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Posts for: February, 2016

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
February 26, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   Bridges  

A broken or missing tooth, even if it does not hurt, can cause a myriad of problems or even tooth loss. However, restorative dental care can help you replace your missing teeth and strengthen or repair a broken or weakened tooth. With help from your Shelby, NC dentist Dr. Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, you can rejuvenate your smile with crowns and bridges.Bridges

What are crowns?
Crowns are a tooth-shaped, cap-like restoration fitted over a damaged tooth to stabilize and strengthen it. Crowns, usually made from porcelain and are non-removable and permanent. They are fabricated in a dental laboratory by a lab technician and customized to match your surrounding teeth, ensuring the most natural look possible. Crowns are most often used for the following reasons:

  • to protect a weakened tooth
  • to attach a bridge
  • to improve the appearance of a discolored or misshapen tooth
  • to protect a tooth after root canal therapy
  • to protect a tooth with a large filling

What are bridges? 
Unlike crowns, permanent bridges replace a missing tooth. A bridge does, however, use crowns on either side of the prosthetic tooth to anchor the restoration into place. Removable bridges attach to the teeth surrounding a gap using metal clasps. Bridges correct bite issues and bone loss caused by a missing tooth and prevent the remaining teeth from moving to compensate for a gap.

Am I a candidate for crowns or bridges? 
If you have a tooth which has been weakened by trauma, decay or other dental procedures, you would benefit from a crown. Additionally, if you have an unsightly tooth which you would like to see replaced, a crown can revive your smile. If you are missing a tooth and have two healthy teeth surrounding the gap, a bridge is best for you. Good candidates for these procedures are in good general and dental health and are able to undergo dental procedures without further problems. It is necessary for Shelby patients to have a strong at-home oral care routine as it is important to keep these dental restorations healthy and clean to maximize their lifetimes.

For more information on crowns or bridges, please contact Dr. Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS in Shelby, NC. Call (704) 484-0077 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Hendrick today!


By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
February 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
NeilPatrickHarrisWhattheOscarsHostTreasuresMost

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”


By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
February 10, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   bacteria  
FiveFactsaboutBacteria

Bacteria are bad… right? They can cause diseases like pneumonia, strep throat, and tooth decay. They are the reason we wash our hands with soap (or antibacterial gels) and cook (or refrigerate) our food. Yet it turns out that bacteria are also necessary to keep our bodies healthy — and new research is showing just how important these tiny microorganisms are to our well-being. Here are five facts you should know about bacteria.

The bacteria in our bodies outnumber our cells by a factor of 10 to 1. An estimated 100 trillion bacteria live inside the average human — but because they’re so small, they make up only 1-3 percent of our body mass.

The collection of bacteria we harbor is called our “microbiome.” Like the groundbreaking study of human DNA called the Human Genome Project, recent research is leading to a “map” of our bacterial makeup. This revolutionary study is called — you guessed it — the Human Microbiome Project.

No two people have exactly the same microbiome. But in general, the bacteria that live in a particular spot on the body (the mouth, for example) play the same roles in different individuals. Research has also shown that a healthy microbiome looks very different from a diseased microbiome.

In terms of bacteria, the mouth is one of the best-understood areas of the body. It has long been known that tooth decay can result when “bad” oral bacteria begin to outnumber their “good” counterparts. Now we are gaining a better understanding of how certain lifestyle factors — like cigarette smoking — may influence the bacterial balance in the mouth.

Understanding the microbiome may lead to new treatments for disease. Researchers hope that one day, certain serious diseases could be controlled by bacterial “transplants” that re-balance an individual’s microbiome. Maintaining a healthy microbiome could also help prevent many diseases.

So by all means, don’t stop brushing your teeth or washing your hands — this helps control bacteria that could harm you — but do remember that not all bacteria are harmful. One day, an infusion of bacteria might just cure your illness.




Dentist in Shelby, NC
Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
511 N. Morgan Street
Shelby, NC 28150
(704) 484-0077
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