Frequently Asked Questions


About the Practice


  • Why should I choose Smile Dental Center in Shelton?

    We put ourselves in your shoes, thinking of your point of view to determine what is best for you regarding your dental health. We are a state-of-the-art practice with a homey family feeling, and we treat you as though you are a family member. We believe that every patient deserves the highest quality of care. In fact, if a patient is unable to leave her house, we will go there to provide needed dental work, including extractions and dentures.

  • Do you practice pediatric dentistry?

    Here at Smile Dental Center, we offer you the convenience of having your whole family treated in one place. Not only do we have an orthodontist on staff, but we also have Dr. Ruiz, who completed a fellowship in pediatric dentistry at the University of Minnesota. She takes great care of children, showing them patience and understanding. We talk to kids in a way that helps them understand what we are doing, involving them in the process and keeping them from being scared.

  • How do you give back to your community?

    It has always been my life to give back to the community that supports us in numerous ways. We hold a food drive for the Spooner House each holiday season, and we regularly go to local elementary schools to show the kids how to keep their teeth clean and healthy. We spearheaded the local Toys for Tots program 30 years ago, becoming the first drop off center in Shelton. Now there are more than 30 around town. We also donate to local churches, the Special Olympics, and the Boy and Girl Scouts.

    In addition, we do a variety of special projects. For example, we held a raffle fundraiser with a grand prize of a Rav4 to help build the School of Innovation for the Shelton Intermediate School. We donated a FarmBot machine to assist with the agriculture program, and we did a reading and recycling program for the city of Derby. Children who were marginal readers were given tutors all summer to improve their skills.


About Our Services


  • What are some of the most common questions patients ask?

    Patients ask a lot of questions, which we encourage. Some of the questions we hear the most often include:

    Do I really need that work?
    We only recommend what you truly need, and nothing more.

    It’s just a tooth. Why save it?
    When you don’t save the tooth, you end up with a space. Not only can food get caught in that space, but the rest of your teeth can shift, which can mess up your bite.

    I see the cavity in the x-ray, but I have no pain. Can I wait to have it filled?
    If you wait until you have pain, the decay will keep spreading and you may end up needing a root canal. The best option is to get the cavity filled early, before there is more damage and you need more work.

    Do I have to have a crown? Why can’t you just do a filling?
    When too much of the tooth surface is gone, a filling is not sufficient. A crown is strong, durable, and protects the remaining tooth structure.

  • Why is periodontal work important?

    Periodontal work treats the gums and ligaments that support the teeth. The structure is similar to a post on a deck: if there is space around the post, water and dirt can move in. If you don’t correct it, the post will loosen and start to move. Eventually, it will rot out. The support structure for a tooth is very similar. If bacteria find their way in, infection will start to loosen the attachment between the tooth and the bone. Eventually, the only way to fix the problem is to extract the tooth. Once a tooth is missing, it leaves behind a space that the other teeth start to move into. That throws off the occlusion, or the balance of the mouth.

  • Why is scaling and root planing important?

    The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you have gingivitis. At this point, you can stop it with excellent oral hygiene and routine dental cleanings. If it progresses, though, the bacteria will invade below the gum line and into the bone. This is the next stage of gum disease, known as periodontitis. Scaling and root planing involves cleaning deep around the teeth to remove the infection. This allows reattachment between the bone, gums, and teeth to occur.

  • What are the advantages of CEREC same day crowns?

    A huge advantage is that you never have to deal with a temporary crown. A temporary crown takes up to 45 minutes to make, and it is not that strong nor is it permanently cemented to the tooth. It’s like driving a car with a donut instead of a real tire. If it falls off or breaks, you have to come back to the office to have it fixed. In addition, a temporary crown may not seal out food and bacteria, which can raise your risk for needing a root canal in the future.

    Another major advantage is that we don’t have to take traditional dental impressions and send them off to the lab. Impressions cause a lot of people to gag, and some need Novocain injections just to get through them. With CEREC same day crowns, everything is digital. It’s faster, cleaner, and more comfortable, and you won’t need Novocain.

    Finally, your time is valuable. Traditional crowns take two to three office visits, each a half hour or so in length, plus your travel time to reach the office. If the permanent crown comes back from the lab but the color is not satisfactory, we would need to send it back, taking up even more of your time.

  • What is sleep apnea?

    Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds. This can happen multiple times per hour, interrupting your sleep cycle. In the morning, instead of waking up refreshed, you will feel very tired, or maybe even wake up with a headache, due to not having proper deep sleep.

    I have 20 years of training in sleep apnea, and I am an assistant clinical professor at Rutgers treating sleep apnea, TMJ pain, and neuropathic pain. We can determine whether you have sleep apnea and then send you for further testing to confirm the diagnosis. If you are unable to use a sleep apnea machine or simply do not like it, we can make you a comfortable sleep appliance instead.


Call Smile Dental Center at 203-712-7726 to schedule your first appointment.