water will help keep your teeth bright and healthy.
  • ZOOM® Whitening – We offer in-office whitening treatments! This treatment is safe, effective and fast. Unlike with other teeth whitening methods — you leave the office with a brighter smile, right away!
  • At-Home Whitening – If you prefer to brighten your smile in the comfort of your own home, we can create customer teeth whitening trays that are designed to fit your unique smile. You can fill these trays with whitening gel and wear them for 2 hours each day, for 1-2 weeks. At the end of the treatment, you’ll have a noticeably brighter smile!

Is it time to schedule your dental cleaning or looking into our teeth whitening options? Contact our office to schedule an appointment today! In addition: we’ll be glad to answer any dental floss related questions you may have!

3 Important Thanksgiving Dental Tips You Should Know

Thanksgiving will be here sooner than you think! That can only mean one thing: eating all the goodies your relatives make! Not so fast, though. Many of your favorite holiday fixings might be detrimental to your overall dental health (sadly). Here are some tips that will keep you smiling from ear to ear this holiday season:


1) Pack Your Toothbrush and Floss
Many people travel to a family member’s home for Thanksgiving. When you are packing for Turkey Day, don’t forget to pack your toothbrush and floss. Forgetting to do so will result in a last minute detour to the nearest convenience store.

2) Suppress Your Sweet Tooth
For some, the holidays provide an opportunity to overindulge in sweets. Overloading on sugar can increase plaque build up on your teeth. This Thanksgiving, take it easy on the sugar. After all, it’s not Halloween!

3) Eat Your Vegetables
Despite it being a cheat meal day for most, it’s important to stock up on vegetables! When you’re creating a plate, load up on green veggies — since they’ll help make your teeth stronger (thanks, calcium)!

From everyone here at Fairfield Dental Arts, have a Happy Thanksgiving! If you are in need of dental services in Connecticut, give us a call at 203-254-3780 to schedule an appointment.

What to Do If You Have Chapped Lips

Cold weather is upon us and that only means one thing: chapped lips. Known to be quite the uncomfortable feeling, chapped lips can be quite painful if you happen to have braces or any other dental work. Although you should use lip balm (and other lip ointments) in moderation, here are some better ways to cure those chapped lips: 

Use a Humidifier

One of the simplest tricks to curing dry lips is to use a humidifier. Known to put moisture back into the air, these water-based device will be the perfect way to keep your lips (and skin) from drying out in the winter — especially if you sleep with the heat on, or take hot showers.

Stay Hydrated

Another trick to keeping your lips moisturized is to stay hydrated with water. Many times, those with dry lips and skin tend not to drink water frequently — which ceases moisture production. If you’re looking to cease the dryness, put down the soda and pick up a bottle of water. Not only will this be better for your teeth, but it will also help keep you (and your skin) hydrated!

Use a Natural Balm

Still feel the need to use lip balm? Before you purchase another tube, give coconut oil a try! This natural remedy is the perfect alternative because it not only moisturize your lips, but it won’t build a dependency like traditional lip balm! Additionally, coconut oil will leave your lips feeling soft and moisturized for a while — it’s the perfect product!

Is it time to schedule your fall dental cleaning? Contact our office to schedule an appointment today!


3 Types of Dental Floss You Should Use

Fact: there is more than one type of dental floss on the market. That’s right — one of the biggest staples of oral hygiene comes in a variety of different materials/finishes to give you the healthiest, brightest smile on the planet! If you’re looking to floss your teeth and don’t know which type to use, here are a few options we recommend:

Fairfield - October 27, 2017Floss 1: Waxed Floss

Known as the most traditional dental floss, this oral hygiene staple has been around since the earliest days of dentistry. Unlike its cousin (unwaxed floss), this waxy counterpart makes for the strongest bond floss — and will be less likely to break or slip when you’re using it. In addition: waxed floss is quite simple to use, since the wax creates a grip-like texture when you’re holding it.

Floss 2: Unwaxed Floss

Holding a reputation for being the most famous of the flosses, unwaxed floss is composed of nylon yarn and is known to get into every tight space between teeth. Although waxed floss is the stronger version of this floss — the string is bulkier and not as thing as unwaxed floss. If you’re looking to get into every nook and cranny, then this will be the perfect floss for your pearly whites!

Floss 3: Super Floss

Have you recently acquired braces or dental implants? If so, super floss will be the perfect choice for you! Unlike traditional dental floss, this majestic dental floss is stiffer and can easily adapt to any surface it encounters. In addition to being quite durable, super floss also comes in a waxed and unwaxed portion, if you have a dental floss preference! Super floss really is super — and will be very beneficial to use!

Is it time to schedule your fall dental cleaning? Contact our office to schedule an appointment today! In addition: we’ll be glad to answer any dental floss related questions you may have!

What Happens When You Don’t Floss?

fairfield dental artsFlossing is one of the most important (and most often overlooked) things you can do for your smile health. In fact, about half of Americans don’t floss every day, but you may want to reconsider. Taking care of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing is essential to preventing cavities and bad breath. Here are a few of the reasons why you’ll want to make sure that you add flossing into your daily oral health care routine.

What Happens When You Don’t Floss:

  • Your Gums May Bleed – Healthy gum tissue shouldn’t bleed when you brush, floss or eat. If you notice any bleeding, there is a chance that you have some gingivitis (it’s a sign of gum disease).
  • Tartar Builds Up – It’s very common for tartar to build up in between your teeth. This hard substance must be removed by your dentist because, if it is left untreated, it can damage your teeth.
  • Bad Breath – If you haven’t flossed in a while, there is likely buildup in between your teeth. This can cause halitosis.
  • Tooth Discoloration – Neglecting oral health care can make it more difficult to maintain a bright, white smile.
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from your teeth. This leaves pockets of space for bacteria to grow, weakening your tooth structure. Eventually, gum disease leads to premature tooth loss.

Is it time to schedule your fall dental cleaning? Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity? Reach out to our office to schedule an appointment today!

13 Smile Care Mistakes you Don’t Want to Make

fairfield dental artsFeeling superstitious? Friday the 13th is known for being unlucky — but at Fairfield Dental Arts, we think you should take your dental luck into your own hands. While you’re out avoiding black cats and broken mirrors, we also recommend that you don’t make these smile care mistakes today (and every day).

13 Smile Care Mistakes:

  1. Not Schedule Bi-Annual Dental Cleanings – When was the last time you schedule a visit to our practice? Bi-annual dental cleanings and exams are absolutely essential to caring for your smile. They help prevent future dental problems, as well as catch existing problems early on so that we can provide you with the care that you need before you start to feel the pain.
  2. Forgetting to Floss – Are you forgetting to floss? This often overlooked step in oral health care is one of the best things that you can do for your smile. In fact, in between your teeth is where most tooth decay and plaque builds!
  3. Not Brushing for 2 Minutes, 2 Times a Day – How long (and how often) are you brushing your teeth for each day? You should be brushing your teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day (morning and night).
  4. Not Replacing Your Toothbrush Every 3 Months – When was the last time that you replaced your toothbrush? You should be replacing your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles become frayed.
  5. Brushing Too Hard – Brushing harder doesn’t mean that you are brushing better. Make sure that you are using a soft bristled brush — brushing too hard can lead to gum damage.
  6. Not Drinking Enough Water – Staying hydrated is good for your oral health and your overall health. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water even on cool fall and winter days. This will help wash away bacteria that may otherwise eat away at your tooth enamel.
  7. Thinking You’re Too Old For Braces – Braces aren’t just for children. If you are looking to improve your smile alignment, you can still consider braces at an older age. Aligned teeth are more than a cosmetic adjustment, they can improve your oral health, too!
  8. Avoiding Taking X-rays – X-rays are crucial to understanding what is going on in your mouth. They can help you identify wisdom teeth that are growing in crooked, identify cavities, and more. Make sure that you are getting x-rays when needed.
  9. Storing Your Wet Toothbrush in a Travel Case – Planning a vacation? Make sure that you store your toothbrush in a dry place! Bacteria thrives in wet environments, so you don’t want to store yours in a travel case.
  10. Forgetting to Wear Your Retainer – It may be years since you last had braces, but that doesn’t mean that you should forget to wear your retainer. You should always wear your retainer for as long as is recommended by your orthodontist — which may mean forever.
  11. Brushing After Drinking Orange Juice – Orange juice is full of healthy vitamins — but when it comes to caring for your teeth, you want to avoid drinking this acidic juice before brushing your teeth. The acids weaken your enamel and brushing right after can cause it to wear away.
  12. Drinking Soda – You’ve probably heard it before, but we’re telling you again — drinking sugary drinks like soda will always be bad for your teeth. While it’s ok to indulge every once in awhile, try to make your main drink of choice something healthier like water.
  13. Don’t Ignore Sore Teeth – There are many reasons why you might be feeling discomfort, but it’s never something that you should ignore. If you are feeling any kind of pain, it’s important to schedule a dental visit so that we can help you feel better.

If you do have any questions about how to care for your teeth or you are experiencing any tooth sensitivity, give our office a call to schedule your visit. We are here to keep your teeth beautiful and healthy year-round.

How to Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month

fairfield dental artsDid you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? This month, we celebrate all of the work our hygienists do here at Fairfield Dental Arts — and we remind all of our patients of the importance of maintaining good oral health habits year round.

Oral Health Best Practice:

  • Brush for Two Minutes, Two Times a Day! Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush back and forth in short, tooth-wide strokes.
  • Remember to Floss! Flossing is one of the most important things that you can do for your smile health — and it’s often neglected! In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), only 12 percent of American floss every day! Cleaning in between your teeth helps reduce cavities, gum disease, and plaque.
  • Schedule your Bi-Annual Dental Cleanings & Exams. You want to make sure that you are consistently scheduled bi-annual cleanings and exams. During these appointments, we can keep your teeth healthy, catch problems early on, and prevent problems with possible! This is essential to your oral health.
  • Drink plenty of water. Make sure that you are staying hydrated! Although the weather may be cooling down, you’ll want to make sure that you’re still drinking enough water each day.
  • Chew sugar-free gum with xylitol. Xylitol is known for helping to prevent tooth decay by keeping a neutral pH in your mouth. If you love chewing gum — make sure you’re chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol.

Ready to schedule your bi-annual dental cleaning? Give our office a call! We are here to keep your teeth beautiful and healthy!