Recent Posts



Keeping You Informed & Involved!

Posted on Aug 26, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Recently, I used the term “gingiva” to a patient. When she asked me to explain what I meant, I was slightly caught off guard. It occurred to me that this term has become so common to me that I assume it is a familiar one to my patients. However, that is an unfair assumption. Many terms I use on a regular basis are those I learned in college or dental school and anything but commonplace to others, as they have become to me now.

Below are some terms you may hear us use, along with brief explanations of what they mean. And if you ever hear any term used by my staff or me that you aren’t sure what it is, feel free to ask. We want you to be involved in your oral health in an informed way!

Alveolar Bone – The jaw bone that anchors the roots of teeth.

Anterior Teeth – The six upper or six lower front teeth.

Bite – Relationship of the upper and lower teeth on closure (occlusion).

Bone Resorption – Decrease in bone supporting the roots of teeth, which is a common result of periodontal gum disease.

Bruxism – Grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep.

Calculus – Hard residue, commonly known as tarter that forms on teeth due to inadequate plaque control.

Caries – Tooth decay or “cavities.”

Curettage – Removal of diseased tissue from a periodontal pocket.

Cuspid or Canine – The four “eye teeth”.

Fistula – The channel that emanates pus from an infection site, which is a gum boil.

Flap surgery – The lifting of gum tissue to expose and clean underlying tooth and bone structures.

Frenectomy – The removal or reshaping of thin muscle tissue that attaches the upper or lower lips to the gum, or the tongue to the floor of the mouth.

Gingiva – Gum tissue.

Gingivectomy – The surgical removal of gum tissue.

Gingivitis – The inflammation of gum tissue.

Gum Recession – The exposure of dental roots due to shrinkage of the gums as a result of abrasion, periodontal disease or surgery.

Halitosis – Bad breath of oral or gastrointestinal origin.

Hyperemia – Increased blood flow that may cause sensitivity to temperature and sweets.

Incisors – The four upper and lower front teeth, excluding the cuspids (canine teeth).

Mandible – The lower jaw.

Maxilla – The upper jaw.

Palate – Hard and soft tissue forming the roof of the mouth.

Plaque – A soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth and is composed of bacteria and food debris due to inadequate dental hygiene.

Prophylaxis – Cleaning of the teeth for the prevention of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Restoration – The replacement of a portion of a damaged tooth.

Rubber Dam – A soft latex sheet used to isolate one or more teeth from contamination by oral fluids and to keep materials from falling to the back of the throat.

Scaling & Root Planning – The meticulous removal of plaque and calculus from tooth surfaces.

Tartar – A common term for dental calculus, a hard deposit that adheres to teeth and produces a rough surface that attracts plaque.

More Research Needed On Alzheimer’s-Gum Disease Bacteria Link

Posted on Aug 23, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

I’ve been pleased at how many comments I’ve received on the recent blog posted on the study that found a connection between a certain type of bacteria found in Periodontal (gum) Disease and the brains of deceased patients who had Alzheimer’s Disease.

To repeat the basics: Researchers used human brain tissue from 10 recently deceased people with diagnosed Alzheimer’s and 10 people without. The people with and without the disease were matched so the person’s age at death and other factors were similar.

While exciting, critics say the study, which only involved 20 people, was too small of a sampling. It is felt that this rarely produces conclusive results. Yet, as a Periodontal Specialist who has seen major medical breakthroughs to occur with their roots in such small samples, I’m encouraged.

While 4 out of 10 sounds like a small number, it is 40% of those with the particular gum disease bacteria compared to 0% of those without the presence of the bacteria. When viewed in these numbers, the results seem more dramatic.

I look forward to keeping you in the loop on future developments along these lines!

Turn Back The Hands Of Time On Smile Health – Now!

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

With the start of the school year just around the corner, I’m reminded of how often a patient with periodontal problems often shares the same words of regrets. When I give them their diagnosis and what their treatment will entail, the majority all say something like, “If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken much better care of my mouth all along.”

It’s like telling our teenage daughters to use sunscreen and to avoid tanning beds. Or, for those of us with relatives who smoke, we know how difficult it is to try to convince them to quit because of the health risks. Yet, until they are looking at the Doctor facing treatment decisions because of their choices, we know people (including ourselves!) can easily assume, “It won’t happen to me.”

With the new school year upon us, challenge yourself to think youthfully and do what needs to be done NOW so you can avoid dental problems that can be costly and time consuming. To be fully proactive with your oral health, call to arrange a periodontal exammso you’ll have a thorough understanding of what will restore your smile to optimal health! Call (828) 274-9440.

Extra Measures Taken For Fearful Patients’ First Visits

Posted on Aug 06, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

At our periodontal office, we feel all of our patients are special. However, we understand that some have special needs, such as those who have dental fears or severe dental phobias. As a specialty practice who helps restore people to healthy, confident smiles, we understand how fear can prevent adults from receiving the dental care they need. For this reason, we’ve incorporated extra steps on their behalf to make their first visit especially comfortable and less intimidating.

One measure is to ensure waiting time is kept to a minimum. Although we occasionally have unexpected delays, we have an excellent reputation for running on schedule and keep a close eye on this, in particular, when a fearful patient arrives.

For some patients, we can begin with a comfortable conversation in our Consultation Room. This is away from the clinical side of the practice so there are no noises or smells that will add to a newcomer’s anxiety. This room has no treatment chairs or instruments. We simply begin with a friendly conversation and discuss your concerns and what you’d like to accomplish with your oral health. I’ll explain our comfort options and answer your questions thoroughly.

When patients are seen, we can provide relaxation medication so, by the time you arrive, you’ll be in a very relaxed state. As much as is practical, we keep tools and equipment either covered or removed until you are in a totally relaxed state. We apply numbing medications to the areas being treated after you are in this tranquil state. Throughout your care, you are monitored by a trained staff member to ensure your safety and comfort. Afterward, you will likely have little or no memory of your treatment.

In many cases, patients return to us feeling they need no additional medications for treatment other than standard numbing. They realize we will not hurt them, knowing their comfort here is a priority.

For more about regaining a healthy smile, call (828) 274-9440 and speak with a friendly staff member. She can also arrange a consultation appointment so we can meet personally.