“Futuristic” Technology Surrounds Patient Care
Posted on Jul 30, 2020 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Many adults are unfamiliar with the specialized skills of a periodontist – until they need one.
At Biltmore Periodontics in Asheville, most patients are referred by their general dentist or other dental specialist. However, a professional referral is not required. We accept patients from the recommendations of other patients as well as those who find us through internet searches, etc.
To clarify what we are and what we offer, a periodontist is a dentist who extends his or her education and skills further (typically 3 years past completing dental school) to specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and other gum conditions.
Additionally, a periodontal specialist has advanced skills in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. A periodontal specialist is also trained in performing esthetic procedures that involve gum tissues, such as crown lengthening and correcting a “gummy smile”.
A periodontist’s office may have a similar look and feel of your general dentist’s office. However, the advanced skills and techniques are typically supported by advanced technology. Some offices, as ours (serving Western North Carolina) provide a rather “futuristic” array of technology to enhance treatment outcomes, save the patient time in treatment, speed healing time, and optimize comfort throughout care.
Periodontists are able treat complex periodontal cases of severe gum disease or caring for patients who have complex medical histories or health issues. They offer a wide range of treatments using a range of surgical or non-surgical procedures.
A periodontal office is also attuned to caring for high-fear patients. Periodontists understand that many people who develop periodontal (gum) disease do so because they were too afraid of dental treatment to see a dentist on a regular basis. Without a solid combination of thorough at-home oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups and cleanings, the potential to develop gum disease greatly increases.
In a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on data related to prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.: 47.2 percent of adults 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease rates increase with age, affecting 70.1 percent for adults 65 years and older.
One study, published by StudyFinds.org, shares recent findings of 2,000 adults in the U.S. regarding dental visits. Results show a whopping 62 percent of those surveyed stating they were too afraid to even visit a dentist’s office. (https://www.studyfinds.org/adults-too-scared-visit-dentist-teeth/)
Surprisingly, the age group most likely to avoid dental care because of fear were millennials (currently ages 22 – 38). With past decades of advancements in comfort and greater sensitivity surrounding anxiety and fear in the dental office (versus what older generations often experienced), their higher levels of avoidance due to fear was unexpected, but clearly significant.
In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we provide special measures to ensure the safety and comfort of all patients – for every appointment. For many patients, Dr. Claiborne and Dr. Boyland offer Oral and I.V. Sedation. Sometimes referred to as “twilight sleep,” I.V. Sedation allows patients to be totally relaxed before, during and after treatment with little or no memory of the procedure.
Our periodontists also offer Oral Sedation in pill form to give a high level of relaxation, which typically has an amnesiac effect on patients. Throughout any type of sedation, patients are closely monitored by trained professionals and advanced safety equipment.
When it comes to technology, however, Biltmore Periodontics prides itself on some of the most advanced features available in the Southeast. These include:
• LANAP Protocol Using PerioLase MVP-7 – An acronym for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, LANAP provides an advanced protocol to more efficiently and effectively treat periodontitis (advanced gum disease) with a laser. This offers a minimally invasive (non-surgical) treatment alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease in as little as one session. It is safe for people with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hemophilia. LANAP treatment leaves very little discomfort and has a quick recovery time.
LANAP technology is also able to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas. It can regrow periodontal ligament, alveolar bone (the bony ridge that supports the upper teeth), and regrow the bony film that adheres teeth to the jaw.
• Dental Radiology With 3-D Cone Beam Technology
– Using 3D imaging for diagnostic and treatment planning, the entire dentition area provides clear, detailed views of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jaw) for precision diagnosis in endodontics (tooth roots), periodontics, orthodontics, dental implants, temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and prosthodontics as well as dental and maxillofacial surgery.
In addition, cone beam images can locate and trace the mandibular nerve canal, which optimizes pre-surgical planning of dental implant positioning.
Radiation levels are at minute levels and the imaging process is quick and comfortable.
• CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging
– This technology provides panoramic and 3D imaging with exceptional detail and range at significantly lower radiation – up to an 85 percent lower dose than traditional panoramic imaging.
• CS 3600 intraoral scanner
– Unlike impressions made with bulky, goopy trays held in a patient’s mouth, this modern scanner quickly and comfortably scans the mouth’s interior to provide digital impressions accurately. The device is a small, handheld scanner and ideal for impressions to design crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges, orthodontic appliances and aligners, custom abutments and RPD. Its accurate HD 3D color images give precision details for improved case review, analysis and communication between doctors, referrals and labs.
• Simplant Dental Software for Computerized Dental Implant Placement
- This advanced software system allows for pre-surgical positioning of dental implants on the computer using a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. Once the implant type is selected, a surgical template is developed that ensures a precision fit. Simplant creates optimal implant treatment success, even for complex cases. It also simplifies the team treatment process so intricate aspects of the surgical process can be discussed prior to placement.
• Intraoral Camera Technology –
This self-contained intraoral camera features full motion video with outstanding image quality from an internal camera that captures ideal angles and images with the click of a button. The images are sent to screen for a clear, crisp view so we can confer with patients on specific treatment issues.
• Computer Imaging In Treatment Suites
– Treatment suites are equipped with computers for convenient image sharing with patients. This allows patients to have a more complete understanding of their individual needs through images that can be pulled up by our dental team, with the ability to enlarge certain areas to show specific details. Through this, patients have greater involvement in treatment decisions.
This extensive array of technology is in keeping with our commitment to provide each patient with advanced skills, experience and comfort to provide the very best in periodontal and dental implant treatment. Added to this is the truly talented, committed staff who tend to our patients in a warm, compassionate and respectful manner.
Overcoming gum disease can help patients to save natural teeth. This means the trauma of tooth loss and decisions for replacement can be avoided.
If you suffer with symptoms of gum disease (tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, or gums that have turned red in color), the condition will only worsen without treatment. Call our friendly staff to discuss your needs: 828-274-9440.
Don’t Let Misaligned Teeth Lead To Tooth Loss.
Posted on Feb 25, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
As a periodontist, I have specialized skills in treating all stages of gum disease (known as periodontal disease, or simply “perio” by some). I also have advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants.
Although my specialty does not cover the advanced training an orthodontist has in bite alignment, my dental education absolutely covered the benefits of having proper “occlusion.” It also covered the repercussions of NOT having a bite that is properly balanced.
Just as an orthodontist can spot telltale signs of gum inflammation, I (along with general dentists and most dental specialists) can see indications of teeth that are not working in unison — even at times when these teeth appear to be “straight.”
While the nation’s number one cause of adult tooth loss is gum disease, having a misaligned bite function (or “malocclusion”) can lead to tooth loss in ways you may not have realized.
For example, during chewing, the upper teeth and lower teeth are designed to work harmoniously together to grind food down for swallowing and digesting. When an upper tooth does not interact smoothly with one below it (or vice versa), a tooth can become chipped, broken or fractured.
When damage to a tooth occurs, it must be quickly repaired before oral bacteria can penetrate tooth structures. Without the protection of enamel, oral bacteria can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
A fracture in a tooth can expand over time, leading to a crack that loosens an entire segment of a tooth. These areas must also be repaired before the tooth is subjected to oral bacteria. This typically requires a crown (or “cap”) that is placed over the top portion of the tooth.
However, a crack in a tooth that extends into the gum tissues typically means the tooth must be removed. If a portion of the tooth breaks “just below” the gum tissue, the tooth can sometimes be saved by a procedure we do called a “crown lengthening.” This is often known as a gingivectomy and is performed to remove excess gum tissues.
A gingivectomy procedure exposes more of the natural tooth so a crown can be placed over the tooth to preserve its remaining structure. (For people who have a “gummy smile,” this is performed, also, to reduce the amount of gum tissue that arches over teeth most visible in a smile.)
Another hazard of bite misalignment relates to dental implants. The overall success rate of dental implants is very high, nearly 98 percent by some estimates (when properly selected, placed and maintained). However, when a newly-placed implant is subjected to the grinding forces of TMJ disorders, its risks for success are much lower.
People are often surprised to learn that they clench and/or grind their teeth at night – primarily due to bite misalignment. When a bite is “off,” the jaw joints can become strained and inflamed. During sleep, the upper and lower jaws go on a subconscious quest of sorts, searching to find a comfortable position that eliminates the strain.
The forces behind some clenching are enough to crack open a walnut. Imagine a newly placed implant that is dependent upon the jaw bones to “heal” it into this firm foundation. When the area of bone around an implant is subjected to night after night of disruption, the implant is against the odds of becoming fully embedded in supporting bone.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you use a screwdriver to firmly anchor a screw into a solid block of wood. However, every day, you use a pair of pliers to grasp the screw head and wriggle it back and forth. Obviously, it wouldn’t take long for the wood surrounding the length of the screw to wear down from the friction of the screw’s motion, even slight as it may seem. Eventually, the screw could be easily moved back and forth and would no longer serve as a dependable base of support.
It’s not unusual for more than one dental specialist to work with another to provide a patient with the combined skills needed in particular cases. I frequently work with other dental specialists and general dentists in a “team treatment” capacity in order to give patients optimal outcomes.
When we place an implant, our goal is for each patient to enjoy its benefits for the remainder of their life. Bite misalignment can jeopardize this. And, if you have all your natural teeth now, be sure to protect them by keeping your gums healthy and ensuring your bite is as well.
After all, every dental professional is on your team when it comes to enjoying confident smiles for a lifetime!
If you’ve noticed indications of gum disease (tender gums that bleed when brushing, for example) or have experienced tooth loss (or fear you are facing it), take charge of your smile now. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a thorough examination.
Reshaping Gums Can Protect & Beautify Your Smile.
Posted on Jan 08, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
As a periodontal specialist, I spend a great deal of my time treating patients who have periodontal (gum) disease and placing dental implants. My specialty has given me advanced training in both areas; both being important for the preservation of your smile and protection of your health.
Receded gum tissue
One aspect of the periodontal specialty that is not always familiar to the general public, however, is our ability to recontour gum tissues. While this can be done to enhance the appearance of a smile, reshaping the gum tissues is also performed to protect and even save natural teeth. I’ll explain.
For several reasons, gum tissues can pull away from the base of teeth. This can occur from gum tissues becoming drier with age or over-zealous tooth brushing. Gums can also loosen their grip around teeth when teeth tilt out of their proper positions.
When the tight seal around the base of teeth is compromised, the tooth becomes more vulnerable to oral bacteria. Darker, sensitive tooth root segments can be exposed. This not only causes discomfort, these areas are more susceptible to bacteria. And, because of allowing an entry point for oral bacteria, the tooth roots and bones that support teeth are more vulnerable to damage as well.
In cases when a tooth breaks near the gum line, gum re-contouring may be able to expose enough of the tooth structure so a crown can be placed. This means the natural tooth can be saved rather than require removal. Once a natural tooth is removed, it brings with it a long list of decisions and associated costs.
Although protecting and saving teeth is the priority, gum contouring can also be performed to enhance the appearance of a smile. For example, for people who have a “gummy smile,” too much gum tissue is visible above upper teeth in a full smile. A periodontist can use his or her specialized skills to reshape the tissues to provide a more balanced smile line.
This procedure is known as a Gingivectomy. This repositions or removes excess gum tissues so the smile line is more balanced to teeth. The procedure is performed while the patient is fully comfortable and the healing time is greatly reduced with our advanced technology.
Another procedure that greatly enhances the look of a smile is crown lengthening. This is recommended when the gum tissues that arch one or several teeth is at a different level than surrounding teeth. With this uneven alignment of gum tissue, it can create a jumbled look in spite of having attractive, healthy teeth.
A crown lengthening procedure typically combines the repositioning of gum tissues along with placement of a crown. This recreates a smile that has proper balance amongst teeth and gum tissues.
It’s not uncommon for new patients to arrive with misconceptions about the procedures. With advanced technology and techniques, along with specialized skills, our patients enjoy optimal comfort, minimal treatment time, and exceptional outcomes for every periodontal need.
Too, many patients feel these procedures are out of reach financially. For many treatments, we offer payment options that are manageable to most budgets. This way, you can make payments while enjoying the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile.
Now that you know how a periodontist can enhance the health and appearance of your smile, consider scheduling a consultation and exam. Call 828-274-9440 or tap here to begin.
Gum Disease, Dental Implants – A Periodontist Can Make A BIG Difference.
Posted on Aug 06, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
When it comes to our health, most of us have an internist, or a ‘primary care’ physician. This doctor oversees our general health. However, should a strange rash appear, our internist will likely refer us to a dermatologist. The same is true if we experience persistent back pain; the internist is likely to refer us to an orthopedist.
When it comes to the best way to pinpoint and tackle specific issues with our health, it makes sense to see a doctor who has received specialized training in that area. This helps to take the guesswork out of diagnosis and enhances the potential for a successful outcome in an efficient process.
As a periodontal specialist, I work with a large number of general dentists in Western North Carolina as well as other dental specialists and physicians. In many cases, we work together in “team treatment” so the patient receives specialized dental care that blends comfortably with the positive relationship each has with his or her regular dentist.
Dr. William Claiborne,
What is a periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who has continued in education to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all areas of the tissues in the mouth. In addition to treating all phases of periodontal (gum) disease, we are uniquely qualified to reshape gum tissues.
For gum disease, we are able to help patients overcome the problems caused by the infectious bacteria in the mouth. Through decades of research, this bacteria has been associated with many health problems elsewhere in the body. It has been found to trigger systemic inflammation and has been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis.
We begin by accurately diagnosing the stage of gum disease present. From there, we develop a customized treatment plan based upon factors such as the patient’s current overall health, their diet, medications, whether they smoke or drink alcohol, and age.
Treatment recommendations are made based on what will effectively resolve the problem without over-treating or under-treating. By restoring the patient to good oral health, we are able to help them avoid tooth loss and rid their mouths (and thus, their bodies) from an overload of oral bacteria.
Gum tissues also play an important role in protecting teeth. When they recede, or pull away from the base of teeth, tooth roots may be exposed. These darker, sensitive areas can be re-covered through procedures that restore the protective seal around teeth as well as the level of the gum line, which plays an important role in a smile’s appearance.
A periodontist specializes in gum contouring to enhance the look of your smile. For example, when the gum tissues that arch over each tooth are a different levels, it can distract from a smile’s appearance. Through reshaping procedures (often referred to as a gingivectomy), we can correct this for a more balanced “smile line.”
The same is true for an individual who is born with a “gummy smile.” This occurs when too much gum tissue shows above top teeth in a full smile. Often, with minor reshaping or “crown lengthening” procedures, we can adjust the gums to a more esthetically-pleasing level.
Periodontists also specialize in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. They are trained to understand all the intricate concepts involved in selecting the proper type of implant. Then, they are skilled at placing implants at proper depths and angles. As they oversee your “healing” time, periodontists are also able to optimize your comfort and outcome.
A periodontist receives 4 years of “undergraduate” training at a college or university and then goes on to earn a dental doctorate. After 4 years of dental school, they further their education for another 3-4 years before completing stringent requirements for a specialty certification in periodontics.
This 11 years of higher education is a commitment I made with enthusiasm, and I have relished staying on the cutting edge of new developments in the field throughout my career. On an ongoing basis, periodontal findings have revealed the integral connection between our oral health and our overall health.
As research continues, the understanding of good oral health as it benefits our overall health will hopefully become common knowledge to every individual. Sadly, our nation now has an adult population of nearly half that have some level of gum disease.
If you would benefits from the advanced skills of a periodontal specialist, please know that we are fully trained to attend to your specific periodontal needs in a comfortable, effective manner. Our entire team is committed to compassionate, respectful care that is appropriate for each need and our office is equipped to handle your care efficiently, effectively, and gently.
Call 828-274-9440 to learn more or to schedule a consultation.