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Amazing Technology In Treating Gum Disease
Posted on May 09, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Recently, an episode of the CBS News’ television program “60 Minutes” provided an in-depth update on the development of prosthetic limbs. Now “robotic” in description, advancements are making it possible for people with spinal cord injuries and amputations to control prosthetic limbs with their minds, including grasping objects.
What is miraculous, however, is how these advanced prosthetics can also restore a sense of touch to their brains. The decades-long project is due in most part to the Defense Department.
Technology today is remarkable. Advancements are moving forward at an impressively accelerating pace. We are witnesses to the the repair and rejuvenation of bodily parts in almost a “good as new” state. This is also true in the area of dental technology.
A periodontist is often a “behind the scenes” dental specialist, working with general dentists and various other dental specialists. While periodontists may be in the background, they stay busy. In addition to treating all stages of gum disease, these specialists have advanced skills in the placement of dental implants.
It is estimated that over 47% of American adults have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. This disease is the nation’s number one cause of adult tooth loss. However, gum health needs to be seen by the general population as a vital player in one’s overall health.
The destruction of periodontal disease is not just confined to the mouth. It spreads. Gum disease destroys bone structures below the gums. These structures are the upper and lower jaw bones, which support natural tooth roots.
The jaw bones are actually kept healthy by the presence of tooth roots. These roots provide stimulation to the bone as well as nourishment that feeds through the tooth’s interior.
By holding their roots securely, the jaw bones provide natural teeth with a sturdy foundation. This enables the ability to bite and chew comfortably and dependably.
However, when a natural tooth is lost, so is the stimulation and nourishment to that area of the jaw bone. Without it, the bone begins to shrink. As it declines in mass, the adjacent teeth are more vulnerable to loss. Statistics show that teeth adjacent to areas where natural teeth are missing will be the most likely to be lost next. This creates somewhat of a domino effect.
Dental implants were designed to recreate the presence of natural teeth both above and below the gum line. Because teeth attached to dental implants are supported by the jaw bones, the study foundation as was had by natural teeth is restored, along with the ability to bite and chew without movement or embarrassment when dentures (or partials) slip.
In addition to tooth loss, gum disease is a serious health threat. Although people are often aware of the issues that come with wearing dentures and partial, many are not familiar with the health problems associated with gum disease bacteria.
This infectious bacteria of gum disease are capable of causing inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Systemic inflammation is the now-known epicenter of a number of major health problems, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, impotency and more.
Whether the patient’s need is the restoration of gum health or the replacement of missing teeth, the advanced skills of a periodontist can be highly advantageous. Through their unique understanding, they can help to minimize treatment time and complexity of treatment.
In our Asheville NC periodontal dental office, we feature some of the most advanced imaging and computerized technology available in the industry. These include:
LANAP Protocol Using PerioLase MVP-7: Efficiently and effectively treats periodontitis (advanced gum disease) with laser technology. It causes very little discomfort and has a quick recovery time. This has also been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.
Dental Radiology With 3-D Cone Beam Technology: This imaging is ideal for diagnosis and treatment planning. The imaging covers the entire dentition area with clear views of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jaw).
CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging: This computerized tomography provides imaging in exceptional detail and range.
CS 3600 intraoral scanner: Patients no longer have to endure having impressions made with bulky, gloopy trays held in their mouths! This quickly and comfortably scans the mouth’s interior for digital impressions using a small, handheld scanner. It can also reach difficult–to–access areas in the patient’s mouth with improved patient comfort.
Simplant Dental Software for Computerized Dental Implant Placement: This system helps in pre-surgical positioning of dental implants on the computer, using a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. This aids in the selection of the implant type that ensures a precision fit.
Intraoral Camera Technology: This provides outstanding quality of images within the mouth. These images are sent to screen for a clear, crisp view so we can confer with patients on specific treatment issues.
Computer Imaging In Treatment Suites: Treatment suites are equipped with computers for convenient image sharing with patients.
Advanced Sterilization: Our custom sterilization unit adheres to (or exceeds) CDC guidelines for instrument processing protocols, particularly in the cleaning of instruments.
Fully-Equipped Surgical Suites: Relax during treatment while surrounded by beautiful mountain views of Asheville.
My staff and I also take great pride in providing patients with optimal comfort, along with an environment of respect. Some adults comes to us embarrassed by the condition of their oral health or missing teeth. Here, we strive to make patients feel they are not only in the right hands, but they are in the right place.
Comfort is supported by our sedation options. These include oral and I.V. sedation. Also referred to as “twilight sleep” or “sleep dentistry,” these sedatives are administered by skilled professionals who utilize advanced safety monitoring equipment.
I believe that the rampant number of people who have gum disease in the U.S. is largely in part due to being unaware of the symptoms. Some are easily ignored or “brushed off” as normal.
This is why it is important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms, which include:
• Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
• Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or when eating certain foods
• Gums that are receding (pulling away from the teeth) or make the appear teeth longer than normal
• Loose or separating teeth
• Pus between your gums and teeth
• Sores in your mouth
• Persistent bad breath
• A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• A change in the fit of partial dentures
If you have any of these, you are urged to seek periodontal care as soon as possible. This disease will only worsen without treatment.
Call 828-274-9440 to schedule a consultation in our state-of-the-art Asheville periodontal dental office.
Older Adults (80’s, 90’s, 100’s) Benefit By Dental Implants
Posted on Apr 25, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Someone once told me, “Old age is always ten years older than the age you are at the time.” I get it. While a teenager may think of anyone over the age of 55 as “old,” aging in the U.S. today has taken a positive position within America’s population.
Proof of this is in how more and more people are living to be 100. Many of them are still sharp and spry. Although reaching the 100 age pinnacle was once a rare feat, it’s a growing trend. Today, there are nearly twice as many 100+ year olds in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago (nearly 90,000 now).
Reaching these elevated ages, of course, depends on factors like location, gender, lifestyle and genetics. Living a long life has evolved from lifestyle changes rather different than what was taken for granted in the 1950’s, for example.
Between 1900 and 2020, life expectancy in the U.S. rose by more than 30 years. Much of this can be credited to life choices, such as things like not smoking. Smoking, a leading contributor to heart disease, can decrease life expectancy by 10 years.
In 1965, 45% of Americans smoked. Now, knowing the health hazards to smoking, the number has declined to only 12.5% as of 2020.
Of course, Americans can also credit medical advances for the centenarian growth in population. The survivability of things like heart attacks and cancer has greatly increased, giving adults a longer lifespan.
As Americans realize their lifespan may well reach age 90, 100 or beyond, the resistance to having dental implants due to “old age” is becoming less of a factor.
Dental implants are the ideal tooth replacement system. Unlike dentures or ‘partials,’ dental implants are supported by the jaw bone, just as natural teeth. While dentures sit on top of the gums, dental implants restore biting strength and stability, giving back the look, feel and function of the teeth you once had.
Two decades ago, some “older” adults would deny themselves the benefits of dental implants, saying things like, “I’m too old to spend that amount of money on myself.” Yet, for my dental implant patients in their 80’s and 90’s, I never had one who didn’t feel it was one of the wisest investments they’d ever made.
– Dental implants are designed to last your lifetime. They do not decay, need root canals or compromise neighboring teeth or bone structure.
– Because dental implants are positioned in the jaw, they recreate stimulation to the bone. This helps to preserve the bone’s mass, halting the pace of jaw bone shrinkage (known as resorption).
– Resorption is what causes changes in one’s facial appearance, aging one’s appearance far older than their actual age.
– Dental implants do not move or slip when eating, speaking or laughing. A denture is designed to fit the contours of one’s gum ridge; contours that exist at the time the denture is made. However, as resorption reduces bone height, the ridge that holds the denture flattens out over time. This is why a denture becomes ‘wobbly’ or ‘slippery.’
– Dental implant treatment is largely determined by the number of implants placed. In most cases, one implant can support more than one tooth. A full arch (all upper or lower) of teeth are typically supported by several strategically-placed implants.
– Unlike a crown-&-bridge, dental implants so not need the support of adjacent teeth. Therefore, it is not necessary to have teeth shaved down for crowning simply to serve as supports for a bridge.
When it comes to dental implants, there are many decisions and choices that can become confusing without the guidance of a dental specialist. For example, there are over 40 different implant systems.
Dental Implants are designed in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate various needs. For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, for instance, some implant types can support a full arch of removable teeth while others support non-removable (or ‘fixed’) teeth.
As a periodontist for over 3 decades, our patients receive advanced skills in dental implant diagnosis and placement. Additionally, our Asheville periodontal dental office features some of the most advanced technology in the industry today. This includes computerized imaging that can lessen treatment needs, optimize comfort and speed healing.
If you feel you are too old to make this wise investment, check out some of the health benefits that dental implants provide:
• As the ‘arch’ (or ridge) flattens, the appliance is more apt to move while chewing. As the denture rubs against tender gum tissues when eating, sore spots form, which are difficult and slow to heal. And, when small seeds or nut particles become trapped between the appliance and gums, it can cause a piercing, painful sensation.
This discomfort and concern often prompts people to adjust their diets. The chewy, crunchy foods they once enjoyed tend to be bypassed for those that dissolve quickly with minimal chewing required. Unfortunately, these foods are typically lacking in the fiber, vitamins and protein necessary for a healthy diet.
• The gum-colored base of dentures or partials that hold the replacement teeth is made of a porous material. This means there are tiny holes in the base. In the mouth, a denture sits in a warm, dark, moist environment – perfect for bacterial growth. These holes become living spaces to oral bacteria, which thrive and breed at a rapid rate. Bad breath and increased risk of pneumonia are actually some of the lesser problems that can occur.
Additionally, oral bacteria can create havoc throughout the body. It is a known contributor to a long list of serious health diseases and conditions. These include some cancers, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, pre-term babies and many more.
• The insecurity of a denture that may move when eating causes some people to avoid social gatherings. The fear of embarrassment can be a deterrent to involvement with friends and family. This places the individual at a disadvantage, as research shows that socially active seniors age more slowly than those who avoid social interactions.
If dental fear has prevented you from looking further into dental implants, please know that we have a reputation for respect, a gentle touch, and compassionate care. Additionally, we offer Oral sedation as well as I.V. sedation (also known as ‘twilight sleep’). These are administered safely by a doctor of anesthesia who monitors patients with advanced safety equipment.
Also, financing can be easy through monthly payment plans. Most are interest-free with no down payment required.
To schedule a consultation appointment, call 828-274-9440. Also, get to know more about dental implants at: DrClaiborneDentalImplants
When Dentures Are “Slippery,” “Wobbly, or “Rocky”…
Posted on Mar 11, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
A periodontal specialist has advanced training in the selection and placement of all dental implant types. Also a specialist in the treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease and the contouring of gum tissues (such as to correct a “gummy smile”), many patients who come to us have lost teeth due to gum disease.
Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Sadly, over 47% of Americans over the age of 30 have some level of gum disease. Many do not realize they have developed gum disease since it can begin without obvious symptoms.
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. Its symptoms are hard to ignore. Breath odor is putrid. The gums bleed easily, at times even when eating. The gums are a dark red and may have a spongy texture. Some teeth may loosen or shift. Pus pockets form around the base of some teeth.
In this advanced stage, some (or all) natural teeth may require removal. For those who choose to replace teeth with a denture or partial (versus dental implants), something occurs below the gums that cannot be seen. However, over time, the repercussions can be quite severe.
What I’m referring to is “resorption.” This is the term used for a shrinking jaw bone.
Resorption occurs when natural tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw bone. These tooth roots actually help to provide stimulation to the bone. Tooth roots also nourish the bone mass through connective tissues that extend down through a tooth’s interior.
When a tooth is removed, the stimulation and nourishment to that area of the jaw bone is taken away. Without it, the bone begins to shrink. As it declines in height, the adjacent teeth are more vulnerable to loss. Statistics show that teeth neighboring areas where natural teeth are missing will be the most likely to be lost next.
Although a denture or partial can mimic the presence of teeth above the gum line, there is nothing to keep the jaw bones healthy beneath, which is the sturdy foundation for biting and chewing strength. As tooth loss continues, one can go from losing a few teeth to losing all teeth (being “edentulous”).
Many people are unaware that the pressure of wearing dentures or partials accelerates the pace of resorption. For people who sleep in their dental prosthetic, the 24/7 pressure applied to the jaw bones speeds up the rate of bone decline even more.
Sleeping in a denture can also add to higher risks for the flu and pneumonia. A 3-year study of more than 500 adults was published by the Journal of International Oral Health. Of the 186 (of 453 denture wearers) who did not remove their dentures for sleeping, they had over twice the risk for pneumonia than those who did. Sleeping in dentures also led to higher levels of tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation and other oral issues.
For those who wear a denture or partial, losing jaw bone mass also causes a change in the way the denture or partial fits. For example, a denture may fit fine the first year after teeth are removed and a denture is custom-fitted. However, people eventually notice slips when biting or chewing. This is because the bone under the “arch” that supports the denture or partial is declining in height.
The changing foundation for the denture (also known as a ridge) allows it to “slip” or become “wobbly.” As bone loss continues, it causes uncomfortable rubbing on tender gums while eating.
As a result, people often adjust their diet to avoid foods that require rigorous chewing, opting for softer foods that require less chewing. Outings with friends and family become overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing slips.
Eventually, even frequent applications of denture pastes or adhesives are of little help. A reline may be recommended by your dentist to reshape the contours of the denture or partial to the slowly declining arch. Unfortunately, this process will continue as bone loss requires periodic relines as the arch flattens further.
For most individuals who are missing one or more natural teeth, we advise replacing teeth with dental implants. A dental implant recreates the presence of a natural tooth. It provides stimulation to the bone, halting the process of bone loss.
Dental implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as in a crown-&-bridge combination. The crowning of bordering natural teeth to support a bridge is not needed. 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. Eating a healthy diet of the foods you love is again possible.
And, dental implants also have an exceptional success rate, higher than any implant-in-bone option. They are designed to last a lifetime, making them an excellent investment.
If you are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth, we invite you to begin with a consultation appointment. This will take place in a private room where we can discuss your needs and concerns. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule, or tap here for more contact information.
Some Internet Dental DIY Advice Can Result In Tooth Loss
Posted on Jan 30, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
With the internet and emergence of social media, there has been an explosion of information and “advice” now at our fingertips. Want to know how to remove a red wine stain, check the internet. Need recommendations on the most scenic route to a vacation cabin, google it.
Some of the pointers online are helpful. I was finally able to reprogram my garage door opener with help found on it. However, as a periodontal dental specialist in Asheville NC, I’ve been jolted by some of the dental “advice” I’ve come across. It has not been unusual for some of this info to result in patients who come to us with problems that were actually made WORSE!
From a dental standpoint, the most common I’ve seen over recent years are…
• Using ‘super glue’ to repair teeth:
Most of these chemical-laden glues are toxic. They are not intended to be ingested in any way in the human body. These toxins can seep into oral tissues, causing irritation and allergic reactions.
In some cases, glue sets by using an exothermic reaction, essentially a combustion reaction that generates heat. This can damage the dentin tubules housed within a tooth’s chambers. The risks to the tooth can include the need for extraction or a root canal.
Additionally, using these glues to try to re-attach a crown, broken bridge or a denture can actually make matters worse. For example, if a crown comes off, a dot of super glue may seem to be a quick fix and a way around a dental visit. Toxic risks aside, the DIY fit will most likely be inaccurate and can lead to misalignment with other teeth when chewing or speaking.
In turn, this can result in chips, fractures and breaks in neighboring teeth. Thus, when the patient proceeds to have the crown re-cemented properly by a dentist, the glue residue must first be removed. This requires resurfacing of the remaining natural tooth structure, which results in less structure to support the crown. Because of the change in tooth height, a new crown is commonly needed.
Dentists use special dental adhesives to provide the safest and most lasting option.
• Scrubbing teeth rigorously when brushing:
Brushing teeth hard in a back-&-forth motion isn’t the way to do a good job. This can wear away tooth enamel and cause the gums to recede. Gum recession exposes tender and sensitive tooth root areas. This detracts from a smile’s appearance and also leaves the tooth vulnerable to the entry of oral bacteria.
A circular motion that allows the bristle tips to sweep the teeth is preferred. Other damaging actions when brushing are or using a hard bristled toothbrush or abrasive substances, such as baking soda.
• Using home remedies to whiten teeth:
Natural teeth have a protective coating – enamel. Enamel is a hard, outer shell that prevents penetration of oral bacteria into the tooth. Without this protection, cavities can occur and teeth weaken, making cracks and fractures more likely. As hard as enamel is, it can be worn away. And, when it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
Although brushing too soon after eating can wear down enamel, there is nothing worse than the thoughts of a toothbrush with a peroxide-&-baking soda mixture scrubbing across precious tooth enamel. This is like sandpaper rubbing against a tooth!
For people who want to whiten their teeth, it’s typically more than surface stains that are discoloring teeth. Thus, sacrificing tooth enamel in an attempt to remove stains is going to be of little benefit. For many people with dull, brown or yellow teeth, the aging process and years of coffee, tea, smoking and red wine can require a deeper whitening process. This is why many dental offices offer whitening systems that are safe to teeth and gums.
• Assuming blood in the sink is normal:
Your gum tissues serve as a sealant covering inside the mouth. Gums that are pink and wrap snugly around the base of teeth indicate healthy gums. Gum tissues that redden and become sore, swollen or bleed are gums signals that something is wrong. Seeing blood in the sink when you spit out toothpaste during brushing is NOT a sign you are doing a good job. It is a sign that bacteria has attacked and weakened your gum tissues.
As this bacteria progresses, gum tissues become spongy and breath odor is frequently bad. When oral bacteria has accumulated to the point of causing soreness and bleeding, prompt attention can restore the gums to a healthy state. This includes a dental cleaning and thorough at-home oral hygiene regimen. Untreated, the gums will become more and more damaged by oral bacteria and develop into periodontal (gum) disease.
Beneath the gum line, gum disease bacteria attack the bone structures that support teeth. And, these infectious bacteria can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gums. The oral bacteria of gum disease has been shown to cause inflammatory triggers in the body. Research has linked it to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, impotency and even Alzheimer’s disease.
If you have symptoms of gum disease, please be seen by a periodontist promptly. Symptoms include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, frequent bad breath, swollen and tender gums and gums that redden in color from a healthy pink. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment and is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Maintaining good at-home care of your oral health is easy and takes just minutes a day. Follow a thorough oral hygiene regimen by brushing twice a day (two minutes each time) and floss daily. Drink plenty of plain water throughout the day and limit sugar. Have dental cleanings every six months and follow your dental hygienist’s recommendations to keep oral bacteria at minimal levels between visits.
If you suspect you have gum disease or have delayed (or avoided) having regular dental care, call our Asheville periodontal dental office to schedule an examination. Or, ask to begin with a consultation appointment.
During this time, we can discuss any concerns. If dental fear is a factor, we offer several sedation options, including I.V. sedation (“twilight sleep”). Or, if there are financial constraints, we offer several payment plans that are interest-free with no down payment required. Call 828-274-9440.
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