Dental Implants Gaining Ground In Tooth Replacement Preferences


Posted on Jun 20, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

For adults who have lost natural teeth, I have good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first…

Missing natural teeth, whether replaced by a full denture, partial denture, bridge, or not being replaced at all, can lead to problems that impact your oral health, even the lifespan of remaining natural teeth. I’ll address those problems further on, but let’s move on to some good news.

According to the National Institutes of Health & Nutrition Examination, by 2026 nearly 23% of adults are estimated to opt for dental implants as their choice to replace teeth.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6854267/

This is great news for our rapidly aging population. Dental implants come with a number of advantages that effect overall health. These include:

• The ability to bite and chew food thoroughly, aiding digestion. It has been found that people who wear dentures take more medications and have more gastro-intestinal problems.

Eating comfort so a diet of fibrous and healthy food choices can provide sufficient vitamins, minerals and protein.

Confidence in social situations, which (according to an article by the Mayo Clinic News Report): “Socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness, but also it helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer.”

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-the-benefits-of-being-socially-connected/

• Helping to support remaining natural teeth by preserving jaw bone mass. When a tooth root is removed from the jaw bone where it was once supported, a process known as resorption begins. Once underway, it continues at an ever-increasing pace, accelerating with each passing year. As the bone shrinks, adjacent teeth are subject to movement and root damage. On average, the next teeth you’ll most likely lose are those bordering areas of missing teeth.

Since the mid to late-60’s, dental implants have been fine-tuned and perfected. Today, there are nearly 40 different types of dental implants. These systems are designed to accommodate specific needs and goals.

For instance, using just 4 or 6 implants placed at unique angles, the All on 4 Dental Implant system is able to evenly distribute the forces of biting and chewing in minimal bone. This is ideal for people who have experienced severe bone loss, helping them avoid the need for bone rebuilding procedures.

With all the great reasons to replace missing teeth with dental implants, an important decision in having a successful outcome is in who places your implants.

Although some generalists take courses in dental implant placement, many of these are offered by the manufacturers of particular implant systems. Thus, these courses primarily focus on the implant available through this one company, which may not be the most ideal choice for your specific needs.

This is why many dentists refer the placement portion of implants to a periodontal specialist. A periodontist has advanced training and skills in the diagnosis and placement of all types of dental implants. This means that this dental specialist can determine which implant system will work best for your individual needs.

Another benefit of a periodontist’s skills for implant patients is in their ability to conduct additional procedures, such as a sinus lift, needed in treatment. This ensures the patient’s implant(s) are positioned in the proper bone mass at a healthy depth so it does not pose risks to surrounding structures.

As a specialist in treating all stages of gum disease, a periodontist is also able to help optimize your gum health prior to implant placement. By pretreating any periodontal inflammation, the implant has a healthy foundation from the very beginning.

In our Western NC periodontal dental office, we incorporate the advantages of some of the most advanced technology in dentistry; many of these options which are not readily available in other dental offices in our region. These computerized marvels offer advantages to patients in helping to minimize treatment needs, speed healing, and optimize comfort.

These include laser dentistry, Cone Beam imaging, Cone Beam computerized tomography imaging, intraoral scanning, and computerized dental implant placement.

Additionally, in our Asheville periodontal dental office, we offer oral and IV sedation (“twilight sleep”) for optimal comfort. Both have an amnesiac effect, leaving most with little or no memory of treatment afterward. Here, anesthesia is overseen by a Medical Doctor (MD) who is a board certified Anesthesiologist. With both sedation options, patients are closely monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.

If you’ve considered dental implants, take the first step to a new you today! Begin by calling our Asheville periodontal dental office to speak with a friendly staff member at: 828-274-9440.

If the cost of dental implants has prevented you from choosing this optimal tooth replacement option, most of our payment plans require no down payment, are interest-free, and have no prepayment penalty. Feel free to ask about those during a consultation.

Men – Take On The Challenges In Oral Health Upkeep.


Posted on May 05, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you’re a male, or have ones in your life you love, the following information will be good-to-know. This is filled with reasons why you (or they) should make oral health a priority.

Let’s begin with the hazards of gum disease. According to a survey by the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), only 66% of males brush their teeth twice or more a day (compared with 86% of females).

Flossing stats weren’t much better, but that proved to be the case with both sexes. Only 49% in the survey said they were daily flossers with 1 out of 3 with the misconception that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is normal (it’s not).

Periodontal (gum) disease is the result of an over-accumulation of oral bacteria. It begins with Gingivitis.

Gingivitis is caused by the toxins in plaque. Plaque is the sticky layer of bacteria that coats teeth and gums. When not removed (through regular brushing and flossing), it can harden into a form known as tartar (that can no longer be brushed away).

Gingivitis is typically treated with a professional cleaning and thorough at-home care. Some cases may require root planing and deep scaling procedures to rid the gum tissue of debris pockets (pus-filled bulges on gum tissues). This procedure reaches bacteria that has penetrated beneath the gum line.

The next stage of gum disease is known as chronic periodontal disease. The most common form of gum disease, this is characterized by inflammation beneath the gum line with damage to gums and bone tissue. At this level, treatment includes scaling and root planing along with antimicrobial treatments. In some stages, surgical procedures are also necessary for pocket reduction. Some cases require tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the appearance of the smile.

As gum disease worsens, it moves to periodontitis, a more aggressive stage of gum disease. Periodontitis has similar symptoms to those listed above but tends to progress at a faster pace. Because this stage of gum disease is more difficult to combat, treatment is the same treatment needed for chronic periodontal disease along with surgical intervention. A combined treatment of scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and surgical procedures may save oral tissue and bone.

Periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss, affecting over 47% of adults ages 30 and over. Research has found that gum disease is higher in men (over 56%) than in women (38%).

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) notes that men are typically less likely to sufficiently maintain their oral health. Oral health should be especially concerning for men since they have some challenging odds against them as far as health statistics go. These include:

• Men have higher rates of periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, and oral infections. Because statistics show that men typically have poorer dental habits than women, they tend to have more dental health problems. Men can’t blame this on biological predisposition as the statistic is based upon lifestyle choices (such as not brushing, etc).

Men tend to have higher blood pressure, putting them at an increased risk for heart disease later in life. Medications that treat these conditions can cause dry mouth, which ups the risks to their oral health.

• Elderly men typically have fewer teeth than women of the same age, and need dentures more than women. Although research shows a correlation between tooth loss and body mass index, elderly men having few teeth is the result of poor dental habits and attention to dental health accumulated over time.

• Oral cavity and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers are twice as common in men than in women. It is suspected that this is due to men being more likely to have a history of tobacco and alcohol use.

HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers occur more often in men. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U. S. HPV can lead to certain types of cancer and is thought to cause 70% of oropharyngeal cancers in the U.S. The development of oropharyngeal cancer due to HPV is about three times less prominent in females than in men of the same age.

While a healthy smile is important to both genders, older adults should pay particular attention to having a good oral health. By CDC estimates, approximately 13% of adults ages 65 – 74 have no teeth. For people ages 75 and older, that number jumps to 26% (over one-fourth!).

Too, ALL ADULTS should be concerned with the overall health repercussions related to the inflammatory bacteria of gum disease. Able to enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased oral tissues, these bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This has been associated with the development or worsening of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, elevated PSA levels, and respiratory diseases.

Also applicable to all adults, the Journal of Periodontology shared nine risk factors for tooth loss due to periodontal (gum) disease, including …
 • Being over age 35
 • Being male
 • Not having professional dental care
 • Not brushing teeth
 • Smoking
 • Being diabetic
 • Having high blood pressure
 • Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Treating gum disease before it becomes severe can be done comfortably and affordably. In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we use cutting-edge technology that often minimizes treatment needs, lessens healing time, and optimizes comfort.

If dental fears have caused you to delay or avoid having regular dental care, consider beginning with a consultation. As a periodontist, I know many individuals like that this occurs in a comfortable, private consultation room. We can discuss the use of oral or I.V. sedation (sleep dentistry, or “twilight sleep”) during procedures. These are administered safely with patients monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.

If financial constraints are an obstacle in receiving treatment, we offer several payment plans. Most are interest-free with no down payment required (for qualified individuals).

Call 828-274-9440 to begin with a private consultation to discuss your best options. New patients are welcome and a referral is not needed.

Sources:
https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-men
https://www.perio.org/consumer/gender-differences
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4544688/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20116657/
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-
https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/hiv-aids-and-stds/dental-care-hpv-and-men#

 

Avoid Dental Implant Failure


Posted on Apr 04, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

There are reasons to go to an expert for certain things. For example, I’d never try to do electrical work around my house on my own; I’d call an electrician.

When it comes to dental implants, there are also reasons to seek out an “expert.” In this article, I’ll explain why it’s best to have your dental implants selected and placed by a periodontist.

First, let’s look at the structure of an implant. Serving as a replacement for a missing tooth, the implanted portion is a titanium screw that is positioned into the jawbone. Over the course of 3-6 months, the jawbone grows around the implant, securing it in place. It can now support an artificial tooth or crown.

Dental implants have many benefits when it comes to restoring biting/chewing/speaking function and smiling appearance, including:

  • enhancing the appearance of a smile
  • improving biting and chewing function
  • stabilizing surrounding teeth and jaw tissue
  • halting the process of bone loss, known as resorption
  • an increased quality of life for many people

Dental implants have an excellent success rate – 90-95%. However, there are instances where a dental implant can fail.

Dental implant complications can occur from infections, gum recession, and nerve and tissue damage. There is also a higher risk of implant failure for individuals who smoke or have diabetes, gum disease, have radiation therapy to the jaw area or take certain medications.

A periodontal specialist has advanced training and skills in the diagnosis and placement of all types of dental implants. This means that this dental specialist can determine which implant system will work best for your individual needs. For example, a person who has lost a great deal of bone mass may only be a candidate of certain implant types or may need a sinus lift prior to placement. A periodontist can make these determinations so your potential for implant success is higher.

One of the most common causes for implants failure is due to an infection at the implant site. Because a periodontist specializes in the care of gum tissues in the mouth, he or she can take measures to treat the infection at early stage to resolve the problem. However, in some cases, treating the infection may require implant removal in order to reach the infected bone tissue.

Using advanced skills, a periodontist can also assess your gum health prior to implant placement. He or she can pretreat any periodontal diseases so the implant has a healthy foundation. When the gum tissues around the implant are inflamed or have receded, the implant is at risk for entry of bacteria into the area where it is implanted.

After the implant is placed, it should fuse with the bone. A complication that prevents this may require the dental surgeon may remove it. Fortunately, after the implanted area is restored to a healthy state, the implant procedure can be redone.

Another benefit in using a periodontal specialist for implant placement is in their in-depth understanding of the nerves and tissues surrounding the jaw bones. There is a risk for failure when a dental implant is placed too close to a nerve. For example, there is a nerve that runs horizontally through the lower jaw. If the implant is placed in close proximity, it can cause numbness, tingling, or pain.

Nerve or tissue damages can result in:

    • numbness on the side of the implant, including the lower lip and chin
    • persistent pain or discomfort
    • tingling, tickling, or burning sensations in the gums and skin

While precision placement (depth, position and angle) is a bonus of a periodontist’s skills for implant patients, our Asheville periodontal dental patients have the benefits of advanced technology. Our Computerized Dental Implant Placement system is designed for pre-surgical positioning of dental implants that uses a 3D model of the patient’s jaw.

Once the implant type is selected, a template is developed for optimal treatment success, even for complex cases. This minimizes disruption of gum tissues and targets implant placement at ideal depths and angles. Thus, treatment success rates are higher with faster (and more comfortable) healing time.

An example of this precision placement guidance in with upper dental implants. With declined bone mass of the upper jaw (typically from years of missing tooth roots), the sinus cavities can hover too close to the position(s) where implants are to be placed. In these cases, we can perform a sinus lift.

Should the dental implant protrude into the sinus cavity, the sinuses can become inflamed, causing:

  • pain, tenderness, or swelling around the cheeks, eyes or forehead
  • nasal blockage, often with green or yellow mucus
  • a reduced sense of smell
  • headaches
  • toothache
  • persistent bad breath

Of course, like a natural tooth, excessive force or impact can cause a dental implant to crack or become loose. For example, for people who grind or forcefully clench their teeth (“bruxing”) during sleep may need to wear a bite guard to prevent damage to the implant as well as their natural teeth.

In some instances, it can take up to 5 years for implant-related problems or infections to become apparent to the patient. Any issues that arise around the site of the dental implant should be examined and addressed without delay.

We want your dental implant(s) to last your lifetime and bring you as much eating and laughing pleasure as they are known to give. The best way to ensure the success of a dental implant is to follow the aftercare advice your periodontist and dentist provide.

As with a person’s natural teeth, an implant and the tissues surrounding it require regular cleaning. Daily flossing in the area at least once per day is needed after the gums have healed. Some patients prefer interdental brushes to access areas that are more difficult to reach.

Regular dental check-ups and appointments for cleanings should occur at least twice a year to ensure the longterm success of your implants. Once a quarter may be advised for some individuals who have higher risks for plaque development.

Optimal comfort for our Western Carolina patients has always been a priority. For many, a desired level of comfort and relaxation includes sedation options. Here, we offer several sedation options, including oral and IV sedation (“twilight sleep”). These are administered safely by an anesthesiologist who uses advanced safety equipment throughout your treatment.

If you are considering dental implants, you may wish to begin with a consultation appointment. During this time, we can explain the vast difference in comfort, treatment time, and success available through our specialized skills and extensive technology.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule. New patients are always welcome.

As You Age, Avoid A ‘Melting’ Face With Dental Implants


Posted on Feb 26, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It seems the older one gets, the more conscious he or she is to the need for good health practices. While periodic exams and check-ups are part of this, eating healthy and getting ample exercise are practical ways to support a healthy body.

The same principles apply to oral health. While annual physical exams are needed, regular check ups and dental hygiene cleanings are as well. Through decades of research, “bad” bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammatory reactions that can offset or worsen a number of health problems far beyond the mouth.

For now, let’s focus on your gum health and the presence of teeth. While natural teeth are the ideal structure for biting, chewing and speaking, the rigors of age – the natural wear and tear – can take its toll on teeth. Decay, gum disease, accidents and certain illnesses can lead to losing a tooth or teeth over the span of a lifetime.

There are several ways to replace a missing tooth (or teeth). A crown-&-bridge is a longstanding method to replace one or several teeth in one area. Or, a partial denture can replace a “scattering” of teeth in the same arch. However, the downside of these oral prosthetics is what’s beneath the gum line.

Your natural teeth are supported by your upper and lower jaw bone, known respectfully as the maxilla and mandible. With these strong, study bones, tooth roots are held securely. Thus, biting and chewing occurs comfortably.

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.

When a tooth is removed, so is the stimulation and nourishment to that area of the jaw bone. Without it, the bone begins to shrink. As it declines in height, 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 has a domino effect. Partials can replace the presence of teeth above the gum line, but there is nothing to benefit the jaw bones below. Thus, tooth loss continues and can go from a few missing teeth to losing all teeth (being “edentulous”).

According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 69 percent of adults between the ages of 35 – 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. By age 50, Americans are missing an average of 12 teeth. For adults between the ages of 65 – 74, 26 percent are missing all of their natural teeth. That’s over one-fourth of the adult population over age 65.

Although dentures and partials mimic the presence of teeth, the jaw bones below are shrinking away, and at a rather rapid pace. The pressure of wearing a denture or partial actually speeds this process up, known as “resorption.”

As these bones decline in mass, deep wrinkles form around the mouth. The corners of the mouth turn downward. The chin takes on a more pointed form and the mouth sinks into the face. The nose seems to get closer to the chin as the jaw bones thin. Jowls form as facial muscles detach from shrinking bone structure.

Changes in facial appearance also take place when bone structures shrink. For example, as the jaw bone thins, deep wrinkles form around the mouth. The corners of the mouth will start to turn down, even in a smile. Jowls form on each side of the face as facial muscles detach from the shrinking bone structure.

As the jaw bone declines further, the chin becomes more pointed and the nose seems to get closer to it. This leads to a collapsed mouth that is known as a “granny look.” This look ages the appearance of an individual far beyond their actual years.

Not to be overlooked is the ability to comfortably bite and chew food. This is essential for the digestive process, since the first stage of digestion begins in the mouth. When adults struggle to eat with a denture or partial, the efficiency of this initial stage of digestion is compromised.

It’s not unusual for adults who have “rocky” or “slippery” dentures to opt for soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. These are often carb heavy and lack the nutritional value of a diet that combines healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables.

However, missing teeth or dentures that move when eating can cause other detrimental problems. When people sense their dentures may cause embarrassment when eating, speaking or laughing with others, social involvement can take a hit. According to a 2012 statement by the World Health Organization:

“Oral health is essential to general health and quality of life. It is a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psycho-social well-being.”

As an Asheville periodontist, my dental specialty includes the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. Dental implants are the closest thing to natural teeth.

Dental implants were designed to recreate the presence of natural teeth both above and below the gum line. Because teeth attached to the implants are supported by the jaw bone, the study foundation restores the ability to bite and chew without movement or fear of embarrassing slips.

For patients who are missing a great deal of bone, we offer bone rebuilding that does not require a bone graft. We also perform sinus lifts (when the upper jaw has declined to a significant level) to restore sufficient bone distance between vital structures.

For many of our dental implant patients, their lives become more active with the restored confidence. They become more socially involved, have more self-confidence and higher self-esteem. And the advantages of dental implants over other tooth replacement options are numerous.

• 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.

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we have highly-advanced technology that aids in the diagnosis and placement process of dental implants. These features help to enhance patient comfort, shorten treatment time, and provide optimal results. Advanced technology includes:

– Computerized Dental Implant Placement – an advanced system for pre-surgical positioning of dental implants using a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. Once the implant type is selected, a template is developed for optimal treatment success.

– Cone Beam Imaging – is ideal for diagnoses and treatment planning through images that provide a clear view of the upper and lower jaw (including nerve canals), with rotations that show sagittal, axial, and coronal planes in a process that is quick, painless and at minimal radiation levels.

– Dental Laser – This small, hand-held device is a tremendous asset when it comes to both the health and appearance of gum tissues. Not only does the laser eliminate or greatly minimize bleeding during procedures, it reduces numbing requirements, removes bacteria and easily uncovers gum tissue where dental implants have been placed. Additionally, laser dentistry can beautifully re-contour or repair gum tissue with a precision line.

As a periodontal specialist serving Western NC, I take great pride in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants with each selected based upon the patient’s individual needs and goals. We provide oral or I.V. sedation to ensure a comfortable experience and a friendly, respectful environment.

To schedule an examination appointment or to begin with a consultation, call 828-274-9440. A referral is not always necessary.

Recent Posts

Categories

Archives