Missing Teeth Should Be Replaced For The GOOD Of Overall Well-Being.
Posted on Oct 22, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Sometimes, it’s what we can’t see that can do the most harm.
A surprising example of that is wearing dentures. While dentures and partial dentures do replace the presence of teeth, they actually have a detrimental effect on what lies beneath.
If you remove your denture, you can actually SEE what’s going on.
For people who have worn dentures or partials for ten years or more, the appliance has applied pressure to the bone ‘ridge’ that once supported natural teeth. And, without the stimulation of tooth roots in the bone, the jaw begins to decline in mass.
Without the denture in place to “fluff up” the shape of the mouth, a look in the mirror can reveal signs of bone loss. These include:
- Deep wrinkles around your mouth.
- The corners of your mouth turn downward, even in a smile.
- The mouth seems sunken in. Jowls have formed on the sides of the face.
- The chin seems more pointed than in your youth.
- The chin may also seem closer to the nose.
This decline in bone occurs when a tooth root is removed from the jaw bone. Without natural tooth roots to nourish and stimulate the root, the process of ‘resorption’ begins.
Additionally, resorption increases risks for tooth loss to neighboring natural teeth. As the jaw bone declines in an area to adjacent tooth roots, these teeth are more vulnerable to cavities, gum disease, and 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.
For people who opt to replace a tooth (or teeth) with a crown-&-bridge, they can also expect bone loss. Over time, this is visible by a gap that seen between the base of the bridge and the natural gum tissues.
As a periodontist, the most common complaint I hear from those who wear dentures or partials is having discomfort while eating. Many long-time denture and partial wearers experience sore spots on tender gum tissues. This occurs because their appliances move when chewing certain foods.
This movement is the result of the declined bone mass that supports the denture. This gum-covered ‘ridge’ where teeth were once held flattens as the jaw bone declines in height and mass. Because a denture or partial is made to contour to this ridge, it begins to slip as the bone shrinks. This is when people tend to use denture adhesives and pastes more frequently.
To avoid discomfort when eating, denture wearers begin to alter their food selections, opting for soft foods that dissolve quickly in the mouth without having to chew. In many cases, these choices lack the fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein needed for proper nutrition.
To no surprise, denture wearers are known to take more medications and have more gastrointestinal problems than non-denture wearers. Yet, the problems of “slippery” or “wobbly” dentures can affect social involvement as well.
Due to fear of embarrassing slips, denture wearers begin to decline social gatherings where food is the centerpiece. Social involvement is a healthy part of keeping our brains and bodies active, which is a positive part of aging.
It stands to reason that there is a need to replace more than the mere presence of teeth. This is why so many dentists and dental specialists now recommend dental implants. For decades now, they have been a dependable option to replace missing natural teeth.
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 your 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 implants. With dental implants, you are able to avoid the long-term repercussions of bone loss.
When extreme bone loss has occurred, we can restore bone mass through several methods. One uses a bone-rebuilding material that generates new growth. For some patients who have lost bone due to gum disease, our Asheville periodontal dental office also offers LANAP technology (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure). This advanced technology has been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.
Ask about dental implants to restore a natural look and feel while you protect surrounding teeth and bone structure. As a periodontist with advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of all types of implant systems, I can recommend options that will work best for your individual situation.
Call 828-274-9440 to learn more or ask for a consultation to personally discuss your needs and preferences.
Afraid of the Dentist? Here’s How To Get Your Smile Back!
Posted on Oct 11, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Have you ever suddenly seen a snake out of the corner of your eye?
Immediately, the brain kicks in a “fight or flight” response that causes us to react. Because we don’t know whether or not the snake is poisonous, the typical reaction is to quickly move away from danger.
Past trauma can also trigger reactions. Past experiences can sometimes cause people to react in ways they can’t control. For adults who have experienced a frightening or painful dental procedure, the fear it caused can become embedded (sometimes forever) in the subconscious.
Some things that cause us to flinch or freeze can occur from reasons we can’t even explain. Patients who are nervous or afraid when they first arrive often know what past episode triggered it. Some are unable to recall an unpleasant dental visit yet react to certain sights, smells or sounds.
Dental fear occurs in different people at different levels. It can activate reactions of more rapid heartbeat, sweating, heavier breathing, and muscle tension.
Here, at our Asheville periodontal office, most patients are relaxed from the moment they walk in and throughout treatment. Some are fine until they are seated in the treatment chair while others are nervous and uneasy the entire time.
Dental fear and anxiety are often the result of an unfortunate experience in a dentist’s office that made the person feel out of control and trapped. This tends to carry over so that perceived pain can be just as real as actual pain.
Experiencing uneasy feelings at dental visits is not uncommon. According to the Cleveland Clinic, between 9 – 15 percent of Americans say they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/11176-dental-phobia-in-adults)
They also cite the most common causes as:
- Fear of pain
- Fear of injection or that the injection won’t work
- Fear of anesthetic side effects
- Feelings of helplessness and loss of control
- Embarrassment and feeling encroachment of personal space
Periodontal (gum) disease is the result of an accumulation of oral bacteria. It is also the leading cause of adult tooth loss. As a Periodontist, I find that most individuals have developed gum disease because they were too afraid of having regular dental care. Many avoid going to the dentist for years, only ‘giving in’ when something becomes so painful they can no longer delay treatment.
At Biltmore Periodontics, patient comfort is a priority at every visit. And, it is obvious from the moment you walk in our door. Our reception area is designed to pamper patients from the moment they enter. Patients are treated to a selection of gourmet coffees, cable television and WiFi connection. Seating is comfortable and our front office staff is attentive to the needs of each guest.
New patients begin in a private consultation room so we can discuss treatment needs and concerns in a living room style setting. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and explain treatment options, including sedation.
We offer oral sedation as well as I.V. sedation (twilight sleep) for most procedures, if desired. 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 places the patient in a deeper sedative state, also erasing memory of the procedure. It is administered by a doctor of anesthesiology for optimal comfort and safety. With both, patients are monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.
Our surgical suite offers a large window with beautiful mountain views. This is very soothing and relaxing for patients as they are attended to by gentle, compassionate hands.
Our entire staff provide a unified team, each bringing a sincere level of compassion and commitment to excellent care. While the doctors involved in your care are top-notch, I am always happy to hear so many patients tell me how our staff helps them to feel at ease and pampered.
It doesn’t take long for patients to realize our goal is to provide skilled care delivered with comfort. The more they experience this, the more relaxed they become and develop a sense of trust.
When patients trust us, many no longer need to feel anxious and “white-knuckled” in a dental chair. And, they see their dental care as a positive part of their overall health, which makes them more involved with their oral health – and smiling confidently!
Like everyone, fearful patients desire a healthy, confident smile. Once the obstacle of fear is removed, their ability to achieve that is greatly heightened.
If you or someone you know has fear that has prevented needed or desired dental care, schedule a consultation appointment. Call 828-274-9440 to learn more.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Linked To Periodontal Disease
Posted on Oct 02, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
As a periodontist, I specialize in the treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease. Although this particular dental specialty is not as visible as a general dentist, we are very-involved members of the medical and dental community. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), over 47 percent of American adults have some level of gum disease.
Like the formation of cancer, many individuals are unaware when periodontal disease becomes active. When early symptoms appear (such as bleeding gums when brushing, bad breath and gum tenderness), many people shrug them off as temporary.
However, gum disease only progresses once underway. Eventually, gums become red in color and pus pockets form at the base of teeth. In advanced stages, teeth loosen and may require removal. Gum disease, to no surprise, is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
The potent bacteria of periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. This allows it to travel throughout the body. Research has shown it is able to trigger a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, memory loss, and impotency.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a condition seemingly unrelated to gum disease, is a debilitating disease that destroys joints. It is disabling and painful. In most cases, RA emerges gradually, often beginning with morning stiffness along with weak and aching muscles. Joint pain follows, with joints feeling sore and stiff. RA is typically found in the fingers, wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, toes, shoulder and neck.
As inflammation from RA increases, joints become swollen with symptoms including fever, disfiguring of hands and feet, numbness and tingling. There is no cure for RA and lifelong treatment is required. Treatment may consist of medications, physical therapy, or even surgery.
Yet, like RA, gum disease causes pain, swelling, and tenderness. As it worsens, the associated inflammation can lead to destruction of the bone that supports teeth along with surrounding tissues. And, the similarities go much deeper.
Both gum disease and RA share a genetic likeness in clinical makeup and structures. This has been particularly apparent in pathogens, which are agents in the body that lead to disease or illness. The pathological processes that occurs in both gum disease and RA are almost identical.
Too, the particular species of bacteria found in gum-diseased oral tissues and tissues that surround joints in those who suffer with RA. Equally concerning is, while both conditions clearly cause chronic inflammation in tissues connected to bone, researchers have found the two diseases share a similar inflammatory trigger.
In one study, a particular pathogen associated with periodontal disease was found to activate the same destructive process of rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been shown that, by treating periodontal disease in RA patients, RA symptoms often improve ( likely due to the system’s reduced burden of oral inflammation).
These findings reveal just how closely our oral health correlates
A relaxing and comfy environment.
to our overall health. This information should send up alarms that the presence of gum disease can greatly increase your risk for serious health conditions. Clearly, people who have RA should be particularly diligent when it comes to their oral health.
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease (as mentioned above), seek treatment at your earliest convenience. You can begin with a consultation appointment in our comfortable Asheville periodontal office. A referral is not needed.
Call 828-274-9440 to learn more.
Know The Unseen Risks Of Wearing Dentures
Posted on Sep 19, 2019 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
As an Asheville periodontist, my goal is to provide each patient with the very best so they can enjoy a healthy, confident smile. For patients who have lost one or more natural teeth, some come to me because they want to avoid ending up having to wear a full or partial denture. For those who wear one and are unhappy with the feel and function, we are sought out as specialists in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants.
Denture wearers, especially those who have worn dentures for many years, can quickly become dissatisfied with the uncomfortable rubbing and difficulty eating foods they once enjoyed. Although their ‘appliance’ may have fit well when first made, changes in the fit, over time, are due to what is taking place below the gum tissues. These changes aren’t obvious, at first.
When first made, a denture is custom-designed to fit snugly to the unique contours of the gum ridge. This ‘ridge’ is the raised arch where natural teeth were once held. Over time, denture wearers begin to notice that the denture moves while chewing certain foods. This can rub sore spots on gums. As the denture loosens more, even using denture adhesives or pastes don’t help much.
Denture patients also learn that it can be painful for something as small as a sesame seed to become trapped between their denture and gums, piercing into tender gum tissues. Some people eventually switch to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily to avoid rigorous chewing. Because of fear of embarrassing slips, others begin to decline social invitations when they are centered around food.
The problem for a denture wearer is what is happening underneath the gums. The looser fit is not because the denture has expanded – it’s the decline of the jaw bone. This occurs with the absence of tooth roots, which once provided nourishment and stimulation to the bone that supported them.
When natural tooth roots are removed, the jaw bone begins to shrink. This decline in bone mass also contributes to changes in facial appearance, such as deep wrinkling around the mouth and the formation of jowls.
The process of bone loss continues as the gum ridge your denture was contoured to flattens. Relines may temporarily adjust the denture to accommodate some of the change. However, as the jaw bone continues to decline, the denture continues to be difficult to keep in place.
The denture itself merely adds to the problem of bone loss. The pressure of wearing a denture actually accelerates the rate of bone loss. Since a number of denture wearers also sleep in their dentures, the 24/7 pressure speeds this rate even more.
Long-time denture wearers often complain that they are not able to chew, with some admitting they have to even remove their denture to eat. Fear of embarrassment is another common complaint. Speaking, laughing and even sneezing in the presence of others can create embarrassing moments that leave lasting impressions.
The solution to these problems – dental implants. Not only do implants restore the ability to bite and chew comfortably, they halt bone loss that is associated with dentures. Because they are held by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots once were, implants recreate the stimulation needed by the jaw bone to maintain its mass.
Does your denture bring to mind words like rocky, wobbly and slippery? If so, the problem will only worsen over time. When people choose dental implants to replace an ill-fitting denture, they can smile, laugh and chew with confidence.
Eating a healthy diet, socializing with friends and family, and feeling confident are essential to a healthy, happy life. Call our friendly Asheville periodontal dental office: 828-254-9440 to schedule an initial appointment. (A referral is not required). During this time, I’ll explain the type of implants that may be best for your needs as well as comfort options, including oral and IV sedation (“twilight sleep”). We are also happy to discuss estimated costs and payment options.