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.

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

What You May Be Doing To Increase Potential For Gum Disease


Posted on Apr 11, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

There’s a saying: “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

That applies to so much in life. With all good intentions, adults go about their days feeling they are doing what is right. However, we occasionally learn that what we thought was right is to our detriment.

For example, decades ago, people felt that rigorous scrubbing of teeth with a hard toothbrush and baking soda was a good way to clean your teeth. We now know that the hard bristles and abrasive substances can wear down tooth enamel and scrub away tender gum tissues.

And, there are ways that we actually – and unconsciously – add to the risks for developing periodontal disease.

Over the years, research has continuously shown that the bacteria of periodontal disease can have a number of harmful effects – in the mouth and further. Because these inflammatory bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, research has shown that they can activate or worsen a number of serious health problems. These include:
– heart disease
– stroke
– Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
– arthritis
– diabetes
– preterm babies
– erectile dysfunction (ED)
– some cancers (including lung and pancreatic)
– obesity

Signs of gum disease include bleeding or sore gums, persistent bad breath, receded gums, and/or gums that are red rather than a healthy pink. These are warning signs since gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

As gum disease progresses, gums begin to pull away from the base of teeth, gums become very tender and bleed easily when brushing, pus pockets form on gums and teeth may shift or loosen.

Unfortunately, gum disease is ignored too often by adults in the U.S. The CDC estimates that over 47% of Americans have some level of gum disease, which is also the leading cause of tooth loss.

Bacterial overload can leave the body’s natural defense response, white blood cells, unable to conquer the infection. Thus, bacteria overload in the mouth triggers an inflammatory reaction begins, which is the beginning of gum disease.

Below are things that can increase the risk for gum disease, some of which you may not realize are contributors:

Aging: Studies have indicated that the incidence of periodontal disease increases as we get older. Over 70% of adults who are aged 65 and older have some form of gum disease.

Some Existing Health Problems: People who have diseases such as cancer or heart problems already have weaker immune systems. When the bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream through tears in oral tissues, harmful clotting factors and proteins can occur elsewhere in the body. Research has linked gum disease bacteria with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, preterm babies, and memory loss.

Dry Mouth: Smoking, certain medications, drinking alcohol and aging all contribute to a dry mouth. The saliva in your mouth plays an important part in removing food particles and bacteria. When insufficient saliva cannot cleanse the mouth adequately, bacteria buildup results.

Stress: It has been proven that people who endure long-term stress have a greater risk for developing diseases such as cancer, hypertension and even gum disease. Stress takes a toll on the body’s entire operation, weakening its ability to fight infection.

Medications: The side effects of some drugs can dry out oral tissues and even weaken the density of bones, opening the door for gum disease. Like your physician, your dentist should have an up-to-date list of all medications you take, including herbal supplements.

Grinding Teeth: When you grind and clench your teeth during sleep, the teeth wear down and connective oral tissues are weakened. When the tissues surrounding your teeth are vulnerable, your entire jaw bone area is exposed to certain infections, which can lead to gum disease.

Genetics: Because of genetics, you can be predisposed to develop gum disease. Research indicates that 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.

Gender: Periodontal disease occurs more in men than women (56% vs. 38%).

Smoking: Smoking dries out the tissues in the mouth, increasing one’s susceptibility to calculus. Research shows that smokers lose more teeth than nonsmokers and typically require longer healing times after treatment with results that are less predictable.

A periodontist is a specialist in the treatment of all stages of gum disease and in the placement of dental implants. He or she is the expert who can help to restore a bacteria-burdened “oral cavity” to a healthy state.

Dr. William Claiborne,
Biltmore Periodontics

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we feature some of the most advanced technology in the industry. The patient benefits from these through diagnoses that are exact, more conservative treatment, and having reduced healing time. This also can mean there is less discomfort.

One of the features we provide is the LANAP Protocol Using Periolase MVP-7. LANAP (an acronym for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure) is amazing technology that more efficiently and effectively treats periodontitis (advanced gum disease) with the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser. As a minimally invasive (non-surgical) treatment for moderate to severe periodontal disease, LANAP has even been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 828-274-9440. In our state-of-the-art Asheville periodontal dental office, our patients are treated with respect, compassion and a gentle touch. New patients are always welcome.

If dental fear has kept you from having regular dental care and you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, consider starting with a consultation. During this time, we can discuss comfort options, including oral and IV sedation (“twilight sleep”). Referrals are not required.

Reshaping Gum Tissues To Protect Oral Health & Enhance Smiling Appearance


Posted on Mar 21, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

When people think about the appearance of their smiles, it’s typically the teeth that are the focus. Everyone wants a smile that enhances appearance, instills self-confidence and gets compliments. Yet, the appearance of a smile involves more than just teeth. The “frame” of gum tissues that arch the teeth most visible in a smile have a lot to do with how a smile looks.

As a periodontal specialist in Asheville, NC, part of my specialty involves the treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease, the placement of dental implants, and the contouring of gum tissues. Gum contouring is generally done for esthetic reasons but may also be advised for oral wellness.

Gums most often pull away from the base of teeth (or “recede”), exposing darker areas of the tooth. This darker area is part of the tooth’s root and highly vulnerable to damage. Recession also causes teeth to look longer and expose darker tooth root areas of the tooth. Being sensitive to hot or cold – causing a sudden jolt of pain – is often the final warning sign that the gums are not protecting tender root segments of the tooth.

Gum recession is commonly due to:

Gum disease, which destroys gums tissues, causing them to loosen their firm grip around the base of teeth. This enables oral bacteria to penetrate beneath the gum line, reaching vulnerable bone and tissues.

Over-vigorous toothbrushing can wear away precious gum tissues that surround the base of teeth. When using a back-&-forth scrubbing motion, or a hard toothbrush, gum tissues can be scrubbed off. Too, using abrasive substances to brush (such as baking soda) not only wear down gum tissues, they wear away tooth enamel.

• The aging process lessens hydration in the body. Because the gum tissues are moist layers that require continual hydration (supported by saliva), oral dryness can cause the gums to draw up as they become drier. Unfortunately, this creates more challenges in maintaining healthy teeth.

While gum recession is an oral health concern, it is a cosmetic issue as well. For an attractive smile, teeth should be arched by a balanced level and shape of gum tissues. When there is too much gum tissue showing above teeth or varying heights of gums arching teeth, the height and symmetry of gum tissues can be corrected by a periodontist.

For example, in a gummy smile, too much of the gum line is visible. This makes teeth look short and draws the eye to the gums rather than the teeth. Gum tissues should complement teeth with a balanced line of gum tissues. While a gummy smile is not generally problematic for one’s oral health, many people find it makes them “hold back” on smiling fully.

Before & After Of A Gummy Smile

The procedure to correct a gummy smile is a gingival lift, also known as a gum lift or gum contouring. This in-office procedure is performed to reduce and reshape highly visible gums.

In our Western NC periodontal dental office, we use a dental laser to perform a gingival lift. Our dental laser gives a precision line while only removing specific areas of the gums, leaving all surrounding tissue unharmed. This allows us to reshape the gums to create better balance in the smile.

A laser gingival lift also offers patients a more comfortable experience since it causes very little pain and therefore requires only topical anesthesia. In addition, laser treatments result in almost no bleeding and tissues tend to heal more quickly than after traditional surgery.

We also perform gum grafting that recovers areas where gum recession has occurred. This helps to protect the tooth roots and improves the appearance of the smile.

In gum grafting, we normally take a small area of tissue from the roof of the mouth and place it in the area of recession. When there is not sufficient tissue available, a graft may be from a donor source. The graft is attached to the natural gum tissue and gently sutured into the position where it corrects a smile’s appearance and reduces further recession and the potential for gum disease.

Several teeth may be involved in gum grafting when used to even out the gum line or reduce the risk of gum and bone collapse after a tooth has been lost. In these cases, cosmetic gum surgery is beneficial in reshaping excess gum and bone tissue. It also reduces sensitivity from exposed roots to hot or cold foods.

As a periodontist, I most commonly see gums that cover too much of the teeth as being due to genetics. When gums fail to cover sufficiently over the base of teeth, it’s typically the cause of recession, which can occur from several reasons (as listed prior). Regardless of why it has occurred, our goal is to provide the patient with the most healthy and esthetic outcome in a procedure that is comfortable, successful, and requires minimal healing time.

In our Asheville periodontal dental office, we offer some of the most advanced dental technology available. In addition to amazing imaging, such as Cone Beam 3D imaging, we provide Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (or LANAP). This is a cutting-edge protocol to more efficiently and effectively treat periodontitis (advanced gum disease) with the PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser. Treatment is minimally invasive and helps to minimize both discomfort and recovery time. It has also been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.

Additionally, our office offers both oral and I.V. sedation (“twilight sleep”) for complete relaxation during treatment. Sedation is administered safely by a doctor of anesthesia to provide optimal safety and comfort.

If finances have kept you from seeking out the care you need or the beautiful smile you desire, feel free to contact our friendly staff and arrange a consultation appointment. During this time, we can discuss the best options for you, cost estimates, and predicted treatment time.

We can also review several payment plans that make treatment affordable through extended, interest-free payment periods with no down payment required. These often help our patients enjoy their confident, new smiles while making easy monthly payments that are budget friendly.

Call 828-274-9440 to schedule.

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