What will happen on my first visit to Robert F. Murray, DDS?

1. You will fill out the health history form. If you prefer to fill it out before your visit, you can download it.

2. If you have any insurance (medical or dental), bring your cards so they can be photocopied and kept in your chart.

3. Our team will take a full series of radiographs and new patient photos.

4. Robert F. Murray, DDS will do a complete clinical oral examination including periodontal measurements. Upon completion of the clinical information gathering, Dr. Murray will put a treatment plan together based specifically on each individual’s wants and or needs. No two plans are alike.

I just had a filling, but it feels different. What should I do?

Fillings should feel like all you other teeth. If it feels high, like you are biting on it before your other teeth, call for an adjustment.

What is the difference between a porcelain veneer and a crown?

A porcelain veneer covers only the front side of the tooth, but a crown completely covers the tooth. However, both are made in a dental laboratory and are custom fit to each individual.

Is there a difference between a cap and a crown?

No difference. Cap is an outdated term used interchangeably with the more current term "crown."

What happens after getting a temporary crown (cap)?

Treat it with care as the name implies, it is temporary and it is meant to come off easily when the permanent crown is ready. Keep it clean by brushing and flossing daily. However, floss with care. Pull your floss out the side rather than the normal up and out from between your teeth.

My temporary came off! Now what?

No problem. The pharmacies sell temporary cement to hold you over until you can come into our office for a replacement.

Why can't I leave my temporary off until I get my new crown?

The temporary is protection for your remaining tooth. It keeps bacteria and extreme temperature away from the nerve. It also prevents the tooth from fracture, which would lead to root canal therapy. Lastly, it maintains the space that is necessary for overall periodontal and oral health.

What is root canal therapy?

When you have a root canal, you are removing the nerve of the tooth. The tooth will no longer be nourished by the body and therefore be dead. You will not feel pain from the tooth when the root canal is complete, but it is still susceptible to decay. Molar teeth can have 4 roots, therefore you are getting 4 root canals on molar teeth, which explains why they take longer and cost more.

Why should I get root canal therapy?

Even though the tooth will be clinically dead, it still performs a valuable function. The tooth continues to maintain your natural bite. If you remove teeth without replacing them, they collapse into the area altering your bite for evermore.

I just had my tooth pulled, why is it still bleeding?

The area where your tooth was removed will bleed for no more than an hour. If it continues past an hour you will need to carefully change the gauze. Remove the gauze slowly being careful not to remove the clot that has already begun to form. Replace the gauze with a "Lipton" black tea bag. Wet the tea bag and place it in the affected area and bite. The tannic acid in the tea is a natural method of getting the area to clot and begin healing.

What causes tooth loss?

The most common causes of tooth loss are dental caries, also known as tooth decay, and periodontal disease, which affects the gums and bone structure that supports the teeth. Your gums will be red, puffy and bleed, but surprising only slightly sore. Dental caries is the major cause of tooth loss in children, and periodontal disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults; however, it too can afflict youngsters.

When do I need an implant?

Tooth Loss can have a far-reaching effect on your dental health and personal appearance. When you lose one or more teeth, your remaining teeth can drift out of position. This can lead to a change in the bite, the loss of additional teeth, decay and gum disease. Dental implants can be an effective method to replace one tooth or several teeth. The process is a surgical procedure that usually requires several appointments to complete. Each implant consists of a metal anchor inserted into the jawbone with a protruding post, which is restored with a crown (cap). Implants can also support a bridge or secure a fixed denture.

Dr. Murray said I need periodontal cleanings, but I just want a "regular cleaning." Why can't I get a regular cleaning? What is the difference?

A "regular cleaning" (prophylaxis) involves scaling and polishing only the enamel of the teeth.  The bone level will be no more than 2 mm deep and have no root surface exposed.
The pocket depths and root exposure around the teeth determine the type of cleaning.  A “periodontal cleaning” (maintenance) becomes necessary when the pocket depths measure 3 mm and higher with exposed root surface from bone loss.  Periodontal maintenance requires scaling on the root surfaces, which are very porous and allow calculus to adhere tenaciously.  The periodontal maintenance scaling and polishing is performed at 3-4 month intervals usually after root planning or periodontal surgery has been completed.  Antimicrobial irrigation will be done at this time (based on the individual). Periodontal pocket charting will be done at least once per year to keep abreast of the disease process.

What causes periodontal disease?

Plaque is a thin, colorless, sticky film containing bacteria, which constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria use carbohydrates—sugars and starches—to produce an acid that attacks the enamel covering the teeth. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel can be broken down and a cavity begins. Continued acid attacks eventually dissolve the enamel and penetrate the softer, inner layer of the tooth, where decay can spread rapidly throughout the tooth’s structure. Acid attacks begin immediately after every meal or snack and last about 20 to 30 minutes.

Can periodontal disease be prevented?

Teeth can be protected from acid attacks by removing plaque, reducing the number of times and the amount of sugar and starches eaten, using fluorides, having plastic sealants applied to teeth, daily brushing and flossing and by regular professional cleaning of teeth by a dental hygienist.

How does plaque attack the gums?

Plaque can also produce harmful by products that irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal diseases. If plaque isn’t removed daily, it will build up into a hard deposit called calculus. If plaque continues to form on top of the calculus, it can irritate the gums, and a pocket may develop between the teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can eventually destroy the gums and bone that support the teeth.

How do you stop plaque attacks?

Two key factors in preventing dental caries are: fluoride and dental sealants. Fluoride compounds are found naturally in soil, water, and in many foods. Plaque attacks can’t be stopped, but you can help to prevent plaque build-up by following a good oral care program of brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular visits to your oral health care professional.

How often should I brush and floss my teeth?

The sequence makes no difference as long as you do a thorough job. Choose a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it at least twice a day. While tooth brushing removes plaque from tooth surfaces, it can't do the entire job of removing plaque. Cleaning between the teeth daily with floss or other inter dental cleaners removes debris from between the teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Do I really need to floss everyday? It takes so long and I am clumsy.

There is an old saying, "You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep."
It does get easier with practice. If you have bridges you will need to use a floss threader. Or your teeth may be very tight, so invest the time to learn about your own teeth. Ask your hygienist to give you a demonstration of how to navigate your mouth with dental floss.

What is a dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a licensed health care professional, oral health educator, and clinician who, as a co therapist with the dentist, provides preventive, educational, and therapeutic services supporting total health for the control of oral diseases and the promotion of oral health. A registered dental hygienist has graduated from a minimum two-year college program that includes classroom studies and extensive supervised clinical experience. A dental hygienist also must pass a national written exam and a comprehensive state clinical exam to earn the RDH license.

Will Dr. Murray check my mouth for oral cancer?

Absolutely! You will have an oral cancer exam at your initial complete examination and yearly by Dr. Murray. During your hygiene appointments your hygienist will pre-screen you for any suspicious tissue and alert Dr. Murray. You may be asked to have a tissue biopsy taken for a lab test to confirm. We use an in office system called Vizalite for early oral cancer detection.

It's no secret that a beautiful, attractive smile can be one of your best attributes. If your smile is less than perfect, consider one of the many cosmetic procedures that we offer. Robert F. Murray, DDS takes pride in using the latest techniques available in cosmetic dentistry today. Our cosmetic services include Porcelain Veneers, Orthodontics, Whitening, Bonding and Dental Implants.

Hundreds of satisfied patients have trusted their smiles to Dr. Murray. The art and science of cosmetic dentistry has made major advances in recent decades and Dr. Murray attends continuing education seminars to keep abreast of these advances.