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.

Know How Summer Comes With Oral Health Risks


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

As an Asheville periodontist, there are two times a year I feel come with higher risks for keeping one’s oral health well-maintained.

One is during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season. During these times, people tend to consume food and beverages that are higher in carbs and simple sugars. And, they eat more frequently. I understand – it’s pretty hard not to sneak a piece of grandma’s fudge with a mid-morning cup of coffee!

Although the hardships to teeth and gums brought on by these indulgences may be diluted by swishing or an extra brushing during the day, summertime has its own set of challenges that are rather similar.

First, understand that any time you eat or drink something (other than plain water), an acid attack begins in the mouth. This acid flows in with saliva, bringing in an acid to break down food as its chewing; the body’s first stage of digestion. These acids are rather potent in that they can even soften enamel for 20-30 mins. Thus, when other acidic elements are introduced in the mouth, the higher levels of acid can leave precious tooth enamel at risk.

Below are things to keep in mind as we go into the official “it’s okay to wear white” season!


Oral acidity – Summer foods and beverages seem to come with a wealth of consumables that are high in acidity – garden fresh tomatoes, lemonade, water or tea with a squeeze of lemon, etc. Just know that they need to be diluted by swishing with water or drinking gulps of water while consuming.


Colas – I can’t say enough bad things about colas when it comes to oral health. While sodas, coffee, tea and wine are all highly acidic, the acidity levels in colas have been compared to nearly that of the levels in battery acid. Colas are highly acidic because they are infused with phosphoric acid, intended to add flavor. Phosphoric acid is so erosive it can remove rust from aircraft carriers and ships.

When these erosive acids are mixed with the acids that occur naturally in the mouth, there is a significantly higher potential to erode tooth enamel. Dental erosion can cause temperature sensitivity, pain, transparent teeth, cracking and darkening of teeth.

Also concerning is the way colas are consumed. Every time you sip a soda, an acid attack in the mouth is triggered for 20-30 minutes until eating or drinking ceases. Because colas are typically consumed slowly over long periods of time, the acid attack lasts that long plus another 30 minutes before subsiding. For colas containing sugar, this mixes with the acid in the drink and your digestive acids for an even greater level of destruction.


Accidents & injuries to the mouth – Outdoor sports and activities such as skiing, biking and baseball should all be done with a custom-made mouthguard in place. This is important for children and adults. Having a permanent tooth knocked out can be devastating.

If the worst should happen, a periodontist is your specialist in placing dental implants. And, by acting soon after the tooth is lost, you can preserve the natural contours of the gum tissues that arch the tooth. These arches of gums help to create a natural appearance when the replacement tooth is placed along with the “points” that dip slightly between each tooth.

A periodontist has advanced skills in the diagnosis and placement of the implant type best for individual needs. In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we use advanced imaging and implant guidance technology that helps to minimize treatment and optimize comfort with reduced healing time.


Oral Dryness“Dry mouth” promotes oral bacteria by enabling rapid reproduction. When oral bacteria are able to linger in the mouth, they have an ideal warm, dark, moist environment. Without saliva serving as a continual rinsing agent to keep bacteria levels in the mouth under control, oral bacteria accumulate at a rapid pace.

Water intake helps to support saliva in the mouth to rinse bacteria and food particles from the mouth. Sufficient saliva flow helps in neutralizing the acids produced by oral bacteria and aids in preventing tooth decay and the development of periodontal (gum) disease.


By understanding where the risks lie, you can take proactive measures between visits to prevent things like cavities and gum disease.

An overload of oral bacteria initially reveals itself as plaque, at first. This is a sticky film that coats the teeth and gums, which is easily noticeable upon waking up. If not thoroughly removed each day, it can hardened at the base of teeth. This is known as tartar.

Tartar is a cement-hard colony of bacteria, which feed on tender gum tissues. This can cause tender gums that bleed easily when brushing and more frequent bad breath.

This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. If not resolved quickly, it can easily progress. Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gum tissues that causes bleeding, swelling, persistent bad breath and gum recession. As it worsens, gum disease can enter the advanced stage of periodontitis. In this, infectious oral bacteria attack the area below the gum line, including bone and tissues that support natural teeth.

The bacteria can also enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased gums. The inflammatory nature of this bacteria can trigger a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, pre-term babies and more. Periodontal disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Summer is a wonderful time for vacations and being more active outdoors. However, don’t let your daily oral care regimen result in costly repairs down the road. Avoid taking “time off” from your twice-a-day oral hygiene routine so bacterial growth doesn’t require dental treatment as a result.

When vacationing, some tips for your oral upkeep include:

• When packing, place your tooth brush, floss and toothpaste in one container separate from other items. Once you arrive at your destination, place this by the sink so they are handy each morning and evening.
• Take along sugarless gum to help you maintain sufficient saliva flow in the mouth. This aids in removing bacteria before it builds into the stick film that forms plaque.
• Brush at least 2 minutes per brushing followed by brushing your tongue to dislodge embedded bacteria.
• If you can’t brush right after a meal, swish with water or chew sugarless gum.
• Drink lots of water throughout the day to keep oral tissues moist.

Call 828-274-9440 if you have questions about your gums or if you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease. This disease will only worsen without treatment. You may also wish to begin with a consultation.

You are invited to visit our website to learn more about dental implants, sedation options (including “twilight sleep”) and advanced technology.

What Can A Periodontist Do For You?


Posted on May 13, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

In meeting someone for the first time, a common question is “What do you do?” Telling them that I am a periodontist often gets followed by another question: “What does a periodontist do?” The long version, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, is:

“A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.”

Choosing this dental specialty is achieved by an understanding that it will require many years of education. A periodontist begins by completing 4 years of college (undergraduate training) followed by another 4 years in dental school to earn a doctorate. The periodontal specialty then requires another 3-4 years before completing the stringent requirements for a specialty certification in periodontics.

What can all of this in-depth education and advanced skill level do for you?

Let’s begin with the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease. According to the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that over 47% of Americans have some level of gum disease, which is also the leading cause of tooth loss. That’s nearly half of our population.

In addition to a healthy smile, the health of your gums can impact your overall health. By keeping the bacteria of advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, you lower your risks of a long list of serious health problems that have been shown connected to gum disease bacteria. These include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers, preterm babies, and erectile dysfunction (ED).

A periodontal specialist is also a leading choice in the selection and placement of dental implants. With specialized skills, a periodontist is especially respectful to oral tissues as sensitive layers that have an important role in the appearance of a smile and the health of teeth. Utilizing these skills, a periodontist can help to minimize incisions while effectively treating each area in the mouth.

When it comes to the selection of the implant system best for you, our speciality also understands the complete spectrum of all implant types. Some implant systems offer a non-removable (“fixed”) option with others functioning with removable teeth.

Proper selection of your dental implants can also help to keep treatment fees to a minimum. This is because some implants can support more than one tooth and others are designed to support a full arch of replacement teeth. Because treatment fees are based on the number of implants required, your tooth replacement goals may be within a more manageable budget with fewer implants needed to accomplish your goals.

Reshaping gum tissues is also part of our specialized skills. The gum tissues are designed to provide a tight seal around the base of teeth and block bacterial entry to the sensitive tooth root area. When oral bacteria are able to penetrate beneath the gum line, they can cause inflammation to tender gums and attack the structures that support natural teeth.

In a procedure known as a gingivectomy, we are able to reposition or graft gum tissues over the area of recession to restore a healthy seal and protect the tooth structures below the surface.

In some cases, we are also able to save a natural tooth when the tooth breaks near the gum line. In a procedure known as  crown lengthening, a periodontist can sometimes expose enough of the tooth structure for the placement of a crown. By preventing the need for the tooth’s removal, the patient is able to avoid the extensive costs and potential upkeep of replacing it.

When it comes to a smile’s appearance, a periodontist is also the go-to. In smiles that have an uneven line of gum tissues, meaning that some teeth have more gum showing than others. This up-and-down line of gum tissue creates a jumbled look. Crown lengthening can alter the height of these tissues prior to placement of a crown (‘cap’) to provide a more flattering smile line.

Another benefit of the skills of gum recontouring  are the correction of a “gummy smile.” In this, the patient has too much gum tissue bordering the tops of teeth, making the smile line unbalanced. Using the gingivectomy procedure, a periodontist can lower the height of gum tissues, which is generally followed by placement of crowns.

Here, our Western North Carolina periodontal dental office features some of the most advanced technology in dentistry. Many of these features are not available in other dental offices elsewhere. Some of these include:

LANAP With PerioLase MVP 7 (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure) – an advanced protocol that efficiently and effectively treats advanced gum disease with the added advantages of a dental laser. This offers a non-surgical alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease. LANAP treatment has also been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.

3-D Cone Beam Imaging – used for diagnoses and treatment planning, giving clear views of the upper and lower jaw, used for intricate review of sagittal, axial, and coronal planes, locating and tracking nerve canals optimizes implant placement.

CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging – provides enhanced tomography that interacts with 3D imaging for exceptional detail and range.

CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner – This scanner quickly and comfortably captures digital impressions without the need for bulky, goopy trays! Through this process, we are able to create precision models or appliances (crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges, orthodontic appliances and aligners, custom abutments). The scanner can also reach difficult–to–access areas in the patient’s mouth for superior results with improved patient comfort.

Computerized Dental Implant Placement – allows 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, even for complex cases.

Sedation Dentistry – When dental fear or anxiety causes people to delay or avoid having dental treatment, we offer oral or IV sedation. Oral sedation is a pill that helps patients relax. It also has an amnesiac effect, leaving most with little or no memory of treatment afterward. I.V. sedation (also known as “twilight sleep”) places the patient in a deeper sleep state and erases memory of the procedure.

Through our extensive menu of treatments offered, it’s easy to see that our main goal is to provide patients with a comfortable and positive experience within our specialized skills. We believe this helps patients truly appreciate the advantages of a healthy smile and understand how our involvement can create a healthier, more confident individual.

I also feel it’s important that people are aware of the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease, which are:

• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Seeing blood in the sink when brushing
• Receded gums
• Loose or separating teeth
• Pus pockets on gum tissues
• Sores in the mouth
• Persistent bad breath

If any of these are present, please know that the condition will only worsen without treatment. And, early treatment can minimize treatment needs and costs.

Call 828-274-9440 if you have questions or wish to arrange a consultation discuss your individual needs (or those of a smile you love!). Our Asheville periodontal dental office staff will be happy to help you!

https://www.perio.org/consumer/what-is-a-periodontist

Healthy Gums Advantageous To A Healthier YOU!


Posted on Apr 22, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Periodontal (gum) disease and subsequent tooth loss has damaging effects to an individual, far beyond the mouth. When this was suspected decades ago, it prompted national agencies to track the oral health of the U.S. population. Using this extensive data, studies have revealed some interesting statistics, including how various age groups fare when it comes to oral wellness.

The following is mostly information pulled from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) “Oral Health In America” report. Released in December 2021, the findings were the culmination of years of research assembled by more than 400 contributors.

On a positive note, the percentage of Americans who have experienced tooth loss has declined since the 1970’s. As of 2016, complete tooth loss has fallen by more than 75% for adults between the ages of 65 – 75 years. Unfortunately, there is not good news when it comes to tooth decay – for nearly any adult age group.

For adults between the ages of 20 – 64, cavities have affected 90% and gum disease exists for nearly 50% of adults aged 45 – 64 years. This should be a concern for every American. This is because research has determined that the bacteria of periodontitis (advanced gum disease) can trigger or worsen a long list of serious health problems.

The list includes:
• Stroke
• Coronary Artery Disease
• Arthritis
• Diabetes
• Preterm & low birth weight babies
• Some Cancers (including oral and pancreatic)
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Impotency, Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
• Prostatitis (elevated PSA levels)

In addition to poor oral hygiene routines at home and avoiding regular dental cleanings and exams, high-risk behaviors (such as use of tobacco, opioids, and alcohol) accentuate the risks of gum disease.

Although gum disease can begin without obvious signs or symptoms, the most commonly noticed are:
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Seeing blood in the sink when brushing
• Receded gums
• Loose or separating teeth
• Pus pockets on gum tissues
• Sores in the mouth
• Persistent bad breath

While the report found that there are stark differences in adult groups who had less access to having regular oral health care, disparities also stem from underlying economic, demographic, and societal inequities.

Below are some of the oral health variations pertaining to certain groups.


ADOLESCENTS
During the past 20 years, the percentage of adolescents (ages 12 − 19) having at least one molar with a sealant applied has nearly tripled, from 18% to 48%. That’s a good thing. Even so, there has been no decline in untreated tooth decay in adolescents since the last surgeon general’s report twenty years ago.

High caries (cavities in teeth) experienced in early childhood is the strongest indicator of caries problems that will be experienced in adolescence and adulthood. This means that when the factors contributing to developing cavities in childhood persist, the incidence of caries affecting permanent teeth will continue to increase during adolescence. Likewise, misalignment of teeth that exist or develop during adolescence can substantially impact eating, speech, gum health, and even psycho-social development. (Imagine a teen with teeth so mispositioned that they are ridiculed by peers.)


OLDER AMERICANS
There is good news for our older population (Americans over the age of 65). Their overall oral health has significantly improved over the past two decades with fewer teeth being extracted. Additionally, the proportion of the population with edentulism (no remaining natural teeth) is at an all-time low.

The not-so-great news… tooth loss remains a problem for older adults. Today, 1 in 6 Americans have no remaining natural teeth. At this rate, by the year 2030 (just 6 years from now), the 65-&-over age group without teeth will increase to 1 in 5.

For adults over the age of 75, the challenges are even greater. Over 54% have fewer than 21 remaining teeth with the number increasing to 80% for those living in poverty. With age also comes the increased prevalence of systemic diseases that may impact the mouth, making older adults more susceptible to oral health issues. (This includes heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, etc.)

Fortunately, things are moving in a positive direction for older adults, with more keeping their teeth than any previous generation. This has largely been the result of having increased attention on the benefits of prevention and improvements in treatments for gum disease and cavities, along with a decrease in the rate of smoking. (About 8 of every 100 adults – 8.3% – of adults 65 years and older were reported to smoke in 2023.)


WOMEN
Women have unique oral health concerns due to changing hormone levels based on menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause. These fluctuations can raise the risk of oral problems that effect teeth or gums. Health issues, such as diabetes, can also affect the oral health of females.


To keep your teeth healthy, it is important to remove dental plaque. This is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that coats teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Even teeth that already have fillings are at risk for tooth decay. Plaque can build up underneath a chipped filling and cause new decay. And if there are areas in your mouth where your gums have pulled away from the teeth (known as receded gums or gum recession), the exposed tooth roots can decay as well.

It’s important – for all ages – to be committed to their oral hygiene time at the sink, at least twice a day. Devoting these minutes to the care of your teeth and gums will pay off in future years, helping to minimize costs for dental repairs and time in treatment. And, when early ages get into the habit of an oral care routine at home, they are more likely to carry that into adulthood.

Here are some easy brushing tips:

• Use fluoride toothpaste, which is an ingredient of many products. Fluoride protects teeth from cavities, helping to strengthen the tooth’s hard outer surface – the enamel.
• Angle the bristles toward the gumline so they can sweep away bacteria between the gums and teeth.
• Brush gently using small, circular motions. Do not scrub hard back and forth, which can wear down tender gum tissues and wear away tooth enamel.
• Brush all sides of each tooth and the tops (where debris and bacteria can hide within grooves).
• Brush your tongue, especially towards the back where the majority of bacteria embed. Swish well with water at least twice afterwards.

Cleaning between teeth to remove plaque is also part of a good oral hygiene routine. If plaque is not removed, some of it can harden below the gum line and irritate the gums. The gums become red, swollen, and may bleed easily. These are signs of gingivitis. Gingivitis caused by plaque buildup is a mild form of gum disease, and you can usually reverse it with daily brushing and flossing.

If plaque stays on your teeth for too long, it can harden. This hardened plaque is called calculus, or tartar. The only way to remove tartar is to have your teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist. If the tartar is not removed, the gingivitis can get worse and lead to more severe gum (periodontal) disease. In advanced stages, gum disease causes sore, bleeding gums; painful chewing problems; loose teeth; and even tooth loss.

Here are some additional ways to keep a healthy smile with practical measures.

  • Floss to remove plaque, and food particles, from between your teeth.
  •  Visit the dentist for routine check-ups and professional cleaning. If you are at a high risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth because of medicines you take), your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment, such as a varnish or foam during the office visit.
  • Drink fluoridated water. Drinking water with the right amount of fluoride protects your teeth throughout the day.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your chance of gum disease. If you smoke and want to quit, there are many resources to help you: FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, CDC’s Quit Smoking website, and the BeTobaccoFree.gov website.
  • If you are planning to become pregnant, have a dental checkup. Because of hormonal changes, pregnant women may develop gingivitis and experience gums that are swollen and bleed easily. During pregnancy, it is especially important to practice good oral hygiene to maintain the health of your gums.
  • Eat a diet that is low in sweets and sugary drinks.

A periodontal specialist is your best advocate in restoring or maintaining healthy gums. In addition to the skills in treating all stages of gum disease (from gingivitis to periodontitis), a periodontist specializes in the selection and placement of dental implants.

If you have signs or symptoms that may be indicative of gum disease, please know this disease will only worsen without treatment. Call 828-274-9440 to schedule an appointment or ask to begin with a consultation.

If dental fear is a concern, we can discuss oral or IV sedation options. These are administered safely with skilled staff members who use advanced safety equipment throughout your care.

Additionally, if you’ve delayed care due to cost, we office several payment plans that many patients find helpful. These plans can break costs into monthly payments, often with no down payment required.

Sources:

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/news-events/nidcr-news/2023/report-reveals-striking-differences-oral-health-care-across-us

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/oral-hygiene

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/oralhealthinamerica/section-2b-summary

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/oralhealthinamerica/section-3b-summary

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/oralhealthinamerica/section-3a-summary

https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/oral-health

https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm

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