Recent Posts



Tips For A Smile-Friendly Summer!

Posted on Jun 29, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Ahhhh…. summertime! We all look forward to an opportunity to spend time outdoors with friends and family. These outings are often surrounded by food. Here are some helpful tips to keep your mouth healthy.

Being ‘swim suit ready’ has some trying juice diets. Juices are high in sugar and an ideal food for oral bacteria. Sugar also creates an acid attack in your mouth, which can lead to cavities.

Around the grill, take note of the sauce that’s coating your chicken and ribs. That gooey, barbeque sauce is probably heavy on the sugar. Consider having your helping sans the sauce!Family BBQ

Some foods are high in acid, primarily tomatoes and citrus. Since these foods are ‘in season’ in the summer, we tend to consume them more often. In addition to acid’s challenges to enamel, keep in mind that citrus also contains sugar.

Having chips or pretzels and a cooler of drinks are often part of an outing to the pool or lake. Sugary drinks, including colas and sport beverages are most likely full of sugar and also sipped over a long period of time. An acid attack in your mouth will begin with the first drink and last for the duration it’s consumed. Add to that 20 or so more minutes for the acid attack to subside when you’re finished.

The next time you eat chips or other starchy snack, notice how it becomes sticky in your mouth. Bacteria go nuts on these foods because they convert into sugar, their favorite food. This sticky substance can become trapped between teeth, allowing bacteria to indulge even longer.

As you enjoy the warm weather and its fun outdoors, remember the well being of your smile. Here are some tips to help you:

– Drink lots of water! It’s good for you and helps in the production of saliva, which cleanses the mouth.

– Swish with water after drinking or eating.

– An acid attack occurs every time you eat or drink so limit between meal treats. If you want a cola, for example, have it with a meal since an acid attack will already be underway.

– Snack wisely and read the labels on sauces, dressings, etc. Sugar in high content appears in some surprising ways.

– Brush twice daily, however, don’t brush immediately after eating. Wait 30 minutes for the acid attack in your mouth to subside to keep abrasion off enamel.

You CAN prevent the need for dental repairs with simple steps. Also, be sure to maintain your dental exams every six months.

Dental Fear?

Posted on Jun 25, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It’s not surprising that the percentage of American adults with some level of dental fear (estimated at 75%) nearly parallels the percentage of adults ages 65+ who have some level of gum disease (70%), the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

The high number of adults who have dental fear is also likely related to the prevalence of tooth loss in mature adults.  Those born before 1949 have the highest percentage of lost teeth and being totally toothless (25%). Could this be because the 65+ age group endured dentistry in a time when patient comfort was very different than what is expected today?

Most of today’s 35 and under adults have experienced dental care by modern dentists who are more attuned to a patient’s need for comfort. However, for adults in the 65+ age group, a greater number can recall traumatic experiences in the dental chair. These often carry over into adulthood, making a trip to the dentist overshadowed by the perception of pain.

Dental fear deters people from having regular dental check-ups. Lack of regular dental care leads to the formation of cavities, gum disease, tooth loss and health risks from oral bacteria, which can trigger systemic inflammation. The bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased gum tissues. The bacteria moves through the body, creating inflammatory reactions have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, preterm babies and impotency.

For a large percentage of aging adults, dental fear plays a key role in the frequency of dental visits. If fear has kept you from regular dental visits, regardless of your age, you will find the majority of today’s dental environments are highly sensitive to your comfort throughout each visit. Although sedation options are an appealing way for fearful patients, we believe that finding a dentist or dental specialist whom you trust will help you conquer your fears and achieve the smile you desire.

Most patients who have avoided dental care have some level of gum disease. Until your gums are healthy, no dental procedure is going to provide long-term benefits. Begin with a periodontal exam by a specialist in Periodontics. Once your mouth is restored to a healthy state, we can make recommendations to help you with other needs for a confident smile.

Decades of dental fear isn’t going to disappear in a blink of an eye. Getting over it requires a pace you feel is right for you. If preferred, begin with a consultation appointment. Knowing you are empowered to control this pace may help you move through it comfortably.

Call (828) 274-9440 to discuss your needs or to arrange an appointment.

Why Tooth Loss Causes Your Jaw Bones To Shrink

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The presence of natural teeth is vital to the health of upper and lower jaw bones. Tooth roots create stimulation to the bone, which stimulates blood flow so the jaws maintain a healthy mass. Without tooth roots, the lack of stimulation causes the bone to slowly decline. This process is known as “resorption.”

Resorption causes the gum ridge to flatten out over time, giving your denture a foundation that continually shrinks. Regardless of the amount of denture adhesive applied, the denture will begin to move while eating, causing uncomfortable rubbing. Laughing becomes overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing slips.

The pressure from wearing dentures actually accelerates resorption, especially for those who sleep in their dentures. The 24/7 pressure speeds the process of resorption to an even greater degree.

When dentures are first made, they may feel secure for the first five or so years. However, as resorption continues, relines help only on a temporary basis. As bone loss progresses, relines will last at less frequent intervals each time.

On average, denture wearers experience a 25% bone loss one year after natural teeth have been extracted. Three years later, 60% of the bone is gone. While natural teeth provide a biting force of 250 pounds, the average denture wearer bites with about 5 pounds of force.

Want to see the extent of bone loss you’ve experienced? Remove your denture and look in the mirror. Do you see deep wrinkles around the mouth? Do the corners of your mouth turn downward, even when you smile? Does your mouth appear collapsed inward with a pointed chin? Have jowls formed on the sides of your face?

New designs in Dental Implant systems can overcome even severe bone loss. Types like All-On-4 can be placed in minimal bone using just four implants. Using specific angles, the All-On-4 system can support a full denture that is non-removable.

Just 4 Implants Support Non-Removable Teeth In Minimal Bone

Just 4 Implants Support Non-Removable Teeth In Minimal Bone

When a greater level of bone mass is necessary, procedures can restore the bone to a healthy level. Bone generating materials or a bone graft can be performed prior to implant placement. A “sinus lift” may be advised so sufficient bone exists between the upper jaw and sinus cavity.

Regardless of the procedure or implant type selected, a dental specialist who is trained and experienced in all implant types is the best choice for a successful result. A Periodontist is a dental specialist with advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of Dental Implants as well as bone rebuilding procedures.

Dental Implants restore chewing comfort and the ability to speak and laugh with confidence. Today, bone loss doesn’t necessarily prevent you from enjoying these benefits! Begin with a consultation by calling (828) 274-9440.

What A Dental Implant Is, And Isn’t

Posted on Jun 21, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Contrary to most assumptions, a Dental Implant is not a replacement tooth. The ‘restoration,’ or tooth that is supported by an implant consists of a crown, bridge teeth or a full denture. To understand a Dental Implant “system,” it is helpful to know its various components.

Although there are different types of implant systems, all work in in a similar fashion. An implant is a hollow, screw-like cylinder. The process begins by placing the implant in the jaw bone at a strategic point in the jaw bone. Once placed, the implant is covered over with gum tissue. For several months after, the implant goes through a ‘healing’ process. While this typically takes several months, you can wear a denture or temporary so you are never without teeth.

In this stage, the bone grows around the implant in a process known as “osseo-integration.” This secures the implant in the bone, which recreates the foundation of natural tooth roots to give biting and chewing stability. Once healing is complete, a post is secured inside the hollow core of the implant. This post will support your final replacement tooth or teeth.

A successful outcome in any Dental Implant treatment is in the selection and placement process. A Periodontist has specialized training in the diagnosis and placement of all types of implant systems. This means the implant system recommended for you will be the type most suited to your individual needs and goals.

An important aspect of implant success also relies on the assessment of bone mass. When the upper or lower jaw has insufficient bone to support the implant being placed, there is a risk of failure. Again, an implant requires careful selection and placement to be able to support the replacement teeth being attached. In some cases, as few as 4 – 6 implants can support a complete arch of teeth. This decision is best left in the hands of a periodontal specialist.

Severe bone loss can require bone rebuilding procedures prior to implant placement. This can be done by bone grafting or the application of a bone-rebuilding material. In some cases, particular implant systems designed with unique angles can provide support with minimal bone depth with no bone rebuilding necessary.

The best implant system for you can be determined after an examination. During this time, I’ll recommend options best for you and explain the process. Call (828) 274-9440 to schedule an appointment. Or, ask to begin with a Consultation.