Dental Fear Can Cause Little Problems To Become Big Ones

Posted on Apr 20, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It is estimated that over 70% of American adults have some level of dental fear. For some, this fear prevents them from having regular exams and cleanings — visits that are designed to help you avoid problems in the first place or catch those that do occur at early stages while they’re easier to treat.

Dental fear causes many people to delay care, which can greatly increase time and expense for more complex treatment in the future. For example, keeping gums healthy through regular care is a small investment when compared to the expenses to treat gum disease.

A healthy, confident smile helps people to feel good about smiling, which means they tend to smile more often. Research has shown that smiling boosts one’s mood, self-esteem and self-confidence. This is because the act of smiling causes the release of endorphins, the brain’s ‘happy’ chemical. It has been shown that even faking a smile creates this same ‘natural high.’

For those who avoid dentistry because of fear, enjoying the benefits of a confident smile can be a challenge. Without regular dental care, many adults develop periodontal (gum) disease or lose natural teeth, even with a committed oral hygiene regimen at home.

In our office, we understand that perceived pain can seem just as real as actual pain. This is why we offer Oral and I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep). Both forms of sedation help patients relax before and throughout treatment. Too, both are effective at erasing most or all memory of the procedure afterward.

With the help of sedation, many procedures can be completed in just one or two visits. For lengthy procedures, sedation helps patients to combine several appointments into just one or two.

Today’s dentistry can be a comfortable, pleasant experience – for all patients. For many fearful patients, however, the key lies NOT in being sedated, but finding the right dentist. Feeling assured that you are in gentle hands, are respected, and in control of the pace of your care is the best way to overcome your dental fears – for good!

In our office, we are pleased that many patients who once had dental fear have overcome their fears to achieve healthy, confident smiles. Many no longer need sedation, knowing we are committed to their comfort at every visit.

If fear has kept you from regular dental visits, you may have some level of gum disease. Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Additionally, the potent bacteria of gum disease has been shown to trigger systemic inflammation. This can create serious health problems far beyond the mouth.

Begin with a friendly conversation with our phone staff. They’ll be happy to arrange a consultation if you’d like to begin with a conversation to have your questions answered. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule.

For Replacing Teeth, Dental Implants Are Best Value

Posted on Apr 17, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontal Specialist, I stay current on the advancements in implants dentistry because, for many reasons, it is the ideal replacement option for missing teeth. The various systems, modern techniques and advanced materials now offer exceptional choices for any individual who is missing natural teeth.

Along with the developments in implant dentistry, my advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants gives me expanded skills to provide optimal results. While our patients mainly see the results of an appealing, confident smile once their treatment is completed, it is the foundation of healthy gums that is the true benefit to dental implant recipients.

Think about the way nature created your smile with natural teeth held by their roots in the upper or lower jaws. The jaw bones are nurtured by the existence of tooth roots, which provide stimulation that keeps the bone healthy. Without their presence, the jaw bones experience a process known as resorption. Resorption causes bones to lose mass, declining in height and width.

Healthy Jaw Bone Vs Bone Loss From Missing Teeth

Bone loss leads to a number of problems. Once resorption begins, remaining teeth adjacent to the area of bone loss are affected. A shrinking bone that abuts areas of resorption weakens tooth root stability. This creates a domino effect. When a natural tooth is lost, statistics show the next to go will most likely be an adjacent tooth.

As bone loss continues, your potential to lose more teeth increases. With each extraction, the continual process of bone loss leaves you with an ever-shrinking jaw and weaker foundation for remaining teeth. Bone resorption can be detected visually in people who have a collapsed mouth (referred to as a ‘granny look’) where the nose is unusually close to the chin.

Bone loss is also the reason that once well-fitted dentures and partials begin to slip and cause uncomfortable rubbing on gum tissues. When a denture is first made, it is designed to conform to the unique contours of your gum ridge (the gum-covered arch that once held your natural tooth roots). As the bone declines in mass, this secure fit loosens and moves while chewing or laughing. Denture pastes or adhesives can help, but eventually even relines (reshaping the previously-made contours) are of little help.

To many people who choose dental implants to replace teeth, however, it is the appeal of making a lifelong investment that is the determining factor when comparing costs of implants to other tooth replacement options. Since they are designed to last a lifetime, many see dental implants as a ‘one and done’ choice for treatment.

In cases where one or several teeth together are missing, crown-&-bridge combinations are an option. However, crowns and bridges can require repairs and/or replacements over time. And, they do nothing to halt bone loss. The other consideration is the need to crown natural teeth for the sole purpose of supporting a bridge. This compromises the integrity of otherwise natural teeth for the mere purpose of holding a bridge.

Since they are held in the jaw bone, dental implants do not rely on adjacent teeth for support providing the same, sturdy foundation as natural tooth roots. An added bonus is how the implanted portion recreates the presence of a tooth root, halting the process of resorption.

Our goal is to always provide the best outcome possible based on the long term goals you desire. Let’s begin with a private, no obligation consultation to discuss your specific goals or concerns. Call 828-274-9440 for an appointment.

Vitamin C Good For Oral Health

Posted on Apr 12, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

According to the Journal of Periodontology, people who consume at least 180 mg of vitamin C per day give their gums and teeth a healthy boost. As an anti-inflammatory, Vitamin C also binds cells to build connective tissue with collagen. Vitamin C has even been shown to increase bone regrowth, which helps to restore healthy teeth.

Dietary sources of vitamin C include coconut water, citrus, red peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli and tomatoes. Getting your C through food sources is best since most chewable vitamin C is highly acidic, which can erode tooth enamel. If you aren’t getting sufficient vitamin C through your diet, non-acidic alternatives are an over-the-counter vitamin C that comes in powder form or vitamin C chewing gum, which is also non-acidic.

Healthy teeth and gums mean fresher breath and save you time and money by decreasing your risk for gum disease and cavity repair. While foods and vitamin supplements are beneficial to maintaining a healthy mouth, having a professionally cleaned mouth is to your advantage. If you haven’t had regular dental cleanings, arrange an examination by calling 828-274-9440.

Also, be aware of the signs of gum disease. These are tender gums that bleed when brushing, swollen and achy areas on gums, gums that darken in color, receded gums and persistent bad breath. Gum disease only worsens without treatment. It is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. If you have any of these symptoms, call promptly so treatment can be scheduled without delay.

How Periodontal (Gum) Disease Begins & Progresses

Posted on Apr 12, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Periodontal (gum) disease begins without obvious symptoms. This is likely why it is allowed to progress. Yet, even when gum disease is fully underway, the warning signs are often ignored. For example, some people assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is a sign they are doing a good job rather than a symptom of inflamed gum tissues. (It’s not!)

Acquiring gum disease is easier than you might imagine. The following is the typical process of gum disease:

•  Accumulation Of Oral Bacteria: Our mouths are a warm, moist environment. Every day, it takes in an enormous amount of bacteria. Bacteria is on food, lipstick, and even the toothbrush we use. Bacteria in our bodies, including our mouths, is a fact of life and something we can process – at certain levels. The problem begins when too much bacteria accumulate.

•  Plaque: Without regular and thorough brushing, flossing, saliva flow and diet, oral bacteria can reproduce rapidly in the mouth. Their accumulation over the course of a day forms a sticky film you feel on teeth. This film, known as plaque, can form in just the brief time between your morning tooth brushing and evening brushing.

•  Tartar (or Calculus): In about 48 hours, sticky plaque film can harden into tartar. Tartar (also known as calculus) is a hardened form of oral bacteria that attaches to teeth. Tartar will continually reproduce and amass as oral bacteria subsist on tooth enamel and gum tissue.

•  Gingivitis: This is the first stage of gum disease. At this point, gum tissue is under attack. Gums are tender and bleed easily when brushing. You may have an aching sensation in some areas and your breath will be frequently bad. By taking effective measures at this point, you have an opportunity to restore your gums to a healthy state. Halting gingivitis at this point is important to avoid its progression to gum disease.

•  Periodontal (Gum) Disease: At this level, the gums are inflamed and tender. Gum tissues will darken in color and begin to pull away from some teeth, exposing darker root portions. Your breath will be frequently offensive. As gum disease worsens, pus pockets form on gum tissues and teeth will loosen. Gum disease can lead to the need to remove some teeth. It is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

An estimated 47% of American adults have some level of gum disease. As devastating as tooth loss can be, research has been associated the bacteria of gum disease with serious health problems elsewhere in the body.

Oral bacteria can become bloodborne through tears in diseased gum tissues and has been shown to cause inflammatory triggers. This systemic inflammation has been associated with heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency. Yet, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all diseases with simple measures.

Re-examine your at-home oral care routine. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, drinking plenty of water and limiting snacking, sweets and caffeine help to keep your mouth healthy between regular dental check-ups and cleanings. And, those check-ups are vital to keeping a healthy smile. During these visits, accumulated tartar can be removed and signs of early gum disease can be noted.

Good oral health practices can save you much in time and money by avoiding procedures to repair problems. Too, keeping a healthy mouth means you are helping to protect your overall health by lowering risks associated with oral bacteria. With proper care, you can easily enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 828-274-9440. As a specialist in all levels of gum disease, we can help you restore your oral health.

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