Recent Posts



Avoid “Dry Mouth” And The Problems It Can Cause

Posted on Aug 30, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

We all have not-so-fresh breath on occasion. Some foods, certain illnesses and smoking can all lead to bad breath.

The problem, however, is when bad breath is persistent. This is an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease. If your bad breath is caused by gum disease, you may also be experiencing sore and tender gums and gums that bleed when brushing. If gum disease is not the problem, you may be suffering with dry mouth. However, it is important to know that dry mouth that occurs on a regular basis greatly increases your susceptibility to develop gum disease.

Oral dryness is what causes your mouth to feel stale and sticky when you wake up. This occurs because your oral tissues dry out during sleep. This provides an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply. As they thrive and reproduce, bacteria form a sticky film known as plaque.

Dry mouth can be caused by alcoholic beverages or coffee, which have a drying affect on oral tissues. Also drying are some medications that can decrease saliva flow. Saliva is designed to wash oral bacteria from the mouth. Many antihistamines and some medications for depression and urinary incontinence, among others, can cause dry mouth.

Medical conditions such as acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis can also contribute to dry mouth. Breathing through the mouth because of snoring or a bad cold are drying to oral tissues as well.

Once we can determine the cause of your oral dryness, we can address the problem effectively. For example, if you take medications that have a side effect of oral dryness, there may be alternatives that have less drying effects.

In the meantime, take measures to lessen the negative effects of oral dryness. These include:
 – Brush at least twice daily for a minimum of two minutes. Use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue with your toothbrush after brushing.
 – Floss daily. If this is difficult, consider purchasing an electronic or water flosser.
 – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Consider using an oral rinse that replenishes oral moisture. These are available without a prescription.

If you have symptoms of gum disease or feel you have persistent bad breath, we can help you avoid the problems that can result, including tooth loss. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. Or, feel free to begin with a consultation.

Wear Dentures? The Problems They Cause You May Not See.

Posted on Aug 24, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontist, my advanced training and skills are ideal for people who have any stage of periodontal (gum) disease as well as those who are seeking dental implants to replace missing teeth.

When it comes to dental implants, I often see patients who have worn dentures for many years. Most are frustrated by the uncomfortable rubbing and inability to eat foods they love.

Patients are perplexed as to why their once-secure denture no longer stays in place, even with the aid of denture adhesives and pastes. For those who have had their denture relined, most are surprised when the denture begins to slip and wobbly yet again.

Unfortunately, when many adults first agree to wearing a denture they are not told what lies ahead. The problem is not obvious since it occurs underneath the gum tissue. The denture is not expanding or changing shape. The change is actually occurring with your jaw bone.

Profiles of healthy jaw bone and jaw that has experienced bone loss.

Profiles of healthy jaw bone and jaw that has experienced bone loss.

When natural tooth roots are removed, the jaw bone that once held them no longer receives the stimulants that kept it healthy. In only a year or so, the jaw bone will begin to shrink. This decline in mass also causes changes in facial appearance, such as deep wrinkles around the mouth, a sunken in mouth, and jowls.

With each passing year of wearing a denture, the process of bone loss continues. The ‘ridge’ your denture was custom-designed to contour flattens out. Relines can reshape the denture to accommodate some of the change. However, as the bone continues to decline, the denture’s fit loosens again.

The pressure of wearing a denture merely accelerates the rate of bone loss. For denture wearers who sleep in their denture, the 24-7 pressure accelerates the pace of bone loss even more.

Not being able to eat and fear of embarrassment are common complaints of denture wearers. The solution is dental implants. Dental implants restore the ability to bite and chew comfortably while halting bone loss by recreating the presence of tooth roots.

When people select dental implants to replace an unstable denture, their ability to smile, laugh and eat comfortably and confidently is restored. After all, eating a healthy diet, socializing with friends and family, and feeling confident are essential to a healthy, happy life.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation. During this, I’ll explain the type of implants that may be best for your needs and goals. We can also discuss estimated costs and payment options.

Fresh Breath Is Easy To Have!

Posted on Aug 19, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As we say good-bye to the busy-ness of Summer and settle into more normal routines, it gives us a good time to evaluate our oral health commitment. An advantage of achieving and maintaining a clean, healthy mouth is having confidence when it comes to your breath.

Below are simple tips for fresh breath:

• Drink lots of water. Colas, sweet tea, and energy drinks don’t count. Pure, clean water cleanses the mouth and adds to saliva’s ability to wash bacteria from the mouth. Bottled water, tap water or filtered water (such as Brita) are all helpful.

• Remove oral bacteria from your tongue. The tongue’s grooves provide a perfect haven for bacteria to embed and reproduce. Use a tongue scrapper each day or brush your tongue with your tooth brush at the end of tooth brushing. When your mouth has fewer bacteria, your breath will have a ‘cleaner’ scent and stay fresh longer.

• Enjoy fruits and skip sugary treats. Oral bacteria thrives on acid attacks that occur every time you eat or drink. However, when sugar is present, they become super-charged! Natural sugar in fresh fruits won’t have the same impact.

Have a cucumber. When your mouth is dry, hold a slice of cucumber against the roof of your mouth for a couple of minutes. This activates more saliva production, which helps cleanse the mouth of particles and bacteria.

Fresh breath gives us more confidence when we are close to others. Whether at work, home with loved ones, or at social gatherings, your breath shouldn’t create an impression that is less-than-flattering.

To ensure your mouth is healthy and oral bacteria are at minimal levels, call for an appointment – 828.274.9440. We’ll help you to feel confident in closeness!

Receded Gums – How They Occur & Why They Up Your Risk For Problems

Posted on Aug 15, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The next time you look in the mirror, smile. Notice how each tooth is arched by gum tissue. This tissue seals off and protects the tooth root sections of teeth. When the gums pull away from the teeth, darker and sensitive portions of the root are exposed. This leaves tooth roots exposed and vulnerable.

While the darker segments of teeth detract from the appearance of a smile, they are also highly sensitive. Many people often first notice gum recession when getting a painful jolt when eating or drinking something hot or cold or even from the bristles of a tooth brush. Because gum recession occurs gradually, people don’t always notice it until they experience pain.

Special toothpastes may help with sensitivity, however, it’s best to determine what has led to gum recession so further recession doesn’t occur. Causes for receded gums include:
• Periodontal (gum) disease: When bacteria accumulates on teeth at the gum line, the gum tissues weaken and lose their grip on teeth. As gum disease progresses, the tissues and supporting bone are overwhelmed by oral bacteria.
• Rigorous brushing: Using a tooth brush with hard bristles or being over-zealous when brushing can wear down enamel as well as gum tissue. Also, using abrasive substances to brush (such as baking soda) are too gritty for teeth and can wear down gum tissues.
• Poor oral hygiene: Without thorough and regular brushing and flossing, oral bacteria accumulate and form a sticky film known as plaque. When plaque is not removed, it can harden into calculus, which is a cement-like colony of oral bacteria. Calculus (or tartar) can only be removed by a dental professional or it will continue to feed on gum tissues.
• Smoking: When saliva flow is insufficient to effectively wash bacteria from the mouth. The chemicals in tobacco are very drying to oral tissues, providing an ideal environment for the formation of plaque and calculus. Both are masses of oral bacteria that attacks gum tissue and contributes to recession.
• Grinding & clenching teeth: Clenching or grinding teeth during sleep can place such force on teeth that they tilt out of their positions. Eventually, the gums pull away from some teeth, exposing tender tooth root sections.
• Hormonal changes: Pregnancy, menopause and puberty can cause changes in hormone levels. These hormonal fluctuations can cause gums to feel tender and be more vulnerable to recession.
• Crowded or crooked teeth: When teeth are not properly aligned, they endure added force to bite and chew. This can also lead to strain on the TMJ (jaw joints), gums and bone structures that support tooth roots. This can eventually result in gum recession.

When darker portions of a tooth are visible, it detracts from a smile and leaves the tooth susceptible to decay or gum disease. For the comfort, appearance and health of the tooth, repairing the problem before costly damage occurs is the best move.

As a Periodontal Specialist, my specialty is in the treatment of gum tissues, including recontouring procedures that repair recession comfortably and quickly. However, it is important to repair recession before it becomes severe. Treatment delays may result in the need for more-extensive procedures that can increase treatment time and expense.

Call 828-274-9440 to learn more.