Many Reasons To Repair Gum Recession


Posted on May 19, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you are occasionally experiencing sensitivity around one or more teeth, especially when eating ice-cream or drinking hot coffee, this is likely due to receded gums.

While using a sensitivity toothpaste can somewhat minimize these sensations (which can become painful jolts), the problem will remain. The source of sensitivity, most often, is because the highly-sensitive tooth’s root area has been exposed by the pulling away of gum tissues.

The gum tissues are designed to provide a tight seal around the base of each tooth, which blocks bacterial entry to the sensitive tooth root area. In addition to sensitivity, recession means oral bacteria can penetrate beneath the gum’s surface. Once beneath the surface, the accumulating presence of this bacteria can lead to inflammation of the gums.

Eventually, the infectious bacteria attack the structures that support natural teeth. This bacteria indicates the presence of periodontal (gum) disease. Signs and symptoms of gum disease in its first stage include:

• Gum tissues that turn red

• Gums that become tender or swollen

• Gums that bleed when brushing

• Persistent bad breath

Obviously, it’s important to ensure the gums are healthy so the grip they have around teeth is snug. It’s also important to be aware of the causes of gum recession. These are:

The aging process – As people age, their gums become drier. This causes them to shrink and be less capable of keeping a secure grip around the base of teeth.

Periodontal (gum) disease – As mentioned above, gum disease destroys oral tissues and the bone that supports natural tooth roots. A sign of periodontal disease is gum recession. Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Poor dental hygiene – When twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and keeping the mouth moist are insufficient to rid the mouth of bacteria, their accumulation can result in the sticky film you feel on teeth. This is plaque. In just a day or so, plaque can harden on teeth into tartar. This is a cement-hard bacterial colony that cannot be removed by brushing or flossing . It can only be removed during a professional tooth cleaning. If not removed, teeth, gums and the structures below the gum line can be damaged.

Brushing too hard – Brushing teeth rigorously doesn’t mean you are doing a good job. Using a scrubbing, back-&-forth motion can wear away tooth enamel and cause the gums to recede. Other damaging actions when brushing are or using a hard bristled toothbrush or abrasive substances, such as baking soda.

Hormones – Females experience fluctuations in estrogen levels during puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause. During these times, the gums can be more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco use – In addition to the many health hazards smokers risk, they are more likely to develop plaque due to the oral drying effects of smoking. This dryness can lead to gum recession (not to mention brown teeth and bad breath).

Bite misalignment – When teeth don’t come together evenly, too much force can be exerted on the gums and surrounding bone, allowing gums to recede. Bite misalignment can also lead to grinding or clenching teeth. These harsh forces on teeth can cause the gums to loosen their grip.

If you have mild sensations of sensitivity, desensitizing toothpastes can help soothe the nerves by forming a protective barrier over teeth while blocking sensitivity signals. Although this type of toothpaste can be helpful, it should be used as a temporary aid.

The goal should be to repair recession and halt the problem from recurring. To do this, we begin by determining why the gum recession is occurring. The next step is to restore the gums to their proper positions.

The corrective procedure most often performed is a “gingivectomy” performed by a periodontal specialist. In addition to treating all stages of gum disease, a periodontist specializes in contouring gum tissues. Using advanced skills, a periodontist is able to create a natural look and restore your oral health.

A gingivectomy can reposition or graft gum tissues over the area of recession to restore a healthy seal and protect the tooth structures below the surface.

Another advantage of a gingivectomy is to help save a natural tooth. When a tooth breaks near the gum line, a “crown lengthening” procedure may be advised. In this, a periodontist may be able to expose enough of the tooth structure for the placement of a crown.

A crown lengthening procedure is an ideal accompaniment to many cosmetic dentistry treatments. When there are different heights of gum tissues framing the teeth most visible in a smile. This tends to create a jumbled looking smile, when when the teeth are straight.

Crown lengthening rebalances the height of gum tissues that arch the teeth to restore a smile that is balanced. From this, the eye is drawn to the smile as a whole rather than one or two teeth with varying heights of gum tissue.

A gingivectomy is also performed for individuals who wish to correct a “gummy smile.” This is when a smile shows too much gum tissue above upper teeth when smiling fully.

Gingivectomies are performed while the patient is comfortably numbed. For some people, sedation may be a preference for enhanced relaxation. Oral sedation is available in pill form, which allows patients to ‘doze’ through procedures. I.V. sedation, also known as “twilight sleep”, is available for patients who prefer a deeper level of sedation.

Both sedations are administered by fully trained team members who use advanced safety monitoring equipment. We believe your safety is as important as your comfort.

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we also offer a wide array of technology. This often saves the patient time in treatment, enhances comfort, and speeds healing. For example, our dental laser can seal tissues as it contours it. This eliminates or greatly minimizes bleeding.

Pain is how the body indicates that something is wrong. When the gum tissues have receded, they are not going to repair on their own. Let’s discuss your particular needs, whether for improved oral health or to enhance the appearance of your smile (or both) during a consultation appointment.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a time.

 

 

April is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month


Posted on Apr 12, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

April is recognized as National Oral Cancer Month. It provides an annual opportunity for the medical and dental communities to remind the American population of the dire consequences that can be brought on by this cancer.

Oral cavity and oropharyngeal (which includes the base of the tongue and soft palate) cancers occur most often in the tongue, gums, floor of the mouth, tonsils, and other parts of the mouth and oropharynx. These cancers also occur in the lips and salivary glands (typically those in the roof of the mouth).

According to the American Cancer Society’s, recent statistics of oral and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers include:

• In 2022, an estimated 54,000 new cases will occur with about 11,230 deaths.

• The average age of people diagnosed with these cancers is 63, but over 20% (1 in 5) of cases occur in patients under the age of 55.

• These cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women and slightly more common in white people than black people. Overall, the lifetime risk of developing oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer is about 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women.

Although the death rate and new cases of oral cavity has risen only slightly over the past 20 years, there has been an increase specifically in oropharyngeal cancers associated with an human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in both men and women. These HPV-positive cancers tend to act differently than HPV-negative cancers.

A number of other factors can affect your risk for developing mouth and throat cancer. These include:

Tobacco and alcohol use – Tobacco use is one of the strongest risk factors for head and neck cancers, including oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. The risk for these cancers is much higher in people who smoke than in people who don’t. Most people with these cancers have a history of smoking or other tobacco exposure, like chewing tobacco. The more you smoke, the greater your risk. Smoke from cigarettes, pipes, and cigars all increase your risk of getting these cancers. Some studies indicate that long-term exposure to secondhand smoke might increase the risk of these cancers.

Oral tobacco products (snuff, dip, spit, chew, or dissolvable tobacco) are linked with cancers of the cheek, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Using oral tobacco products for a long time is linked to a very high risk. These products also cause gum disease, destruction of the bone sockets around teeth, and tooth loss.

For people who continue to smoke and use oral tobacco products after cancer treatment, their risk of developing a second cancer in the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), lung and other organs greatly increases.

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers. Heavy drinkers have a higher risk than light drinkers. Smoking and drinking alcohol together multiplies the risk of these cancers. The risk of these cancers in people who drink and smoke heavily is about 30 times higher than the risk in people who don’t smoke or drink.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection – HPV is a group of more than 150 types of viruses called papillomaviruses. Some of these viruses cause a type of growth commonly called a papilloma or wart.

Infection with certain types of HPV can cause some forms of cancer, including cancers of the penis, cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, mouth, and throat. HPV type 16 (HPV16) is the type most often linked to cancer of the oropharynx, especially those in the tonsil and base of tongue.

The number of oropharyngeal cancers linked to HPV has risen greatly over the past few decades due to becoming more common in younger people who have a history of multiple sex partners (including oral sex). This is true for even those with no history of alcohol abuse or tobacco use.

Gender – Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers are twice as common in men than in women. HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers are also seen more often in men.

Poor nutrition – Studies have found that a diet low in fruits and vegetables is linked with an increased risk of cancers of the oral cavity and oropharynx.

Being obese or overweight – Too much body weight appears to increase the risk of these cancers.  It is advised that eating more plant-based foods, such as non-starchy vegetables and whole fruit, may help people lose weight as well as reduce their risk of oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancer.

Age – Because oral and oropharynx cancers can take many years to develop, they’re not common in young people. Most patients with these cancers are older than 55 when the cancers are first detected. HPV-linked cancers tend to be diagnosed in people younger than 50.

Sunlight – Cancers of the lip are more common in people who have outdoor jobs where they are exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.

Genetics – People with certain genes have a higher risk of mouth and middle throat cancer.

Signs and symptoms of mouth cancer may include:
• A lip or mouth sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks
• White or reddish patch on the inside of the mouth
• Loose teeth
• A growth or lump inside the mouth
• Mouth pain
• Ear pain
• Difficult or painful swallowing

Although oral cancer may first make itself known by a spot on the lips, inside of cheeks or on (or under) the tongue, oropharyngeal cancer can exist without symptoms. When symptoms do arise, they may be:
   Mass felt in the neck or in the back of the throat
   Difficulty or pain with swallowing
   Muffled voice
   Ear pain
   Throat pain or sore throat

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html

A periodontist is a dental specialist who has advanced skills in treatment involving the gums, including gum disease, gum reshaping and in the placement of dental implants. This specialist can also detect suspicious areas that may be early warning signs of oral or oropharyngeal cancer. Through a painless process, the examination can determine is a biopsy is needed for a thorough testing process. The earlier the treatment, the less involved the process will be. Too, early treatment helps to increase survival rates.

As an Asheville NC periodontal specialist, please react promptly to any signs or symptoms associated with these cancers. And, with this knowledge, make it your goal to share this information with a smile you love.

Optimize Your Dental Implant Experience, Results.


Posted on Jan 24, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

I recently had to return a small appliance at a “big box” store. I didn’t have the receipt but hoped I could at least get a store credit. When I explained this to the customer service rep, she said a receipt wasn’t necessary. She scanned the bar code and asked me if I wanted the refunded amount applied to the credit card I used to purchase it. No receipt needed, no credit card, and I was in and out of the line in no time.

With today’s technology, many processes that were once time-consuming and complicated are now simple and “painless.” Less time is required with better results. Technology has made this true, too, in dentistry.

As a periodontist, I specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease. I also have advanced training and skills in the selection and placement of dental implants. In addition, periodontists are particularly skilled in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.

As an Asheville periodontal specialist for over 30 years, I’ve treated a variety of needs that involve the gum tissues. These include:

– Treatment of all stages of gum disease (gingivitis, pregnancy gingivitis, periodontal disease, periodontitis)

– Reshaping gum tissues for esthetic enhancement (crown lengthening, gingivectomy for ‘gummy smiles’, repairing areas of gum recession)

– Diagnosis and placement of dental implants

– Treatment of lesions or cysts in oral tissues

To receive the extensive, additional 3 years of training after dental school to become a periodontist, (I believe) an individual must be passionate about the specialty. I certainly am, which is why I’m so committed to stay on top of the latest developments in the field.

This includes incorporating some of the most advanced technology available for the betterment of our Western North Carolina patients.

Our periodontal dental office features cutting edge technology, much of which is not available in other dental or periodontal offices in this region. These features help to diagnose with precision, treatment plan with superior accuracy and reduces the patient’s treatment time while optimizing comfort.

For our dental implant patients, these options have been significantly beneficial in maximizing results. Some specifically helpful in dental implant diagnosis and planning are:

LANAP With PerioLase MVP 7 – Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure is an advanced protocol that efficiently and effectively treats advanced gum disease with the added advantages of a dental laser. For patients who are preparing for dental implant placement, resolving gum disease prior to treatment is mandatory. LANAP offers a non-surgical alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease with very little discomfort and a quick recovery time.

Cone Beam Imaging – These amazing 3D “x-rays’ are ideal for diagnosing and treatment planning. The highly-detailed images provide a clear view of the upper and lower jaw. Because cone beam radiographs show sagittal, axial, and coronal planes, locating and tracking nerve canals optimizes implant placement. The images are captured in a quick, painless process and at minimal levels of radiation.

CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging – This enhanced tomography works with 3D imaging for exceptional detail and range.

Computerized Dental Implant Placement – This system provides the futuristic ability to position dental implants before the process actually begins. Through computerized technology, the implants are selected and “ideally positioned” on a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. From this, a template is developed for optimal treatment success, even for complex cases.

CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner – Rather than make impressions with bulky, goopy trays, this scanner quickly and comfortably captures digital impressions accurately and easily. These are used to create precision models or appliances (dental implant crowns, bridges, or full arches). The scanner can also reach hard–to–access areas in the patient’s mouth for superior results with improved patient comfort.

Sedation – Our Asheville periodontal practice is known for its environment of comfort and respectful care. We understand that over 70 percent of the adult population have some level of dental fear or anxiety. For optimal comfort and relaxation, we offer several sedation options, including oral and IV sedation.
Oral sedation is a pill that helps patients relax. It also has an amnesiac effect, leaving most with little or no memory of treatment afterward.
I.V. sedation (also known as ‘twilight sleep’) places the patient in a deeper sleep state and erases memory of the procedure. It is administered by a Medical Doctor (MD) who is a board certified Anesthesiologist.
With both sedation options, patients are closely monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.

When it comes to placement of dental implants, a periodontist has a unique understanding of the tender layers of gum tissues. Using gentle and precise skills when it comes to any treatment involving oral tissues, the patient experiences less disruption and incisions. When it comes to the gums, less is definitely more. We strive to optimize comfort levels and speed the healing process.

If you are considering dental implants, you may wish to begin with a consultation appointment. During this time, we can explain the vast difference in comfort, treatment time, and success available through our specialized skills and extensive technology.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule. New patients are always welcome and a referral is not required.

Cracked & Broken Teeth A ‘Sign of the Times’


Posted on Jan 06, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a periodontist in Asheville NC for over 25 years, I’ve seen my fair share of teeth that have been removed or need removal. Most of these teeth, based on national statistics, are lost due to damage caused by periodontal (gum) disease.

Yet, in more recent years, I’m seeing people lose teeth due to broken or fractured teeth.

In my dental specialty, I have advanced skills in the treatment of gum disease as well as in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. As the ideal option in tooth replacement, dental implants restore the stability and dependability of natural teeth.

So, it stands to reason that a lost tooth is best replaced by a dental implant. But, why are more and more individuals losing teeth due to fractured, cracked or split teeth?

It’s becoming more common to hear that dentists are treating more cracked teeth since the beginning of the pandemic. A recent survey shared by the American Dental Association (ADA) reported that over 70 percent of dentists surveyed (nearly 2300) saw an increase in patients who had experienced night-time clenching and grinding of teeth, or ‘bruxing’. These problems have typically been the result of bite misalignment, which interferes with the harmonious congruity of upper and lower teeth while eating or speaking.

https://www.ada.org/about/press-releases/2021-archives/new-survey-finds-stress-related-dental-conditions-continue-to-increase

When a tooth breaks or fractures below the gum line, it requires removal (in most cases) since the above-the-gum structure is generally insufficient to support a crown. As a periodontist, another area of the periodontal specialty is crown lengthening.

This procedure is often performed prior to the placement of crowns to correct the height of the gum arch that borders teeth. This is especially common for patients who have a ‘gummy smile,’ or too much gum area visible above upper teeth when in a full smile.

However, in cases where a tooth breaks, crown lengthening is sometimes performed to alter the surrounding gum tissues and expose enough tooth structure to support a crown. The benefit of this is the patient is able to avoid having the tooth removed and endure the many decisions (and costs) involved to replace it.

Pandemic stress, quarantine fatigue, mask burnout, a succession of variants, less social involvement, and general stress overload has become a global problem. Although stress is experienced by different people in different ways, it is not uncommon for it to be revealed through dental issues.

Many people hold stress and tension in their jaw muscles and jaw joints. This is why, during relaxation phases in a yoga class, it’s common for the instructor to encourage participants to relax their jaw muscles. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress is causing an unusually higher rate of oral health problems.

Based on the ADA survey, about 60 percent of responding dentists shared an increase in patients who clearly cite stress as the culprit for tooth damage. Thus, dentists have seen significant increases (up 63 percent) in chipped teeth, and about the same percentage of increases for cracked teeth and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder symptoms, which includes headaches and jaw pain.

If you are experiencing problems regarding stress held in the jaw joints, here are a few tips that may help lessen the load:

• Walk away from the computer an hour before bedtime.
• Relax with a warm shower or play soothing music.
• Relax your jaw joints by putting your lips together, teeth apart, and resting your tongue behind front teeth or the roof of the mouth.
• Ask your dentist about a custom-designed night guard to protect your teeth from night-time clenching or grinding.

If the worst has occurred – losing a natural tooth – the best way to replace it is with a dental implant.

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.

There are many advantages to having dental implants, including the 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 superior tooth replacement option for a lifetime of confident, healthy smiles.

In our beautiful Asheville periodontal dental office, we offer the most advanced technology in dentistry. Additionally, oral and IV sedation (‘twilight sleep’) are also available for optimal patient comfort.

To learn more, call 828-274-9440. If preferred, you can begin with a consultation appointment. New patients are always welcome and a referral is not needed.

 

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