Why Missing Teeth Cause Changes To Facial Appearance


Posted on Sep 30, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The shape of our face is made by the bone structures beneath the skin. Essentially, we inherit our facial appearance from our ancestors. You may have your mom’s nose or your dad’s chin, but how you look is thanks to your genes.

However, facial appearance can also change due to a decline of bone mass. In dentistry, this is typically based on the presence, or absence, of natural teeth. Losing teeth – even when replaced by a denture, partial, or crown & bridge – leaves the upper and/or lower jaw bone susceptible to bone shrinkage. This is known as resorption.

The presence of natural teeth is vital to the health of upper and lower jaw bones. Tooth roots provide stimulation to the bone, stimulating blood flow that helps the jaws to maintain a healthy mass. Without tooth roots, the lack of stimulation causes the bone(s) to slowly decline.

Resorption causes the gum ridge to flatten out over time, giving your denture a continually-declining foundation. Application of denture adhesive becomes more frequent to prevent the denture from moving while eating, which causes uncomfortable rubbing. Laughing and speaking becomes overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing slips.

When dentures are first made, they may feel secure for the first five or so years. However, as resorption continues, relines help only on a temporary basis. As bone loss progresses, relines will last at less frequent intervals each time.

On average, denture wearers experience a 25% bone loss one year after natural teeth have been extracted. Three years later, 60% of the bone is gone. While natural teeth provide a biting force of 250 pounds, the average denture wearer bites with about 5 pounds of force.

Denture wearers are often surprised to learn that the pressure of wearing them actually accelerates resorption. For people who sleep in their dentures, the 24/7 pressure speeds the process of resorption even more.

To see the extent of bone loss you’ve experienced, remove your denture and look in the mirror. You may see deep wrinkles around the mouth and notice the corners of your mouth turn downward. If bone loss is severe, our mouth may appear to be collapsed inward with a pointed chin. Jowls may have formed on the sides of your face as facial muscles detect from the shrinking bone.

As a periodontist, I specialize in the treatment of all stages of periodontal (gum) disease as well as in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. And, we are adept at placement of all types of dental implants. With over 40 different implant types, each designed to accommodate various needs, understanding the best type – and correct placement of it – can have a significant impact on your overall success rate.

For example, new designs in dental implant systems can overcome even severe bone loss. The All-On-4 dental implant can be placed in minimal bone using just four implants. Using specific angles, All-On-4 can support a full denture that is non-removable. And, because it is supported by implants placed in bone (just as natural tooth roots), biting and chewing stability is restored.

A periodontist can also assist patients prior to implant placement when severe bone loss has occurred. To ensure a sufficient level of bone mass to support the implanted portions, procedures such as bone generating materials or a “sinus lift” may be advised (to increase bone mass between the upper jaw and sinus cavity).

Our Asheville periodontal dental office is also known for our advanced technology and features (including our on-site 3D Cone Beam and laser). Additionally, our patients enjoy a high level of patient comfort through the administration of IV sedation (twilight sleep). This is administered by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist for optimal safety and comfort.

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.

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.

Overcome Obstacles To Achieve A Confident Smile


Posted on Sep 12, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

It’s not unusual to see a new patient who has delayed seeking advanced dental care for many years because of perceived obstacles. I say “perceived” because many of these obstacles are not nearly so daunting once people actually learn more there are solutions for about any dilemma.

For example, a bride-to-be with a “gummy smile” realizes, after years of postponement, that she can have her gum line corrected through laser treatment that provides quick recovery with an easy payment plan.

Or, an individual who has worn a self-described “wobbly” denture for many years and overcame misperceptions about the need for pre-placement bone rebuilding. Through specially-designed and uniquely placed dental implants (“All-On-4”), patients may be able to bypass the extended treatment time and added expense to restore bone mass.

In a conversation once, a friend reminded me “we don’t know what we don’t know.” How true. Often, once we learn the details surrounding a big decision in our lives, moving forward becomes an easier process. Achieving goals gets closer and closer.

Below are a few of the common barriers that patients can often overcome when it comes to periodontal treatment or dental implants…


COST: There are few things in life that last a lifetime. When it comes to cosmetic gum enhancement and dental implants, the lasting benefits make these procedures an excellent investment. However, treatment cost can seem challenging to some budgets. For people who wish to enjoy the benefits of their results without straining their budget, payment plans can be the solution.

There are a number of these financial options, most requiring no down payment, are interest-free, and have no prepayment penalty. For some people who see the total treatment fee at first, vocalizing their concerns regarding payment is an uneasy thing to do. Yet, once we are made aware of the need for budget-friendly options, we are able to help many people move forward with treatment that can enhance physical appearance, self-confidence and emotional security. Those are pretty priceless benefits!


DENTAL FEAR: Dental fear and high anxiety associated with dental visits is not rare. As a matter of fact, some estimates rank this as affecting up to 60% of U.S. adults. There are a number of reasons that lead to these fears. For some people, they are able to overcome these fears once in the hands of a gentle, caring dentist. For those whose fears are so deeply embedded they cannot, we offer a special team who administer and oversee the safety of oral and IV sedation (twilight sleep).

In our office, we employe the skills of a a medical doctor to provide sedation and anesthesia for our patients. Dr. Stone has published several articles on techniques and safety in anesthesia as well as a book contribution on intravenous access.


TIME IN TREATMENT: We all live lives that are busy. Schedules seem to be overloaded so much of the time. This is why time in treatment can seem “too much” to add to one’s schedule. However, the advanced skills of a periodontal specialist, coupled with our immense array of advanced technology means we are able to alleviate many of these worries for our patients.

Once the patient’s imaging and treatment plan is in hand, we are often able to schedule patients soon thereafter. With the relaxation provided by our sedation options, we can perform long procedures in a single appointment rather than have the patient return for several appointments to complete treatment. Too, using our advanced imaging and computerized technology, treatment is more precise, often more conservative, and healing time improved.


TREATMENT SATISFACTION: The best way to make a decision that works to achieve your meeds and goals is through a consultation appointment. During this time, we can discuss what options are best for your individual needs, estimated treatment time, costs, and comfort options. This is a time when you can get to know us and we can give you the information that is factual and applicable to you. And, this is where trust is formed. I have a long-standing reputation for my commitment to patient excellence.

Begin by calling our Asheville periodontal dental office and speaking to our friendly staff at: 828-274-9440. Or, tap here to see our beautiful Western NC location.

Choose A Periodontist To Correct A Gummy Smile


Posted on Aug 29, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

About Periodontal Plastic Surgery

When Lauren Hutton, the model well-known for a space between her front teeth, began modeling, she felt she needed to camouflage the gap (or “diastema”). Yet, she soon began to feel it was a unique feature that set her apart from the others. She was right, and now at the age of 77, she’s been on more front covers than nearly any other model.

Each smile is unique. Hopefully, your smile makes you feel good every time you share it. And, the very act of smiling has been shown to release endorphins in the brain. Those are the chemicals that create a bit of a ‘natural high.’ Smiling is obviously an asset to our well-being.

If you have a “gummy” smile, you may be perfectly fine with it. After all, it is not detrimental to oral health if you care for your gums properly (which goes for everyone). And, it can be a positive part of your personality. Katie Couric has a gummy smile and shares hers openly.

“Gummy” Smile

However, not everyone with this trait feels comfortable with the look nor the way it makes them feel when smiling. Some people tend to suppress  a full smile. Others often conceal their smile with a hand when smiling fully or laughing. Some people smile with their lips only.

A gummy smile, in the periodontal specialty, is known as EGD, an abbreviation for excessive gingival display or a gingival smile (GS). The trait occurs more often in females than in males. (Gingival is of or relating to the gums.)

Esthetically, a balanced smile typically shows the front top 6 or 8 teeth. Arching each tooth, there is generally minimal gum tissues showing , and sometimes none. Another esthetic complement to a smile is having gum tissues that  show a slight arch over each tooth at a similar line as those that arch adjacent teeth. Gums that are lower over one or two teeth tend to create a jumbled look in a full smile.

When the height of gum tissues distract from the appearance of a smile, a periodontist is your expert. This dental specialist has specialized skills in all aspects of oral tissues. Through their advanced training, they are able to safely and beautifully reshape the tissues that surround teeth.  

For people who wish to have a gummy smile or uneven gum line re-contoured, a periodontist performs a gingivectomy. A gingivectomy is a procedure during which excess gum tissue is remove. During this, the gumline is sculpted to give your smile balance with a more even smile line.

In addition to repairing a gummy smile, a gingivectomy is involved in a procedure known as crown lengthening. Crown lengthening involves removing the excessive gum tissue to expose more of the crown of the tooth, as well as sculpting the gumline to make it higher up. After the gum tissues are shaped, a crown is typically placed to protect the tooth above the gum line and to create a more beautiful smile.

A crown lengthening may also help to save a tooth from removal. When a tooth breaks off near the gum line, a crown lengthening can be performed to expose a sufficient amount of the tooth’s base so it can support a crown.

Another procedure a periodontist  expertly performs is gum grafting. This is often to cover exposed roots, to reduce further gum recession, protect vulnerable tooth roots from decay, and improve your smile. Recession can occur as a result of periodontal disease, which causes tooth roots to become exposed and makes the teeth look long.

Gum tissues are very tender tissues with many nerves. Procedures that involve the gums must be performed with precision to minimize discomfort and speed healing time. A periodontist excels in the skills to create an optimal outcome with the most conservative treatment needed.

Our Asheville periodontal dental office provides some of the most advanced imaging and computerized technology available. This includes cone beam 3D imaging and laser dentistry. Additionally, we provide oral and IV sedation (“twilight sleep”) so patients are able to relax or snooze comfortably while being monitored by specially-trained team members who use advanced safety equipment.

Begin with a consultation with an experienced periodontist, who can answer your questions thoroughly and determine the best treatment option for your individual needs. Call 828-274-9440.

Some sources:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/3-treatment-options-for-a-gummy-smile

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Female-and-male-percentages-in-the-gummy-smile-sample_tbl1_340258838

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.

Sources:

https://www.rdhmag.com/patient-care/article/14279378/the-dental-hygienists-guide-to-dental-pain-and-pain-management

https://www.deltadentalwa.com/blog/entry/2019/09/dental-pain-management

https://hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb280-Dental-ED-Visits-2018.pdf

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