Recent Posts



Saving A Tooth Is Worth It!

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

If you lose your hearing, you can regain some level of hearing through the use of hearing aids. However, nothing will ever work as well as the natural ear structure you once had. Even with the most expensive hearing aid options, adults often complain of echos and background noise interferences.

Like your hearing, your natural teeth are essentially irreplaceable. And, while dental implants are the next best thing to the natural teeth you once had, the majority of those with implants could have avoided needing them in the first place with a concentrated team effort between their general dentist and a dental specialist.

Of course, there are times when a tooth cannot be saved. In instances where a tooth with a fracture breaks off below the gum line, it can no longer support a crown. Had the crown been placed on the tooth prior to the break, it would have likely saved the tooth. For patients who find themselves in this position because they delayed this recommendation or felt a crown was too expensive, their dentist can hardly be faulted.

Additionally, some people don’t keep their 6-month dental exams and cleanings, feeling “if nothing hurts, nothing is wrong.” However, these visits are opportunities to catch problems that are avoidable or easily repaired before problems become more complicated and costly. Delaying these visits only positions you at greater risk for “when” rather than “if” bigger problems will arise.

Too many adult teeth are pulled because the patient feels a crown is too expensive. I believe this occurs when an adult hasn’t been educated as to what lies ahead. For example, when you lose a tooth, studies show the next tooth you’ll lose will be an adjacent tooth. As the trend continues, dentures are an eventual fate. Although dentures seem an easy way to deal with tooth loss, few truly understand the repercussions. Denture wearers typically struggle to chew comfortably and efficiently, take more medications, and die ten years younger than those who kept their natural teeth.

Many general dentists send us patients who have varying stages of gum disease (the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss) or for dental implant placement. I see patients from other specialists as well, including orthodontists, oral surgeons, and prosthodontists. The dental professionals who take the time to explain the long-term benefits of saving a tooth, rather than pulling it, are a credit to their profession as well as to their patients.

For patients who don’t want to invest in treatment to achieve healthy teeth and gums, I believe it is because they are unaware as to the years of frustration, discomfort, health risks and ongoing expenses to come. When you save your teeth, you can enjoy the lasting benefits of “the real thing.” Call (828) 274-9440 to learn more.

A Healthy Smile For The Holidays That Looks Great, Too!

Posted on Dec 20, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Have you ever been to a dinner or cocktail party and had someone whisper in your ear, “You have spinach in your teeth”? If you’re like me, you start assessing how many people you’ve been smiling and laughing with since you indulged in the spinach dip!

Having an appealing, flattering smile begins with a clean, healthy mouth. If you’re behind on your dental exams and cleaning, then that’s your first step. This visit will only remove any tartar or plaque build-up on your teeth and brighten your teeth with a thorough cleaning on all sides, including in-between. This will also help you have refresher breath!

When heading to a holiday gathering that will include food (as most do!), slip away to the restroom after eating to check your teeth. A bit of black pepper or a poppy seed can ruin your smile, which is often the first thing people notice when meeting you. Also, be sure to tuck some floss in your pocket or purse to remove bits that don’t swish away with water.

One more tip: Every time you eat or drink something (other than water), an acid attack begins in your mouth. This is not only bad for tooth enamel, it triggers production of oral bacteria that eat away at gum tissues and tooth surfaces. Rather than nibble your way through New Year’s Day, consider eating three healthy meals. If you must snack, select crunchy carrots, celery or apples rather than that leftover Christmas fudge! This can help you avoid cavities along with a good oral hygiene routine at home.

Smiling, laughing and being close with others is more joyful when you feel confident about your mouth. A healthy mouth is a positive reflection on you. Call us at (828) 274-9440 if you want to restore your smile to a healthy state.

Why You Dread Those Dental Cleanings

Posted on Dec 18, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It’s pretty rare that I run into someone who claims to “enjoy” getting their teeth cleaned. As a matter of fact, I not only hear the opposite from most people, occasional complaints about how “rough” their Hygienist is accompany the dislike of these visits.

The reality of this is not a hard-handed Hygienist or that dental cleanings are merely dreadful procedures. The reality is (drum roll) your cleanings are uncomfortable because your gums are tender. And, the reason your gums are tender is because you probably don’t floss your teeth.

Tender gums indicate that bacteria is attacking your sensitive oral tissues. Gums that bleed easily are a symptom of periodontal (gum) disease. If treated early, the cost and time required to restore your gums to a healthy state will be minimal. However, as gum disease progresses (and it WILL without treatment), the procedure is more involved.

Once your gums are restored to good oral health, it is a simple process to keep them that way. However, this requires twice daily brushing (at minimum), daily flossing (not a difficult or time-consuming task once you get the hang of it), monitoring sugar intake and drinking plenty of water to keep the mouth moist.

We see a number of patients periodically who have had their gums restored to a healthy state for evaluation and cleanings in-between visits to their regular dentist’s office. They come in smiling and leave smiling. Their cleanings are neither dreaded or uncomfortable. And, their smiles sparkle and their teeth are at minimal risk for cavities.

Join them! Call us at (828) 274-9440 to schedule a periodontal evaluation.


Give Your Smile A Healthy Foundation To Prevent Problems In The First Place!

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

Imagine contracting a house painter to paint a home infested by termites. Or, even worse, knowing the house has termites and hoping they’ll go away.

Your smile is a reflection on your appearance, hygiene standards, personality, and affects speech, digestion and your ability to enjoy foods – enhancing your life every day in many ways. Yet, the value of a healthy mouth goes even further.

The bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can become bloodborne through tears in gum tissue. As it travels throughout the body, this inflammatory bacteria can trigger reactions that have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, pre-term babies and even impotency. Gum disease is also the number one reason for adult tooth loss in this country.

The best way to have, and keep, a healthy mouth is to begin with its foundation. If your gums are not healthy, you will experience continual problems that just get worse and worse.

Your six-month dental hygiene visits remove tartar and plaque that has accumulated between visits. However, gums that are tender while your teeth are being cleaned is not necessarily because the hygienist is rough. Tender gums indicate the presence of bacteria. This is when periodontal therapy through a trained periodontal specialist will adequately help you regain a healthy mouth in a way that is appropriate to your individual needs.

For example, if your gum disease is at a specific level in some areas but not others, a Periodontist will customize your treatment accordingly so you don’t receive more (or less) treatment than necessary in any particular area. Your treatment by a Periodontist will restore your oral health for a foundation that is easy to maintain and actually helps you prevent problems in the first place.

A Periodontist has earned a dental doctorate and then continues an additional 3-4 years in school to become an expert in the soft tissues in your mouth, including dental implant placement. Think of it this way: Rather than have a house painter put a fresh coat of paint on termite infested siding, find the right person who can rid you of termites once and for all! Call (828) 274-9440 to learn more.