Recent Posts



Referral To Our Office Not Required

Posted on Oct 29, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a dental specialist, most new patients are referred to our office by others in the medical and dental community. For these, I see myself as a member of the ‘care team’ and interact with general dentists, orthodontists, prosthodontists, endodontists, plastic surgeons and others to create ultimate outcomes of our mutual patients.

However, for those who are interested in our services, patients can, and do, come to us on their own. For example, some patients haven’t been to the dentist in years and come because they suspect gum disease is present. Some come because they are unhappy with having a “gummy smile.” Some are the result of their long-time dentist retiring and they haven’t yet found the ‘right fit’ for their regular dental care.

Western North Carolina is fortunate to have so many outstanding health care professionals for the warm, friendly smiles that reside here. We are happy to support our fellow practitioners as well as offer a ‘front door’ for those who have pertinent needs. Feel free to call and inquire about your periodontal health and appearance! We’re as close as 828-274-9440!

Oral Cancer Is A Deadly Threat

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

Recently, Michael Douglas revealed that his former claim of having, and conquering, throat cancer was false. He admitted to actually having cancer of the tongue, a form of oral cancer. He shared that his reason for hiding his true diagnosis was to protect his career. Because of the radical surgery requirements to remove oral cancer, (that is, when it’s not too late to effectively treat it), he feared his acting career would be negatively affected, no matter the outcome of surgery.

Now that he has been able to recoup and rebound, which is not always the case with oral cancer, he is being more open and forthright about his ordeal. Oral cancer kills about 1 person each hour, 24 hours every day. Of those newly diagnosed, approximately 57% (or a little over half) will be alive in 5 years. This percentage has not significantly improved in decades.

Not many could blame Mr. Douglas for his concerns. For movie fans, many still remember the film critic duo of Siskel & Ebert. Roger Ebert suffered from oral cancer, also, and succumbed in 2013 after a nearly 10 year battle with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands. Pictures of his disfigured face were far from how he once appeared.

From the mid-1970’s through 2004, the National Cancer Institute reveals a 15% increase in oral cancer rates. While men ages 60 – 79 have the highest risk, both sexes and all adults are susceptible. Recent facts show:
•    For every 100,000 adults, 10.5 will develop oral cancer.
•    Oral cancer rates are significantly higher for males than for females.
•    Oral cancer rates are higher for Hispanic and Black males than White males.
•    Oral cancer rates increase with age, with a more rapid increase after age 50, peaking between ages 60 – 70

Survival rates for oral cancer can be improved, however, with greater awareness. The following symptoms should be closely monitored and, if still present after a week to 10 days, checked immediately by a dentist or dental specialist.

– white or red patch of tissue in the mouth or lips
– small ulcer similar to a common canker sore
– tissue changes that mimic a bite on the inside of your cheek
– any sore or discolored area of your mouth
– lump or mass that can be felt inside the mouth or neck
– pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking or chewing
– wart-like mass
– persistent hoarseness
– numbness in the oral/facial region
– persistent ear ache in both ears

Because symptoms can be painless and are minimally visible or changing, these signs are often ignored or the individual chooses to delay having them checked until their 6-month dental exam.

Delays can be deadly. Take charge of your well-being and be proactive when it comes to your oral health. We’d much rather give you good news than have you amidst the terrible statistics of oral cancer. Call (828) 274-9440 for more information.

Imagine That Ideal Smile!

Posted on Oct 21, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

When children pretend, they enjoy time with friends and learn by role playing. For a few minutes, ‘pretend’ you have the smile of your dreams. Perhaps you have all of your natural teeth again instead of a partial or crown-&-bridge. Maybe you no longer have a ‘gummy smile’ or worry about persistent bad breath.

Now, imagine smiling with that fabulous, confident smile. How do you feel — more confident? Do you smile more often? Is your smile bigger or do you laugh easily with more pleasure? Are you more outgoing since eating and speaking with others is more comfortable?

You CAN have that smile! I see patients all the time who overcome dental fears, financial constraints and other concerns who are now smiling how once was felt to be a distant dream. Often, just a consultation allows us to address obstacles that are often perceived, but may actually be dealt with easier than you thought.

A healthy, confident smile is a significant part of your overall health as well as your appearance, self-confidence, and even self-esteem. Let’s discuss the smile you’ve always wanted and address those concerns. Call 828-274-9440 to arrange a consultation.

Sources of Bad Breath

Posted on Oct 15, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

We’ve all run into people who have “morning breath,” (the result of not brushing after the mouth has been closed all night while bacteria accumulates, developing a sticky film known as plaque). “Coffee breath” is another odor that can be offensive, which is the result of coffee’s drying tendency to oral tissues. Without sufficient saliva flow to give the mouth a natural cleansing, bacteria build and mix with the coffee scent to create a strong, unpleasant scent.

Dry mouth may also be a result of smoking or drinking alcohol. Other culprits are some medications, a problem with the salivary glands, or continual breathing through the mouth. Some diseases and illnesses can contribute to bad breath as well, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, diabetes, acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Morning breath, coffee breath and odors from eating foods like onions and garlic are temporary. Once you brush and rinse thoroughly, you can expect your breath to become more pleasant. Persistent bad breath, however, may be the a side effect of medication, an illness, or periodontal (gum) disease.

As a periodontal specialist, I’m very much aware of the distinct odor produced by gum disease. Although it varies slightly from person to person, it has a different scent than that of typical bad breath. The best way to determine gum disease as the true source is through a periodontal exam.

In addition to persistent bad breath, periodontal disease symptoms include gum tenderness, gums that bleed when brushing, and gums that are red in color rather than a healthy pink.

It’s not unusual for adults to avoid much-needed dental care because of dental fears. Many adults carry with them traumatic dental experiences from the past all of their lives. Although new techniques and technology now create more comfortable procedures, a relationship of trust between the patient and his or her dentist is needed.

Oral sedation is one option that can help fearful patients have the dental treatment they need. This places the patient in a totally relaxed state and erases most memory of the procedure afterward.

Regardless of the source of unpleasant breath odor, it is imperative to one’s overall health to have and maintain good oral health. The bacteria of gum disease has been linked to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, memory loss, diabetes, impotency and others.

If you’re past due for dental care, call us at (828) 274-7440. You can begin with a Consultation to discuss your symptoms and have all your questions answered.