Dental Implants – A Bionic Smile!


Posted on Sep 25, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Modern medical science is amazing. Today’s technology has helped to advance the ability to provide miraculous solutions to many once-challenging problems. For example, “bionic” arms and hands have been developed to function almost normally. Today, prosthetic legs are moving people out of wheelchairs and into positions to walk and run.

When I think of dental implants, I realize just how miraculous they are as well. While some people think of dental implants as fairly recent on the scene, they have actually been around since the 1950’s.

Like prosthetic limbs, many types of dental implants have been developed to accommodate specific needs. For example, one known as ‘All-On-4’ is designed for people who have lost a great deal of bone mass. Using a specific design and placement at unique angles, the All-On-Four system overcomes the problems of severe bone loss to support a full arch of non-removable teeth.

Other implant types can support one or a bridge of two or more replacement teeth. Some implant systems are ideal for placement at the time of tooth removal. Still, other systems work in conjunction with additional implants to support multiple teeth.

For individuals who have experienced bone loss (which commonly occurs from years of missing tooth roots), bone grafting can be performed prior to implant placement. Or, bone rebuilding materials can be added to existing bone to rebuild it.

Bone loss is a big deal, even though it’s not always obvious at first. Known as ‘resorption,’ this occurs when tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone that once supported natural teeth. Over time, the bone begins to shrink due to lack of stimulation.

Bone loss is the reason that once snug-fitting dentures begin to slip or move while eating. As the ‘ridge’ flattens (which is the gum-covered arch where tooth roots were once held), the foundation that the denture was originally made to conform declines in height. As the bone shrinks, the denture has less and less of a base to support it.

For people who are missing one or several natural teeth, it is paramount that they be replaced, preferably with dental implants. Why? Statistics show that natural teeth adjacent to a lost tooth are at greater risk for being the next to be lost.

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. Having the ability to bite and chew efficiently and enjoy a diet of foods you love enhances eating pleasure and proper digestion. It’s no surprise that people who wear dentures have more gastrointestinal problems than those who have their natural teeth.

There are so many advantages to having dental implants. One of the best ones is their 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 miraculous tooth replacement option for your lifetime.

If you have lost natural teeth or are facing the potential of tooth removal, call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation. This will occur in a private, comfortable consultation room conveniently located in our Asheville office.

During this time, we’ll discuss the implant systems that may work best for your needs and preferences. I’ll explain the treatment involved and sedation options along with estimated treatment fees.

Just as you would want a hand or a leg replaced with a normal looking and functioning prosthetic, you certainly want replacement teeth that function properly and look as natural as the teeth you once had (or better!).

Call today and arrange an appointment to discuss getting your smile back to better-than-ever!

The Makeup Of Dental Implants


Posted on Jul 10, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Every once in a while, I find it is helpful to explain the components of Dental Implants. Because implant systems come in many different shapes and sizes, understanding the basics can often help an individual determine which is best suited to his or her overall goals.

For example, some people who have worn a denture for years prefer an implant system that has ‘fixed’ teeth attached. This means they will not need to remove the replacement teeth for cleaning.

First, it’s important to understand that a Dental Implant is not the replacement tooth, but a component that serves as the stablizer. The actual implanted portion is positioned into the jaw to serve as a tooth root replacement. This restores a dependable, sturdy foundation that supports teeth that can bite and chew without movement.

In placing the implant portion, an insertion point is made in the gum tissues and the bone underneath where natural tooth roots were once held. Into this, the implant, which is similar to a hollow screw-like cylinder, is placed.

In most cases, the implants are recovered with gum tissue and allowed to bond with surrounding bone for several months. Throughout this period, you can wear your denture or temporary teeth comfortably.

The process of bone growing around the implant is known as ‘osseo-integration.’ During this time, the bone grows around the implant and secures it in place. After several months, the gum tissue is uncovered and a post is secured inside the implant. Onto this post, the final replacement tooth or teeth are attached. These teeth are referred to as crowns or restorations.

One implant can often support a bridge of two or more teeth. Several strategically-placed implants are often used to support a full arch of teeth. For people who have lost a great deal of bone mass, certain implant systems rely on implants that are placed at specific angles to support teeth in minimal bone depth. However, some levels of bone loss need bone rebuilding procedures. These can be performed prior to implant placement and help restore facial appearance as well as overall eating and speaking function.

Because of the wide variety of implant systems, it is important to carefully choose the doctor who will place your implants. A Periodontist has advanced training in the diagnosis and placement of Dental Implants and works closely with other general dentists and dental specialists to help you enjoy a successful outcome.

The type of Dental Implant best suited for your needs can be discussed during a private Consultation. Call (828) 274-9440to arrange a time to discuss the choices that will work best for you.

Different Implant Designs For Different Needs


Posted on May 22, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a dental specialist with advanced skills in the diagnosis and placement of Dental Implants, I enjoy staying on top of the latest techniques, technology and materials. Over the years, I have been especially excited to provide our patients with the advancements that make implant dentistry such an ideal option in tooth replacement.

Today’s implant dentistry is successful, safe, dependable and often immediate. As the doctor who places the implants, having a role in restoring a patient’s ability to bite, chew, speak and laugh has been a major highlight in a rewarding career.

One of the reasons for the high success rate of Dental Implants is in the design of different systems. For decades, Implant designs have been fine-tuned so various systems are able to accommodate specific challenges and preferences. In addition to being more affordable than ever, implant systems are now available for nearly every situation, including:

Implants Supporting Non-Removable Teeth – For some, removable teeth attached to implants were too similar to the denture they had (and detested). Even though these removable replacement teeth are firmly secured to the implants, most individuals want teeth that do not come out. However, some of the more affordable systems have been those that support removable teeth. Now, an implant system known as All-On

Just 4 Implants Support Non-Removable Teeth In Minimal Bone

-4 is able to support non-removable teeth using just 4 strategically-placed implants. By positioning the implanted portions at unique angles, the biting and chewing forces are distributed evenly among fewer implants. Another advantage of this system is its ability to be placed in minimal bone. Long-time denture wearers are often challenged because of severe bone loss. Having insufficient bone mass to support Implants has prevented some people from having implants or required bone rebuilding procedures prior to implant placement. The All-On-4 implant system is able to overcome this obstacle.

Traditional Dental Implants – Still today, the ‘gold standard’ for most implant treatment requires several stages. Placement of the implants is performed first. For several months after, the bone goes through a process  known as ‘osseo-integration.’ This takes place over a 3-6 month period and secures the implant in the upper or lower jaw bone, similar to natural tooth roots. Once secured, the implant sites are uncovered and a post is positioned inside to which the replacement teeth are secured. During osseointegration, however, patients are able to comfortably wear their denture or partial.

Fast-Track Dental Implants – As the design of implant systems have advanced with the involvement of computerized technology, implant placement and teeth attachment can often be completed in less time than that required by traditional implants. Having the ability to pre-select ideal placement positions prior means that, in some cases, immediate attachment of teeth can occur. While this option isn’t appropriate for everyone, certain patients are, indeed, excellent candidates. This is why it is important to have an experienced and highly-trained doctor coordinate your diagnosis and placement. When your individual needs are carefully assessed, a successful outcome has greater potential with the foundation of a proper diagnosis and implant selection.

Dental Implants are the closest thing to the natural teeth you once had. They are also designed to last a lifetime, making them an excellent investment. The type of implant system best suited to your needs will be discussed after an examination and review of Panorex (jaw-to-jaw) imaging.

Let’s discuss the implant system that is best for your needs and goals during a private consultation appointment. We’ll also discuss comfort options, including Oral and I.V. Sedation. Call 828-274-9440.

Problems Experienced When Jaw Bone Shrinks


Posted on Jul 05, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

When natural teeth are lost, there are a number of ways to restore the appearance of your smile. However, there is only one way to maintain dependable, secure biting and chewing – Dental Implants. Here’s why…

Natural tooth roots provide stimulation to the jaw bone, which preserves its ability to maintain a healthy mass. When tooth roots are missing, the jaw bone loses the stimulation needed to keep blood flow active. Over time, this results in ‘resorption,’ or a decline in bone mass.

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 shrinking. Even with the help 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 help on a temporary basis. As bone loss continues, relines to your denture or partial will need to be done at more frequent intervals each time.

Healthy Jaw Bone Vs Bone Loss From Wearing Dentures

Healthy Jaw Bone Vs Bone Loss From Wearing Dentures

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 risky. Chewing is more difficult. The biting force of natural teeth is about 250 lbs. while an average denture wearer is able to apply about 5 lbs. of force.

Want to see the extent of resorption you’ve experienced? Begin by looking 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 include deep wrinkling around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turning downward (even when smiling), and jowls from the detachment of facial muscles.

There is a solution to the ongoing challenges of bone loss. Today’s implant dentistry offers excellent options to replace missing teeth and overcome the problems associated with bone loss (even when bone loss is severe). Implant systems such as All-On-4 can be positioned in minimal bone using just four implants. Placed at specific angles, All-On-4 can support a full, non-removable denture in minimal bone.

There are many reasons so many adults are now choosing Dental Implants for tooth replacement.  They halt the process of bone loss while restoring chewing comfort and confidence when speaking or laughing.

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 828-274-9440. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and discuss our many comfort options, including Oral and I.V. Sedation.

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