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Posts for: March, 2018

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
March 28, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
AnswerstoCommonQuestionsAboutRootCanalTreatments

A root canal treatment is a commonly known but often misunderstood procedure. Contrary to popular belief, these treatments aren't painful — in fact, they often stop a toothache. More importantly, a “root canal” can give a tooth on the verge of loss another lease on life.

Still, if you've never experienced a root canal treatment before, you probably have questions. Here are the answers to a few of the most common.

Why do they call it a “root canal”? This is the popular shorthand term for a procedure that removes diseased tissue from a decay-infected pulp, the innermost part of a tooth and the actual root canals themselves. Root canals are the narrow, hollow channels that run from the tip of the root to the pulp and are also involved in the procedure.

Why do I need one? Once infected, the pulp's bundles of blood vessels, nerves and other tissues become diseased. This often results in a painful toothache that can also suddenly disappear once the nerves within the pulp die. But there's still a problem: If we don't clean out the diseased and dead pulp tissue, the infection could spread through the root canals to the bone and endanger the tooth's survival.

What happens during the procedure? After deadening the tooth and surrounding gums with local anesthesia, we enter the pulp through an access hole we create. Using special instruments we remove the diseased tissue and shape the root canals to seal them with a filling material called gutta percha. Sealing the access hole is then necessary to prevent re-infection. Later we'll cap the tooth with a porcelain crown to restore its appearance and add further protection against fracture or cracking of the tooth.

Who can perform a root canal treatment? In many cases a general dentist can perform the procedure. There are some complex situations, however, that require a root canal specialist with additional training, expertise and equipment to handle these more difficult cases. If your tooth is just such a case it's more than likely your general dentist will refer you to an endodontist to make sure you get the right kind of care to save it.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”


By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
March 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Are your oral hygiene habits increasing your risk of cavities or protecting you from the effects of tooth decay? Shelby, NC, dentist Dr. oral hygieneJoseph Hendrick shares a few suggestions that will help you optimize your oral hygiene routine.

Extend your brushing sessions

Spending more time cleaning is always a good thing, whether you're washing your car or brushing your teeth. In fact, if you don't spend a full two minutes brushing your teeth, you may not clear away every speck of plaque. Leaving behind even a little bit of plaque can increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. Devoting a little more time to brushing is a simple way to improve your oral hygiene.

Evaluate your technique

Do you drag your toothbrush vertically against your teeth and gums, or push as hard as you can to ensure you get your teeth clean? If you do, you may be damaging your teeth and gums. Poor technique can cause both gum and enamel erosion, increasing your risk of receding gums, eroded enamel and sensitive teeth.

When you're at a Shelby drugstore, choose a soft bristle brush, as these brushes are gentler on your enamel than medium varieties. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle, and brush each tooth individually using short circular motions. Don't forget to clean the backs of your teeth too, as plaque can form on every surface of your teeth.

Make time for daily flossing

If flossing isn't part of your oral hygiene routine, it's time to add this important dental task to your day. Flossing gets rid of plaque between teeth and prevents it from turning into tartar, a hard deposit that plays a role in the development of gum disease. Flossing every day can also help keep your breath fresher. When you eat, small pieces of food inevitably become stuck between your teeth. Thanks to your daily flossing habit, you'll reduce your gum disease and tooth decay risk and enjoy fresher breath.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help keep your teeth in good condition. Call Shelby, NC, dentist Dr. Joseph Hendrick at (704) 484-0077 to schedule your appointment.


By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
March 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
JulianneHoughSharesaVideo-andaSong-AfterWisdomTeethComeOut

Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.

That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!

Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.

Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”

One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”  Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”




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