Facing Tooth Removal? Why Dental Implant Placement Is Best Done Within 24 Hours.

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

For various reasons, a number of adults face the removal of a single tooth at some time in their lives. This may be necessary when a tooth is beyond repair than can be resolved with a crown or because of a fracture that extends below the gum line. Since every tooth plays a role in keeping adjacent teeth in their proper positions, promptly replacing a tooth after removal is a wise move.

A growing number of adults are now choosing to replace teeth with dental implants. There are a number of advantages in doing so at the time of removal, a particular one being the prevention of bone loss. By placing the implanted portion when the tooth is extracted, the risk of bone loss, known as ‘resorption,’ is minimized.

Resorption occurs when tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone to provide stimulation. Without the nourishment and stimulation of tooth roots, the bone begins to shrink over time. It is a fact that the teeth adjacent to areas of bone loss have the greatest risk of being the next to be lost.

Another benefit of immediate implant placement is the preservation of gum contours. When a tooth is removed, the arch of gum tissue and ‘points’ that dip slightly between each tooth begin to flatten. When an implant is placed promptly after removal, the natural contours of gum tissues are preserved.

Replacing a tooth should occur immediately to preserve bone mass and gum contours.

When two or several teeth in a row are missing, immediate implant placement can also be beneficial. Because one implant can often support a bridge of two or more teeth, this can help to curtail treatment cost while preserving the natural contours of the gum tissues.

Additionally, since the position in your upper or lower jaw bone is already to a proper depth and size, placing the implant following removal may simplify the treatment time and procedural requirements.

As a periodontal specialist, I have advanced training in treating all levels of periodontal (gum) disease as well as in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. I regularly work with general dentists and dental specialists in team treatment so the patient enjoys an optimal outcome in minimal time.

To discuss dental implants, call 828-274-9440 for a consultation appointment to discuss the process and associated expenses.


New Study Finds Clogged Arteries More Connected To Oral Bacteria Than Fatty Foods

Posted on Nov 13, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

For years, we’ve been led to believe that the main cause of clogged arteries is the cholesterol-rich diet we consume. However, a recent study published by the Journal of Lipid Research has found fat molecules unrelated to butter, fatty animal meats and eggs may be the true source.

According to an article in Medical News Today (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319967.php), the University of Connecticut (Storrs) conducted a study showing the fat molecules in plaque that are typically blamed for clogged arteries may actually originate from oral and gut bacteria.

In past studies, researchers have known there are strong connections between the bacteria of gum disease and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Yet, pinpointing the precise cause-&-affect has been elusive. This study may have tracked down the intricate path.

Atherosclerosis occurs when fat molecules, calcium, cholesterol, and other compounds in the blood form plaque on the inside walls of arteries. These arteries are what carry oxygen via the bloodstream to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other parts of the body.

When plaque accumulates, it can harden and narrow the arteries, thus depriving oxygen-rich blood to vital organs and tissues. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, other serious health problems and, in some instances, even death.

For decades, it was assumed that the fatty molecules of atherosclerosis, or lipids, are the result of a diet rich in foods high in fat and cholesterol. This study focused on the formation of plaque (that include fat molecules) as well as other growths known as atheromas.

Atheromas  refer to fatty masses that develop in the artery walls. Their presence activates the immune system, which recognizes that the lipids are not of human origin. This, in turn, tends to trigger inflammation. Inflammation is what leads to the thickening of the smooth muscles that line artery walls.

When the research team analyzed atheromas of hospitalized patients, they found the chemical makeup of lipids were not from animals. Rather, the fat molecules matched bacteria belonging to the Bacteroidetes family.

Bacteroidetes, fatty acids that do not have the same features as animal fat, are not typically harmful. They exist in the mouth and, in some situations, can activate gum disease but are not known to invade blood vessels. The culprit, however, lies in the lipids they secrete, which can penetrate cell walls and enter the bloodstream.

Apparently, it is an enzyme that breaks down the bacterial lipids that can activate a process that manufactures molecules that promote inflammation. When the immune system encounters the bacteria and then couples with the enzyme that creates inflammation, their combined actions can lead to an even higher risk for the formation of plaque.

The researchers are continuing efforts to further study how atheromas form where Bacteroidetes lipids accumulate. They are seeking even more evidence that fat molecules from Bacteroidetes are linked to atheroma growth, and thus to heart disease.

In the meantime, we certainly encourage you to eat a diet low in cholesterol. Yet, keep this study in mind as reinforcement to the need to maintain good oral health. For decades, research has shown the close relationship of oral health and overall health.

In addition to heart disease and stroke, past research has correlated the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease to diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers and impotency. Obviously, this is potent bacteria and keeping its accumulation to a minimum is beneficial to your overall health.

Is is important to know the signs of gum disease. Seeing blood in the sink while brushing, tender or swollen gums, frequent bad breath, and gums that pull away from teeth and expose sensitive tooth roots are just a few of the signs. Without treatment, gum disease will only worsen. It affects over 47 percent of American adults and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Protect your smile and your overall health. In addition to a thorough at-home commitment to oral hygiene, have twice-yearly dental check-ups and watch for signs of gum disease. If you suspect gum disease exists, call 828-274-9440 to schedule an exam. This will be the first step to protecting your smile, and apparently, your heart!

Holiday Parties Can Be No Fun For Your Smile.

Posted on Nov 08, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

A particular joy of the holiday season is it give us the opportunity to gather with cohorts, friends and family. These gatherings are often in the form of a lavish meal, buffet, or cocktail party. By helping you to understand the challenges these get-togethers can place on your smile, we may be able to help you avoid the time and expense for treatment later on.

Here is where the risk begins: Acids in the mouth.

Oral acids are a naturally-occurring part of the digestive process. Every time you eat or drink, an acid surges into the mouth via saliva. This acid is very strong and helps to begin breaking down food as you chew.

These acid attacks, once they begin, last from 20 to 30 minutes. So, when you arrive and pop that first cheese straw in your mouth, the acid attack begins and continues throughout the evening as long as you’re consuming about every 20 minutes or so.

The risk factors go up with what you eat.

Holiday foods are often sweet or largely carbohydrate in content (such as pigs-in-blankets, chocolate covered pretzels, etc.). When potent oral acids mix with the sugar and carbs (which converts to a sugar) in these foods, it gives a super boost to oral bacteria growth.

Of course, while sticking by the veggies and dip is helpful, what you’re drinking may be just as bad as the pumpkin pie. Drinks such as punch, wine and cocktails are no friend to your smile, either.

Although many people feel wine is a healthy drink, it is highly acidic. When this acidity mixes with oral acids, your mouth is bombarded with a potent assault strong enough to soften tooth enamel.

Alcohol, in any form, is also very drying to oral tissues. This makes it harder for saliva to keep the mouth rinsed of what is coming in. This simply aids in the production of oral bacteria. When you are sipping a drink made with colas, liquors or syrupy mixers, you merely boost the potential for damage.

Are we recommending you nibble carrot sticks and sip sparkling water at your holiday outings? Of course not. However, we can make some recommendations to help you minimize the acidity in the mouth and keep oral bacteria from running rampant.

  • When nibbling, eat what you wish in a brief amount of time rather than pace out your eating for an extended period of time. Take a plate and put on it what you wish and then stop eating after. This will allow the acids to cease rather than continue.
  • Be conscious of what’s in your drink. Should you have a gin & tonic or a Manhattan? Choose a drink that is lighter in calories in the form of sugar.
  • When drinking, periodically take gulps of plain water and let it linger in the mouth for a couple of seconds before swallowing. This helps dilute oral acids and move them out of the mouth before they can damage tooth enamel.
  • Once home, be sure to brush and floss. By removing bacteria that has accumulated in the mouth, you’ll help to decrease the risk for gum disease and cavities.

Keep in mind that bad breath is the result of an over-accumulation of oral bacteria. When you keep bacteria in the mouth under control, you’ll enjoy fresher breath. In close conversations, this is important!

This holiday season, share your smile often and with confidence. Keep your smile healthy by understanding where your risks are and how to avoid problems from occurring in the first place.

Periodontal Disease – How It Forms

Posted on Nov 01, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Last night’s Halloween festivities reminded me just how easily gum disease can form. Late night indulging in the candy gathered by Trick or Treaters could be counted as ‘Step One’ in the process. Here is how it occurs…

Let’s say you indulge in a few sweet treats in the evening. Most of us do on occasion. But let’s say you are so busy that you forget to brush and floss before going to bed. When you wake up, your mouth feels sticky and you can feel a film over teeth. But let’s say you have overslept and are running so late that you fail to brush your teeth before you leave the house.

As you grab a sweetened coffee and donut on the way out the door, you remind yourself to pop a breath mint in your mouth before you get to work, hoping that will camouflage the smelly film that coats your tongue, teeth and gums.

Over the course of the day, you stir sugar in your coffee, sip cola at your desk after lunch and have a candy bar as a pick-me-up mid-afternoon. Heading home, you sip another cola.

Now, let’s look at what your mouth has endured during this process and why your potential for gum disease is greatly increased because of it.

First, the late-night, sugar-laden sweet treat that you ate the evening before is the perfect fuel for oral bacteria. Sugar super-charges oral bacteria, enabling these living, breathing creatures to reproduce rapidly. And, the more they reproduce, the more there are to reproduce.

As oral bacteria grow and thrive in your mouth, they form a film that coats teeth and gums. This is know as plaque. Plaque can form quickly because of how rapid oral bacteria can reproduce. It can be felt by running your tongue over teeth at the end of the day before brushing.

If plaque is not removed daily, it can harden into a substance known as tartar, or calculus. This cement-hard mass attaches to teeth and cannot be brushed or flossed away. It can only be removed by dental professionals using special tools.

Once tartar is on teeth, this mass colony of bacteria continues to grow, eating into tooth enamel and gum tissues. As the bacteria become more than the immune system can manage, the gum tissues become inflamed. This is the beginning of gum disease.

Now, consider that each time you eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth. This is actually a normal part of the digestive process, which helps to break foods down as we chew. However, frequent eating AND consuming food and beverages that contain sugar can easily become more than our oral health can combat.

One of the worst culprits along these lines is soda. Because many people consume sodas by sipping them over the course of an hour, the prolonged acid attack the mouth must endure is a tremendous challenge to one’s oral health. As oral bacteria thrive in the mouth from the sugar, the gums are weakened and the enamel is softened, setting teeth and gums up for disaster.

As the growth of bacteria penetrate beneath the gum line, they are able to attack the structures that support teeth. The inflammation spreads and the gums become sore and turn red. At this point, periodontal disease is running rampant.

As the inflammation expands, the gum tissues bleed easily when brushing teeth. Bad breath is a frequent problem now and the gums are swollen in some areas. At this point, the gums are infected and brushing cannot undo the onslaught of oral bacterial growth.

The infectious bacteria cause pus pockets to form on gums. Because of the damage to gum tissues and bone structures that support teeth, some teeth will loosen and may require removal.

What’s unknown to many, however, is the fact that this infectious bacteria can penetrate gum tissues and enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, oral bacteria can travel throughout the body and trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere.

Research has shown links between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers, high blood pressure, impotency and even Alzheimer’s disease. As a matter of fact, the make-up of tissues from oral bacteria and that of affected arthritis joints are nearly identical — both being inflammatory diseases. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495574/)

Now, let’s rewind. Rather than have this destructive process occur in the first place, let’s consider how easy it is to prevent. By devoting 2-3 minutes twice a day to proper brushing (at least two minutes each time) and daily flossing (which requires a minute, typically), you can prevent this wildfire effect of inflammatory bacteria growth and destruction.

For tartar buildup that does occur, your 6-month checkups are designed to remove this and give you a clean slate for having and keeping a healthy mouth between visits.

Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. This is sad, considering that gum disease is so preventable. Even worse, the infectious oral bacteria of gum disease can contribute to systemic inflammation, which has been associated with a long list of diseases and serious health conditions.

You can protect your smile and your overall health by renewing your commitment to having and maintaining good oral health. Rather than assume all is well with your oral health unless something hurts, know that your smile needs your attention at least twice a day as well as twice-a-year dental visits.

Let’s get your smile into tip-top shape so it’s easy to maintain! As a periodontal specialist, I have advanced training in treating all levels of periodontal disease and restoring oral health. Additionally, I am able to prevent tooth loss in many instances.

If you’ve delayed dental checkups or suspect you have gum disease, please call 828-274-9440 to schedule an exam.




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