Dental Implants – Advantages of Specialized Skills, Advanced Technology, Optimal Comfort
Posted on Jan 10, 2024 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
It wasn’t that long ago when shopping for Christmas presents was quite the time-consuming ordeal. Today, we do searches for gift ideas online, check price comparisons, and have the items show up on our doorstep within a day or so.
Advancements through computerized technology have things running more efficiently and, in many cases, culminate into superior outcomes. This is true in dentistry, especially for those who opt for dental implants to replace missing teeth.
There are many reasons for people to choose dental implants, including:
– Designed to last a lifetime
– Look, feel and function like natural teeth
– Won’t decay or need repairs
– Restore chewing and biting comfort and stability
– Enhance overall health and confidence
– Halt the process of facial bone loss
Occasionally, dental implants are occasionally offered by general dentists. As a periodontist, however, I am referred most of our dental implant patients by other dentists and dental specialists. This is because a periodontist has advanced education and skills in the diagnosis and treatment of all areas of the tissues in the mouth (including the reshaping of gum tissues).
Periodontists are also specialists when it comes to the diagnosis and placement of dental implants. They are trained to understand the intricate concepts involved in selecting the proper type of implant based on each individual. These skills include the understanding of precision placements of implants at proper depths and angles. Additionally, periodontists are able to optimize your comfort and treatment outcome.
Still, another reason we are referred patients for dental implants because we can 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 Four 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.
All-On-4 is an ideal choice for people who have lost bone mass due to lengthy periods of tooth loss. Because “All On 4” implants can be placed in minimal bone, many patients are able to avoid the need for bone rebuilding procedures prior to traditional implant placement.
In the placement, a periodontist is also the best “go-to” in dental implant skills. Here’s why…
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 wrongly positioned can function less efficiently and lead to the need for removal.
For example, a periodontist can incorporate bone rebuilding procedures into treatment to a proper depth for patients missing a great deal of bone mass (typically due to missing natural teeth for many years). This can help to restore bone that has occurred in the mandible (lower jaw) or maxilla (upper jaw), which may also require a sinus lift.
Another example is a patient who has lost teeth due to periodontal (gum) disease. Because a periodontist combines advanced skills in treating gum disease as well as in dental implants, these patients have an added advantage when it comes to treatment success.
When it comes to the best way to pinpoint and tackle specific issues with our health, it makes sense to see a doctor who has received specialized training in that area. This helps to take the guesswork out of diagnosis and enhances the potential for a successful outcome in an efficient process.
A periodontist also has a reputation for being able to optimize patient comfort. Because a periodontal specialist is uniquely skilled in the care of gum tissues, he or she can 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 incorporate our care with the advantages of 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.
- LANAP (Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure) with PerioLase MVP 7 – 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 and has even been found to stimulate bone regrowth in damaged areas.
- Cone Beam Imaging – is ideal for diagnoses and treatment planning through images that provide a clear view of the upper and lower jaw (including nerve canals), with rotations that show sagittal, axial, and coronal planes in a process that is quick, painless and at minimal radiation levels.
- CareStream Cone Beam Computer Tomography Imaging – is enhanced tomography that works with 3D imaging for exceptional detail and range.
- CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner – quickly and comfortably captures digital impressions to create precision models or appliances accurately and easily (crowns, inlays, onlays, bridges, orthodontic appliances, aligners, custom abutments) without the need for bulky, goopy trays.
- Computerized Dental Implant Placement – an advanced system 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.
For optimal comfort, we offer several sedation options, including oral and 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. It is administered by a doctor of anesthesiology for optimal comfort and safety.
In our Western NC periodontal dental office, 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.
Our goal is to help people move forward with treatment affordably for enhanced appearance, self-confidence and sense of security.
For those who have bypassed dental implants because of cost, our payment plans are often able to help patients enjoy the benefits of their dental implants without straining their budget. Most of these payment plans require no down payment, are interest-free, and have no prepayment penalty.
If you’ve considered dental implants in the past but have held back because of obstacles that may actually be overcome, begin by calling our Asheville periodontal dental office and speaking to our friendly staff at: 828-274-9440. Many dental implant patients find they were able to achieve the healthy smile they desired once they consulted with us and learned the options based upon their individual needs.
Don’t Allow Dental Fear or Anxiety To Ruin Your Smile
Posted on Aug 23, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
It’s a proven fact that your oral health – the wellness of your teeth and gum tissues – is an influencing contributor to your overall health. For decades, researchers have studied the concerning risks, and alarming connections, between oral health and a number of serious diseases in the body.
The leading culprit in this scenario are the bacteria of advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis. Gum disease breeds bacteria that are inflammatory in makeup. Once they enter the bloodstream (through tears in disease oral tissues), studies have found these potent bacteria can trigger the onset of serious diseases, such as:
• Heart disease
• Alzheimer’s disease & Dementia
• Some cancers (including lung and pancreatic)
• Pre-term babies
• High blood pressure
• Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
As research continues, more and more findings are bringing to light just how connected the mouth is to the efficient operation of the immune system. During the Covid pandemic, it was well publicized that those most vulnerable to the virus were those who were immune compromised.
One study, conducted between February and July 2020, analyzed two groups of 568 total patients with severe COVID-19 complications (death, ICU admissions or assisted ventilation). Periodontal conditions in the two groups were analyzed. Of the patients studied, those with periodontitis were three times more likely to experience COVID‐19 complications including death, ICU admission, and the need for assisted ventilation.
For years, the cost of dentistry has been credited for preventing millions of American adults from having regular dental care. This was recently studied in a nationally representative survey of 5,682 adults. In this, researchers looked at knowledge, attitudes, experiences, and behaviors related to oral health.
Results from the survey show that lack of insurance is a leading reason for avoiding dental care or delaying recommended care (often until something becomes so painful that the individual is forced into a dentist’s chair seeking relief).
The study showed that 16% of adults without dental insurance admitted that they had not seen a dentist in more than five years compared to just 5% of adults with dental insurance. Forty percent of adults without dental insurance reported cost was the reason they hadn’t visited the dentist in the past two years, compared to 14% of adults with dental insurance.
Yet, excruciating pain from a dental problem can be the impetus for setting aside the cost. The same is true for people who have fear or anxiety associated with dental care.
About 36% of people in the U.S. have a fear of dental treatment, with 12% having an intense fear, known as dentophobia. Dental phobics are people who avoid going to the dentist at all. Dental fear is more common in females than males, with an estimated 3% of men and almost 5% of women having dentophobia.
Reasons for these fears include:
– Fear the anesthetic will not work or be sufficient to fully numb the pain
– Blood makes some people feel afraid or panicky about bleeding during a dental procedure.
– People may fear choking or gagging and not being able to breathe or swallow.
– For individuals who have had a poor experience with a dentist in the past, they may associate negative feelings with their dentist.
– Feeling pain from the procedure or recovery
– Some people are highly fearful of needles.
– The noise from drills and dental instruments used by a dentist or dental hygienist can create high levels of anxiety for some people.
– The same is true when it comes to certain smells that arise during dental treatment.
New Study Links Periodontitis and COVID‐19 Complications
At our Asheville NC periodontal dental office, we take patient comfort very seriously, and that goes for all patients at every appointment. We find that many patients have developed severe gum disease or had tooth loss because they were afraid of going to a dentist. This prevents people from having regular dental care, which allows small problems to become worse ones.
Many with dental fear or dentophobia avoid going to the dentist for years. And, these feelings may be more common than you know. When dental anxiety, dental fear and dentophobia are combined, it affects an estimated 70% of American adults. This unfortunate statistic is a likely reason for the high percentage of adults who suffer with some level of periodontal (gum) disease – over 47%.
As a Periodontist, my staff and I work diligently to pamper patients from the moment they enter. For certain procedures as well as for patients who prefer the addition of sedatives, we offer oral sedation as well as 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 places the patient in a deeper sleep state, also erasing memory of the procedure. It is administered by a doctor of anesthesiology, overseen by Dr. Brad Stone, a Medical Doctor (MD) and a board certified Anesthesiologist & Pediatric Anesthesiologist.
With both sedation options, patients are closely monitored with advanced safety equipment throughout treatment.
If fear has caused you or someone you know to avoid dental visits, please arrange a consultation with us. In our Western NC periodontal dental office, you’ll find a warm, respectful atmosphere where your concerns are understood. During this time, we can discuss comfort options that may be best for your individual needs along with estimated costs.
3 Things You’re Doing To Up Your Risk for Gum Disease
Posted on May 15, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
In life, we don’t know what we don’t know. As a periodontal specialist in Western NC, I see this a lot with adults who develop periodontal (gum) disease. Many go most of their lives unaware that certain things they’ve been doing all their lives led (or can lead) to the development of gum disease and often, tooth loss as a result.
According to a report on the health of Americans (published by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), it is estimated that over 47% have some form of gum disease. Although we all aspire to have a smile that is appealing, it is what lies beneath the teeth and gums that can wreak havoc on one’s overall health.
Over time, inadequate daily oral hygiene enables an overload of bacteria in the mouth. Oral bacteria are living, eating, and reproducing organisms, thriving on rotting food particles caught between teeth. They attack gum tissues and tooth enamel and eventually work down tooth roots and attack the bones and tendons that support teeth.
Early signs of gum disease are frequent bad breath along with swollen, tender and beefy red gums that bleed when you brush. As they grow in number, the gum tissues become weaker and they can penetrate the bloodstream.
Through tears in diseased gum tissues, this infectious bacteria can enter the bloodstream. This potent bacteria are now associated with a number of serious health conditions due to their ability to trigger systemic inflammation. These include heart disease, stroke, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology (www.perio.org),
“Several studies have shown that periodontal disease is associated with heart disease. While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease.
“Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association.
“Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.”
Obviously, the goal is to prevent the onset of gum disease. This can be done easily with the investment of just minutes per day and regular dental check-ups and cleanings. The following can give you a good idea as to what you may be doing to make you vulnerable and how to lessen your risks.
• FREQUENT SNACKING
Snacking has become pretty common over the years. Many Americans snack, with such things as a mid-morning latte or afternoon candy bar topped off by a bowl of ice-cream after dinner. All these add-in’s to three meals a day lead up to a bombardment of oral acids in the mouth.
Anytime you eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth. This is a normal part of the digestive system, starting the break-down of foods during the chewing process. However, this also means that every sip of cola or bite of granola bar, an acidic bombardment occurs in the mouth for about 20-30 minutes. When the mouth endures frequent acid attacks during the day, damage to precious tooth enamel will lead to cavities.
Although Americans are the leading nation for sugar consumption, carbs also break down as sugar in the mouth. This means that the potato chips and popcorn you munch on are adding to these risks as well.
• ORAL DRYNESS
Xerostomia, commonly known as “dry mouth,” is a frequent state of oral dryness. Saliva is your mouth’s natural rinsing agent that helps cleanse oral bacteria from the mouth. This keeps bacteria to a minimum.
When saliva flow is depleted, bacteria linger in the mouth longer, giving them more time to multiply. As oral bacteria thrive, reproduce and amass, the initial result is plaque. Plaque is the sticky film you can feel on teeth.
Periodic dry mouth can occur from consuming alcoholic beverages, coffee and certain medications. Although sugary drinks don’t necessarily dry oral tissues (unless they contain caffeine), sugar enhances growth of bacteria reproduction. When food and beverages contain caffeine AND sugar, this hits the mouth with an even higher risk for oral bacteria growth.
Other causes of dry mouth include medications, such as antihistamines and some prescribed for depression and urinary incontinence. Medical conditions, including acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis are also contributors. A bad cold, snoring or just being in the habit of breathing through the mouth are drying as well. And – the worst culprit of all – is smoking.
• INADEQUATE ORAL HYGIENE AT HOME
Bacteria are living organisms that eat, reproduce and emit waste. Their ability to reproduce is astounding, resulting in a consistently growing number of waste-producing creatures. And they stink, causing bad breath.
Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause for bad breath. Not brushing and flossing or doing so adequately allows oral bacteria to reproduce, which leads to plaque.
When plaque is not removed thoroughly on a daily basis, it turns into a cement-hard substance known as tartar. This mass is actually a solid colony of oral bacteria that attaches to teeth. Once in the form of tartar, it can no longer be brushed or flossed away.
Tartar attacks enamel and gum tissues, causing the gum tissues to become inflamed. This inflammation can quickly develop into gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. If not resolved fully, however, gingivitis can lead to full-blown periodontal disease.
It is estimated that nearly a third of American adults brush their teeth for an insufficient amount of time. Even worse, about that same amount fail to brush twice a day. This means that an alarming amount of bacteria remain to grow and thrive in the mouth.
Proper brushing includes brushing for at least two minutes twice daily with thorough swishing afterwards. Brush using a circular motion rather than scrubbing teeth back and forth (which can damage and wear away tender gum tissues). Never use a hard bristle tooth brush or brush with harsh substances (such as baking soda).
You may be surprised to learn that brushing only tackles about half the amount of oral bacteria. The tongue actually harbors 58 – 65 percent of the bacteria in the “oral cavity.”
Oral bacteria, which take up residence in the tiny bumps and grooves of the tongue, are not easily dislodged. Thus, it is necessary for tongue cleaning to be a part of your oral hygiene regimen at home.
Some toothbrushes have a “tongue scraper” on the reverse side of the bristles that’s an effective option. Or, you can brush your tongue with the bristles after your teeth are brushed. Be sure to reach towards the back of the tongue where the majority of bacteria exist.
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease or have not received regular dental care, call 828-274-9440. We’ll arrange a periodontal exam in our comfortable Asheville periodontal office. Or, you can request a consultation appointment to begin. This time will allow you to get to know us and our advanced technology, often saving our patients treatment time while enhancing comfort.
If financial constraints are a concern, ask about our easy payment plans. These can break treatment fees into monthly payments that are manageable to most budgets.
Older Adults (80’s, 90’s, 100’s) Benefit By Dental Implants
Posted on Apr 25, 2023 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Someone once told me, “Old age is always ten years older than the age you are at the time.” I get it. While a teenager may think of anyone over the age of 55 as “old,” aging in the U.S. today has taken a positive position within America’s population.
Proof of this is in how more and more people are living to be 100. Many of them are still sharp and spry. Although reaching the 100 age pinnacle was once a rare feat, it’s a growing trend. Today, there are nearly twice as many 100+ year olds in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago (nearly 90,000 now).
Reaching these elevated ages, of course, depends on factors like location, gender, lifestyle and genetics. Living a long life has evolved from lifestyle changes rather different than what was taken for granted in the 1950’s, for example.
Between 1900 and 2020, life expectancy in the U.S. rose by more than 30 years. Much of this can be credited to life choices, such as things like not smoking. Smoking, a leading contributor to heart disease, can decrease life expectancy by 10 years.
In 1965, 45% of Americans smoked. Now, knowing the health hazards to smoking, the number has declined to only 12.5% as of 2020.
Of course, Americans can also credit medical advances for the centenarian growth in population. The survivability of things like heart attacks and cancer has greatly increased, giving adults a longer lifespan.
As Americans realize their lifespan may well reach age 90, 100 or beyond, the resistance to having dental implants due to “old age” is becoming less of a factor.
Dental implants are the ideal tooth replacement system. Unlike dentures or ‘partials,’ dental implants are supported by the jaw bone, just as natural teeth. While dentures sit on top of the gums, dental implants restore biting strength and stability, giving back the look, feel and function of the teeth you once had.
Two decades ago, some “older” adults would deny themselves the benefits of dental implants, saying things like, “I’m too old to spend that amount of money on myself.” Yet, for my dental implant patients in their 80’s and 90’s, I never had one who didn’t feel it was one of the wisest investments they’d ever made.
– Dental implants are designed to last your lifetime. They do not decay, need root canals or compromise neighboring teeth or bone structure.
– Because dental implants are positioned in the jaw, they recreate stimulation to the bone. This helps to preserve the bone’s mass, halting the pace of jaw bone shrinkage (known as resorption).
– Resorption is what causes changes in one’s facial appearance, aging one’s appearance far older than their actual age.
– Dental implants do not move or slip when eating, speaking or laughing. A denture is designed to fit the contours of one’s gum ridge; contours that exist at the time the denture is made. However, as resorption reduces bone height, the ridge that holds the denture flattens out over time. This is why a denture becomes ‘wobbly’ or ‘slippery.’
– Dental implant treatment is largely determined by the number of implants placed. In most cases, one implant can support more than one tooth. A full arch (all upper or lower) of teeth are typically supported by several strategically-placed implants.
– Unlike a crown-&-bridge, dental implants so not need the support of adjacent teeth. Therefore, it is not necessary to have teeth shaved down for crowning simply to serve as supports for a bridge.
When it comes to dental implants, there are many decisions and choices that can become confusing without the guidance of a dental specialist. For example, there are over 40 different implant systems.
Dental Implants are designed in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate various needs. For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, for instance, some implant types can support a full arch of removable teeth while others support non-removable (or ‘fixed’) teeth.
As a periodontist for over 3 decades, our patients receive advanced skills in dental implant diagnosis and placement. Additionally, our Asheville periodontal dental office features some of the most advanced technology in the industry today. This includes computerized imaging that can lessen treatment needs, optimize comfort and speed healing.
If you feel you are too old to make this wise investment, check out some of the health benefits that dental implants provide:
• As the ‘arch’ (or ridge) flattens, the appliance is more apt to move while chewing. As the denture rubs against tender gum tissues when eating, sore spots form, which are difficult and slow to heal. And, when small seeds or nut particles become trapped between the appliance and gums, it can cause a piercing, painful sensation.
This discomfort and concern often prompts people to adjust their diets. The chewy, crunchy foods they once enjoyed tend to be bypassed for those that dissolve quickly with minimal chewing required. Unfortunately, these foods are typically lacking in the fiber, vitamins and protein necessary for a healthy diet.
• The gum-colored base of dentures or partials that hold the replacement teeth is made of a porous material. This means there are tiny holes in the base. In the mouth, a denture sits in a warm, dark, moist environment – perfect for bacterial growth. These holes become living spaces to oral bacteria, which thrive and breed at a rapid rate. Bad breath and increased risk of pneumonia are actually some of the lesser problems that can occur.
Additionally, oral bacteria can create havoc throughout the body. It is a known contributor to a long list of serious health diseases and conditions. These include some cancers, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, pre-term babies and many more.
• The insecurity of a denture that may move when eating causes some people to avoid social gatherings. The fear of embarrassment can be a deterrent to involvement with friends and family. This places the individual at a disadvantage, as research shows that socially active seniors age more slowly than those who avoid social interactions.
If dental fear has prevented you from looking further into dental implants, please know that we have a reputation for respect, a gentle touch, and compassionate care. Additionally, we offer Oral sedation as well as I.V. sedation (also known as ‘twilight sleep’). These are administered safely by a doctor of anesthesia who monitors patients with advanced safety equipment.
Also, financing can be easy through monthly payment plans. Most are interest-free with no down payment required.
To schedule a consultation appointment, call 828-274-9440. Also, get to know more about dental implants at: DrClaiborneDentalImplants