My Blog


    Each year in the U.S. alone, approximately 48,250 individuals are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Unfortunately at this time the majority are found as late-stage disease. This accounts for the very high death rate; about half those diagnosed will not survive more than five years. The Oral Cancer Foundations says that “while smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, heathy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. The good news is that a dentist or hygienist can see or feel the precancerous tissue changes which might lead to a cancer. The examination will only take 3 to 7 minutes of your time and is always done as part of a comprehensive, routine dental visit. Everyone over the age of 18 should be screened annually. The visual and tactile exam is inexpensive, painless and quick.

Who should get screened?

Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make them part of your annual health check-ups.

What are the risk factors?

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is now the leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers in the US, and the same one, which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women.

Signs & Symptoms:









Early Detection Saves Lives                                                                                                                

Your dentist is your number one chance for early diagnosis of oral cancers. At each routine dental exam, we perform an oral cancer screening, looking for any suspicious lesions or melanomas. In the event we discover an area of concern, we will refer you to a surgeon for a biopsy to rule out cancer.

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, Gargano Family Dentistry will be offering free oral cancer screenings during the month of April. If you have any questions about oral cancer or you have not had a recent dental exam, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.  Call 203-239-2356 or 203-239-0678 to make an appointment for your complimentary screening or to schedule your next comprehensive dental exam.

For more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at

By Gargano Family Dentistry
April 04, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental crowns can help you in several ways. They can be used to conceal cosmetic imperfections, such as stains or discolorations. They dental crownsalso protect cracked or chipped teeth from worsening. Dental crowns even strengthen teeth that are damaged, weak, or worn down, and restore normal biting and chewing functions in those teeth. At Gargano Family Dentistry, Dr. Joseph Gargano and Dr. Theodore Gargano are your North Haven, CT, dentists for installation of dental crowns.

What are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns protect and restore damaged teeth. They are placed over the problem tooth like a protective outer shell and restore the tooth’s ability to perform normal functions, such as biting and chewing food. Dental crowns can be made from a variety of materials, including porcelain, ceramic, resin, and porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain is commonly used because it closely resembles the appearance of natural tooth enamel. Once placed, dental crowns look and function just like natural teeth.

Dental crowns are used for several restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. They are often placed over a tooth following root canal therapy to ensure the tooth remains strong. Crowns are also placed over teeth with extensive areas of decay when significant portions of a tooth needs to be removed. The crown allows the natural tooth to remain in place, but strengthens and restores it to normal functioning.

When teeth are missing, crowns are used as replacement teeth in conjunction with dental implants. Crowns can also hold bridgework securely in place. A dental crown at each end of the bridge holds it firmly in place so there is no worry about your bridgework falling out. Cosmetically, dental crowns can conceal such imperfections as chips, cracks, stains, or discolorations.

Benefits of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns offer multiple protective, restorative, and cosmetic benefits. Your North Haven, CT, dentist can help you decide if dental crowns are the right choice for addressing your dental concerns. Benefits of dental crowns include:

  • Replacing missing teeth when placed over a dental implant
  • Protecting damaged and weakened teeth
  • Concealing cosmetic imperfections
  • Restoring normal tooth functioning
  • Holding bridgework securely in place
  • Looking and functioning like natural teeth

Whether your specific dental concern is to protect, restore, or improve the appearance of your teeth, dental crowns can help. To schedule an appointment with either of the Dr. Garganos, your dentists in North Haven, CT, call Gargano Family Dentistry at (203) 239-2356 for the Elm St. office or (203) 239-0678 for the St. John St. office.

By Gargano Family Dentistry
November 29, 2017
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Getting your teeth whitened professionally can be a life-changing experience. Whiter teeth are associated with youth, health, vitality and even your level of professionalism in the workplace. Your dentist have the ability to improve the appearance of your teeth by up to eight shades in one short visit. Explore the following FAQs about teeth whitening so that you can decide if this cosmetic treatment is right for you.Teeth Whitening

Why is Professional Teeth Whitening the Best Option?
Over the counter whitening products are convenient but problematic for a number of reasons. For one, they take a long time to show results (sometimes weeks or months), if they ever do. Whitening kits that come with trays are ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. When you have your teeth whitened professionally, the treatment is finished within one day, in one appointment. There’s no need to disrupt your schedule by wearing a tray every day and little to no concerns about irritation of the gums since the procedure will be handled by a skilled dentist.

Who Is a Candidate?
Any patient with generally good dental health may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening. Keep in mind that some patients aren’t eligible for this treatment because they have stains that can’t be cleared with whitening gels. This is the case when the stain is “intrinsic,” which means the discoloration is at the inner layer of the tooth. You dentist can tell you if your teeth can be successfully whitened at your initial consultation.

What Will Happen at the Whitening Appointment?
Set aside at least an hour of your time for your teeth whitening appointment. You’ll sit back in your chair as the dentist inserts a device to keep your lips separate from your teeth then applies the gel. You’ll wait for anywhere between 60-90 minutes until the whitening effect has set in. Many patients choose to have this treatment performed on a lunch hour.

How Long Will the Teeth Stay White?
You can expect to enjoy your new whiter smile for about one to two years or longer. The length of time your smile will last depends on you and your dental habits. If you go back to eating the same foods and drinking the same beverages that stained your teeth in the past, the problem is likely to return more quickly. Use a straw, brush regularly and see your dentist for cleanings twice per year.

Contact Your Dentist

You will be happy with the way that your smile looks after going to your dentist for a teeth whitening treatment. If you have more questions, call for an appointment today.

By Gargano Family Dentistry
October 09, 2017
Category: Dental Practice

Article Published October 4, 2017 Ted Gargano: Helping Smiles in Many Places Matthew DaCorte, Staff Reporter

With his father, Joseph, working as a dentist in North Haven for many years, Dr. Theodore “Ted” Gargano says he learned at an early age that being a dentist is what he wanted to do. With his goal achieved, it hasn’t just been people in North Haven that he’s helped. Ted says he saw how being a dentist allowed his father to spend time with the family, and it was a lifestyle that Ted wanted to lead himself. He says he also enjoyed building models and Legos as a kid, and enjoyed working with his hands. “I put two and two together and decided that dentistry was going to be the right choice for me, and I made that decision basically before I even started high school,” Ted says. When he went to college as an undergraduate, Ted says he became fascinated by the science of dentistry, and the aspects of patient care. It was also during college where he took his first dental mission trip to Ecuador while he was studying for the Dental Admission Test. Ted says through serving those in need, “That’s where I developed a true passion for helping others.” In dental school, Ted says third year dental students had the option of going on a service trip to a foreign country to provide free dental services. There weren’t enough spots available for the number of students, so Ted started a new trip through UConn, opening a chance for everyone to go on a trip. “I spearheaded the Ecuador trip for the UConn dental school,” Ted says. Ted and five other students went to Ecuador and provided services including fillings, extractions, and root canals to people there. During the four clinic days, Ted and the group saw about 100 to 150 patients. Most of the people they saw in Ecuador were in pain or knew they had dental needs, and Ted says some of the people had never seen a dentist in their lives. “The experience is very similar [to dentistry here], it’s just the need is much greater down there,” Ted says. Everyone he helped in Ecuador was “extremely thankful” for the services (and says his patients here are thankful as well), and called the experience “very rewarding.” After graduating from the UConn School of Dental Medicine in 2015, he spent 12 months in Denver, Colorado at the Denver Health Medical Center for his general practice residency, which Ted says helped him hone his skills as a dentist and learn more about the connection between physicians and dentists. “It also exposed me to learn how to treat severely medically compromised individuals,” Ted says. Returning home to Connecticut, he began working at his father’s office in July 2016, and says he’s been privileged to provided his services and knowledge to those in North Haven. This is where he plans to practice for the rest of his career. “I’m very excited to be a part of the community my dad has been a part of for so long,” Ted says. Saying that his dad has been active in the community with dental education, Ted is looking to follow in his footsteps with that as well. Starting around January this year, he visited local a few local daycares, nursery schools, and elementary schools and gave a brief lesson about what it’s like to visit a dentist and keeping up with daily oral hygiene. He’s also a participant in the Connecticut Mission of Mercy, a two-day clinic that provides free dental care to underserved and uninsured individuals. Ted says the clinic takes place over a weekend in larger cities in Connecticut and sees around 2,000 patients. With the month of October being National Dental Hygiene month, Ted will be going back to elementary schools to continue to educate kids about dental health. “They’re fun, it’s a lot of fun to do that,” Ted says.


“To gain something, sometimes you have to give up something else.”

No, that isn't the latest viral meme on the Internet. It's actually a practical consideration that could arise in orthodontics.

In this case, the “something” to gain is a straighter, more attractive smile; the “something” you may have to part with is a few teeth. This may be necessary if there are too many teeth on a dental arch for its capacity, a situation called crowding. A lack of space is the main reason teeth come in misaligned.

Before we can correct this, we'll need to free up space to allow for tooth movement by removing one or more of the existing teeth. The ideal candidates are those that are near to the teeth we wish to move but not highly visible. The first bicuspids are the most frequent choices for removal: they're located behind the cuspids or eyeteeth (the pointed teeth right under the eyes).

Ideally, we'll remove the target teeth some time before we apply braces to give the gums a chance to heal. At the same time we want to preserve the bone that once supported the teeth we've extracted. This is because when we chew the forces generated by the teeth stimulates bone replacement growth. When a tooth is no longer there the supporting bone doesn't receive this stimulation and may ultimately reduce in volume.

We may try to prevent this by placing a bone graft in the empty socket immediately after removing the tooth. The graft serves as a scaffold to encourage new bone to grow. Hopefully when we're ready to apply braces, the bone will be strong and healthy to handle the movement of the teeth.

As the teeth move under the influence of braces, they'll begin to fill up the space created by tooth removal. Once it's completed, the extracted teeth won't be missed — the other teeth now straightened will completely fill out the smile.

The different steps in this process must be carefully planned and executed precisely, and it will take months or even years to complete. In the end, though, this complicated bite problem can be corrected and replaced with an attractive, straight smile.

If you would like more information on correcting a poor bite, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”

This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.