2440 Stateville Blvd., Suite 140, Salisbury, NC | 704-637-0712
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Dental Health

Dr. Murphy and his team are fully prepared to answer all your questions pertaining to your dental health and appearance. Attention to each patient’s oral health is an essential considering its direct link to your overall health, especially heart disease. We want our patients to understand the correct techniques and the importance of home care and professional cleanings to prevent gum disease. At each of your recall appointments your gums will be measured and any changes will be documented, which is significant for patients with periodontal (gum) disease and recognize the disease process.

It is also important that we provide our patients an understanding of changes in oral health, whether the changes are due to medications, health changes, hormone levels, or osteoporosis and how to manage or treat the development.

Oral Hygeine

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gumline. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Choosing Oral Hygiene Products

There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.

Most patients do well with traditional toothbrushes and floss. However, for our younger patients with time management concerns, or older patients developing dexterity issues automatic and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Although not a replacement for flossing, oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, and are ideal for patients with braces.

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease and can also cause patients to experience sensitivity.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

Professional Cleaning

There are so many products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing dental care products that will work for most patients.

Most patients do well with traditional toothbrushes and floss. However, for our younger patients with time management concerns, or older patients developing dexterity issues automatic and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of patients. Although not a replacement for flossing, oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, and are ideal for patients with braces.

Fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpastes will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gumline so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease and can also cause patients to experience sensitivity.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with Dr. Murphy. Sensitivity can be caused by a number of reasons including recession, sinus problems, bleaching, toothpaste choices, grinding your teeth or cracked teeth. Solving your sensitivity may be resolved by simply having Dr. Murphy apply a desensitizing agent to the tooth.

Child Dentistry

Your child's first visit

If your child has been seen regularly by the pediatrician, the first "regular" dental visit should be just after your child's third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. For the younger patient we will “count” the teeth and introduce them to “dental stuff.”Often your child can be “introduced” to our office by bringing them to observe either you or a sibling getting their teeth cleaned. Unless there is a serious concern-rays are not generally taken until the six year molars are present. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate help with brushing fluoride at home, review fluoride needs, and may request a water sample. Most important of all, we will review with you and your child how to clean and care for their teeth.

During your first visit Dr. Murphy will:

  • Examine your child's mouth, teeth and gums.
  • Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
  • Check to see if you need fluoride.
  • Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
  • Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
  • Recommend sealants for cavity prevention.

The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby's teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2½ years old.

At around 2½ years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first.

Permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don't. Don't worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.

Cavity prevention

Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.

Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.

Consistency of a person's saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.

Tips for cavity prevention

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
  • Watch what your child drinks.
  • Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

Periodontal Maintenance

It has been shown in many studies that the bacteria in patients with gum disease, (periodontis), has been linked to heart disease.

Progression of Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition
  • Periodontal Disease

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

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