I've knocked out a tooth. What should I do?

Believe it or not, as long as the tooth isn't too dirty, the best place for the tooth is back in the socket. The next best place is in a glass of milk. Your next step, however, should be to call Dr. Murphy as soon as possible-- ideally, within an hour of the injury-- because the faster the tooth is dealt with, the better it will be (long-term) for the tooth. Our office number is (253) 858-8164.

I have a toothache. What does should I do?

A "tooth ache" can mean different things to different people. Some people refer to a sensitive tooth as an "ache". The key difference is that a sensitive tooth has the potential to settle down, whereas the ache may settle down for a short period but will likely come back. The other two hallmark symptoms of a toothache are spontaneous pain or lingering pain. Either way, this is something that should be seen by Dr. Murphy.

My temporary crown has come off. What should I do?

The answer to this one depends upon two factors--how long it will be until your crown seat appointment, and if the tooth is bothering you (e.g., sharp edge, food impaction). If it's going to be more than a couple days before your next visit, we should reseat your temporary. Call the office and we'll be happy to fit you into our schedule!

My new filling/crown is sensitive to hot and cold.

This kind of discomfort should settle down, given time. Sensitivity to hot/cold is fairly common for a couple days after treatment, and sometimes persists as long as two weeks. If you are experiencing spontaneous or lingering pain, call our office and ask to be evaluated. One thing that can prolong tooth sensitivity is if the bite (occlusion) is off. This can be adjusted quickly and painlessly; please call for an appointment.

Are you accepting new patients?


Do you accept kids?

We are very good with kids. As a father of four children himself, Dr. Murphy has taken special care to make his office and operatories the kind of place that kids won't find intimidating or scary. Our young patients can choose from a selection of childrens' movies and cartoons to watch on the flat screen monitor above their heads during their appointments, and they usually leave with a "goody bag" of dental items, stickers, and small toys, as well as a helium balloon! We can manage most fearful kids;some may benefit from nitrous oxide (laughing gas). If your child needs more than that, we may refer to one of our local Childrens Dentist.

What are Sealants ?

A sealant is a layer of resin that protects the tooth from developing a cavity. These are usually placed on the molars during the 6-12 year ages. Anesthetic isn't needed.

How does food cause tooth decay ?

Your mouth is filled with bacteria, on your tounge and in the plaque around your teeth. Some bacteria is harmless, other bacteria have the ability to take the sugars that are in most foods and convert them to acid. This acid slowly disolves your tooth, causing a hole. This hole is a cavity. This is why we want to get the plaque off your teeth.

What is an amalgam filling ?

Silver amalgam is an alloy of silver, tin, mercury, copper and zinc. Silver amalgam is most commonly used for fillings on the back teeth, where strength is of utmost importance and the silver color is relatively inconspicuous. Silver amalgam is relatively inexpensive and lasts an average of 14 years. The filling takes almost two weeks to become fully hardened, but you may safely chew on it after six hours. Your teeth may experience some degree of temperature sensitivity for a few days to a week, if the cavity is deep.

Some people are concerned about the toxicity of the mercury used in the filling. But in fact, amalgam has been used successively for many years in dentistry and has been tested continuously. There is no evidence showing that it is hazardous to humans. Since amalgam has a dark metal color, the filling is not esthetically pleasing. Until recently, it was the only choice of dental filling material for back teeth.

What are Composite fillings?

Composite resins have mainly been used on the front teeth, where a silver filling would be conspicuous; however, the dental industry has been steadily moving towards using the composite more often. Thanks to advances in modern dental materials and techniques, teeth can now be restored with more aesthetic and natural appearing filling materials. Increasingly, these fillings are now also being used on the back teeth. Although they have the advantage of being the color of the teeth, they are more expensive than silver amalgam and may not last as long on surfaces exposed to heavy chewing forces. These tooth colored fillings are made up of a composite quartz resin and contain a light sensitive agent. These materials come in a variety of shades so that they will match the color of your own teeth. Composite materials are now available that have been specifically designed to withstand the incredible forces you can exert when chewing on your back teeth.

After placement, composites are hardened by shining an intense light on them. The light instantly hardens these fillings, you may use them immediately as they are at full strength.

What is a dental implant?

Dental implants are one of those modern marvals. We've come to the point were we can replace single or multiple teeth without damaging anyother teeth in the process. An implant is a titanium post placed into the jaw bone where your missing a tooth. Titanium reacts very well to the bone and it will heal right up into the surface of the metal. After a healing period the bone/titanium interface can withstand chewing forces. The next step is to have a crown placed ontop of the implant. As with other crowns there are a lot of options as to which type, from Gold to metal free and highly esthetic.

Frequently Asked Questions