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Posts for: May, 2017

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
May 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

It’s really not difficult to keep gums healthy and gum disease-free. We can help!oral hygiene

Most people think about their oral health and their thoughts immediately go to how to keep their teeth clean. Of course, how often do you think about the health of your gums and what you are doing to ensure that they remain healthy, too? If this isn’t something that’s often on your mind, don’t worry. Our Shelby, NC, dentist, Dr. Joseph Hendrick, Jr., is here to offer up some useful advice for maintaining healthy, beautiful gums, too!

Floss Everyday

While most people brush everyday, not as many people take time to floss their teeth. If you are someone who often forgets or never does it, it’s time to add flossing to your daily routine. While brushing is great for removing food and plaque from the front and back surfaces of your teeth, it won’t be able to effectively clean between teeth. This is why floss is crucial. Flossing is one surefire way to remove food particles and plaque buildup from between teeth to prevent decay.

Visit Your Dentist

Even if your teeth and gums feel great and you are a generally healthy person, you still should come in every six months for preventive care and cleanings. Our Shelby general dentist can inspect your gums and look for early signs of gum disease. If gum disease is caught early enough it can be reversed. Plus, we can also thoroughly clean your teeth and gums to remove plaque and tartar buildup, which are responsible for the development of gum disease.

Avoid or Quit Smoking

Smoking can cause some serious problems for your oral health. From causing dental implant failure and chronic bad breath to increasing your chances of gum disease and oral cancer, there are so many reasons to ditch the habit if you are a smoker. If you continue to smoke with unhealthy or diseased gums, it can also affect how effectively they heal.

Consider Mouthwash

If you are someone who is at an increased risk for gum disease then you may want to talk to us about whether you could benefit from therapeutic mouthwash. This can help keep tartar buildup down while also removing plaque and food from your teeth. Perhaps this could be a great complement to your oral care routine.

It doesn’t have to be that difficult to prevent gum disease. We are here to offer you thorough preventive care exams every six months to guarantee that if there is an issue we catch it as early as possible. Call our Shelby, NC, dental office if you need to schedule your routine dental visit.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
May 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Although your smile wouldn't be the same without them, there's more to your gums than their looks. Besides helping to hold your teeth in place, they're also an important protective barrier for their roots.

Unfortunately, gums aren't immune to disease, especially periodontal (gum) disease. This bacterial infection, triggered by built-up dental plaque on teeth due to insufficient oral hygiene, can cause the gum tissues to detach from teeth and shrink back (recede). This can make your teeth more sensitive to hot or cold foods and beverages, as well as put them at even greater risk for tooth decay.

To treat gum recession, our first priority is to stop any ongoing gum disease through aggressive plaque removal. Depending on severity, this could require clinical procedures like scaling or root planing to remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque deposits) at or below the gum line. This is especially crucial for improving gum tissue healing and stimulating potential reattachment.

Revitalizing gum tissues this way naturally has a better chance of occurring if we're able to prevent recession before it reaches the roots. If that does happen and we have sufficient gum tissue attachment remaining, we may need to give the gum tissue a helping hand through gum grafting surgery. There are a number of techniques depending on the circumstances, but they all use either tissue from another location in the patient's mouth or prepared tissue from another human donor. This type of surgery requires great skill and expertise, not to mention an aesthetic sense, to achieve a result that's both functional and attractive.

Other than daily brushing and flossing, the most important thing you can do for gum health is to see us as soon as you notice any signs of gum problems like swelling, bleeding or tooth sensitivity. The sooner we can diagnose and begin treating the problem, the less likely any gum recession will have a long-term impact on your health.

If you would like more information on gum health, 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 “Gum Recession.”

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
May 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.

In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.

Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.

What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.

A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”

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