Recent Posts



Spots In Mouth Can Indicate Oral Cancer

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

If you don’t see your dentist for twice-a-year dental cleanings and exams, you’re missing out on a very important part of the exam. At least annually, your dentist performs an oral cancer screening to check for warning signs. A white or red spot on the tongue, lips or inside the cheeks are possible signs of oral cancer. More than 90% of oral cancers start on the tongue, floor of the mouth or gums.

Every year, over 30,000 people in the U. S. are diagnosed with oral cancer. On average, one person dies of oral cancer every hour. However, if detected early, oral cancer is 90% survivable.

It is especially frightening that there has been a rapid increase in oral cancers in comparison to other cancers. For instance, in the past 5 years, oral cancer has increased 21% while new cancers of all types have risen only 8%. Alarmingly, cancer of the tongue rose more than 37% during this period.

The most common symptoms are a mouth sore that does not heal; white or red patch of tissue; difficulty swallowing; a lump or mass in the mouth or neck; a long period of hoarseness; pain or numbness in the oral region; change in the voice; or, a long period of ear pain. Some things as simple as a bite on the inside of your cheek may mimic the look of a dangerous tissue change. It is important to have any sore or discolored area of your mouth that does not heal within a week checked by a Periodontal Specialist.

Oral cancer is deadly and nothing to just “wait and see” if the spot goes away. Early treatment can mean the difference between life and death. I cannot stress enough the need to react promptly to these oral symptoms.

If you (or someone you know) experience any of the symptoms mentioned, call us immediately at (828) 274-9440. You may also want to visit the web site of the American Academy of Periodontology:

Smoking & Oral Health

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

Smokers already know they are taking health risks. However, many smokers are unaware of the negative oral health issues when it comes to tobacco use.

For example, research shows that smokers lose more teeth than nonsmokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 20 percent of people over age 65 who have never smoked are toothless, while over 41 percent of daily smokers over age 65 are toothless.

It’s no surprise to Periodontists that following periodontal treatment or any type of oral surgery (including implant placement), patients who smoke have longer healing times with less predictable treatment outcomes. Other oral problems include a heightened risk for oral cancer, bad breath, stained teeth, loss of taste, gum recession, mouth sores, tooth loss and deep wrinkling around the mouth.

As a smoker, you also have a far greater increase for periodontal disease. One reason is your increased susceptibility to calculus. This is the plaque that hardens on teeth and can only be removed through a professional cleaning.

When calculus is not removed, the bacteria it harbors can destroy gum tissue and cause gums to pull away from teeth. As a result, teeth look longer and are more vulnerable to bacteria. As bacteria growth develops into periodontal disease, sore pockets form between teeth and fill with bacteria, destroying tissues and supporting bone. Eventually, the teeth become loose and require removal.

Cigarette smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body and diminishes your overall health. Nearly 50 percent of those who don’t quit smoking will die of smoking-related problems.

Quitting is not easy but the benefits are almost immediate. Your circulation improves, your blood pressure starts to return to normal and breathing becomes easier. You’ll also have a healthier mouth.

A new year is an ideal time to kick the habit. The American Cancer Society’s web site,, is an excellent resource for smokers who are trying to quit. Or, call us at (828) 274-9440 for more information.

Reshaping Gums Puts The ‘Perfect’ In Your Smile!

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

Having attractive teeth is not the only requirement of a beautiful smile. Your gums effect a smile’s appearance tremendously.

We have addressed procedures for correcting a ‘gummy smile’ previously in our blog. This is when too much gum tissue is visible over the tops of teeth in a full smile. Katie Couric, for example, has a gummy smile.

While a gummy smile can be corrected by removing the excess of gum tissue, crown lengthening is a procedure that adds gum tissue. This is done to even out the gum line in a smile when porcelain veneers or crowns are placed.

Today’s crowns and veneers are beautiful, even reflecting light as natural teeth. When crowns or veneers are placed on teeth most visible in a smile, the arch of gum tissue above each tooth forms a frame. When some teeth have a higher arch than others, it makes the teeth or restoration (crown or veneer) appear long. Although the restorations may be beautiful, this mismatch of gum framing tends to detract from a smile’s appearance.

The best time to have crown lengthening performed is promptly following placement of the final restoration. Once the gums have an even line of ‘arches,’ those veneers or crowns will make your smile even more fabulous!

For more information, call us at (828) 274-9440 and request a Consultation appointment.


“Like Getting My Natural Teeth Back”

Posted on Dec 16, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth available. They recreate a dependable biting strength and chewing stability. You can laugh, kiss and even sneeze without worry. And, there is nothing soaking in a glass at night!

When a patient completes dental implant treatment, I often hear, “I feel like I have my natural teeth again.” What I don’t hear are complaints about the cost. The vast majority enthusiastically say, “This is the best investment I ever made.”

Life with dentures that slip or click, prevent you from eating a healthy diet, and create fear of embarrassment is an unfortunate way to go through each day. When people eat healthy foods and feel socially confident, they tend to live more vibrant lives.

If you’ve thought about dental implants, let’s talk about your options and discuss payment plans. For a consultation, call us at (828) 274-9440 to learn the types that are best suited for your needs and have your questions answered thoroughly.