Dental Implants – A Bionic Smile!
Posted on Sep 25, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Modern medical science is amazing. Today’s technology has helped to advance the ability to provide miraculous solutions to many once-challenging problems. For example, “bionic” arms and hands have been developed to function almost normally. Today, prosthetic legs are moving people out of wheelchairs and into positions to walk and run.
When I think of dental implants, I realize just how miraculous they are as well. While some people think of dental implants as fairly recent on the scene, they have actually been around since the 1950’s.
Like prosthetic limbs, many types of dental implants have been developed to accommodate specific needs. For example, one known as ‘All-On-4’ is designed for people who have lost a great deal of bone mass. Using a specific design and placement at unique angles, the All-On-Four system overcomes the problems of severe bone loss to support a full arch of non-removable teeth.
Other implant types can support one or a bridge of two or more replacement teeth. Some implant systems are ideal for placement at the time of tooth removal. Still, other systems work in conjunction with additional implants to support multiple teeth.
For individuals who have experienced bone loss (which commonly occurs from years of missing tooth roots), bone grafting can be performed prior to implant placement. Or, bone rebuilding materials can be added to existing bone to rebuild it.
Bone loss is a big deal, even though it’s not always obvious at first. Known as ‘resorption,’ this occurs when tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone that once supported natural teeth. Over time, the bone begins to shrink due to lack of stimulation.
Bone loss is the reason that once snug-fitting dentures begin to slip or move while eating. As the ‘ridge’ flattens (which is the gum-covered arch where tooth roots were once held), the foundation that the denture was originally made to conform declines in height. As the bone shrinks, the denture has less and less of a base to support it.
For people who are missing one or several natural teeth, it is paramount that they be replaced, preferably with dental implants. Why? Statistics show that natural teeth adjacent to a lost tooth are at greater risk for being the next to be lost.
Dental implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bone, thereby halting the pace of bone loss. When bone mass is maintained, neighboring teeth have a reduced risk for being lost as well.
Because dental implants are held in the jaw bone, they are also able to restore a natural biting strength with dependable stability. Having the ability to bite and chew efficiently and enjoy a diet of foods you love enhances eating pleasure and proper digestion. It’s no surprise that people who wear dentures have more gastrointestinal problems than those who have their natural teeth.
There are so many advantages to having dental implants. One of the best ones is their longevity. When dental implants are properly selected, placed and maintained, they should last your lifetime. This is why it’s so important to have your implant treatment through a Periodontist.
A periodontal specialist has advanced training and skills in the diagnosis and placement of all types of dental implants. He or she can enhance your ability to enjoy this miraculous tooth replacement option for your lifetime.
If you have lost natural teeth or are facing the potential of tooth removal, call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation. This will occur in a private, comfortable consultation room conveniently located in our Asheville office.
During this time, we’ll discuss the implant systems that may work best for your needs and preferences. I’ll explain the treatment involved and sedation options along with estimated treatment fees.
Just as you would want a hand or a leg replaced with a normal looking and functioning prosthetic, you certainly want replacement teeth that function properly and look as natural as the teeth you once had (or better!).
Call today and arrange an appointment to discuss getting your smile back to better-than-ever!
Being Afraid Of Seeing A Dentist Can Lead To Major Expenses.
Posted on Sep 17, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
If you are afraid of going to a dentist, you’re one of over 70% of American adults with the same issue. Some people suffer from such fear that it keeps them from having a healthy, confident smile.
While it’s important for people to feel good about smiling (which motivates them to smile more often), research also shows that smiling can improve mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Yet, having a fear of dentistry can interfere with one’s ability to achieve and maintain a smile they feel good about. As a periodontal specialist, I frequently see patients who have developed periodontal (gum) disease or lost natural teeth because dental fears prevented them from receiving regular care.
It’s a vicious cycle. Delaying or avoiding regular dental care allows tartar (or calculus) to build up on teeth. This can lead to problems such as cavities and gum disease. When treatment for these problems is postponed, the complexity of the treatment needed increases. And thus, so do the costs.
Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the unique concerns that people have when it comes to dental care. While many adults suffer from dental fear because of an unpleasant experience in their past, some can’t recall what originally caused their fears. Others have unexplained reactions to certain smells or sounds often encountered in a dental office.
Regardless of the source of one’s fear of dentistry, we understand that these fears are essentially uncontrollable. People can’t just ‘let them go.’ And, for many individuals, perceived pain can be just as real as actual pain. This is why we offer a number of comfort options, including oral and I.V. Sedation (also known as ‘twilight sleep’).
These sedatives are helpful for patients before and throughout treatment. While helping the patient to relax, both erase most (if not all) memory of the procedure afterward. For those who are facing lengthy procedures, sedation also enables patients to easily combine several appointments so treatment can be completed in just one or two visits. Our advanced technology also helps to reduce treatment time while providing an exceptional level of comfort.
Keep in mind that it’s not just your smile that suffers when your oral health doesn’t receive adequate upkeep. Research has shown that your overall health is intricately connected to your oral health. This is because the potent bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in gum tissues. Once bloodborne, it can trigger inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, preterm babies, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers (including pancreatic cancer), and impotency.
When dental care is administered with a gentle touch and skilled hands, pain should never be part of the experience. In our office, my entire team takes much pride in the words of praise that come from patients who once had an intense fear of dentistry, yet are now comfortable and relaxed throughout their appointments.
If you’ve avoided dental care due to fear, call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. And remember – a problem with your oral health now will only become more severe over time without treatment. Let’s help you form new, positive impressions when it comes to dental care!
Why You May Have A Metallic Taste In Your Mouth.
Posted on Sep 12, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Occasionally, a patient will mention that they have been having a metallic taste in their mouth. After several questions, I’m usually able to determine that the condition is related to a prescription they’re taking. As a matter of fact, the majority of people who notice a metallic taste experience this due to a medication’s side effect.
The most common medications to cause a metallic taste in the mouth are antibiotics, antihistamines, some OTC supplements, and medications that treat blood pressure, neurologic and cardiac conditions.
Pharmacy Times states that “more than 300 drugs are associated with metallic taste” and that “as many as 11 percent of elderly patients who take multiple medications experience taste problems.” (https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2015/july2015/drug-induced-metallic-taste-no-irony)
This occurs when the body ingests and absorbs medications with iron, chromium, calcium, and zinc, which all cause a metallic taste in the mouth. The body absorbs these substances, which are released and excreted in the saliva, often resulting in a metallic taste. In addition to causing this taste, another common medication side effect is dry mouth, which can also cause a foul or metallic taste.
Dysgeusia is the medical term used to describe an abnormal or impaired sense of taste.
An excess of zinc in the body – or even lack of – can also cause taste changes. Malnutrition can lead to a zinc deficiency, slowing cell renewal that alters taste. Taking too much zinc (typically through supplements) can trigger dysgeusia that causes a metallic taste.
Another common source for a metallic taste are respiratory infections, including colds, sinus infections, and middle-ear infections. Anything that causes congestion and mucus may lead to having a foul or metallic taste in the mouth.
Pregnancy can also alter your sense of taste due to hormonal changes. Tasting metal in the mouth is not unusual. This usually occurs in the first trimester and subsides in the second.
Some people are surprised to learn that poor oral hygiene can cause a metallic taste in the mouth. When oral bacteria accumulate to the point of causing inflammation, a metallic taste may be detected in the mouth. This is why it is important to have dental check-ups every six months and be committed to a thorough, daily oral hygiene routine at home.
While chemotherapy is known to cause nausea, another common complaint of patients undergoing chemotherapy is having a metallic taste in the mouth. Just as certain components of oral medications can emerge in saliva, drugs administered intravenously can also emerge in the saliva, causing “metal mouth.”
Allergic reactions that trigger sinus reactions can lead to a metallic taste as well. Allergens most often associated with causing a metallic taste include tree pollen, tree nuts, and shellfish, according to Medical News Today. (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313744.php) Some people may have a metallic taste in their mouths for up to 2 days after eating pine nuts, which are commonly used in salads and pesto.
Too, a side effect of mercury poisoning is a metallic taste in the mouth. Although the neurological issues associated with mercury poisoning are more concerning, tasting metal in the mouth may serve as an early warning sign. By recognizing this as one of the indications of mercury toxicity, it may hopefully motivate people to seek medical evaluation.
Finally, liver or kidney disease can cause a metallic taste in the mouth. These conditions create a buildup of chemicals in the body, which are released into the saliva. For patients with severe kidney disease, the excess production of ammonia shows up in the saliva, causing a metallic taste in the mouth.
It’s amazing at how intricately and integrally connected each part of the body is to all other parts. Just as a skin rash may indicate an allergic reaction to something eaten, the mouth can be an indication point of things off-kilter in other areas.
If you suspect that your “metal mouth” is the result of a medication, it may subside (or lessen) after a few weeks. If not, it may be wise to have other areas checked. Your zinc levels, hormones, oral health, and other items may need to be evaluated to ensure all parts of your body are in proper balance.