Why Missing Teeth Cause Changes To Facial Appearance


Posted on Sep 30, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The shape of our face is made by the bone structures beneath the skin. Essentially, we inherit our facial appearance from our ancestors. You may have your mom’s nose or your dad’s chin, but how you look is thanks to your genes.

However, facial appearance can also change due to a decline of bone mass. In dentistry, this is typically based on the presence, or absence, of natural teeth. Losing teeth – even when replaced by a denture, partial, or crown & bridge – leaves the upper and/or lower jaw bone susceptible to bone shrinkage. This is known as resorption.

The presence of natural teeth is vital to the health of upper and lower jaw bones. Tooth roots provide stimulation to the bone, stimulating blood flow that helps the jaws to maintain a healthy mass. Without tooth roots, the lack of stimulation causes the bone(s) to slowly decline.

Resorption causes the gum ridge to flatten out over time, giving your denture a continually-declining foundation. Application of denture adhesive becomes more frequent to prevent the denture from moving while eating, which causes uncomfortable rubbing. Laughing and speaking becomes overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing slips.

When dentures are first made, they may feel secure for the first five or so years. However, as resorption continues, relines help only on a temporary basis. As bone loss progresses, relines will last at less frequent intervals each time.

On average, denture wearers experience a 25% bone loss one year after natural teeth have been extracted. Three years later, 60% of the bone is gone. While natural teeth provide a biting force of 250 pounds, the average denture wearer bites with about 5 pounds of force.

Denture wearers are often surprised to learn that the pressure of wearing them actually accelerates resorption. For people who sleep in their dentures, the 24/7 pressure speeds the process of resorption even more.

To see the extent of bone loss you’ve experienced, remove your denture and look in the mirror. You may see deep wrinkles around the mouth and notice the corners of your mouth turn downward. If bone loss is severe, our mouth may appear to be collapsed inward with a pointed chin. Jowls may have formed on the sides of your face as facial muscles detect from the shrinking bone.

As a periodontist, I specialize in the treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease as well as in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. And, we are adept at placement of all types of dental implants. With over 40 different implant types, each designed to accommodate various needs, understanding the best type – and correct placement of it – can have a significant impact on your overall success rate.

For example, new designs in dental implant systems can overcome even severe bone loss. The All-On-4 dental implant can be placed in minimal bone using just four implants. Using specific angles, All-On-4 can support a full denture that is non-removable. And, because it is supported by implants placed in bone (just as natural tooth roots), biting and chewing stability is restored.

A periodontist can also assist patients prior to implant placement when severe bone loss has occurred. To ensure a sufficient level of bone mass to support the implanted portions, procedures such as bone generating materials or a “sinus lift” may be advised (to increase bone mass between the upper jaw and sinus cavity).

Our Asheville periodontal dental office is also known for our advanced technology and features (including our on-site 3D Cone Beam and laser). Additionally, our patients enjoy a high level of patient comfort through the administration of IV sedation (twilight sleep). This is administered by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist for optimal safety and comfort.

As dental implants have become a more practical and popular option, adults are turning away from dentures, partials, or bridges. In addition to restoring biting and chewing comfort and stability, implants offer a lifetime replacement option that actually enhances the well-being and lifespan of surrounding teeth.

Because of their ability to restore the presence of natural teeth to such a great extent, the dental profession now sees dental implants as the preferred choice for replacement for most patients. Although the overall treatment costs may seem greater initially, over time, it becomes obvious that the benefits far outweigh the expense.

When you consider that dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, the investment is a wise one. There are very little things in this day and age that will last as long as we do!

If you are considering dental implants, increase your potential for a successful outcome by asking a Periodontist to join your dentist in team treatment. Most general dentists have close relationships with periodontal specialists for implant placement and in treating gum disease.

Before you make your decision, you may wish to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs and desires. We are always happy to welcome new patients and being referred is not required. Call 828-274-9440.

Overcome Obstacles To Achieve A Confident Smile


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

It’s not unusual to see a new patient who has delayed seeking advanced dental care for many years because of perceived obstacles. I say “perceived” because many of these obstacles are not nearly so daunting once people actually learn more there are solutions for about any dilemma.

For example, a bride-to-be with a “gummy smile” realizes, after years of postponement, that she can have her gum line corrected through laser treatment that provides quick recovery with an easy payment plan.

Or, an individual who has worn a self-described “wobbly” denture for many years and overcame misperceptions about the need for pre-placement bone rebuilding. Through specially-designed and uniquely placed dental implants (“All-On-4”), patients may be able to bypass the extended treatment time and added expense to restore bone mass.

In a conversation once, a friend reminded me “we don’t know what we don’t know.” How true. Often, once we learn the details surrounding a big decision in our lives, moving forward becomes an easier process. Achieving goals gets closer and closer.

Below are a few of the common barriers that patients can often overcome when it comes to periodontal treatment or dental implants…


COST: There are few things in life that last a lifetime. When it comes to cosmetic gum enhancement and dental implants, the lasting benefits make these procedures an excellent investment. However, treatment cost can seem challenging to some budgets. For people who wish to enjoy the benefits of their results without straining their budget, payment plans can be the solution.

There are a number of these financial options, most requiring no down payment, are interest-free, and have no prepayment penalty. For some people who see the total treatment fee at first, vocalizing their concerns regarding payment is an uneasy thing to do. Yet, once we are made aware of the need for budget-friendly options, we are able to help many people move forward with treatment that can enhance physical appearance, self-confidence and emotional security. Those are pretty priceless benefits!


DENTAL FEAR: Dental fear and high anxiety associated with dental visits is not rare. As a matter of fact, some estimates rank this as affecting up to 60% of U.S. adults. There are a number of reasons that lead to these fears. For some people, they are able to overcome these fears once in the hands of a gentle, caring dentist. For those whose fears are so deeply embedded they cannot, we offer a special team who administer and oversee the safety of oral and IV sedation (twilight sleep).

In our office, we employe the skills of a a medical doctor to provide sedation and anesthesia for our patients. Dr. Stone has published several articles on techniques and safety in anesthesia as well as a book contribution on intravenous access.


TIME IN TREATMENT: We all live lives that are busy. Schedules seem to be overloaded so much of the time. This is why time in treatment can seem “too much” to add to one’s schedule. However, the advanced skills of a periodontal specialist, coupled with our immense array of advanced technology means we are able to alleviate many of these worries for our patients.

Once the patient’s imaging and treatment plan is in hand, we are often able to schedule patients soon thereafter. With the relaxation provided by our sedation options, we can perform long procedures in a single appointment rather than have the patient return for several appointments to complete treatment. Too, using our advanced imaging and computerized technology, treatment is more precise, often more conservative, and healing time improved.


TREATMENT SATISFACTION: The best way to make a decision that works to achieve your meeds and goals is through a consultation appointment. During this time, we can discuss what options are best for your individual needs, estimated treatment time, costs, and comfort options. This is a time when you can get to know us and we can give you the information that is factual and applicable to you. And, this is where trust is formed. I have a long-standing reputation for my commitment to patient excellence.

Begin by calling our Asheville periodontal dental office and speaking to our friendly staff at: 828-274-9440. Or, tap here to see our beautiful Western NC location.

Dental Implants – Lower Risks Of Failure With These Tips


Posted on Apr 21, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we believe our patients appreciate being fully informed about their oral health status and understanding their options for treatment. For those who have lost natural teeth, our specialty dental services include the diagnosis and placement of dental implants.

The specialized skills of a periodontist provides implant patients with a high level of success in treatment outcome. It also offers patients a wider variety of choices when it comes to implant systems.

This is why many general dentists who offer dental implants refer the placement portion to a periodontal specialist. For their patient, this can mean a higher level of success, especially for complex needs.

For example, a patient who is missing a lot of bone mass (often due to missing natural teeth for many years) benefits from the specialized skills of our Asheville periodontal office. Another example is a patient who has lost teeth due to periodontal (gum) disease. Because a periodontist combines advanced skills in treating gum disease as well as in dental implants, these patients are given a ‘leg up’ when it comes to treatment success.

In making your decision to opt for dental implants vs. crown-&-bridge, dentures or partials, it is important to understand the basics of how dental implants work. Although there are different types of implant systems, all work in in a similar fashion.

An implant is similar to a screw-like cylinder that is hollowed out in the center. This segment is what is placed into the bone to serve as a tooth root replacement.

Selecting the most appropriate type of implant and how many are needed is based on specific needs and goals. Our Western NC periodontal office plans for your placement procedure using computerized technology to determine the precise angles and depths for each implant before the placement procedure begins. This minimizes disruption to the gum tissues and bone structures, which in turn reduces healing time and optimizes comfort.

Once placed, each implant is covered over with gum tissue. For several months after, the implant goes through a process known as “osseo-integration.” During this phase, the bone grows around the implant, securing it into the bone. This recreates the foundation of natural tooth roots to give biting and chewing stability. Throughout this time, you can wear a denture or temporary so you are never without teeth.

Once healing is complete, a post is secured inside the hollow core of the implant. This post (or “abutment”) will support your final replacement tooth or teeth.

An important aspect of implant success also relies on the proper assessment of bone mass. When the upper or lower jaw has insufficient bone to support the implant being placed, there is a risk of failure.

Again, an implant requires careful selection and placement to be able to support the replacement teeth being attached. In some cases, as few as 4 – 6 implants can support a complete arch of teeth. This decision is best left in the hands of a periodontal specialist.

Severe bone loss can require bone rebuilding procedures prior to implant placement. This can be done by bone grafting or the application of a bone-rebuilding material. In some cases, dental implant systems designed with unique angles (such as the “All On 4”) can support a fulll arch of upper or lower teeth using minimal bone depth with no bone rebuilding necessary.

Another perk of the All On 4 is the forces of chewing and biting require only 4 implants on the upper and/or lower. Because implant costs are largely based on the number of implants placed, this can be a great savings for people who are candidates.

Why does successful placement rely so greatly on assessing bone mass? An implant must be placed in adequate bone that does not risk interfering with adjacent structures.

Without proper placement in sufficient bone, an implant risks coming in contact with a nerve that extends horizontally through the lower jaw. Upper implants placed too close to the sinus cavity can, over time, penetrate that area. Removing an implant in either of these situations, of course, is no simple task.

The ability to select the proper implant type for available bone depth is equally important.

Dental implant diagnosis and placement skills can vary greatly from one dentist to another. While some have taken extensive courses in implant dentistry, others may have taken a weekend course here and there. These are typically ‘hosted’ by a particular manufacturer who provides ‘training’ in a limited selection of implant types. In turn, this can limit the patient’s choices when relying on appropriate recommendations for his or her unique needs.

Obviously, a qualified doctor can enhance your potential for a successful outcome, which is where a periodontal specialist is a wise choice. A Periodontist has particular expertise in the diagnosis and placement of all types of Dental Implants. As a matter of fact, many general dentists prefer to have a Periodontist place implants in their patients. The patient then returns to their dentist for the attachment of teeth to the implants.

Rest assured – in our office, comfort is always a priority. For our patients, we offer oral or I.V sedation to accompany many procedures. While both are beneficial to calm anxiety, tension, stress or even intense feelings of fear, each has its advantages as well as limitations.

Oral sedation is in pill form and provides a fully relaxed state. It often erases most memory of the procedure after and has a quick recovery.

While oral sedation provides a very relaxed state, I.V. sedation puts you in a complete sleep state. This is sometimes referred to as “twilight sleep.”  I.V. sedation is ideal for people with dental fear or phobia. This sedation is delivered through an I.V. drip, or intravenously. It takes effect rather quickly and patients nod off within minutes. This sedative erases memory of treatment afterward.

Whether given oral or I.V. sedation, comfort and safety are important to us at all times. And, while sedation is helpful when fear or anxiety exist, some people who have no fears at all request sedation for its ability to relax them during lengthy appointments.

While the doctor involved in your treatment is important, much of the potential for a successful result falls into the patient’s hands after the placement process. As a patient, having a successful outcome begins as soon as your implants are placed.

First, closely follow your post-placement instructions. For a few days following placement, most patients are advised to eat only cool, soft foods. This helps to minimize swelling and bleeding, which helps gum tissues to more quickly seal incision sites. This can lower your risk for infection.

Once home, other factors can also place your implants at risk. For example, smokers have a higher risk for implant failure. Because the chemicals in cigarette smoke are very drying to oral tissues, the healing process takes longer. Delayed healing creates a greater risk for infection to occur.

An element of risk that may surprise you is grinding or clenching teeth during sleep, which is typically a symptom of a misaligned bite. Some clenching is so intense the force can be likened to that used to crack a walnut. A sign of night-time clenching or grinding may be worn, chipped or broken teeth. However, even without signs, if you suspect you grind or clench, mention this to your implant dentist prior to treatment. This way, proactive measures can be taken to resolve the problem before complications result.

Most important of all is the patient’s commitment to maintaining good oral hygiene. Although Dental Implants themselves do not experience decay, the gum tissues and bone supporting the implants are as susceptible to oral bacteria as before. When oral bacteria infection (gum disease) penetrates to the implant site positions, the only way to treat the infection may require removing the implant.

In addition to being highly committed to your oral hygiene at home, your dental check-ups may be scheduled for every four months rather than twice a year. During these visits, a hygienist will remove accumulated oral bacteria to reduce risk to your Dental Implants. The condition of your gums will also be assessed.

Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime and are the closest thing to the natural teeth you once had. Too, the restored ability to bite, chew, speak and laugh without worry can be a tremendous boost to one’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

The type of dental implant best suited for you can be determined after an examination and review of x-rays (we use Cone-Beam digital imaging). Call 828-274-9440 to begin with a private, no obligation consultation to discuss your best options.

 

 

 

 

Dental Implants Not ‘One Size Fits All’


Posted on Sep 21, 2021 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

A periodontist specializes in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants, in addition to the treatment of all stages of periodontal disease.

For people who are considering dental implants to replace teeth, this level of expertise provides greater reassurance of successful treatment outcomes. A periodontist can also offer patients with a wider choice of implant systems.

How can patients have more dental implant options through a periodontist?

When general dental offices offer dental implants, some general dentists offer implant selection and placement along with the restoration of the implant. (“Restoration” refers to the replacement crown that is attached to the implanted portion.)

Although generalists complete training in dental implants, most courses are offered by particular implant manufacturers. This means that the course focuses on the systems available through this one maker, which may or may not include the one most appropriate for your individual needs.

This is why most generalists refer the placement portion to a periodontal specialist. For their patient, this can mean a higher level of success, especially for complex needs.

For example, a patient who is missing a lot of bone mass (due to missing natural teeth for many years) benefits from the specialized skills of our Asheville periodontal office. A periodontist can incorporate bone rebuilding procedures into treatment to a proper depth. This specialist can help to restore bone that has occurred in the mandible (lower jaw) or maxilla (upper jaw), which may also require a sinus lift.

Another example is a patient who has lost teeth due to periodontal (gum) disease. Because a periodontist combines advanced skills in treating gum disease as well as in dental implants, these patients have an added advantage when it comes to treatment success.

For many reasons, dental implants have become the preferred tooth replacement option. There are over 40 different implant systems, each designed to accommodate various challenges and preferences. Some of the more common types include:


Traditional Dental Implants: In this process, dental implant treatments is done in a couple of stages. In the first stage, placement of each implant is performed. This involves small incisions in pre-selected placement points. In our Asheville periodontal dental office, these points are determined through computerized imaging, taking the guesswork out of the depth and angle of each implant placed. Once the implant is in proper position, the gum tissue is closed over the implant sites.

Several implants can often hold a full arch of teeth

The second stage involves a “healing period” of 3 – 6 months. During this phase, the bone grows around the implant(s) to secure each in place. The patient’s denture or partial denture can be comfortably worn during this time. This process is known as osseointegration, which describes the jaw bone growing around the implanted portion. This is what secures the implant so it provides stable, dependable biting and chewing strength.

After osseointegration is complete, the implant sites are uncovered and a post is positioned in the implant’s interior. Onto the posts, replacement teeth are attached. Once the final teeth are secured, patients can enjoy their confident smile along with the biting and chewing comfort like that of natural teeth.


Non-Removable Teeth Attached To Implants: In the past, the more affordable ‘full arch’ systems were typically those designed to support removable teeth. (An ‘arch’ is a full arrangement of all upper or all lower teeth.) However, some people feel removable teeth are too similar to the denture they wish to replace. Although firmly secured, the chore of having to remove teeth to clean them is a task many people want to eliminate.

A number of affordable implant systems are now available, designed to provide non-removable options that are more affordable. For example, the All On 4 dental implant system is made to support non-removable teeth on just 4 implants. With the implanted portions placed at unique angles, these longer implants can fully distribute biting and chewing forces.
 Another advantage of All On Four is their ability to be placed in minimal bone.

This is good news for people who are long-time denture wearers and were told they have too little bone to support implants. Or, they may have been advised to have bone grafts to rebuild the bone to an adequate height. This adds time and expense to implant treatment. Often, the All On 4 design is able to overcome this obstacle.


‘Same-Day’ Dental Implants: Advancements in dental implant systems and technology have evolved into implant placement and teeth attachment that can be accomplished in a single day. Some implant designs can position implants in the jaw bone in a way that they are able to support replacement teeth immediately.

With the replacement teeth created prior, the teeth may be attached without delay.
 In some cases, a previously-made denture or partial can be reconfigured to attach to newly placed implants. However, mounting replacement teeth to a just-placed implant isn’t wise for certain situations. This option should be diagnosed and performed by an experienced, skilled and highly-trained dental specialist in order to achieve a successful outcome. While “same-day” procedures can sound appealing, choose care where your individual needs are a priority.


Modern implant dentistry is successful, safe, dependable and can provide nearly immediate benefits. Our office enjoys a reputation for being on the cutting edge of implant dentistry’s techniques, technology and materials. This assures our patients of care that minimizes discomfort and treatment time while optimizing their final results.

Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, making them an excellent investment. They are the closest thing to the natural teeth you once had, restoring the ability to bite, chew, speak and laugh confidently.

Over the years, I have been a witness to the transformations many implant patients undergo after treatment. They seem to smile and laugh more, become more social, and focus on their oral and overall health to a greater extent.

The type of dental implant best suited for you can be determined after an examination and review of x-rays (we use Cone-Beam digital imaging). Call 828-274-9440 to begin with a private, no obligation consultation to discuss your best options.

Please know that, if cost is a concern, payment plans can help you enjoy your beautifully restored smile while making easy monthly payments. Too, in many cases, an implant is not needed to replace each missing tooth. Often, when several teeth are missing in one area, one or two implants can support a “bridge” of several teeth. This curtails the treatment costs by reducing the number of implants needed.

If dental fear or anxiety is a concern, please mention this during our consultation. In our Asheville office, our entire team strives to provide a respectful, compassionate environment. We offer oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep) for nearly any procedure as well as a gentle touch at every visit.

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