Recent Posts



Zinc Poisoning From Denture Creams

Posted on Sep 28, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

You may have read of lawsuits being brought against major manufacturers, such as Proctor & Gamble (maker of Fixodent) and GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Poligrip) due to the effects of zinc poisoning. One of the ingredients in denture creams is zinc. When overuse of denture creams put too much zinc in the body, it depletes the body’s natural balance of copper. Since copper regulates neurological activity, such an imbalance can lead to nerve damage or even neuropathy, a painful nerve disorder for which there is no cure.

The issue seems to evolve around the amount of denture cream an individual uses on a regular basis. Although the manufacturers estimate that one tube of denture cream will last between 1-2 months, some users admit to using a great deal more.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas) published findings from a study along these lines. They studied characteristics of denture-wearing patients who developed nerve damage after using more than the recommended amount of the product on a continual basis. Some were using as much as two tubes per week, and the findings showed that this was only commonality shared by those with nerve damage or neuropathy.

When an excessive amount of denture cream is used, it is typically due to trying to secure an ill-fitting denture or partial. When dentures are first made, they are shaped to conform to the gum ridge for which they are designed to adhere. Denture creams help to keep the denture in place moreso to this foundation. However, without natural tooth roots embedded in the jaw bone, the bone begins to shrink over time. As the ridge declines in height and width, there is less and less of a foundation to hold the denture. Reapplying denture cream several times a day may help for a brief amount of time, but by this extent of bone loss, no cream or adhesive can overcome the loose fit for very long.

Poor fitting dentures often cause adults to eat soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. These tend to lack a healthy balance of protein rich meats, hearty grains, and fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals. Not being able to chew properly compromises an important part of the digestion process. It is a fact that denture wearers have more gastrointestinal problems and take more medications than adults who have their own teeth.

Not having a secure fit with dentures also prevents some people from being socially active. Because of the potential for embarrassing slips or clicks, many adults will shy away from gatherings rather than risk the worst. Plus, I’ve heard many patients tell how they detested the denture creams while drinking coffee because the heat would melt the coffee and that’s all they could taste.

Because dental implants are held by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots, they restore chewing comfort and biting stability. Dental implants allow you to eat the foods you love and laugh without worry. Denture creams, pastes, powders, etc. are not needed. Dental implants are safe, successful, and designed to last a lifetime.

I can’t think of one good reason to select dentures over dental implants. Nor can the growing number of adults who are selecting dental implants as the nation’s preferred method of tooth replacement. If you’d like to discuss dental implants, call (828) 274-9440.

Oral Cancers From HPV Virus

Posted on Sep 25, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the nation’s most common sexually transmitted virus. At least 50% of sexually active people will have genital HPV at some time in their lives. Although awareness of HPV risk is growing, it is not commonly known that HPV can spread through oral sex and linked to diseases in the mouth.

A particular type of HPV, the high risk HPV 16, is found in cancer of the tonsils, vocal cords, base of the tongue, and oesophagus. A low risk HPV that causes genital warts may also be found in some cases of cancer of the vocal cords.

Vaccines are available and many doctors are encouraging sexually active patients to be vaccinated. For those who are not vaccinated against HPV, condoms can lower the risk of developing HPV-related diseases, such as genital warts and cervical cancer. But, since HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom, the risk remains high for many.

Why Gum Disease Can Be Surprise Diagnosis

Posted on Sep 24, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Some patients are shocked to learn they’ve developed periodontal (gum) disease. However, the regularity of dental visits, condition of physical health, oral hygiene at home, and other factors can leave one individual more susceptible than other.

For example, if you only have once-a-year hygiene visits, rather than every six months, your dentist may surprise you with a diagnosis of periodontal disease. Keep in mind that it only takes 36 hours for oral bacteria to begin plaque formation.

Many factors can play a part in the rate of how one develops gum disease. Additionally, occasional mild changes in the condition of gum tissues are not always aggressively responded to depending on the individual and the judgement call by the examining dentist. Some females, for example, can have tender and red gums during their menstrual cycle. The ‘normal’ gum condition of patients who smoke can vary from one to another.

Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your oral health. Research has shown that the inflammation of gum disease can have adverse reactions elsewhere in the body. It has been linked to coronary artery disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems. Like many diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal disease begins silently and without obvious warning signs in earliest stages.

If your family physician gave you a clean bill of health at an annual check-up one year, but told you a tumor had developed the next, you would likely understand it had developed between the two visits. The same can happen with periodontal disease.

This is why those six-month check-ups are so important. They catch problems at early stages so they don’t become bigger ones. Too, your home care between visits plays a major role in the condition of your oral health at each visit.

Should you learn that you have developed gum disease, the most important thing is for you to be treated promptly to restore good oral health. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

Terms You Need To Know!

Posted on Sep 20, 2012 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

You may occasionally hear unfamiliar dental terms that relate to periodontal (gum) disease. I felt it would be helpful to provide explanations of various terms along with their sequence in the development of periodontal disease.

Dental Plaque – is a sticky film that forms on the teeth. Dental plaque is an accumulation of bacteria and what causes periodontal disease. If plaque is not removed each day by brushing and flossing, it hardens into calculus.

Calculus – is dental plaque that hardens and cannot be removed by brushing or flossing, only by a dental professional using specific tools. Also referred to as tartar, calculus is typically rough and porous.

Gingivitis – is the initial stage of periodontal disease. When the bacteria in dental plaque is not removed on a daily basis, gingivitis will cause the gum tissue to turn red, sore and bleed easily.

Periodontal Pockets – are created by toxins in plaque that attack the gum tissues below the gum line. As the gums pull away from the teeth, a pocket forms, which fills with plaque and infection. Eventually, the bone and connecting tissues around the tooth can become so damaged that the tooth will loosen and require extraction.

Root Scaling & Planing – is a non-surgical procedure that removes plaque and calculus from periodontal pockets and around tooth roots to promote healing.

Periodontitis – is the stage of periodontal disease that causes inflammation in supporting tissues of teeth as well as bone loss. Periodontitis is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Research has shown this bacteria can contribute to inflammation elsewhere in the body, resulting in severe health risks.

When caught early, time and expense in treatment is far less than trying to combat periodontal disease in latter stages. If you suspect you have gum disease, please contact us (828) 274-9440 promptly for an examination.