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Posts for: September, 2021

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
September 15, 2021
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: Dental Fillings  

Are you concerned that you may have a cavity? Visit your Shelby, NC, dentist, Dr. Joseph Hendrick, for a filling that will protect and restore your tooth.

Who gets cavities?

Cavities are very common. In fact, more than 90 percent of people over 20 have had at least one cavity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although brushing and flossing reduce your risk of tooth decay, you can still develop a cavity if you miss a spot while brushing especially because plaque tends to form in hard-to-reach areas. The spaces between overlapping teeth and tiny pits in your molars are also common sites for cavities.

Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in plaque mix with sugars in foods to create acids. These acids are so strong that they begin to weaken your tooth enamel and can eventually cause cavities. Brushing and flossing reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth, lowering your cavity risk. Swapping sugary snacks for fruits and vegetables will also decrease the likelihood that you'll develop a cavity.

How do fillings help teeth?

If your dental X-ray shows that you have a cavity, you'll need a filling to prevent the decay from continuing to spread. If cavities aren't treated promptly, they can spread to other teeth or your tooth pulp and can cause dangerous bacterial infections.

Luckily, fillings can help you avoid these tooth decay consequences. When you receive a filling in Shelby, NC, your dentist opens your tooth and removes the decayed portion. Before you receive the filling, you'll receive a local anesthetic to ensure that you don't feel any discomfort during the treatment.

After cleaning the tooth, your dentist adds filling material to seal and restore the tooth. Although silver amalgam fillings used to be the only option, tooth-colored fillings are used today. The fillings are made of composite resin, a flexible glass- and plastic-based material that's available in shades that match the color of your teeth perfectly. Once your filling is in place, you'll be able to chew and bite normally.

Fillings help keep your smile healthy! Call your Shelby, NC, dentist, Dr. Hendrick, at (704) 484-0077 to schedule an appointment if you have a toothache or are worried about one of your teeth.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
September 14, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

At what age should you begin treating a poor bite? Many might say with braces around late childhood or early adolescence. But some bite problems could be addressed earlier—with the possibility of avoiding future orthodontic treatment.

A crossbite is a good example. In a normal bite, all of the upper teeth slightly cover the lower when the jaws are shut. But a crossbite occurs when some of the lower teeth, particularly in back, overlap the upper teeth. This situation often happens when the upper jaw develops too narrowly.

But one feature of a child's mouth structure provides an opportunity to intervene and alter jaw development. During a child's early years, the palate (roof of the mouth) consists of two bones next to each other with an open seam running between them. This seam, which runs through the center of the mouth from front to back, will fuse during puberty to form one continuous palatal bone.

An orthodontist can take advantage of this separation if the jaw isn't growing wide enough with a unique device called a palatal expander. This particular oral appliance consists of four, thin metal legs connected to a central mechanism. The orthodontist places the expander against the palate and then uses the mechanism to extend the legs firmly against the back of the teeth on both sides of the jaw.

The outward pressure exerted by the legs also widens the seam between the two palatal bones. The body will respond to this by adding new bone to the existing palatal bones to fill in the widened gap. At regular intervals, the patient or a caregiver will operate the mechanism with a key that will continue to widen the gap between the bones, causing more expansion of the palatal bones until the jaw has grown to a normal width.

The palatal expander is most effective when it's applied early enough to develop more bone before the seam closes. That's why it's important for children to undergo bite evaluation with an orthodontist around age 6. If it appears a bite problem is developing, early interventions like a palatal expander could slow or stop it before it gets worse.

If you would like more information on interceptive orthodontics, 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 “Palatal Expanders.”

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
September 13, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Implants  

Our Shelby, NC, dental team is happy to answer your questions about dental implants.

Most people have heard about dental implants, but our Shelby, NC, dentist Dr. Joseph Hendrick, has also realized that not many people know the details about this popular tooth replacement and how it works. Have questions about implants? Don’t worry; we have the answers! Here are some answers to the top asked questions about this popular tooth replacement.

What are dental implants?

Simply put, a dental implant is a metal post that functions like tooth roots. For it to replace tooth roots, this requires our Shelby, NC, dental team to surgically place the dental implants into the jawbone where they fuse with the bone. The small tapered metal post lies under the gums, but a connector known as an abutment is placed on top of the implant. The abutment’s sole purpose is to connect the implant with the crown (the part of the restoration that you see when you smile).

How long does it take to get dental implants?

For a dental implant to be successful, we will need to make sure that the jawbone is healthy and strong enough to support the implant. Once the implant has been placed into the jawbone we must still give the area up to six months for the bone to grow around the implant.

Depending on the type of dental implant we place, most patients will need to undergo two separate but minor procedures to get their implant. The average length of treatment is about one year, but it may only take 6-9 months depending on how quickly you heal and how many implants need to be placed.

How successful are they?

Dental implants are incredibly successful. While the success rate varies based on the research, one study found that implants carried a 90-95% success rate over 10 years. Some studies report an up to 98% success rate. Either way, we can’t deny that the success of this artificial tooth is incredibly high.

How long will implants last?

Implants are made from titanium, which makes them biocompatible and incredibly durable. This means that as long as you maintain good oral hygiene, your implant could last the rest of your life. The only part of the implant that may need to be replaced every decade or so is the dental crown, which is easy to replace.

If you are interested in getting dental implants, our Shelby, NC, dental team is here to make that possible. To find out if dental implants are right for you, simply call our office at (704) 484-0077 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hendrick.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
September 04, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Implants  

Losing all your teeth can dramatically impact your life for the worst. Fortunately, we can give you your "teeth" back. The most common way, at least until a few decades ago, is with custom dentures, which reasonably restore life-like appearance and dental function. But it does have one major drawback—it can't stop bone loss.

Loss of bone in the jaws often occurs with missing teeth. Normally, the bone continuously generates newer cells to replace older ones that have died. Chewing stimulates this growth as the force generated travels up through the teeth to the bone. But when teeth go missing, new bone growth slows, eventually causing the bone's volume and density to decrease.

Dentures can't reactivate this lost stimulation, and so bone loss may continue. Dentures even accelerate this loss as the compressive forces applied to the bony ridge are detrimental. This often leads to a "loosening" of a denture's fit that can make them uncomfortable and less secure to wear.

Today, however, patients with total tooth loss have another option that could alleviate the problem of bone loss—dental implants. Since their inception forty years ago, implants have become the preferred method of both dentists and patients for tooth replacement.

Implants consist of a titanium metal post that's surgically imbedded into the jawbone. Bone cells are attracted to this particular metal, readily multiplying and adhering to the implant's titanium surface. Because of this, an implant can slow or even stop bone loss.

Most people are familiar with the single tooth implant with an attached lifelike crown. Although this use of implants could be used to restore total tooth loss, it can be quite costly replacing over two dozen teeth individually.

But implants could still be part of the answer for someone with complete tooth loss, because they can also be used to support traditional restorations. A few implants strategically placed around the jaw can support either a removable denture or a fixed bridge.

Besides being a cost-effective way to add support to these traditional tooth replacements, the inclusion of implants will likely decrease continuing bone loss. Most importantly, it can give you back your dental function—and your smile to boot.

If you would like more information on dental implant options, 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 “New Teeth in One Day.”

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