Recent Posts



Differing Diagnosis From Dentist To Dentist

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

Although treatment recommendations can occasionally vary from dentist to dentist, a long-term relationship is often an advantage. This enables you to be an active participant in your oral health with one dentist who can treat you according to your individual needs.

For example, hen one dentist diagnoses periodontal disease when it was not detected previously, it could be due to several factors. First, do you adhere to regular dental check-ups (exams, cleanings) on a 6-month schedule? Is your at-home oral hygiene regimen thorough (twice daily brushings, flossing daily)? Do you have proper repairs to existing teeth and gums (cavities filled, receded gums treated)? Do you keep your health history and medication list updated?

Like most diseases that form in our bodies, periodontal disease begins silently. It starts with oral bacteria build up and trigger gum disease. This destroys gum tissue and underlying bones that support tooth roots. When symptoms emerge, they include gums that bleed when you brush, persistent bad breath, tender and swollen spots around teeth, and gum recession. Once these symptoms are obvious, however, gum disease is rampant and typically requires treatment by a Periodontal Specialist.

Numerous findings associated with periodontal disease have shown a correlation between coronary artery disease and the bacteria of gum disease. It has also been linked to stroke, memory loss, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies and more.

Ultimately, it is your commitment to maintaining your oral health that is just as important as the dentist you see. When a dentist detects periodontal disease at an early stage, keep in mind it will only worsen when care is delayed. Early treatment can save you time and expense for more involved treatment as it becomes more severe.

To learn more about the causes and stages of periodontal disease, the web site of the American Academy of Periodontology is an excellent source: Or, call (828) 274-9440 for more information or to arrange an examination.

Don’t Let Dental Fear Ruin Your Smile

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

Nearly seventy percent of American adults have some level of anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. Some even have such high fear levels that they are categorized as dental phobics. These people become so upset at the mere thoughts of dental visits that physical reactions such as breaking out in a sweat or even crying occur.

Some adults who have dental fears aren’t sure of the origins, although others have vivid memories of when these fears began, perhaps of a dentist who failed to get them fully numb and began a procedure despite their pleas.

Today, dentistry has made much progress in comfort options. Additionally, most dentists are more sensitive to fearful patients. Some offices feature options such as topical numbing before injections, headsets with soothing music, and ergonomically designed treatment chairs. These features help to relax patients and make them more comfortable throughout their procedure.

For optimal relaxation, some offices also offer oral sedation while others are also certified and equipped to provide I.V. sedation (“twilight sleep”). For procedures that do not require the sedation depths of I.V. sedation, we recommend oral sedation. Oral sedation provides exceptional relaxation, leaving little or no memory of the procedure afterwards. Oral sedation also has a faster recovery than I.V. sedation and is less expensive.

For patients who prefer a deeper level of sedation, we recommend I.V. sedation. This places patients in a sleep-like state for optimal relaxation. Many fearful patients like its ability to erase memory of the procedure afterward. With both oral and I.V. sedation, numbing is still provided but injections are delivered after the patient is in a totally relaxed state.

Regardless of the comfort option you select, it is important to choose the dentist that is right for you. For some, just making the appointment and getting in the door for the initial visit is a traumatic process. It may be helpful to go to the office after-hours and walk to the front door to become familiar with its location and appearance.

I suggest starting with a consultation so you can meet the dentist and explain your concerns. This will help you determine if the practice is going to be a good fit for your particular needs. Often, fearful patients relax a great deal just from meeting the ‘right doctor.’ I urge you to find one who assures you that your comfort is a priority at all times.

If you have delayed dental care due to fear, the sooner you are seen the more you’ll save in treatment time and expense. Begin with a periodontal consultation to learn how your fears can be overcome so your oral health can be restored to a healthy state. Call (828) 274-9440.

Having Teeth Pulled Will NOT Solve Dental Problems

Posted on Nov 20, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

I see patients on a fairly regular basis who feel like there is a revolving door at their dentist’s office. No matter how often they go, another need soon arises that requires treatment. Having their teeth pulled and wearing dentures can seem like their only solution.

Most patients who have this issue have some underlying gum problems. Many adults are unaware that the problems they experience in their mouths originate with oral bacteria. This bacteria is what creates the sticky film in the mouth that forms plaque. Plaque destroys healthy enamel and eats away at gum tissues. Under the surface, the bacteria attacks gum tissues that support tooth roots.

At first, gum disease has no symptoms. However, once the disease is running rampant, you’ll notice persistent bad breath, swollen areas of gums around teeth, gums that bleed easily when you brush and receded gums that expose tender tooth roots.

Not only does oral bacteria create problems in the mouth, it can become bloodborne through tears in gum tissues, traveling to other parts of the body. It can trigger an inflammatory reaction that is so harmful, it has been linked to coronary artery disease, stroke, preterm babies, diabetes and memory loss.

If you feel you are always in the dental chair, begin with a periodontal examination by a Periodontal Specialist. This specialist is trained to diagnose and treat all stages of gum disease and restore your mouth to a healthy state. Once this is done, missing teeth should be replaced, preferably with dental implants.

Although dental implants are initially more expensive than dentures or partials, they are a far wiser investment. Designed to last your lifetime, dental implants do not require the support of neighboring teeth. This means that crowning natural, adjacent teeth for the sole purpose of supporting a bridge or partial is not necessary. Additionally, dental implants do not contribute to bone loss of the jaw bones, which is common with wearing dentures.

Finally, ensure remaining teeth are optimally healthy with the help of a skilled dentist. He or she will structure a thorough program of maintenance and make repairs to eliminate the pattern of ‘patch-&-fill’ dentistry that creates a frustration for your life, and your smile.

Most dental offices offer financial options that enable you to make affordable payments while enjoying the benefits of a healthy, confident smile. The commitment of achieving a worry-free mouth will provide lifelong rewards, including a smile that gives you daily pleasure!

Begin with a consultation and periodontal exam. Call (828) 274-9440 to schedule.

Some Whiteners Can Cause Damage To Gums

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

I recently stumbled across an online whitening method for teeth. It consisted of mixing peroxide and baking soda to brush the teeth. I cringe when I hear of concoctions such as this since they can cause severe damage to teeth and gums.

Using an abrasive substance such as baking soda can wear down tooth enamel, which does not regenerate itself. Some whitening methods non-supervised by your dentist can be just as risky to gum tissue. When an overly-abrasive substance is used to brush teeth, tender gum tissues can be damaged. Tears in the gums opens the door to oral bacteria, making you more susceptible to gum disease. The bacteria of gum disease can also enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammatory reactions. This bacteria has been linked to heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and even impotency.

Although the ADA states that, when used correctly, whitening strips are safe, they caution that if applied incorrectly or pushed into the gums, whitening strips can damage tooth enamel and lead to tissue damage below the gums.

Rather than risk costly repairs trying to mix a recipe full of risk, be very careful about the application of whitening strips or even better, ask your dentist about his or her whitening system. Risking the health of your teeth and gums is hardly worth trying these homemade remedies.