Cut Costs For Dental Care Without Sacrificing Your Oral Health
Posted on Jun 28, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Times are tight right now. With the price of gas, food and about everything else, budgets are more strained than ever. Although the brunt of the pandemic is mostly behind us, it has left us with an economy that is creating a “pinch” for just about everyone.
Some things we can cut back on, and probably should. Now is a good time to relook at expenses for indulgent coffee drinks, dining out, fast food runs, pricey cable TV packages, and unattended electrical usage.
Then, there are things we cannot and should not try to cut back on; one being dental care.
Certainly, we would never want to avoid the investment made in maintaining good health. Everyone knows it is far less costly, in many ways, to prevent problems or catch those that do occur at early stages. For example, having periodic mammograms or prostate checks are sound ways to find problems that may become major ones.
The goal of each individual is to live a healthy life at every age. Your smile’s health is actually a bigger part of your overall health than you may think. The findings of research continually shows that the bacteria in your mouth can greatly affect how the gut functions and how certain serious diseases and conditions can be triggered or worsened by infectious oral bacteria of gum disease.
The list of correlations between gum disease bacteria and health problems far beyond the mouth is a vast one. These include some cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure and more.
But, how are people to handle the expenses of dental upkeep during trying times? The best way, like anything that can challenge is the body, is through prevention.
The goal is to keep bacteria levels in the mouth to a minimum. Below are tips on how to keep your oral health in good condition and lower the risks to teeth and gum tissues.
Brush: The gold standard is twice a day for a minimum of two minutes using a soft bristle tooth brush and tooth paste with fluoride. However, some people need to brush more often during the day, depending on what they eat or drink. At the end of brushing, brush your tongue to dislodge oral bacteria that are embedded there.
Floss: This can have a tremendous effect on controlling oral bacteria. Our hygienist can help you with your technique or you may wish to purchase an electronic water flosser. Water flossers can be even more effective than manually flossing your teeth because they can wash away bacteria from just underneath the gum line.
Keep a moist mouth: Drink plenty of water during the day and minimize colas, tea, coffee and energy drinks. These beverages contain high levels of caffeine, which has a drying affect on oral tissues. Also drying is alcohol and smoking. Tobacco smoke contains a heavy dose of toxic chemicals that are readily absorbed by moist gum tissues.
Citrus and acidic foods and beverages: The acidity in citrus (such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit) can be tough on tooth enamel and tender gum tissues. This also includes tomatoes and tomato-based foods such as spaghetti sauce, catsup, salsa, etc. that can have a highly acidic effect.
Sugar and carbohydrates: Globally, Americans are the leading nation for sugar consumption. We also love our carbs, which essentially break down as sugar in the mouth. Oral bacteria love these foods, too, because they supercharge their ability to reproduce. Because many sweet and carb-laden foods stick to teeth longer, their ability to cause damage is even greater.
Wine: Although wine (especially red) is believed to be a healthy drink, it is the way it is consumed that makes it a particular problem for teeth and gums. Whenever you eat or drink something, an acid attack begins in the mouth. While this is an initial part of digestion, this acid is highly potent; so much that it can soften tooth enamel for up to 30 minutes after. This makes teeth more prone to decay. Because most people drink wine in sips over time, this merely extends the acid surge period. When wine’s acidity combines with digestive acids in the mouth, you place teeth at a doubly higher risk for decay. (This also applies to any alcoholic beverage, especially drinks with sweetened mixers.)
Snacking: Whenever you eat or drink anything (other than plain water), an acid attack begins in the mouth. This acid flows in with saliva and helps to begin the digestive process. However, this means for every sip of cola or granola bar bite, an acidic flow occurs in the mouth for 20 – 30 minutes. When the mouth endures these frequent acid attacks throughout the day, the damage to precious tooth enamel can lead to cavities.
In addition to a thorough at-home routine, be committed to your 6-month exams and cleanings. These visits rid the build-up that has occurred since your last appointment and catches problems while they are easy to treat.
When you take these easy and inexpensive actions to prevent problems, your oral health costs can be lower and you’ll save time AND money!
It is also important to know the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. These include: gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, tender gums that turn red in color, swollen gums, receded and sensitive gums. If you have any of these, please know that gum disease will only worsen without treatment. It is also the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
As a specialist in periodontics, our Asheville periodontal dental office provides advanced skills in the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of periodontal disease. We use advanced technology to help provide the most conservative treatment possible while restoring patients to optimal oral health. We also provide oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).
To arrange a consultation, tap here or call 828-274-9440. A referral is not necessary.
Our Asheville Periodontal Dental Office Offers Some Unique Services
Posted on Jun 13, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
As a Periodontist in Asheville, I’ve helped hundreds of patients overcome periodontal (gum) disease and the many repercussions that come with tooth loss. Helping to save teeth that were on the verge of requiring removal has also been a victory for the patient as well as me.
I take great pride in being a part of the transformations of patients who achieve healthy, confident smiles. This is why I’ve created an environment that affords every patient with the most advanced options available for restoring oral health and replacing lost teeth with dental implants.
Let me begin by clarifying the benefits our periodontal office brings…
• A periodontist has advanced training to properly diagnose and treat all stages of gum disease.
• We are known for never over-treating or under-treating with a commitment to provide the most successful treatment for each patient’s specific needs.
• Our periodontal office is specially equipped for the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of gum disease as well as placement of dental implants.
• Diagnosis and treatment planning is backed by an immense array of advanced technology, including:
- LANAP (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure) with PerioLase MVP 7 – an advanced protocol that efficiently and effectively treats advanced gum disease with the added advantages of a dental laser. This offers a non-surgical alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease and has even been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.
- 3-D Cone Beam Imaging – is ideal for diagnoses and treatment planning through images that provide a clear view of the upper and lower jaw (including nerve canals), with rotations that show sagittal, axial, and coronal planes in a process that is quick, painless and at minimal radiation levels.
- CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging – is enhanced tomography that works with 3D imaging for exceptional detail and range.
- CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner – quickly and comfortably captures digital impressions to accurately and easily create precision models or appliances (crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges, orthodontic appliances, aligners, custom abutments) without the need for bulky, goopy trays.
- Computerized Dental Implant Placement – an advanced system for pre-surgical positioning of dental implants using a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. Once the implant type is selected, a template is developed for optimal treatment success.
• A commitment to comfort including I.V. sedation (twilight sleep) as well as oral sedation for total relaxation. On our team is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist to provide sedation and anesthesia for optimal comfort and safety.
Treatment options in our specialty dental office also include reshaping gum tissues for esthetic enhancement (crown lengthening, gingivectomy for ‘gummy smiles’, repairing areas of gum recession); diagnosis and placement of dental implants; and treatment of lesions or cysts in oral tissues.
With specialized skills, a periodontist is especially respectful to oral tissues as tender layers that significantly affect the appearance of a smile and the health of teeth. Utilizing special skills to minimize incisions while effectively treating each area in the mouth, a periodontist is your expert.
Call 828-274-9440 to learn more or to schedule a consultation appointment. New patients are always welcome and a referral is not required.
How Losing Natural Teeth Can Lead To Changes In Facial Appearance
Posted on Jun 01, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
If you’ve worn dentures or partials for five or more years, take a moment to literally see how your facial appearance is changing.
Look in the mirror without your denture in place. Your mouth may appear sunken-in with your chin more pointed than before tooth loss.
Other signs of bone loss may include deep wrinkling around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turning downward (even when smiling), and jowls that are forming as facial muscles detach.
These are the telling signs of bone loss as the jaw bone declines in mass.
Natural tooth roots provide stimulation to the jaw bone, which preserves its ability to maintain a healthy mass. When tooth roots are no longer present, the jaw bone loses the stimulation needed to keep blood flow active. Over time, this results in ‘resorption,’ or a shrinking of bone.
Over time, the resorption process causes the gum ridge to flatten. The pressure on the gum ridge from wearing dentures actually accelerates the rate of bone loss. For those who sleep in their dentures, this 24/7 pressure speeds the rate of bone loss even more.
When a denture is first made, it is designed to conform to the unique contours of the bone ‘arch’ where tooth roots were once positioned. The reason that denture wearers commonly experience movement or slips is because the denture’s foundation is changing. Even with frequent application of adhesives or pastes, this dwindling foundation means a denture is likely to move while eating.
A new denture may fit securely for the first five years. However, as the jaw bone continues to lose height, relines may be needed. Eventually, these are more and more temporary with relines needed at more frequent intervals each time.
One year after natural teeth have been extracted, denture wearers average losing about 25 percent of this bone ridge. After three years, the average decline in bone is approximately 60 percent.
Biting becomes overshadowed by concerns of uprooting the denture’s position. Chewing is more difficult, and to no wonder. The biting force of natural teeth is about 250 lbs. while an average denture wearer is able to apply about 5 lbs. of force.
To avoid discomfort when eating, denture wearers may adjust their diets to consist of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. In many cases, these diets lack the nutritional benefits of fiber, vitamins and protein necessary for a healthy body.
These problems begin to affect people on a social scale, also. Due to fear of embarrassing slips, people also begin to avoid social gatherings where food is the centerpiece. It has been shown that denture wearers are less likely to dine out and wear less makeup.
Bone resorption even leaves adjacent teeth susceptible to the effects of bone loss. As the area of bone declines in height and width, neighboring teeth are at a greater risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth fractures. It is a fact that when a tooth is lost, the one next to the one missing is most likely the next to be lost.
It’s not just denture or partial wearers who can anticipate the hazards of bone resorption. For people who opt to replace a tooth (or teeth) with a crown-&-bridge, they can also expect bone loss. Over time, this can be detected through a gap that appears between the bridge and gums. In a smile, this gap may be visible.
It stands to reason that there is a need to replace more than the presence of teeth. This is why so many dentists and dental specialists now recommend Dental Implants. Over the years, they have proven to be a successful alternative to dentures and partial dentures.
There are many advantages to Dental Implants. From a health standpoint, I see their ability to halt bone loss as a leading benefit. Dental implants are placed in the jaw bone, recreating the stimulation of tooth roots. This helps to preserve the strength of the jaw bone while restoring biting strength and chewing stability.
I also like that Dental Implants are self-supporting since they use the jaw bone for support. They do not rely on having otherwise-healthy, natural teeth crowned for the mere purpose of supporting replacement teeth (as in crown-&-bridge combinations).
From a value perspective, Dental Implants are an excellent investment. With proper selection, placement and care, they are designed to last a lifetime. And, it’s an investment you’ll enjoy every day as you comfortably eat foods you love, smile and laugh without worry, and wake up with a smile!
There is much to know as to why keeping your natural teeth is so important. However, when tooth loss does occur, you can protect your health and well-being by replacing them with Dental Implants. With Dental Implants, you are able to avoid the long-term repercussions of bone loss.
A Periodontist specializes in the treatment of gum tissues as well as the diagnosis and placement of Dental Implants. Although the failure rate of Dental Implants is rather low, having a successful outcome can greatly depend on the Doctor who selects and places your implants.
Begin with a consultation by calling our Asheville periodontal dental office at 828-274-9440. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss our many comfort options, including Oral and I.V. Sedation.