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“Gray Tsunami” Brings New Numbers in Dementia, Alzheimer’s
Posted on Feb 11, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
The American Academy of Periodontology (perio.org), defines a periodontist as:
“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.”
As an Asheville periodontal specialist for over 25 years, my advanced skills help patients with a variety of needs that involve the gum tissues. These include:- Treatment of all stages of gum disease (gingivitis, pregnancy gingivitis, periodontal disease, periodontitis)
– Reshaping gum tissues for esthetic enhancement (crown lengthening, gingivectomy for ‘gummy smiles’, repairing areas of gum recession)
– Diagnosis and placement of dental implants
– Treatment of lesions or cysts in oral tissues
Why should you be concerned about the health of your gums?
Gum disease is an inflammatory disease that attacks gum tissues, teeth, and the structures that support them. It is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. As if that weren’t bad enough, research has shown that these potent bacteria are able to activate the development (or worsen the progress) of other diseases.
Past studies have shown oral bacteria from gum disease can be a contributing factor to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, preterm babies, erectile dysfunction (ED), high blood pressure, and impotency. Studies have begun to closely study the links between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In the U.S., the growing prevalence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is an especially concerning issue as our aging population grows. If you are a “baby boomer” (born between the years 1946 – 1964), you make up a significant percentage of adults. Within 7 years, boomers” will comprise 21% of the population. By 2060, nearly 1 in 4 Americans will be 65 years and older, dubbed the “gray tsunami.” Seniors over the age of 85 will have tripled, with half a million adults having reached age 100-plus.
While the statistics of aging adults increase, these stats for ALL adults over the age of 30 should set off some alarms. Nearly half of the adult population has some level of gum disease, over 47%.
There is a misconception many have when it comes to the serious nature of gum disease. Too often, people perceive “if it doesn’t hurt, then nothing is wrong” when it comes to their oral health. Although symptoms of gum disease may include tender gums that bleed when brushing, gum disease can begin without any obvious signs.
This is true for many health problems. For instance, when cancer forms in the body, its initial presence isn’t obvious. This is why annual or periodic screenings are urged since treatment is typically minimal during early stages.
Early treatment, including that for gum disease, helps to resolve the problem without complex measures. This is why it is so important to have 6-month dental check-ups. These visits allow your dentist to catch gum disease early so treatment needs and expense can be minimal.
Yet gum disease is a hazard for your overall health as well. While gum disease forms in the mouth, that’s not necessarily where it remains without proper treatment. The bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream. It has been found to trigger serious reactions elsewhere in the body. Some of these lead to the formation of cancer (oral, throat, pancreatic, lung) and some activate conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
Obviously, the health of your mouth is an important part of supporting a healthy body, especially in disease prevention. To illustrate the extent of gum disease’s damaging impact to health, research is tracking its correlation to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In a recent study that included over 8,200 adults, an increased risk for developing dementia was found in those having severe gum disease and missing teeth. Participants in the study had an average age of 63 at the study’s onset.
In a follow-up after 18 years, those who had severe gingivitis in addition to tooth loss had a 22% higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Having no natural teeth was associated with a 26% increased risk.
Broken down, 14% of individuals with healthy gums and all their teeth at the start of the study developed dementia by the end of the study. For those with mild gum disease, 18% (623 out of 3,470) developed dementia. Twenty-two percent of participants with severe gum disease developed dementia. For those who had no remaining teeth, 23% developed dementia – nearly 17 cases for every 1,000 persons.
They found the bacteria present in periodontal disease can travel through the mucous membranes of the mouth to the brain, potentially causing brain damage.
In the study, participants were carefully assessed based on age, gender, education, cholesterol, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, smoking and body weight. (https://psychcentral.com/news/2020/07/30/gum-disease-may-be-linked-to-later-dementia/158497.html?MvBriefArticleId=25473)
Prior studies have led researchers to be more focused on tracking oral tissue related factors that may contribute to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which is affecting a growing percentage of American adults (as well as those globally). Currently, 10% of adults age 65 and over have Alzheimer’s disease. For people ages 85 and older, this increases to 32 percent. In the U.S., it is the 6th leading cause of death. (https://www.alzheimers.net/resources/alzheimers-statistics/)
By the year 2025, the number of people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to reach 7.1 million people, a 27 percent increase from the 5.6 million age 65 and older in 2019.
Let us help you minimize the risks associated with oral bacteria. If dental fear has kept you from having regular dental care, we will be happy to discuss our many comfort options in our comfortable Asheville office, including Oral and I.V. sedation (“twilight sleep”).
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. It is administered by a doctor of anesthesiology for optimal comfort and safety.
Here, our Western North Carolina periodontal dental office also features some of the most advanced technology in dentistry. Many of these are not available in other dental offices elsewhere. Some of these features include LANAP (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure. This is an advanced protocol that efficiently and effectively treats advanced gum disease with the added advantages of a dental laser. We also have 3-D Cone Beam Imaging, computerized Tomography imaging and one of the latest in intraoral scanners.
Now, more than ever, we know that maintaining a healthy smile is important and achievable for every adult. If you suspect you have gum disease (gums that bleed when brushing, tender or swollen gums, gums that have reddened or receded from teeth), it is important to be seen by a periodontist. A periodontal specialist is the best way to restore any level of gum disease to help you regain a healthy smile.
Be committed to having excellent oral health as and make it a priority as an important part of your overall health. For a consultation to discuss how a periodontist can help you, call 828-274-9440.
Dental Implants – Proper Implant System & Precision Placement
Posted on Dec 13, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
A periodontist specializes in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants, in addition to the treatment of all stages of periodontal disease.
In our Asheville periodontal dental office, many general dentists refer patients to us for dental implants. With our specialized skills and advanced technology, we can diagnose and place the implanted portion for optimal comfort and success in treatment outcome.
We are also able to offer patients a wider variety of choices when it comes to implant systems.
There are many types of dental implants. Various systems are designed to support one replacement tooth (the “restoration”), a bridge of two or more teeth, or a full denture supported by several strategically-placed implants. Understanding the unique advantages of all systems enables us to choose the best type for the patient’s individual needs and goals.
For example, the All On 4 dental implant system is designed to support non-removable teeth on just 4 implants (per arch). With its specially-designed implanted portions, these longer implants can fully distribute biting and chewing forces.
The All-On-4 option is an ideal choice for people who have lost bone mass due to lengthy periods of tooth loss. Because All On Four can be placed in minimal bone, many patients are able to avoid the need for bone rebuilding procedures prior to traditional implant placement.
However, it is not just in selection of the implant that a periodontist offers, it is in the placement skills. For a dental implant to serve as a lasting tooth replacement system, it must be positioned in the jaw bone to specific depths and angles. An implant that is mis-positioned can function less efficiently and lead to the need for removal.
Patient comfort can also be enhanced through the specialized care of a periodontist.
Because a periodontal specialist is uniquely skilled in the care of gum tissues, he or she is able to provide a conservative approach to the placement process. Through respectful treatment of oral tissues (in both placement and exposure for restorations), less disruption to the gums allows for faster healing and higher comfort levels.
In our Western NC periodontal dental office, we also feature some of the most advanced technology in dentistry; many options which are not readily available in other dental offices in our region. These computerized images offer advantages to patients in helping to minimize treatment needs.
Some features include:
Computerized Dental Implant Placement – This advanced system for pre-surgical positioning of dental implants 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.
3-D Cone Beam Imaging – Ideal for diagnoses and treatment planning, these images provide a clear view of the upper and lower jaw, used for: intricate review of tooth roots; periodontics; orthodontics; dental implants: TMJ; and prosthodontics, as well as dental and maxillofacial surgery. Because cone beam radiographs show sagittal, axial, and coronal planes, locating and tracking nerve canals optimizes implant placement. The process is quick, painless and at minimal levels of radiation.
CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging – This enhanced tomography works with 3D imaging for exceptional detail and range.
LANAP With PerioLase MVP 7 (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure) – Is 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 leaves very little discomfort and has a quick recovery time. It has also been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.
CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner – Rather than make impressions with bulky, goopy trays, this scanner quickly and comfortably captures digital impressions accurately and easily for creating 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.
When it comes to comfort, we are able to offer patients the highest level of relaxation through I.V. sedation (“twilight sleep”). Also available is oral sedation, which is in pill form for enhanced relaxation. While both options have an amnesiac effect, I.V. sedation places the patient in a deeper sedative state. It is administered by a doctor of anesthesiology for optimal comfort and safety. With both, patients are closely monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.
We know that dental fear is often the foundation of tooth loss, causing many adults to delay or avoid dental care for years. Here, our entire team are sincerely committed to patients in a compassionate and respectful manner.
After placement and restoration, it is important for dental implant patients to be highly committed to maintaining good oral hygiene. Although Dental Implants themselves do not experience decay, the gum tissues and bone supporting the implants are as susceptible to oral bacteria as before. When oral bacteria infection (gum disease) penetrates to the implant site positions, the only way to treat the infection may involve removal of the implant.
For a lifetime of confident smiles with your implants, we will work with your general dentist to help you maintain ideal oral health. This may involve instructions for thorough oral hygiene at home and dental check-ups scheduled for every four months rather than twice a year. During these visits, the condition of your gums will be assessed and a hygienist will remove accumulated oral bacteria to reduce risk to your implants.
Dental implants are designed to last a lifetime and are the closest thing to the natural teeth you once had. Too, the restored ability to bite, chew, speak and laugh without worry can be a tremendous boost to one’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
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. From there, you can determine what pace is best for you.
Call 828-274-9440 to schedule, or tap here for more contact information.
The “Why” & “How” of Dental Implants
Posted on Nov 09, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), over one-fourth (26%) of American adults ages 65 and older have 8 or less natural teeth. The CDC equates this number (having 8 or fewer teeth) as “severe tooth loss” since it impacts an individual’s ability to thoroughly eat a healthy diet.
An even worse statistic shared by the CDC is 1 in 6 (17%) adults ages 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.
When it comes to losing natural teeth, they also share that the most vulnerable older adults are those who are poor, have less than a high school education, or are cigarette smokers.
Being totally edentulous (having lost all teeth) amongst the 65 or older age group has fortunately declined over the years. The CDC shared that the figure dropped by more than 30% from 1999–2004 (when it was 27%) to 17% in 2011–2016. At least American adults are moving in the right direction.
Tooth loss is a bigger deal than is assumed by a large segment of the population. When a natural tooth is removed, its absence causes a reaction that begins below the gum line. What occurs initially is typically not obvious. Yet, the repercussions of “resorption” can become quite the dilemma.
The absence of a tooth root in the upper or lower jaw bone is a loss of stimulation to the bone mass where it was once positioned. These roots provide both stimulation and nourishment that enables the bone to maintain a healthy mass. Without the presence of tooth roots, the bone begins to “melt away.” This process is known as resorption.
Think of the stimulation that tooth roots provide to how you might muscle atrophy. We all know that muscles, not used, will shrink in mass. When the jaw bones are lacking stimulation by the tooth roots they’re designed to hold, bone mass begins to shrink.
Resorption begins shortly after the tooth root is removed. Once it starts, it continues at an ever-increasing pace. For example, the first year after a tooth root is missing, the loss of bone may be minimal. With each passing year, the pace of loss accelerates.
As the bone shrinks in height, the natural tooth roots adjacent to the area of missing teeth are subject to movement and root damage. On average, the next teeth you’re most likely to lose are the ones bordering areas of missing teeth.
Obviously, it is important to replace lost teeth before bone loss begins. For the support of remaining natural teeth, it’s also important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible so adjacent teeth can retain their proper positions. And, it’s HOW you replace them that’s most important.
Because dental implants replace the tooth above the gum line AND the root portion below it, the bone is able to retain its mass. Through the sturdy foundation of the jaw bone, dental implants are able to restore the look, feel and chewing stability like that of natural teeth.
As a periodontist, I specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease. I also have advanced training and skills in the selection and placement of dental implants. In addition, periodontists are particularly skilled in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Our Western NC periodontal dental office features some of the most advanced technology available. This cutting edge technology is beneficial in a number of ways, with much specifically helpful in optimal dental implant diagnosis and planning. This includes:
LANAP With PerioLase MVP 7 – Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure is an advanced protocol that efficiently and effectively treats advanced gum disease with the added advantages of a dental laser. For patients who are preparing for dental implant placement, resolving gum disease prior to treatment is mandatory. LANAP offers a non-surgical alternative for patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease with very little discomfort and a quick recovery time.
Cone Beam Imaging – These amazing 3D “x-rays’ are ideal for diagnosing and treatment planning. The highly-detailed images provide a clear view of the upper and lower jaw. Because cone beam radiographs show sagittal, axial, and coronal planes, locating and tracking nerve canals optimizes implant placement. The images are captured in a quick, painless process and at minimal levels of radiation.
CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging – This enhanced tomography works with 3D imaging for exceptional detail and range.
Computerized Dental Implant Placement – This system provides the futuristic ability to position dental implants before the process actually begins. Through computerized technology, the implants are selected and “ideally positioned” on a 3D model of the patient’s jaw. From this, a template is developed for optimal treatment success, even for complex cases.
CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner – Rather than make impressions with bulky, goopy trays, this scanner quickly and comfortably captures digital impressions accurately and easily. These are used to create precision models or appliances (dental implant crowns, bridges, or full arches). The scanner can also reach hard–to–access areas in the patient’s mouth for superior results with improved patient comfort.
Sedation – Our Asheville periodontal practice is known for its environment of comfort and respectful care. We understand that over 70 percent of the adult population have some level of dental fear or anxiety. For optimal comfort and relaxation, we offer several sedation options, including oral and IV sedation. With both sedation options, patients are closely monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.
• 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. It is administered by a Medical Doctor (MD) who is a board certified Anesthesiologist.
Ideal diagnosis is important, and can save the patient much in overall treatment costs. For example, when missing more than one tooth in one area, one implant can often hold two or a bridge of teeth. Several strategically-placed implants may also be used support a full arch of teeth.
Dental implants restore the ability to eat with stability, chew comfortably, laugh and speak with confidence. Dental implants do not decay and will never need root canals. They have an extremely high success rate, higher than any implant-in-bone option. And, Dental Implants are designed to last a lifetime. With proper selection and maintenance, they will never need replacing or repair.
Dental implants come in many sizes and shapes, each system designed to accommodate various needs and preferences. This means your implant can be chosen to suit your long-term goals.
Proper placement and support in caring for implants is an important part of a successful outcome. However, dental implants can fail. This is why a periodontal specialist can be an asset to your investment. When dental implants are chosen and placed by a Periodontist, he or she can select the one that will work best for you now and throughout your lifetime.
In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we combine technology with our advanced skills and compassionate approach to care so you can enjoy a comfortable, efficient experience that allows you to have optimal success.
Call 828-274-9440 to arrange a consultation. During this time, we can discuss treatment that can achieve your needs and goals as well as the process and anticipated costs.
Dental Pain Relief With Patient’s Well-Being In Mind
Posted on Aug 19, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
The body relies on a nervous system for many reasons; one reason being to alert us that something is wrong. For example, when we burn our finger on the stove, the brain quickly sends pain sensations so we can remove the finger and take action to help it repair.
As a periodontal specialist in Asheville NC, I know how sensitive the gums can be, as well as teeth. A toothache or a cut in the mouth can be miserable for days. As a periodontist, ideally my skills allow patients to avoid being in pain by keeping their mouths healthy. When an individual maintains a clean mouth that has a low level of bacteria, they can avoid developing cavities and gum disease, which can both result in a significant amount of constant pain.
Yet, caregivers in the American healthcare system are very much aware of the opioid epidemic. We don’t want to deny legitimate patients the medications they need to get them out of pain, however, neither do we want to be a catalyst or contributor to an individual who becomes dependent on these or is trying to feed an already existing habit.
The dental profession has been very careful in this regard, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In 2012, dentists in the U. S. prescribed only 6.4% of the total opioid prescriptions. For procedures such as root canals or extractions, they help patients get through the initial part of recovery when pain levels are most extreme.
As opioid abuse became such a significant problem, dentists became more sensitive to prescribing these medications. In 2016, American Dental Association (ADA) issued a Statement on the Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Dental Pain.
“Dentists should consider non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management … [and]should recognize multimodal pain strategies for management for acute postoperative pain as a means for sparing the need for opioid analgesics.”
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics are commonly known as NSAIDs. These are typically over-the-counter meds, such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, etc. These are non-opioid, oral medications for temporary relief of acute dental pain.
NSAIDs work to provide effective pain relief by reducing inflammation in the bone, dental pulp, and gum tissues. The ADA encourages dentists to consider NSAIDs as the preferred go-to method for managing acute pain. When NSAIDs are taken after a dental procedure, they have been shown as effective as opioids for reducing pain intensity. For some pain levels, the dentist may prescribe a higher dose (by prescription).
Although NSAIDs are effective and less likely to cause dependency, they can also inhibit the an enzyme responsible for producing other prostaglandins that provide numerous beneficial effects. This includes those that protect the gastrointestinal mucous lining, blood flow to the kidneys, and blood clotting.
NSAIDs could also heighten the risks for serious cardiovascular issues, including heart attack and stroke. NSAIDs gave the potential to trigger issues that complicate the effects of low-dose aspirin.
Another option for managing dental pain is the use of Acetaminophen (such as Excedrin and Tylenol). Acetaminophen is an internal analgesic available in over-the-counter medicines for the temporary relief of minor aches and pains and helping to reduce fever. It can also be found in medicines that contain more than one active ingredient to treat migraines.
Acetaminophen is often used for things like headaches, muscle aches and menstrual cramps. It can also be an ingredient in other medicines.
Please know that I want no less for my patients’ comfort than I would want for myself or loved ones. Pain can be an overwhelming problem, although gum disease and cavities are highly preventable. With proper at-home oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, an individual can keep a healthy smiles and prevent tooth loss (to a signifiant degree).
Even so, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality shared that there were more than 615 emergency room visits for every 100,000 people in the U.S. in 2018. The statistic is much higher for low-income and minority groups.
Let’s work together to protect our population from the impact it has endured from opioid addiction. Prior to treatment, we will discuss the potential for discomfort or pain afterward and standard treatment options to help ease you through recovery.
If you are experiencing sore, tender gums that bleed easily when brushing or a deep ache like a toothache, do not delay in seeking dental care. When something is wrong in the mouth, there are very few instances that will go away on their own. Most problems worsen over time, leading to higher levels of discomfort and more-involved treatment to resolve the problem.
In our Asheville eriodontal dental office, we offer some of the most advanced technology available in dentistry, including ConeBeam 3D imaging, laser dentistry, and computerized dental implant placement technology. Additionally, we provide oral and I.V. sedation, safely and monitored closely.
Call 828-274-9440 or tap here to arrange an appointment.
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