Recent Posts



Gum Disease Treatment Lowers Health Care Costs

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

A study recently released by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shared some important findings. A study of health and dental insurance records of nearly 339,000 adults revealed that periodontal (gum) treatment improved the health of those with chronic diseases. These include people with heart disease, diabetes and premature births, among others. Those who had at least one periodontal treatment were shown to have lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations than those who did not receive treatment.

A dramatic savings of 74% was seen among pregnant women. Adults with cardiovascular disease and diabetes had 20 – 40% lower health-care costs after periodontal treatment.

Internal inflammation is the link between gum disease and chronic health conditions. Although inflammation is the body’s response to infection, an excess tends to worsen heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Eliminating gum infection seems to lighten the load to the extent that it benefits the body overall.

Gum disease begins with a sticky film that forms on teeth, known as plaque. Left untreated, gingivitis begins, which can turn into full-blown periodontal disease. In this, gums bleed easily, pull away from the teeth and are a dark red in color. Pus pockets form around some teeth as the infection persists. Eventually, tooth loss occurs.

The good news is gum disease is easy to prevent. Floss daily and brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Be committed to your 6-month check-ups and cleanings so any plaque build-up can be removed.

With your smile bright and healthy, you’ll enhance the health of your entire body and save much!

Mini Dental Implants Vs. Traditional Dental Implants

Posted on Jul 28, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Occasionally, I am asked my opinion on mini dental implants. Mini implants have a certain appeal to patients because the cost is nearly half of that required for traditional implants. However, like anything cheaper, these mini versions of traditional implants have their drawbacks.

Despite claims of mini implants being the same as traditional implants when it comes to strength, their placement in minimal bone leaves a compromised ability to withstand the normal forces of biting and chewing. Although, in cases where the anticipated load on the tooth will be less, such as canine (or ‘eye’) teeth, mini implants may be a consideration.

Because they are smaller and require a single placement procedure, mini dental implants are less costly than traditional implants. With traditional implants, placement is at a greater depth in the jawbone. There is also a waiting period before your final replacement teeth are attached. During this time, you are able to comfortably wear a denture, partial or temporary. This waiting period allows your bone to grow around the traditional implant, which securely anchors it in place and may take three to six months.

A traditional implant is a hollow titanium cylinder to which a post that supports replacement teeth is attached. Mini implants are shorter, solid posts placed in the jaw bone at less depth. Mini implants have no internal post and extend directly from the bone to the replacement teeth.

Being only two-thirds the size of a traditional implant, placement for mini implants can be done in one appointment with the immediate attachment of teeth. Combined with the cost savings factor, this naturally seems an appealing alternative to traditional implants.

However, traditional dental implants have withstood the test of time and have one of the most successful track records of all in-bone implants. Solidly anchored into the jawbone, just as natural tooth roots, they restore a dependable strength and stability so you can enjoy all the foods you love.

Mini dental implants are still a new concept with far less data to reasonably determine their success rate. When it comes to dental specialists who have years of experience with all types of dental implants, many are apprehensive about placing them because of an unknown potential for success. In spite of their appeal to patients as a less-costly option, seasoned periodontists know their risk for problems is at a greater level.

Every dentist wants you to enjoy a successful outcome when it comes to dental implants. Because of the failure potential, recommending mini implants in lieu of traditional implants is not something I do. Since every mouth is different, I can only make recommendations that I see as being the best for optimal outcomes. It is the patient who must ultimately decide on the option best for their long-term goals and investment.

Before making a final decision, I am happy to meet with you during a consultation. Here, we can discuss all your options and the advantages and challenges of each. Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange a time.

Saving Teeth Saves You Much More

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In cases of severe periodontal (gum) disease, my goal is not just to restore the patient’s mouth to a healthy state, it’s also to save as many natural teeth as possible. Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. However, when caught early and given specialized periodontal treatment, tooth loss is minimal or can be avoided altogether.

Although teeth can be replaced in several ways, nothing is as perfect for your mouth as your natural teeth, especially because of the portion you don’t see. Tooth roots not only give your teeth a way to be anchored in the jaw bone, they keep teeth in position so neighboring teeth hold their position as well.

Tooth roots do one more thing that is immensely important to your oral health. The stimulation that tooth roots provide to the jaw bone help the jaw maintain its mass. Without tooth roots, the bone begins to shrink. This is why long-time denture wearers have a sunken-in mouth, or a ‘granny look.’

As the jaw bone shrinks, changes in facial appearance become obvious. These include deep wrinkles around the mouth, a pointed chin and the formation of jowls. Bone loss also causes the fit of a denture or partial to continually change. This is because the bone ridge that the denture or partial was formed to contour is flattening out.

When a tooth must be removed, the closest way to recreate its stability and natural biting and chewing strength is with Dental Implants. Implants also provide stimulation to the jaw bone to halt bone loss.

Do everything possible to save your natural teeth. If they must be removed, remember that it’s not just the tooth portion above the gums that is important. The part that anchors your teeth is vital to your smile and a healthy bite. Before you decide on a tooth replacement option, discuss Dental Implants during a Consultation appointment by calling (828) 274-9440.

What Is A Dead Tooth?

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

A ‘dead tooth’ describes a tooth with a nerve that has died. This interior nerve helps your tooth detect hot, cold or discomfort. When a tooth contains a dead nerve, this means it holds dead tissue, which can be a haven for bacteria. This bacteria can eventually lead to infection, causing numerous problems.

Dead teeth can be the result of a severe blow to a tooth that cuts off an adequate supply of blood to the nerve. As the nerve dies, some teeth will be painful (a condition known as pulpitis). However, a dead nerve can also occur without any an individual feeling any discomfort.

Another cause of a dead tooth is bacteria from tooth decay. This bacteria can create inflammation to the nerve that becomes painful. Untreated, the bacteria can lead to an infection of the nerve that causes it to die. Once begun, this process cannot be undone.

A tooth can also die from too much wear, such as clenching or grinding during sleep. These actions can cause the blood vessels in the root to become too compacted. When this blood supply is reduced on a frequent basis, the nerve will eventually die.

Once a tooth contains a dead nerve, essentially, the interior begins to rot. Because the tooth no longer has a blood supply, its immune system is also gone and infection sets in. This infection will build until it begins to seep out of the tooth root. Additionally, the bone around the tooth root can become infected and lead to an abscess.

Eventually, a dead tooth will begin to darken. This is caused when the nerve’s blood vessels break down and red blood cells leak out.

There are several ways to treat a dead tooth. Ideally, you can save the tooth with a root canal procedure. Root canal treatment should be performed soon after the nerve has died and before the tooth becomes darker.

Whitening a dead tooth is minimally helpful. Although some dentist-supervised whitening systems can lighten the degree of darkness on a dead tooth, the resulting shade may poorly match other teeth.

Another method is to place a crown or veneer on the tooth to hide the dark shade. Or, you can opt for removal. Removing a tooth can create an entirely new set of challenges and should be considered as a last resort.

It is advised that you act immediately when you feel a tooth has been damaged. Tooth pain or throbbing is not normal and should be examined at your earliest convenience. Tending to a dead tooth before it darkens can save you much in treatment time and expense.

To learn more, call (828) 297-9440.