Pregnant? Make Oral Health A Particular Priority!
Posted on Apr 23, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
With pregnancy, there seems to be a long list of do’s and don’ts for the mom-to-be. For instance, pregnant women are advised to avoid most drugs, alcohol, certain foods, and all smoking! Proper exercise, a balanced diet, and plenty of sleep help to keep both mother and baby healthy when it comes time for delivery.
Now, obstetricians are urging their pregnant patients (or those trying to become pregnant) to add a very important item to this list. They are advising particular devotion to achieving and maintaining good oral health.
The reason to keep a healthy mouth is based on decades of research and findings related to how infectious bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can penetrate the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, the bacteria are able to activate inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.
A mother-to-be is especially vulnerable to gum disease due to hormonal changes during her pregnancy. Almost 50 percent develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to become swollen, tender and bleed easily when brushing.
However, because of their susceptibility, the risk for full-blown gum disease is higher for pregnant females with nearly a third developing gum disease.
Research has shown that gum disease increases the risk for pre-term delivery (prior to 37 weeks) and babies of low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs.). One study showed the preterm birth rate for females without gum disease to be approximately 11 percent compared to nearly 29 percent for pregnant women with moderate to severe periodontal disease.
It has also been shown that gum disease increases the likelihood for late-term miscarriage and pre-eclampsia. When oral bacteria reach placental membranes via the bloodstream, inflammatory reactions were found to trigger pre-eclampsia or early labor.
One study showed that pregnant women with higher blood levels of antibodies to oral bacteria also had higher incidences of preterm birth and babies of low birth weight. These elevated antibodies have been found in amniotic fluid and fetal cord blood samples of infants who were preterm or of low birth weight at birth.
When periodontal disease is present, however, successful treatment has shown to lower the risk of preterm births.
For all individuals, however, the bacteria of gum disease is coming to light as a major contributor to a number of serious health problems. It is the nation’s’ leading cause of adult tooth loss and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and impotency.
Once the infectious bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream (typically through tears in weakened gum tissues), it can trigger inflammatory reactions, many serious and some that can have deadly consequences.
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of gum disease. These include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, swollen or tender gums, gums that pull away from the base of teeth, or gums that darken in color.
While any of these should prompt an individual to seek out periodontal treatment, pregnant women have a particular need to seek care. A periodontist has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of all levels of gum disease – in a way that is safe for pregnant women (as well as all patients).
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above (whether pregnant or not), you are urged to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Call 828-274-9440 to arrange an examination to begin.
Our Newest Feature – Technology That Enhances Treatment, Even Reverse Some Damage
Posted on Mar 24, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
LANAP PROTOCOL USING PERIOLASE MVP-7
Dr. William Claiborne and Dr. Jennifer Boyland of Biltmore Periodontics in Asheville are pleased to announce the addition of LANAP® protocol, a laser treatment for gum disease. Both Doctors are now Certified LANAP Clinicians, which requires completion of intensive training.
LANAP is an acronym for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, which provides an advanced protocol to more efficiently and effectively treat periodontitis (advanced gum disease). The LANAP protocol allows Dr. Claiborne and Dr. Boyland to treat gum disease with the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser. This offers a minimally invasive (non-surgical) treatment alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease.
BEFORE (area of bone loss around tooth roots)
LANAP treatment is patient friendly, leaves very little discomfort, and has a quick recovery time. Most patients can resume normal activities in less than 24 hours after treatment. Best of all, LANAP protocol is extremely effective in battling gum disease.
AFTER (showing bone regeneration)
The LANAP protocol uses the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser instead of a knife or scalpel, avoiding any kind of cutting into the gums and the need for stitches. This reduces the level of discomfort following the procedure. Treatment through LANAP can be performed in as little as one session. It is safe for patients with health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, and hemophilia.
Additionally, LANAP protocol can even stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas. For example, it has been shown to regrow periodontal ligament, alveolar bone (the bony ridge that supports the upper teeth), and regrow the bony film that adheres teeth to the jaw. (see BEFORE and AFTER images above)
There are many advantages to this remarkable technology for the patients of Biltmore Periodontics. To learn more about LANAP protocol using the PerioLase MVP-7, as well as other advanced technology the practice features, visit: https://www.biltmoreperiodontics.com/services/advanced-technology/ or call their office at: 828-274-9440.
How To Make Flossing An Easy Part Of Your Oral Care Routine
Posted on Mar 06, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
You can imagine that dental offices hear just about every excuse known to man as to why people “forget” to brush or don’t floss or don’t go to the dentist or don’t proceed with recommended treatment or don’t ….. It’s endless.
While many patients know their excuses are not really justified reasons, we adults can rationalize just about anything when it comes down to it. We know what may seem unjustified can be true reality for others.
We learn – starting from childhood – how to rationalize certain viewpoints. Some of us justify grabbing something sweet rather than healthy for a “quick pick-me-up.” Some don’t make the bed in the morning because it’s just going to get messed up at night. Some don’t go to the dentist until something hurts because they feel that’s the first sign that something is wrong.
OK, we all know, deep down, that there are things we shouldn’t avoid. No one WANTS to go to a dentist twice a year but also know it’s part of the process for a confident smile and way to avoid cavities and periodontal (gum) disease.
It’s clear that it’s not just these 6-month check-ups and cleanings alone that lower our risks of needing dental repairs and treatment, things that occur that were essentially preventable with daily care. What I’d like to address is the daily care you give to your oral health, and flossing, in particular.
In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we pride ourselves on not “lecturing” our patients. Our goal is to provide sufficient information to each individual, helping him or her understand the HOW & WHY of recommendations.
For instance, here is HOW to brush thoroughly and effectively twice a day. Here is WHY it can save you time and money by preventing or minimizing dental procedures that may be needed in the future.
Brushing one’s teeth effectively and regularly is easily instructed. We advise at least twice a day, using a soft to medium bristle tooth brush and fluoride tooth paste. Using a swirling motion, each individual should spend at least two minutes per brushing, going over all sides and tops of teeth.
And then there’s flossing. This is where the patient starts to twitch and squirm in the discussion. Flossing is a complicated, difficult maneuver in the minds of some people. Yet, for those who floss on a daily basis, it’s a simple technique that takes less than a minute.
The action of flossing helps to dislodge food particles that become trapped between teeth. For older adults who have shrinking gum tissues (a normal part of the aging process), food bits can also become wedged in the tight openings beneath the area where teeth meet one another.
Flossing is a particular need for people who have crowded, crooked teeth. These jumbled angles and nooks offer ideal havens for oral bacteria accumulation. Too, people in orthodontic treatment (braces) are particularly vulnerable to oral bacteria buildup because of the food trapping potential of wires and brackets.
Food that is not removed from the mouth after several hours begins to rot. Rotting particles are sustenance for oral bacteria. This gives them sustenance that helps them reproduce and thrive. As oral bacteria accumulate in the mouth, they begin attacking tooth enamel and gum tissues.
A tooth brush is often unable to dislodge food caught between teeth. This is why the use of floss is beneficial. However, manual floss can be a challenge to some individuals. Some people don’t like the tight feel around their fingers. Some people have large hands and find it difficult to reach certain areas in the mouth. Others have dexterity issues that leave them unable to floss.
Our goal is to create an ideal program for each patient that is customized to their needs and goals. For example, people with large or arthritic hands can STILL floss, simply by using a water flosser.
A water flosser pulsates a stream of water between teeth that is forceful enough to dislodge trapped food bits but without harming teeth or gums. Water flossers are affordable, easy to purchase online or in most stores, and easy to use.
Best of all, most water flossers have been shown to be just as effective as manual flossing. And, because they typically sit out in clear view of the sink where tooth brushing occurs, water flossers help to remind the individual that it’s a part of their at-home oral hygiene routine.
There is always an excuse to avoid doing something we know, deep down, we should be doing. I don’t like taking the trash out at night but know it’s simply part of keeping our home clean and pleasant. Yet, certain tasks are well worth the small steps we take each day to keep things in good shape.
A healthy, confident smile is worth the daily upkeep of regular brushing and flossing. You can also enhance your potential for a healthy mouth by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, limiting sugar and caffeine (which is drying to oral tissues), and avoiding snacking (or select what you snack on wisely).
For patients who have lost natural teeth or have developed periodontal disease due to insufficient oral hygiene care, their regret is a powerful warning to others. We frequently hear, “If I could go back, I’d have taken better care of my teeth.” Let us help you to avoid ever having to say that.
Begin with an examination. We’ll assess the health of your gums and the condition of your teeth. If you have signs of gum disease, we have advanced training and skills to treat all stages of gum disease. We also utilize state-of-the-art technology designed to enhance treatment outcomes and optimize patient comfort.
For individuals who have lost teeth, a periodontist also specializes in the diagnosis and placement of all types of dental implants. Dental implants recreate the strength and stability of natural teeth. Additionally, implants help to halt bone loss to the jaw bone. This enhances your ability to keep neighboring natural teeth, versus a crown-&-bridge or partial denture.
And please remember, research has shown numerous links to the oral bacteria of gum disease and serious health problems. These potent bacteria have been found to activate systemic inflammation in the body, contributing to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, preterm babies, and impotency.
For an appointment, call 828-274-9440. We’ll also be happy to answer your questions.
Dental Implants Overcome The Problems Of Missing Teeth.
Posted on Jan 28, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Advanced periodontal (gum) disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S., affecting nearly 48 percent of American adults. Although teeth play an important role in our overall health, there is a misconception with some adults that tooth loss is a natural part of the aging process.
Hopefully, this is changing.
In 1957-58, it was estimated that over 55 percent of adults over the age of 65 were totally edentulous (having no natural teeth). In 1971, a survey by the National Center For Health Statistics found that the percentage had dropped to 45. By the year 2024, it is estimated that only 10 percent of Americans between ages 65 – 74 will be without teeth.
Teeth are more than just what you use to smile, bite, and chew. They play an important role below the gumline as well.
Tooth roots provide nourishment and stimulation to the upper or lower jaw bone. This helps the bone to maintain its mass. Without tooth roots, the jaw bone begins to shrink in a process known as resorption. Dentures wearers often notice first signs of this when their once-snug ‘appliance’ begins to move or slip when chewing.
Here’s why that is occurring…
A denture, when first made, is designed to conform to the unique contours of an existing ‘ridge.’ This is the gum-covered arches in your mouth where natural teeth were once held. Without the stimulation of tooth roots to the bone, resorption causes the ridge to gradually flatten. As it loses height, the denture becomes “slippery” or “wobbly,” as patients often describe.
When dentures slip and rub sore spots on tender gums, denture wearers quickly learn which foods are too challenging for their unstable denture. They may use denture pastes or adhesives more frequently. Eventually, many switch to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth.
When a diet is deficient in the fiber and nutritional components of a healthy makeup, overall health suffers. Because the act of chewing and acids in saliva flow are the first stage of digestion, denture wearers are known to take more medications and have more gastro-intestinal problems than those who still have natural teeth.
Also at risk is social involvement, now shown to be an important part of being healthy. Because of fear of embarrassment, it’s fairly common for longtime denture wearers to avoid these gatherings, especially those centered around food. (And, try to think of many social activities that don’t – at some point – include food!)
One survey of over 20,000 dentists (by the Academy of General Dentistry) showed that having a tooth removed causes many patients to feel socially embarrassed and less likely to participate in functions that are psychologically beneficial.
Psychological issues related to tooth loss are also associated with feelings of depression and being less goal-oriented in the workplace.
The decline of bone mass can even be seen, contributing to changes in facial appearance. As bone height declines, deep wrinkles form around the mouth. Even when smiling, the corners of the mouth turn downward. Jowls form as facial muscles detach. The chin becomes pointed and the mouth appears to be collapsed into the face (often described as a ‘granny look’).
To see the extent of bone loss, a denture wearer should look in the mirror without the denture in place. Because a denture ‘plumps up’ the face, it can be deceiving as to just how much bone loss has been experienced.
For those who have already experienced tooth loss, I highly recommend dental implants for replacement. There are many types of implant systems, each designed to accommodate specific needs. A Periodontist, a dental specialist, has advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of all types of implants. The type that is best for you depends on many factors that a periodontal specialist takes into consideration.
There are even implant types that can be successful for people who have already experienced a great deal of resorption. In many cases, bone rebuilding procedures can restore the height of the jaw bone with a bone graft not needed,.
Dental implants restore the look, feel and function of natural teeth while boosting one’s ability to feel confident and eat comfortably. Another bonus? Dental implants do not rely on adjacent teeth for support as with partial dentures or crown-&-bridge combinations.
The implanted portion is held by the jaw bone, just as the natural tooth roots you once had. This helps to halt the process of bone loss. Dental implants are also designed to last a lifetime, making them a wise investment.
For those who feel they are “too old” for dental implants, I remind them that many of our implant patients are well into their 80’s or 90’s. Keep in mind that today’s adults are staying in the workplace longer, staying active in senior years, and living longer.
Since 1950, Americans added over 11 years to average life expectancy, to over age 79, according to 2013 statistics. Although females were once living an average of seven years longer than males, that gap has now narrowed to less than five.
When an adult, at any age, expresses frustration with feeling they are caught in a dental office’s revolving door, an examination typically reveals that they have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. Like most diseases that form in our bodies, gum disease begins silently. When symptoms do emerge, they include tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, and gums that pull away from teeth (known as gum recession).
Amazingly, so many adults have gum disease even though it is completely avoidable. Proper brushing and flossing, minimizing sugar intake, avoiding smoking, and having regular dental checkups can help curtail the cycle of dental problems.
First, you must establish a healthy foundation, which begins with healthy gums. The first step is to have a periodontal exam to determine your current gum condition. If signs of gum disease exists, we will explain the process needed to restore your gums to a healthy state. We will also make home care recommendations to help you maintain good gum health between dental checkups.
While adults are getting better at keeping their natural teeth, we still have a long way to go. I believe many adults would be more determined to keep their natural teeth if they had a better understanding of their value. Hopefully, this has helped your appreciation of what supports those pearly whites!
For more information, contact us at 828-274-9440 or tap here to being.