Recent Posts



Dental Implant Vs. Crown-&-Bridge

Posted on Jun 14, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

For those who have lost one or several teeth, adults have often gravitated to a crown and bridge combination. However, that option is becoming ‘second fiddle’ to the lifetime tooth replacement solution of Dental Implants.

Dental Implants are made from titanium, which is a material that biologically bonds with living bone. Implants that are properly selected, placed and maintained are designed to last a lifetime. An implant will never get a cavity, need a root canal, or create risk for surrounding natural teeth. Dental Implants are the closest thing to the look, feel and function of natural teeth.

When it comes to choosing a Dental Implant or a Crown-&-Bridge to replace a missing tooth or teeth, the only deterrent seems the price tag. However, when comparing the overall, longterm expense to the initial costs, implants stand out as a far better value.

First, an implant does not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as does a crown-&-bridge combination. A bridge must be attached to adjacent teeth on both sides for support. This is done by crowning otherwise healthy natural teeth that are attached to the bridge. Once a tooth is crowned (or ‘capped’), it will always need a crown.

A Dental Implant does not rely on the support of adjacent teeth. It is anchored by the jaw bone, having the same, sturdy foundation as natural tooth roots once had. And, one implant can often support one, two or more teeth. Since the cost of implant treatment is largely based on the number of implants placed, this keeps treatment costs more manageable .

Another advantage of Dental Implants over Crown-&-Bridge is in the prevention of bone loss. When natural tooth roots are removed from the jaw bone, the bone begins to decline in mass. This process is known as resorption. This can be visible when the area of gum tissue under (or above) the bridge diminishes. Eventually, a smile can reveal a gap between the bridge and the gums.

As the bone declines, the teeth supporting the bridge are at greater risk. On average, the next teeth to be lost are teeth adjacent to areas of missing teeth. Because Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots, they help to halt bone resorption. And, since implants are held by the jaw, they restore comfortable and stable biting and chewing.

We urge patients to look past the initial costs to replace teeth and assess the lasting advantages of Dental Implants. They are actually a much wiser investment, not to mention to many benefits they provide.

If you have considered replacing teeth with Dental Implants, call 828-254-9440 to schedule a consultation.

Reshaping Gum Tissues Can Greatly Improve Smile’s Appearance

Posted on Jun 07, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontist, I have advanced training and skills in the placement of Dental Implants and treating all stages of periodontal (gum) disease. Another realm of the periodontal specialty is in the recontouring of gum tissues, referred to as Periodontal Plastic Surgery.

While the shape, shade and length of teeth have a major impact on the appearance of a smile, so does the gum tissues that frame each tooth. The uniformity of gum tissues creates an appealing balance of gums to teeth. Thus, the appearance of your smile is greatly affected by the appearance of teeth and their ‘frames’ of gum tissue.

Periodontal Plastic Surgery can greatly enhance the appearance of a smile!

There are several ways that gum reshaping can have a dramatic impact on a smile’s appearance. Gum reshaping is recommended when certain teeth are bordered by more gum tissue than that which borders surrounding teeth. The procedure to correct this is crown lengthening, which is usually done in conjunction with crown placement.

Crown lengthening provides an appealing, balanced smile line that ‘frames’ each tooth with an arch similar to that over adjoining teeth. The procedure requires just one visit and healing time is generally minimal.

However, crown lengthening may also be performed to save a tooth from removal. For example, when a tooth has broken close to the gum line, crown lengthening procedures can remove gum tissue to expose more of the tooth. Because a tooth that breaks at the gum line must be removed, this procedure can make sufficient tooth structure available to support a crown.

Crown lengthening is also beneficial in sealing gum tissues surrounding a tooth at its base. This is important after a new crown is placed as it prevents bacteria from penetrating the gums during the vulnerable stage of attaching. By securing the gum tissue around the crown, bacterial entry is avoided and the risk for periodontal (gum) disease decreased.

Another way that Periodontal Plastic Surgery can enhance both the health and appearance of a smile is grafting to repair gum recession. This is when the gum tissue pulls away from the base of the tooth, exposing darker, more sensitive tooth root sections. Causes of receded gums are often due to age, bite misalignment, gum disease and over-zealous brushing.

Also referred to as Gingival Grafting, this procedure typically involves taking a small area of tissue from the roof of your mouth (which heals quickly) and placing it over the area of recession. It is secured in place for a healing period of approximately two weeks. The results restore the look of a healthy, naturally-framed tooth.

For those who are born with a ‘gummy smile,’ gum reshaping can restore the balance of gums to teeth for a more appealing smile. In a gummy smile, too much gum tissue is exposed above the teeth most visible in a smile. This is a genetic trait and doesn’t affect one’s oral health. However, many who have this particular smile trait feel self-conscious when they smile and tend to hold back from smiling fully.

The procedure to correct a gummy smile is a gingivectomy and can be done in one visit. Excess gum tissue is removed and the remaining gums are shaped to arch over each tooth for a natural appearance. In most cases, porcelain crowns or veneers are placed to accentuate the natural look and feel of the teeth involved.

A Periodontal Specialist provides you with advanced skills for these procedures. He or she also understands the delicate touch needed for minimal disruption to the gums involved in treatment. This tender tissue requires precision care to provide exceptional results with minimal healing time needed.

If Periodontal Plastic Surgery could improve the appearance and health of your smile, call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation appointment. During this time, we can discuss the options that would work best for your needs.