“Futuristic” Technology Surrounds Patient Care


Posted on Jul 30, 2020 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Many adults are unfamiliar with the specialized skills of a periodontist – until they need one.

At Biltmore Periodontics in Asheville, most patients are referred by their general dentist or other dental specialist. However, a professional referral is not required. We accept patients from the recommendations of other patients as well as those who find us through internet searches, etc.

To clarify what we are and what we offer, a periodontist is a dentist who extends his or her education and skills further (typically 3 years past completing dental school) to specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease and other gum conditions.

Additionally, a periodontal specialist has advanced skills in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. A periodontal specialist is also trained in performing esthetic procedures that involve gum tissues, such as crown lengthening and correcting a “gummy smile”.

A periodontist’s office may have a similar look and feel of your general dentist’s office. However, the advanced skills and techniques are typically supported by advanced technology. Some offices, as ours (serving Western North Carolina) provide a rather “futuristic” array of technology to enhance treatment outcomes, save the patient time in treatment, speed healing time, and optimize comfort throughout care.

Periodontists are able treat complex periodontal cases of severe gum disease or caring for patients who have complex medical histories or health issues. They offer a wide range of treatments using a range of surgical or non-surgical procedures.

A periodontal office is also attuned to caring for high-fear patients. Periodontists understand that many people who develop periodontal (gum) disease do so because they were too afraid of dental treatment to see a dentist on a regular basis. Without a solid combination of thorough at-home oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups and cleanings, the potential to develop gum disease greatly increases.

In a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on data related to prevalence of periodontitis in the U.S.: 47.2 percent of adults 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease rates increase with age, affecting 70.1 percent for adults 65 years and older.

One study, published by StudyFinds.org, shares recent findings of 2,000 adults in the U.S. regarding dental visits. Results show a whopping 62 percent of those surveyed stating they were too afraid to even visit a dentist’s office. (https://www.studyfinds.org/adults-too-scared-visit-dentist-teeth/)

Surprisingly, the age group most likely to avoid dental care because of fear were millennials (currently ages 22 – 38). With past decades of advancements in comfort and greater sensitivity surrounding anxiety and fear in the dental office (versus what older generations often experienced), their higher levels of avoidance due to fear was unexpected, but clearly significant.

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we provide special measures to ensure the safety and comfort of all patients – for every appointment. For many patients, Dr. Claiborne and Dr. Boyland offer Oral and I.V. Sedation. Sometimes referred to as “twilight sleep,” I.V. Sedation allows patients to be totally relaxed before, during and after treatment with little or no memory of the procedure.

Our periodontists also offer Oral Sedation in pill form to give a high level of relaxation, which typically has an amnesiac effect on patients. Throughout any type of sedation, patients are closely monitored by trained professionals and advanced safety equipment.

When it comes to technology, however, Biltmore Periodontics prides itself on some of the most advanced features available in the Southeast. These include:

• LANAP Protocol Using PerioLase MVP-7 – An acronym for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, LANAP provides an advanced protocol to more efficiently and effectively treat periodontitis (advanced gum disease) with a laser. This offers a minimally invasive (non-surgical) treatment alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease in as little as one session. It is safe for people with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hemophilia. LANAP treatment leaves very little discomfort and has a quick recovery time.

LANAP technology is also able to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas. It can regrow periodontal ligament, alveolar bone (the bony ridge that supports the upper teeth), and regrow the bony film that adheres teeth to the jaw.

• Dental Radiology With 3-D Cone Beam Technology
 – Using 3D imaging for diagnostic and treatment planning,  the entire dentition area provides clear, detailed views of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jaw) for precision diagnosis in endodontics (tooth roots), periodontics, orthodontics, dental implants, temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and prosthodontics as well as dental and maxillofacial surgery.

In addition, cone beam images can locate and trace the mandibular nerve canal, which optimizes pre-surgical planning of dental implant positioning.

Radiation levels are at minute levels and the imaging process is quick and comfortable.

• CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging
 – This technology provides panoramic and 3D imaging with exceptional detail and range at significantly lower radiation – up to an 85 percent lower dose than traditional panoramic imaging.

• CS 3600 intraoral scanner
 – Unlike impressions made with bulky, goopy trays held in a patient’s mouth, this modern scanner quickly and comfortably scans the mouth’s interior to provide digital impressions accurately. The device is a small, handheld scanner and ideal for impressions to design crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges, orthodontic appliances and aligners, custom abutments and RPD. Its accurate HD 3D color images give precision details for improved case review, analysis and communication between doctors, referrals and labs.

• Simplant Dental Software for Computerized Dental Implant Placement 
- This advanced software system allows for pre-surgical positioning of dental implants on the computer using a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. Once the implant type is selected, a surgical template is developed that ensures a precision fit. Simplant creates optimal implant treatment success, even for complex cases. It also simplifies the team treatment process so intricate aspects of the surgical process can be discussed prior to placement.

• Intraoral Camera Technology – 
This self-contained intraoral camera features full motion video with outstanding image quality from an internal camera that captures ideal angles and images with the click of a button. The 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. This allows patients to have a more complete understanding of their individual needs through images that can be pulled up by our dental team, with the ability to enlarge certain areas to show specific details. Through this, patients have greater involvement in treatment decisions.

This extensive array of technology is in keeping with our commitment to provide each patient with advanced skills, experience and comfort to provide the very best in periodontal and dental implant treatment. Added to this is the truly talented, committed staff who tend to our patients in a warm, compassionate and respectful manner.

Overcoming gum disease can help patients to save natural teeth. This means the trauma of tooth loss and decisions for replacement can be avoided.

If you suffer with symptoms of gum disease (tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, or gums that have turned red in color), the condition will only worsen without treatment. Call our friendly staff to discuss your needs: 828-274-9440.

 

Considering Dental Implants? Why A Specialist Should Be Your Choice.


Posted on Jun 22, 2020 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

With added safety precautions and appointment protocols, our Asheville periodontal dental office has resumed a full schedule. And, we are busy!

In spite of the challenges surrounding a global pandemic, people are still in need of treatment for gum disease. Especially now. Gum disease is an inflammatory disease that is an added burden to the immune system. Because our immune systems need to be operating at peak levels to fight infection, healthy gums are being given renewed recognition.

As a periodontist, I also specialize in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. We continue to provide this much needed option to patients in need of replacing teeth. After all, regardless of the challenges people face, they still need to be able to bite, chew, and speak.

When it comes to a partial or bridge to replace teeth, a patient faces future risks. Because a partial or bridge rely on adjacent teeth for support, the natural tooth (teeth) that serve to support these appliances bring on a significant challenge.

These dental prosthetics place added pressure and stress to the supporting natural teeth. Thus, there is a greater potential for damage to the structure of the natural teeth. This places those “crowned” teeth at risk for being the next to be lost.

Americans are coming to know that a denture creates a great many challenges. One of the most common complaints has to do with dentures that begin to move or ‘slip’ when eating or even speaking. This is due to bone loss that is occurring under the denture.

Without stimulation to the jaw bone where tooth roots were once supported, the bone begins to shrink. This is known as resorption. As resorption continues, the denture that was designed to the unique shape and height of this gum-covered ‘arch’ no longer provides a snug fit.

Because of this, denture wearers come to rely on denture adhesives and pastes. However, over time even frequent applications of these products are of little help. Relines, another option, can be done to reshape the denture’s base to conform to the shrinking arch. Eventually, even relines provide minimal improvement.

Bone loss also shows up in facial appearance. As the bone structures that give our face its shape start to shrink, deep wrinkles form around the mouth. Eventually, the corners of the mouth will turn downward, even when smiling. Jowls form on each side of the face as facial muscles detach from the declining bone structure.

As the jaw bone continues to shrink, the chin becomes more pointed and the nose seems to move closer to it. This leads to a collapsed mouth, sometimes referred to as a ‘granny look.’ This look ages the appearance of an individual that is far beyond their actual years.

However, the greatest challenge is when eating becomes a struggle. Because of movement and resulting sore spots on tender gum tissues, foods that require biting and rigorous chewing are often set aside for softer foods that dissolve quickly in the mouth.

Unfortunately, these food choices often offer less-than-ideal nutritional benefits, and typically very little fiber. It’s no wonder that denture wearers tend to have more gastrointestinal problems than people who are able to chew sufficiently and comfortably.

To me, what is especially troubling for long-time denture wearers is the avoidance of social gatherings. Studies have shown that being socially involved helps adults be more active both physically and mentally.

In a February 2019 article, Science Daily shared, “Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found that older adults who spend more time interacting with a wide range of people were more likely to be physically active and had greater emotional well-being.” (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190220074610.htm)

When adults fear embarrassing slips, clicks, or uncomfortable food pieces that become trapped between the gums and denture, declining social invitations becomes more and more frequent. Since many social gatherings include food or are centered around meals, denture-wearing adults have difficult choices to make. Go and hope for the best or risk an embarrassing moment?

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.

In dental implant treatment, the ‘implanted’ portion is positioned into the jaw bone as a tooth root replacement. This provides the attached teeth the same foundation as natural tooth roots have. This also recreates stimulation to the bone, halting the process of bone loss.

So, why should you search out a periodontist for your dental implant treatment? With so many one-stop clinics and online implant “special price today only!”, is the care of a periodontal specialist really needed?

Below are some reasons to consider how your dental implant treatment begins. Because, in the long run, it is a significant factor in the end result.

• Proper diagnosis: A periodontal specialist has advanced training to properly diagnose and place the most appropriate dental implant system for your needs and goals.
• Appropriate treatment: I have a reputation for never over-treating or under-treating. We structure treatment to provide the most successful outcome based on each patient’s unique needs by the most conservative means possible. Thus, the patient avoid having more time and expense than is necessary.
• Proper tools & equipment: As a periodontal office, we are fully prepared for the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of gum disease as well as the placement of dental implants. As such, we can tend to our patients in an efficient and effective manner. This also enables us to provide treatment in minimal time and to an exceptional level of comfort.
• Advanced features: In addition to trust, one of the reasons we receive so many referrals from physicians, dentists, and past/present patients has to do with the advanced technology and features we provide. We are also known for providing a high level of patient comfort through the administration of IV sedation (twilight sleep) with our on-site Board Certified Anesthesiologist. Additionally, diagnosis and treatment planning is backed by images from our on-site 3D Cone Beam technology.
• A respectful environment: We treat each patient with the same respect, compassion and gentle hands that we would want for ourselves and our loved ones. We take great pride in knowing our patients experience the finest periodontal and implant care available in the Southeastern United States.

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.

Be In-The-Know To Avoid Cavities, Gum Disease


Posted on Apr 02, 2020 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

During this highly unusual time, people are relying on the internet for communication (work and social), information, and entertainment. Computers, tablets and smart phones are keeping us connected as we ‘shelter in place’ until this global pandemic is under control.

A lot of Americans are using their “stuck inside” time to expand their minds. Whether it’s to enjoy an audio book, watch PBS specials, or learn how to do something on YouTube, using the time positively is helping people avoid getting mired down in worry and anxiety.

As a periodontal specialist in Asheville, NC, I hope adults will use some of their time to become more aware of the hazards of gum disease. The damage that periodontal disease (‘perio’) can have far reaching consequences, affecting the health inside and mouth and overall health, as I’ll explain.

People are often surprised to hear that they have developed gum disease since it is often without obvious symptoms in early stages. Once it’s fully underway, however, many people ignore the warning signs or assume they’ll “go away”.

In my dental specialty, I believe that by keeping Americans informed of how the progression of gum disease occurs could help to greatly reduce the extent of this disease, which plaques over 47 percent of adults.

Let’s begin by looking at the process of gum disease:

•  Oral Bacteria: The mouth is a warm, dark and moist environment — perfect for harboring bacteria. The mouth is the first point of contact for a large extent of the bacteria that enters the body. Bacteria is on food, utensils, lip gloss and even your tooth brush. All mouths have bacteria, some of it are beneficial. Although bacteria in the mouth are perfectly ‘normal’, the problem begins when too much bacteria accumulate.

•  Plaque: Without proper brushing, flossing, saliva flow and diet, oral bacteria can reproduce rapidly. For an example of just how quickly these bacteria accumulate, run your tongue over your teeth after brushing in the morning. They should feel slick and clean. Then, before brushing at bedtime, run your tongue over your teeth again. The accumulation of oral bacteria over the mere course of a day has likely formed a sticky film on teeth. This is known as plaque. This film is actually a coating of bacteria.

•  Tartar (or Calculus): In just 48 hours, unremoved plaque can harden into tartar. These ‘chunks’ are colonies of oral bacteria and typically attach to the base of teeth near the gum line. These cement-hard masses can no longer be brushed or flossed away. They must be removed by a dentist or hygienist with special tools. If allowed to remain, like plaque, tartar will continue to multiply as these bacterial colonies feed on tooth enamel and tender gum tissues.

•  Gingivitis: This is the first stage of gum disease. At this level, gum tissues are under attack and become sore. They may bleed easily when brushing and you may experience an aching sensation in some areas. Breath odor is stronger, even soon after brushing. At this point, with proper measures, you can restore your gums to a healthy state. However, the window of opportunity to combat gingivitis is brief.

•  Periodontal (Gum) Disease: At this stage, the gums are inflamed and tender. They begin to darken in color and the seal of gum tissues surrounding teeth begins to loosen. The breath is persistently bad. As this stage of gum disease worsens, it can lead to severe health risks elsewhere in the body.

•  Periodontitis: This is the advanced stage of gum disease. The gums are so tender that eating becomes difficult. Breath odor is putrid, as it reflects the rotting state in your mouth. The gum tissues are highly inflamed. Pus pockets may form on the gums near the base of teeth. Eventually, teeth will loosen as the gum tissues and bone structures that support them are destroyed. Tooth removal at this stage is not uncommon.

To no surprise, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it’s one of the most preventable diseases with simple measures.

An even more concerning aspect of gum disease is its ability to enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, these infectious bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Gum disease bacteria has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stoke, memory loss, preterm babies, impotency, some cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease.

This is why we want you to be aware of the importance of having a healthy mouth. We realize there are financial obstacles for some people. However, most dental and specialty offices offer payment plans, many are interest free with no down payment required.

Some people avoid dental visits because they have anxiety or fears. Dental fear is fairly common, even in America where dental care is so advanced (in most practices). If deep fear or anxiety has prevented you from regular dental visits or having much-need treatment, finding a dentist who is experienced in caring for fearful patients is easier today.

Using advanced technology, such as laser dentistry, cone beam imaging, and other features, we are able to diagnose problems more precisely, which helps to minimize treatment. Many options enhance patient comfort and speed healing time.

For many fearful patients, we also offer oral or IV sedation (“twilight sleep”). We are fully equipped for the safety and comfort of administering sedatives for our patients for treatment in our office. Here, patients know us for our gentle touch and respectful, attentive care for each individual.

Occasionally, I hear a patient relay their impression of tooth loss being “just part of growing older.” That is far from the truth. The human body does ‘break down’ here and there but keeping your teeth for a lifetime is a reasonable expectation with proper measures.

Having healthy gums that support teeth can be achieved with an involved relationship with a dentist and a committed oral hygiene routine at home. With proper care, you can easily enjoy a smile of natural teeth all your life.

Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes per time), daily flossing, drinking ample water and limiting sweets and caffeine are simple ways to keep your mouth healthy between regular dental check-ups and cleanings. And, those 6-month check-ups are important. At this time, any tartar that has accumulated can be removed and signs of early gum disease can be noted.

Losing teeth due to gum disease leads to expensive and lifelong upkeep with crown-&-bridge, partials, full denture or dental implants. These tooth replacement needs can be avoided.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 828-274-9440. If fear is an obstacle to having a healthy, confident smile, begin with a consultation to discuss your needs.

 

Could Poor Gum Health Increase Stroke Risk?


Posted on Mar 12, 2020 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The human body is a complex structure on the inside and out. Each body is built for movement and action, its parts governed by a central control system – the brain.

Like any complex machine with its many intricate parts, there is a delicate balance. Working together, the body stays interconnected and functioning properly.

When any part malfunctions, the problem seldom stays within its own realm. Other areas are typically affected, which is what research is finding when it comes to the health inside your mouth, or your oral health.

For decades, it has been shown that the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Research has found that this bacteria can trigger harmful reactions.

For example, the bacteria can trigger inflammation that sets into motion risks factors connected to arthritis and diabetes. Some cancers have also been correlated to this bacteria. Heart disease and high blood pressure been as well.

Stroke, too, is among the long list of serious health problems associated with the potent bacteria of gum disease. While there is no clear pathway to verify gum disease bacteria are the “cause” of these serious conditions, research has continually shown they are linked, which can greatly increase one’s potential for having these problems develop (or worsen).

Say the word “stroke” and people immediately think of a deadly or debilitating, disfiguring episode that may never be recoverable. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

There are several types of strokes. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures. These cause death in about 50 percent of cases.

However, most strokes are Ischemic strokes, caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. These occur when the brain’s blood vessels become narrowed or blocked, severely reducing blood flow.

Blocked or narrowed blood vessels are caused by fatty deposits that build up in blood vessels or by blood clots or other debris that travel through your bloodstream and lodge in the blood vessels in your brain.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20350113

In one study, 265 patients who experienced a stroke between 2015 and 2017 were followed. Researchers noted that large artery strokes – those located inside the brain – were twice as common in patients with gum disease as in those without gum disease.

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/gum-disease-and-heart-disease-the-common-thread

What connection could gum disease bacteria have with arteries in the brain?

Let’s step back and look at the makeup of bacteria found within gum disease.

It all begins when plaque, the sticky film that builds up around teeth, is allowed to remain and multiply. In the meantime, the  plaque found in blood can accumulate inside arteries. Known as atherosclerosis, this fatty plaque is the hallmark of coronary artery disease.

People with gum disease have 2 – 3 times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event. Still, finding a direct connection has yet to be determined. Although researchers have taken into consideration factors like smoking or a poor diet, there is an emerging concern that gum disease may be a factor – on its own – when it comes to heart disease.

Gum disease is an inflammatory disease that starts as gingivitis, the initial stage of periodontal disease. This causes gum tissues to turn red, swell and bleed sometimes when brushing. Untreated, gingivitis will progress to periodontitis, advanced gum disease.

The inflammation of periodontitis can destroy tissue and bone in the mouth, causing gums to separate from the teeth. This separation allows bacteria to infect the gums, and, over time, can lead to tooth loss.

Although we recommend that people react promptly to signs of gum disease, we also felt it beneficial to provide the signs and symptoms of stroke (for you or someone else). These include:

• Trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying. This may include confusion, slurring or having difficulty understanding speech.
• Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg, typically on one side of the body.
• Vision problems in one or both eyes. This may cause blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or seeing double.
• Headache, which may be sudden and severe. This may cause vomiting and/or dizziness.
• Trouble walking, sudden dizziness or loss of coordination.

Some studies indicate that treating gum disease (with other stroke risk factors) could reduce your risk for stroke.

While the direct path of gum disease to stroke may not be known at this time, research has clearly shown that the bacteria of periodontitis is harmful far beyond the mouth.

If you would like a periodontal evaluation, call our Asheville periodontal dental office at 828-274-9440. As a periodontist, my specialty is the treatment of all stages of gum disease. Through our advanced skills and technology, we can restore your smile to a healthy state and give your overall health a leg up!

 

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