Recent Posts



What ‘Ups’ Your Risk For Gum Disease?

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

You may not realize it, but over 47% of adults in the U.S. who are 30 years and older have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. To understand gum disease, it is important to know how it begins.

Gum disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque and tartar. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria buildup that attaches to teeth. Tartar, the hardened form of plaque, develops when plaque is not removed on a daily basis. Tartar, also known as calculus, can only be removed by special tools in your dentist’s office.

Even though good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups help most people avoid gum disease, certain factors can cause some to be more susceptible, including:

Aging: Studies have indicated that the incidence of periodontal disease increases as we get older. Over 70% of adults who are aged 65 and older have some form of gum disease.

Dry Mouth: Smoking, certain medications, drinking alcohol and aging all contribute to a dry mouth. The saliva in your mouth plays an important part in removing food particles and bacteria. When insufficient saliva cannot cleanse the mouth adequately, bacteria buildup results.

Being Male: Periodontal disease occurs more in men than women (56% vs. 38%).

Smoking: Smoking dries out the tissues in the mouth, increasing one’s susceptibility to calculus. Research shows that smokers lose more teeth than nonsmokers and typically require longer healing times after treatment with results that are less predictable.

Genetics: Because of genetics, you can be predisposed to develop gum disease. Research indicates that 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.

Stress: It has been proven that people who endure long-term stress have a greater risk for developing diseases such as cancer, hypertension and even gum disease. Stress takes a toll on the body’s entire operation, weakening its ability to fight infection.

Medications: The side effects of some drugs can dry out oral tissues and even weaken the density of bones, opening the door for gum disease. Like your physician, your dentist should have an up-to-date list of all medications you take, including herbal supplements.

Grinding Teeth: When you grind and clench your teeth during sleep, the teeth wear down and connective oral tissues are weakened. When the tissues surrounding your teeth are vulnerable, your entire jaw bone area is exposed to certain infections, which can lead to gum disease.

Other Health Issues: People who have diseases such as cancer or heart problems already have weaker immune systems. When the bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream through tears in oral tissues, harmful clotting factors and proteins can occur elsewhere in the body. Research has linked gum disease bacteria with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, preterm babies, and memory loss.

Don’t assume, “If it doesn’t hurt, then nothing is wrong.” Like other diseases that form in the body, gum disease begins silently.  When symptoms become obvious, they include bad breath, bleeding gums, soreness in the mouth, and gum recession. Often, these symptoms are assumed to be temporary, enabling the disease to progress further.

A committed oral care regimen as well as involvement with your dentist help, but are not guarantees you’ll avoid them. The more you know about periodontal disease and what makes you individually more susceptible, the more proactive you can be.

To learn more, visit the American Academy of Periodontology’s web site: Or, call our office at (828) 297-2774 to arrange a periodontal exam.

Healthy Smiles For Mom-To-Be Helps Baby, Too!

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

In the U.S., women who become pregnant tend to be more committed to their health, since healthy choices can lead to a healthy baby. Most take prenatal vitamins, don’t drink, don’t smoke and eat wisely. However, recommendations from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) urge pregnant women to maintain excellent oral health as well. Research has shown that pregnant women with periodontal (gum) disease have higher risk for pre-mature birth or low birth weight babies.

Studies indicate that women with gum disease are more likely to deliver babies prematurely or with low-birth weight than mothers with healthy gums. This includes babies with birth weights of less than 5.5 lbs. or at least 3 weeks prior to the due date. These can result in long-term problems such as delayed motor skills, social development or learning disabilities as well as respiratory problems, reduced vision and hearing, or digestive complications.
Periodontal (gum) disease is the result of bacteria buildup and the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss. It is also an inflammatory condition that has been associated with other serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Symptoms include tender, swollen gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink, gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath and receded gums that expose tender tooth roots.

The medical and dental professions agree that oral health plays an important role in a healthy pregnancy. Non-surgical periodontal therapy is safe and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage pregnant women to continue regular dental cleanings during pregnancy.

Gum disease will not improve without professional treatment. The earlier treatment is provided, the less involved it will be so pregnant women, especially, are advised to seek prompt treatment.

A healthy mouth not only supports your overall health, it plays an important part in your baby’s well-being throughout your pregnancy. Smile your best, moms-to-be, and keep it healthy for you AND baby!

The Appeal Of All-On-4 Dental Implants

Posted on Sep 24, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you are missing all of your upper or lower teeth (or all teeth in your mouth), you probably experience the common frustrations of most denture wearers. Typical complaints are difficulty chewing, embarrassing slips and sore spots where dentures have rubbed gum tissue.

It’s no surprise that many denture wearers are turning to the All-On-4 Dental Implant system. This is a highly-successful type of implant that is:

• Affordable – Since the cost of implant treatment is largely based on the number of implants placed, this system uses just 4 implants on the upper arch and 4 on the lower, creating a less expensive option.
• Non-Removable Teeth – Once the implants are secured, the attached teeth are designed to remain in the mouth always. You’ll wake up with a terrific smile and brush your teeth in your mouth again!
• Provides Immediate Attachment of Teeth – Many adults fear having to go without their teeth during various stages of treatment. Not with the All-On-4 system that allows for the attachment of teeth as soon as your implants are placed.
• Overcomes Bone Loss Issues – Some adults have been told they are not candidates for dental implants because they’ve experienced too much bone loss. Because the All-On-4 system was designed with unique angles, it does not need the same amount of bone depth as traditional implant types.
• Existing Dentures May Be Used – Some adults have good-condition dentures and like the appearance. In some cases, we can attach an existing denture to All-On-4 implants for additional savings.
• Designed For A Lifetime – Like traditional dental implants, the All-On-4 system is designed to last a lifetime. With proper maintenance, you’ll enjoy a secure, confident smile for all of your life!

The All-On-4 implant system restores your ability to bite, chew and savor all the foods you love. You’ll be able to laugh and even sneeze again without worry!

Begin with a consultation appointment. I’ll explain your options and answer all of your questions so you can make the decision that is best for you. Call (828) 274-9440.

Stand Out This Holiday Season With A Terrific Smile!

Posted on Sep 19, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As we near the beginning of the holiday season, when group gatherings are at the year’s peak, rethink the money you’ll spend on that sparkly new dress or designer shoes. Research shows that the first thing people notice about others is their SMILE! If you truly want to sparkle and stand out in a positive way, give your smile a close look in the mirror.

Is your smile a brown tint or has it yellowed?
Does your smile look healthy and clean?
Is your breath fresh? Does your mouth ‘taste’ clean?
Are missing teeth on the sides obvious when you smile?

A healthy smile projects positively on the one who shares it. Be sure your at-home oral hygiene routine includes twice-daily brushing and flossing each night. In the morning, use a tongue-scrapper to remove bacteria embedded in the tongue. And, keep those 6-month cleaning appointments that remove plaque build-up.

A good cleaning can also help to remove surface stains from teeth. Whitening your teeth may be needed for deep stains. Most general dentists offer affordable whitening systems that creates dramatic, long-lasting results quickly, safely and comfortably. This can also help to camouflage flaws such as chipped or crooked teeth.

Missing teeth can be replaced with Dental Implants, which is a ‘lifetime’ replacement method and exceptional investment in your smile’s appearance AND health. Because implants do not reply on adjacent teeth for support (as in Crown-&-Bridge combinations), neighboring teeth are held in proper position and you’ll avoid having them shaved down for crowns to support a bridge.

Rethink your party clothes, jewelry or accessories this year. Stand out beautifully with your smile! That’s the terrific ‘sparkle’ they’ll remember!

Get your smile healthy and holiday-ready! Call (828) 274-9440 for a consultation to discuss a terrific smile for this holiday – and beyond!