Recent Posts



Want A ‘Problem’ Tooth Pulled? Read This First!

Posted on Sep 29, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

When a person wants a tooth extracted because it’s a ‘problem’ tooth, it’s often because it is requiring continual repairs. Unfortunately, ridding yourself of one problem can open the door to a long list of others.

Each tooth in your mouth holds other teeth in proper position. This includes the teeth on each side and the one above or below. A missing tooth enables neighboring teeth to ‘drift.’ This eventually leads to drifting of teeth adjacent to them, and so on. Misaligned teeth can lead to chips, broken teeth, night-time clenching or grinding, headaches, worn teeth, jaw joint pain and a higher risk of cavities and gum disease.

It is a fact that when a tooth is removed, if not replaced, the tooth next to the open space will be the next you’ll lose. Thus, replacing a missing tooth should occur as soon as possible. We recommend Dental Implants rather than a Crown-&-Bridge combination since implants use the jaw bone as their foundation, just as natural tooth roots. Crown-&-Bridge requires the crowning of otherwise healthy, natural teeth on each side to serve as supports for the bridged tooth.

Dental Implants provide another advantage as well. Since they are held in the jaw bone, they recreate the presence of a tooth root. This stimulates the bone to help the jaw maintain a healthy depth and mass. Like the gap left by a missing tooth, bone loss from missing tooth roots enable drifting of neighboring teeth. Implants, when placed soon after extraction, help you avoid that.

‘Problem teeth’ are often avoided with a healthy foundation of gum tissue and proper oral hygiene. Unless the tooth has been severely compromised due to periodontal disease or has broken below the gum line, removal is seldom the easiest and cheapest solution. Let’s first establish a healthy mouth so all teeth have a better environment with a reduced risk for problems. Call (828) 274-9440 for a consultation appointment.

Avoid Dental Disasters By Being Proactive

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

When I place Dental Implants to replace a single tooth, it is often because the tooth fractured below the gum line. When a tooth breaks or cracks beneath the realm of a protective crown, the tooth must be removed and replaced.

When hairline fractures appear, a dentist will typically recommend a crown to protect the tooth, avoiding a potential break. The reason many people decline or delay having a tooth crowned is due to dental insurance constraints. It is unfortunate when patients postpone dental repairs because of their insurance coverage.

Once a tooth is removed, the patient must decide how to replace it. Because insurance companies prefer to cover the least expensive methods of replacement, the patient must decide if their ‘approved’ option is what serves their long-term, best interest.

Keep in mind that these insurance companies are for-profit firms. Dental insurance is meant to HELP with expenses for basic procedures (cleanings, etc.) or repairs (a yearly allowance for crowns or fillings, for example). Dental insurance is not, and never will be, total coverage that ensures your long-term dental wellness.

Having a healthy, confident and appealing smile is a positive part of your overall health. Be proactive so you can avoid costly and time consuming repairs regardless of what dental insurance companies allow. If you do not have a regular general dentist, call our office at (828) 274-9440 for a recommendation. If you do, let your dentist guide you to lasting oral wellness.

Gum Disease Can Exist Without Obvious Symptoms

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

Like most diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal (gum) disease begins silently. People who develop cancer or heart disease typically have no warning signs during the earliest stages of formation. The same is true for gum disease. By the time symptoms are obvious, some people ignore them, such as gums that bleed when brushing or tender, sore gums. While many tend to assume these problems as normal, this merely allows gum disease to progress further.

Initial signs of periodontal disease, once they emerge, include gums that bleed when you brush, persistent bad breath, tender gums, swollen spots around teeth and gums that pull away from teeth. If you find dental cleanings are uncomfortable, it may have less to do with the technique of your Hygienist and more to do with heightened gum sensitivity. People with healthy gums rarely complain of discomfort during oral hygiene visits.

The earliest form of gum disease is Gingivitis. It begins with a buildup of plaque, which is a sticky film that forms on teeth. This film is an accumulation of oral bacteria. When not removed on a regular basis (such as with twice daily brushing and daily flossing), plaque hardens into calculus. Calculus attaches to teeth and is impossible to brush or floss away. When a dental hygienist scrapes at teeth with a special instrument, she is likely removing calculus buildup.

Calculus, if not removed, continues to amass as bacteria reproduce in your mouth. Calculus bacteria not only attack tooth enamel, they eat away at tender gum tissues. For people who are not regular with their 6-month oral hygiene exams and cleanings, the delay in calculus removal allows for a steady progression of oral bacteria growth and damage.

Gum disease also has the ability to be an inflammation trigger once bloodborne. Oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissue. Numerous studies have associated this bacteria with an inflammatory effect that can trigger an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies and much more.

Although research findings have created more awareness and emphasis on maintaining good periodontal health, gum disease is still rampant in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that half of all American adults age 30 and over have some level of gum disease.

If you have missed or delayed regular dental check-ups, you are advised to have a thorough periodontal exam. A Periodontist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all levels of gum disease and can restore your mouth to a healthy state (and help to protect your overall health in the process!). Call (828) 274-9440 for more information.

Does Dental Fear Give You Gum Disease?

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Nearly 70% of American adults have some level of anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. Even worse, about half of those have such a high level of fear they are categorized as dental phobics. These are people who become so upset at the mere thought of dental visits that physical reactions (such as breaking out in a sweat) occur.

Often, those with dental fears aren’t sure of the origins, although many are related to traumatic childhood dental experiences. Fortunately, modern dentistry has made much progress in comfort options. Additionally, most of today’s dentists are more sensitive to patient comfort and strive to deliver ‘painless’ dentistry. Many offices offer oral sedation as well as topical numbing before injections and headsets with soothing music to help relax patients.

During many procedures, we use oral sedation to place our patients in a fully relaxed, serene state. Numbing is still provided but injections are delivered after the patient is sedated. Oral sedation is given prior to your appointment so you are relaxed by the time you arrive at our office. Oral sedation provides total relaxation throughout your visit and typically erases memory of the procedure afterward.

The first step is to choose the Doctor who is right for you. For some, just making the appointment and getting in the door for the initial visit is a challenge. I suggest starting with a consultation. This will allow you to meet the Doctor in a non-clinical setting and determine if this practice is a good fit for you.

Often, fearful patients relax just by meeting the ‘right Doctor.’ If it has been years (or even decades) since your last dental check-up and cleaning, it is vital to your overall health to rid your mouth of the oral bacteria that is surely present. Please call (828) 274-9440 for a consultation as soon as possible. The earlier your care begins, the less will be required to restore your mouth to a healthy state. And, your comfort will be a priority at every visit!