Each Tooth Has A Beneficial Role To Other Teeth
Posted on Aug 31, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Imagine a chair. It is designed with four legs to ensure the chair seat has a sturdy foundation. Yes, you could sit in a chair with a missing leg, but its stability would be far less. Plus, the pressure would be greater on the three remaining legs, weakening their strength over time. Eventually, one of the legs will crack or loosen from its attachment to the seat, soon followed by the other legs.
This is a good illustration for your teeth. Each one has importance to the other teeth in your mouth. For example, when one tooth is lost and not replaced, the open space no longer serves as an abutment to the tooth above or below. The teeth on both sides are also left without a bolstering neighbor. This gap enables neighboring teeth to move out of their proper positions.
Because an open space allows a tooth above or below to grow longer or the teeth on each side to tilt, a long list of problems is then set into motion. The teeth that grow longer or tilt typically cause chips, cracks or fractures to other teeth since the bite is now out of alignment. A tooth that fractures below the gum line will require removal.
Bite misalignment also leads to worn teeth since it triggers night-time grinding. Clenching during sleep can also occur, creating frequent headaches or migraines, sore jaw joints, pain in facial and neck muscles, ear ringing and difficulty opening the mouth.
The open space from the missing tooth leads to yet another ordeal. Without natural tooth roots in the jaw, the bone that once held the root begins to shrink. As the bone in this area declines in mass, bordering tooth roots are now vulnerable to a thinning foundation of bone. It is a fact that a missing tooth makes an adjacent tooth the most likely to be lost next.
So, add all these issues together and you have a whopping number of dental repairs and costs ahead. What’s the wisest move when a tooth is lost? Replacing a missing tooth with a Dental Implant restores the presence of a tooth root in the jaw bone. This halts the potential for bone loss. The replaced tooth also helps surrounding teeth to hold their proper positions, greatly reducing the potential for chips, cracks and the many problems associated with bite misalignment.
Although Dental Implants are more expensive, the costs are upfront. Dental Implants do not decay and are designed to last your lifetime. Implants also have one of the highest success rates of all implant-in-bone treatments. Too, unlike a crown-&-bridge combination, you won’t have continued bone loss or need otherwise healthy natural teeth crowned for the sole purpose of supporting a replacement tooth. Overall, they are a far better investment than any form of tooth replacement option.
Before you make a final decision on tooth replacement (for one or more missing teeth), call us at (828) 274-9440. We will explain the process and advantages of Dental Implants so you can make the decision that is best for your individual situation.
Tackle Gum Disease Quickly To Save Time & Money
Posted on Aug 24, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Let’s say you noticed a spot on the door to your home that looked like termite damage. Because the results can be costly, you’d react quickly to have the problem resolved before the damaged progressed further. Right?
Then wouldn’t the same reaction be warranted when signs of gum disease appear?
As a Periodontist, I specialize in the care of oral gum tissues and the placement of dental implants. The majority of patients I see have periodontal (gum) disease that requires specialized treatment. Without this, tooth loss occurs as well as a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.
Often, the patients I treat were aware that something about their oral health wasn’t right. Perhaps they began having tender gums and noticed blood in the sink when brushing. Perhaps their gums receded, exposing sensitive, darker tooth root areas. Perhaps their breath was frequently bad, even shortly after brushing.
Sadly, the general population is more aware of the damage termites can cause than the destruction and heighten health risks associated with gum disease. However, the bottom line is this: When it comes to your smile, early care is the best way to save time and money required for more complex treatment later.
One of the reasons your dentist arranges your check-ups and exams is to remove built-up plaque (a hardened form of oral bacteria) and note areas that are at risk. Those who delay or avoid these visits thinking “if it doesn’t hurt, then nothing is wrong” not only delay costs, they are actually adding to overall expenses that will eventually be required once something does hurt.
Think of your mouth as the front door of your home and oral bacteria as termites. (Except oral bacteria are far worse! Termites eat wood. Oral bacteria eat YOU!) Gum disease can be easily avoided with regular check-ups and a thorough oral hygiene routine at home (totaling about 5 mins. a day). Think of this commitment to your smile as money you keep!
If you suspect you may have any stage of gum disease, call our office at (828) 274-9440. Time is not on your side.
Signs Of Gum Disease
Posted on Aug 19, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
When something is wrong with our vehicles, we typically see a warning light. These may indicate low oil, a door not shut tight or even a tail light outage. Seeing these lights gives us reason to react promptly since ignoring the problem could have serious, and even deadly, outcomes.
Your mouth also sends off warning signs when something is wrong. For example, an ache coming from a tooth may indicate a cavity or crack. A sore spot in the mouth could be caused by a canker sore or warning sign of oral cancer.
Warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease can occur and should not be taken lightly. Gum disease begins with sore spots on gum tissues. You may notice some blood in the sink when brushing teeth. Your mouth may feel ‘icky,’ having a sticky feeling. You may sense you have bad breath more frequently, even shortly after brushing.
Unfortunately, these signs are often ignored, allowing gum disease to progress further, which it will. Signs of its advancement includes gum tissues that pull away from teeth, typically exposing tender, darker root sections of teeth. Your gums will bleed easily and swollen spots may appear near the base of teeth. The gum tissue will likely darken from a healthy pink color to a deeper red.
Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Additionally, it has been associated with a number of serious health risks. The oral bacteria of gum disease has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, memory loss, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.
Gum disease will not improve without treatment and will eventually lead to tooth loss. Don’t delay care when you experience the very first warning sign. Early treatment will save you in time and expense – and may save your teeth! Once your mouth is restored to a healthy state, we’ll help you maintain it by recommending home care steps combined with periodic check-ups.
Call 828-274-9440 if you have any symptoms of gum disease. Time is of the essence.
Does Age Have Anything To Do With Dental Fear Levels?
Posted on Aug 11, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
If you think that 65+ adults have more dental fear than younger adults, a recent study dispels that assumption. Based on careful analysis of 1,400 participants, no age group has any more or less than another.
The origin of dental fear today often stems from traumatic experiences of the past. Couple this with the fact that a number of older adults experienced dental care during a time that was less focused on comfort than today. Thus, the assumption has been that they have higher fear levels.
However, to determine if the age of an individual is actually a factor in dental fear, 1,400 adults of all ages were categorized by age, sex, education and frequency of dental visits. Each completed a questionnaire that was specifically designed to measure dental anxiety and fear levels.
The findings, published by the National Institutes of Health, were based on comparisons of five age groups. While female participants showed higher fear levels (approx. 10%) than males (8%), there was insignificant difference between any of the five age groups. Only study participants who did not complete high school and those who had avoided dental care showed higher fear levels.
Also reviewed in the study were factors that triggered fear, most often occurring in the form of increased heart rates. The most common element that created anxiety or fear was perceived pain from seeing the needle. To adults with deeply-embedded dental fear, perceived pain is just as uncomfortable as real pain.
Often due to fear issues, many patients come to us because their lack of dental care has resulted in the need for periodontal treatment. And, as a Periodontist, I also place dental implants in a number who lose teeth due to advanced periodontal disease.
Our goal is to provide an environment that is sensitive to the comfort of ALL patients. We offer relaxation medications and a staff who are specially trained to attend to the unique needs of fearful patients. Once patients realize our commitment to their comfort, long overdue dental treatment can often begin without fear.
If anxiety or fear has prevented you from a healthy smile, consider beginning with a consultation. In this, we’ll sit in a private room that’s removed from the clinical side of the practice. Begin by speaking with our friendly phone staff so we can personally discuss the many features available to optimize your comfort at all times. Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange an appointment that is convenient for you.