Recent Posts



It May Be Obvious That You Wear Dentures

Posted on May 26, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontal Specialist, I frequently place dental implants in patients who have been long-time denture wearers. Most want to be able to eat securely again, to chew and enjoy foods they have had to deny themselves because of “rocky dentures.” Some, however, most want their sense of self-esteem and self-confidence back.

My wife and I have a single friend who has recently begun internet dating. She shared an account of a “horrible evening,” one she said she “couldn’t get out of fast enough.” The man was nice looking, but Beverly noticed right away that the man had very thin lips. As they shared an appetizer, she then noticed he frequently tucked his upper lip under his upper teeth and would press his lips together. “I think he wore dentures,” Beverly added.

Obviously (to me – being aware of the typical habits of denture-wearing patients to keep dentures in place), the gentleman was trying to push his upper denture into position. The denture was apparently feeling loose as he ate, talked and laughed. Chances are he had absolutely no idea that he was doing this. Too, his denture may have been secure but he has developed a habit of doing this action.

A couple of generations ago, most adults assumed they would lose their teeth in old age and end up in dentures. Today we know better. Keeping natural teeth for a lifetime is a benefit to one’s overall health as well as an asset to our ability to feel confident socially and in close settings with others.

Think about what you may be doing unconsciously while wearing dentures. These actions indicate you are losing the foundation your denture was designed to conform. Without natural tooth roots, the ‘ridge’ that your denture curves around begins to flatten out. This is from bone ‘resorption.’ Unfortunately, the decline in bone mass will only continue. Thus, that denture will never fit well for very long, even after relines.

Dental implants recreate the presence of tooth roots, halting bone resorption. They serve as anchors to securely support teeth that can bite and chew the foods you love. You’ll regain a smile you are confident sharing and laugh without worry.

Regardless of your age, you are too young to live with the challenges caused by dentures. Look into the many options in today’s implant dentistry. You’ll likely find a type that fits your needs and your budget. Call (828) 274-9440 for a Consultation.

Extra Attention To Oral Health Needed For Diabetics

Posted on May 18, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Diabetics face a number of challenges every day, including greater health risks. Diabetes can damage the kidneys, eyes, heart and nerves. However, many are unaware of the higher risk for periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease attacks gum tissues and tooth supporting bone structures. In early stages, gum disease symptoms cause tender gums that bleed when brushing and persistent bad breath. As the disease progresses, it can lead to painful chewing and eventual tooth loss.

As the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, periodontal disease also increases your risk for serious problems elsewhere in the body. Like diabetes, gum disease can create an inflammatory reaction in the body. Research has linked gum disease bacteria with heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, and memory loss.

Dry mouth is often a symptom of diabetes even before it is diagnosed. Dry mouth occurs when you do not have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Saliva is your body’s oral cleanser that moves bacteria out of the mouth. Dry mouth can cause tender and sore gums, ulcers, infections and cavities. For diabetics who smoke, these problems are far worse.

To prevent gum disease and other health risks, controlling blood glucose levels is highly important. Those with poor glucose control are more prone to gum disease and have it at more severe levels than people with controlled diabetes.

If you are diabetic, you CAN put the odds for a healthy mouth in your favor. Control your glucose, brush twice a day, floss daily and have regular dental check-ups. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call us at (828) 274-9440 for an appointment. Once gum disease is underway, it will only worsen without treatment.

Dental Talk – Terms You May Hear

Posted on May 12, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In patient conversations, I occasionally catch myself saying things like “…your mandible” when “lower jaw” is a more familiar way to say the same thing. As a periodontist, some dental terms are so common to me that I forget I can lose good connection with patients.

I hope I avoid discussing your oral health in unfamiliar terms. However, if I slip, never hesitate to ask questions so you fully understand everything during my explanations.

Some terms that aren’t always familiar ones may include:

• Anterior Teeth: The six upper or six lower front teeth.
• Bone Resorption: Loss of jaw bone that supports tooth roots.
• Bruxing: Grinding or gnashing of teeth, typically while asleep.
• Calculus: Hard residue that forms on teeth due to plaque buildup.
• Mandible: The lower jaw.
• Maxilla: The upper jaw.
• Palate: Hard and soft tissue forming the roof of the mouth.
• Plaque: A sticky substance composed of bacteria and food debris that accumulates on teeth.
• Prophy: Cleaning of the teeth for the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay.
• Scaling & Root Planning: Removing plaque and calculus from tooth surfaces above and below the gum line.
• Tartar: A common term for calculus, a hard deposit that adheres to teeth and can only be removed by dental tools.

We want our patients to always be in-the-know when it comes to dental wellness. I hope our conversations leave you fully informed so you are an active participant in achieving and maintaining a healthy smile!

Read Label Before Purchasing Mouthwash

Posted on May 08, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Mouthwash is a common component of many oral hygiene routines at home. For many patients, we recommend certain mouthwashes for their ability to kill oral bacteria, add fluoride, and treat particular mouth sores. Too, some mouthwashes are advised following extraction of teeth to curtail bacteria in areas where brushing must be postponed.

While many people assume mouthwash is a beneficial addition to brushing and flossing, not all are recommended by our office. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which dries out oral tissues. Even though alcohol kills oral bacteria, it also serves as a drying agent. This actually increases your risk for cavities and bad breath since alcohol decreases saliva flow.

Saliva is the mouth’s natural cleanser, keeping oral tissues moist and moving bacteria (and food particles that cause bacterial growth) out of the mouth. Some medications, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages can also lead to dry mouth.

Additionally, it is suspected that regular use of mouthwash containing alcohol can lead to dental erosion.

Mouthwashes that contain alcohol have also come under fire for increasing the risk of oral cancer. Although these findings are still in research stages, it is suspected that alcohol becomes a carcinogen in the mouth, which is a cancer causing agent. Researchers have found that oral cancer risk is five times higher for those using alcohol-containing mouthwashes, even if they are non-smokers.

Like any product, always read the label of mouthwash before purchasing. Look for alcohol-free types and those with fluoride additives. Use after brushing and flossing and practice a gargling action to get the mouthwash to the back of your mouth. Since the back of your tongue harbors more oral bacteria than the front, consider using a tongue scraper prior to mouthwash. This loosens oral bacteria that are embedded in the tongue’s surface. You can also brush your tongue with your toothbrush following teeth brushing.

Remember, any mouthwash use is an addition to brushing and flossing, never as a replacement. However, certain mouthwashes can help keep your breath fresher, decrease your risk for cavities and support your oral health overall. Swish away!