Flu Season, Covid Worries Bring Dentures To A Worrisome Light
Posted on Nov 28, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
With the flu season now underway, 2022-23 seems especially concerning. The severity of flu for certain population segments is coupled with added concerns about increasing cases of the Covid virus. This has older adults, in particular, taking added precautions with mask wearing, limiting public outings, and ensuring vaccines are up to date.
When it comes to contributors to acquiring the flu, however, oral health is one that is often overlooked. Things like wearing dentures and having gum disease can create higher susceptibility to developing the flu (as well as other health problems) than many are aware.
Losing teeth in a lifetime happens. However, it is most prominent in adults as they age. Over a life span, teeth take an enormous brunt of wear and tear. More than 13% of adults between ages of 65 – 74 have lost all of their teeth with this percentage doubling after age 75. (https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/adult-oral-health/adult_older.htm)
Because older adults comprise a significant portion of the population, tooth loss is an especially troubling health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the number of U.S. adults ages 65 and older is expected to reach nearly one-fourth of the overall population by the year 2060.
While replacing teeth can be done rather inexpensively through dentures, replacing the presence of teeth is very different from replacing their function. Dentures do very little to support the ability to bite confidently and chew thoroughly. Here’s why…
When dentures are first made, they are conformed to fit the specific curves and arches of the existing bone ridge where teeth were once held. Without natural tooth roots in the jaw bone (where natural teeth were once supported), the bone begins to shrink, or “resorb.”
As resorption progresses, the arch where teeth were held begins to flatten. Thus, the foundation of the denture becomes less and less. This results in dentures that slip when eating or rub uncomfortable sore spots on tender gums. At first, more-frequent applications of denture pastes help somewhat. Eventually, they are of little help.
Dentures are hardly supportive to good digestion or nutritional health. Long-time denture wearers often alter their food choices to accommodate their less-than-dependable ability to chew. Fresh fruits and vegetables are bypassed for softer, cooked versions. Pasta is chosen over protein-rich meats. Grains and seeded foods conjure up the fear of seeds being caught under the denture, piercing into tender gums.
In addition to lacking to meet nutritional needs, there are concerns surrounding the cleanliness of dentures. Their gum-colored base is made up of a porous material, capable of housing millions of bacterial organisms. It’s no wonder bad breath is a common problem for denture wearers.
According to RDH magazine, “research has isolated Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mutans, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and hundreds of other garden-variety germs in acrylic dentures.” (https://www.rdhmag.com/patient-care/xerostomia/article/16407070/5-things-you-should-know-about-dentures)
Aging adults should also be aware that dentures can literally make you sick. In a study of 524 seniors (with an average age of 88), Japanese researchers noted higher incidences of pneumonia-associated events occurred among the 453 participants who were denture wearers. Nearly 41 percent wore their dentures during sleep and showed higher risk for pneumonia than those who removed their dentures at night. (https://www.rdhmag.com/infection-control/article/16404123/dentures-and-aspiration-pneumonia)
Certainly, having good oral health has proven to support good overall health. However, the appearance of a smile is also important. Because of the accelerated pace of bone loss from wearing dentures, facial changes begin to show through. At first, there may be deep wrinkles around the mouth. The corners of the mouth turn downward, even in a smile.
As bone loss continues, jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles. The chin takes on a pointed look and the mouth seems to collapse into the face. These changes tend to project a facial appearance that is far older than one’s actual years. For many people, looking old makes them feel old.
The choice of dentures, for most patients, is made because they provide the cheapest option to replace teeth. With all the arguments against dentures, we also understand the patient’s preference to save money. However, once you factor in all the health risks associated with dentures, dental implants stand out as being an important part of avoiding life-threatening illness. And, since dental implants are designed to last a lifetime, they are an excellent investment.
One way to enjoy the advantages of dental implants while keeping costs down is to secure a denture to dental implants. In this, only 6 or 8 dental implants are often sufficient to securely support a full denture.
This means that a “wobbly” or “slippery” denture can be firmly secured (even using the patient’s existing denture in some cases). This implant-supported denture halts resorption and restores biting and chewing strength.
The first step is to discuss options for tooth replacement that are appropriate for your specific needs and goals. As an Asheville periodontist, I know that many people are pleased to learn that dental implants are affordable through easy, monthly payment plans. Treatment can also include oral or I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).
Support your overall health by ensuring your oral health is at its best. Begin by scheduling a consultation appointment by calling 828-274-9440 or visit: https://www.biltmoreperiodontics.com/locationcontact-us/
And, visit our site’s technology page to learn the advantages of these features:
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’ Value Gives ‘Priceless’ Smiles
Posted on Jul 25, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Times are tight. With the higher cost of gas, groceries and utilities, people are getting very value-conscious with their dollars. The ‘frills’ we once indulged in are now being scrutinized as to the value they truly bring.
Yet, there is no better time to explain the wisdom of investing in dental implants. For people who have shed dentures, partials, and gaps in their smiles with this ideal tooth replacement option, they are “priceless.”
Although our ‘permanent’ teeth are intended to last a lifetime, we know that not all of them do, no matter how diligent we are with at-home oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Teeth can break or be “knocked out.” Cavities can weaken a tooth, even after it’s been ‘filled.’ That’s why your general dentist may advise a crown, to help you avoid this risk.
A general dentist is a proponent of helping patients keep their natural teeth healthy. Your dentist knows that a lost tooth can lead to a long list of time and expense in the future. And, not promptly replacing a tooth can lead to a higher risk for adjacent teeth to be lost as well.
The teeth you see in the mirror are held in stable position because of the roots that are firmly embedded in the jaw bone. In these roots are veins and nerves that extend into the bone that supports them. From this, the jaw bone is supplied with blood while the presence of the roots provide stimulation that helps the bone to maintain its mass.
The stimulation that tooth roots provide is similar to how muscle will atrophy if not used. For example, when an arm or leg is confined to a cast for an extended time, the doctor will often advise physical therapy to rebuild the muscle after its removed. Unused, the muscle mass declines.
Unfortunately, when the jaw bones decline in mass, rebuilding requires the intervention of a periodontal specialist. (Fear not, however. A periodontist can provide this.)
Bone loss is what causes a change in how partials and dentures fit. These appliances, when first made, are custom-made for the unique contours of your gum “ridge.” A ridge is the raised arch in your mouth where tooth roots are (or were once) held.
As the bone height declines, the denture or partial becomes less secure as the foundation flattens. Adhesives or pastes are needed more frequently. Relines may help, but only temporarily.
And, the down side continues. When bone loss begins, it accelerates with each passing year. Eventually, a shrinking jaw bone reveals itself in changes in facial appearance. Initially, there may be deep wrinkling around the mouth. The corners of the mouth turn downward. Jowls form and the chin becomes pointed.
As bone loss becomes more severe, the mouth seems to sink into the face. The nose and chin get closer, giving a “granny look”. A thin jaw bone is also more vulnerable to breaks.
This is where dental implants have a particular edge (amongst other things). Like natural teeth, implants are held by the upper or lower jaws. Dental implants are able to mimic the stimulation needed to prevent the process of “resorption,” as its known.
Another bonus of dental implants is their ability to help surrounding natural teeth remain healthy. Unlike a crown-&-bridge combination, dental implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support. Thus, the integrity of surrounding teeth is protected.
Because dental implants are supported by the jaw bone, sturdy and dependable biting and chewing strength is restored. For people who experienced the frustrations of trying to eat with a “wobbly” or “slippery” denture, they love the restored ability to eat a healthy diet. And, the shadow of embarrssment no longer looms when eating out with friends.
Dental implants come in many sizes and shapes, each system designed to accommodate various needs and preferences. Couple this with the extremely high success rate of dental implants, higher than any implant-in-bone option.
Dental implants are also designed to last a lifetime. I can think of very few things that provide this kind of value. With proper selection and maintenance, they will never need replacing or repair. This makes them an excellent investment.
A periodontist is a dental specialist who is trained to understand the intricate concepts involved in selecting the proper type of implant and skilled at placing implants at proper depths and angles. A periodontist is also able to optimize patient comfort during treatment and throughout the healing phase.
In addition to this advanced training, our dental office offers some of the most advanced technology available. This aids in the diagnosis and treatment planning of dental implants, providing patients with optimized comfort and outcomes. This technology, combined with our advanced skill level, can help you enjoy a comfortable, efficient experience that allows you to enjoy a lifetime of confident smiles.
As a periodontist in Western NC, we have also developed a reputation for respectful, gentle care. Here, oral and IV sedation are available as needed, administered safely and to the highest standards by a doctor of anesthesiology. If fear or anxiety is a concern, feel free to mention these during a private consultation.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call 828-274-9440. Or, ask to begin with an initial periodontal examination.