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.
Dental Implants’ Value Gives ‘Priceless’ Smiles
Posted on Jul 25, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Times are tight. With the higher cost of gas, groceries and utilities, people are getting very value-conscious with their dollars. The ‘frills’ we once indulged in are now being scrutinized as to the value they truly bring.
Yet, there is no better time to explain the wisdom of investing in dental implants. For people who have shed dentures, partials, and gaps in their smiles with this ideal tooth replacement option, they are “priceless.”
Although our ‘permanent’ teeth are intended to last a lifetime, we know that not all of them do, no matter how diligent we are with at-home oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Teeth can break or be “knocked out.” Cavities can weaken a tooth, even after it’s been ‘filled.’ That’s why your general dentist may advise a crown, to help you avoid this risk.
A general dentist is a proponent of helping patients keep their natural teeth healthy. Your dentist knows that a lost tooth can lead to a long list of time and expense in the future. And, not promptly replacing a tooth can lead to a higher risk for adjacent teeth to be lost as well.
The teeth you see in the mirror are held in stable position because of the roots that are firmly embedded in the jaw bone. In these roots are veins and nerves that extend into the bone that supports them. From this, the jaw bone is supplied with blood while the presence of the roots provide stimulation that helps the bone to maintain its mass.
The stimulation that tooth roots provide is similar to how muscle will atrophy if not used. For example, when an arm or leg is confined to a cast for an extended time, the doctor will often advise physical therapy to rebuild the muscle after its removed. Unused, the muscle mass declines.
Unfortunately, when the jaw bones decline in mass, rebuilding requires the intervention of a periodontal specialist. (Fear not, however. A periodontist can provide this.)
Bone loss is what causes a change in how partials and dentures fit. These appliances, when first made, are custom-made for the unique contours of your gum “ridge.” A ridge is the raised arch in your mouth where tooth roots are (or were once) held.
As the bone height declines, the denture or partial becomes less secure as the foundation flattens. Adhesives or pastes are needed more frequently. Relines may help, but only temporarily.
And, the down side continues. When bone loss begins, it accelerates with each passing year. Eventually, a shrinking jaw bone reveals itself in changes in facial appearance. Initially, there may be deep wrinkling around the mouth. The corners of the mouth turn downward. Jowls form and the chin becomes pointed.
As bone loss becomes more severe, the mouth seems to sink into the face. The nose and chin get closer, giving a “granny look”. A thin jaw bone is also more vulnerable to breaks.
This is where dental implants have a particular edge (amongst other things). Like natural teeth, implants are held by the upper or lower jaws. Dental implants are able to mimic the stimulation needed to prevent the process of “resorption,” as its known.
Another bonus of dental implants is their ability to help surrounding natural teeth remain healthy. Unlike a crown-&-bridge combination, dental implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support. Thus, the integrity of surrounding teeth is protected.
Because dental implants are supported by the jaw bone, sturdy and dependable biting and chewing strength is restored. For people who experienced the frustrations of trying to eat with a “wobbly” or “slippery” denture, they love the restored ability to eat a healthy diet. And, the shadow of embarrssment no longer looms when eating out with friends.
Dental implants come in many sizes and shapes, each system designed to accommodate various needs and preferences. Couple this with the extremely high success rate of dental implants, higher than any implant-in-bone option.
Dental implants are also designed to last a lifetime. I can think of very few things that provide this kind of value. With proper selection and maintenance, they will never need replacing or repair. This makes them an excellent investment.
A periodontist is a dental specialist who is trained to understand the intricate concepts involved in selecting the proper type of implant and skilled at placing implants at proper depths and angles. A periodontist is also able to optimize patient comfort during treatment and throughout the healing phase.
In addition to this advanced training, our dental office offers some of the most advanced technology available. This aids in the diagnosis and treatment planning of dental implants, providing patients with optimized comfort and outcomes. This technology, combined with our advanced skill level, can help you enjoy a comfortable, efficient experience that allows you to enjoy a lifetime of confident smiles.
As a periodontist in Western NC, we have also developed a reputation for respectful, gentle care. Here, oral and IV sedation are available as needed, administered safely and to the highest standards by a doctor of anesthesiology. If fear or anxiety is a concern, feel free to mention these during a private consultation.
To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call 828-274-9440. Or, ask to begin with an initial periodontal examination.
Pregnancy Gingivitis Can Affect More Than The Mother’s Health
Posted on Jul 14, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Is there any other time in a female’s life when they must be as health conscious as during pregnancy?
Pregnant women, it seems, are given a long list of guidelines to follow… What they should not eat or drink, what medications to avoid, and even down to what beauty products to give up. Yet, the 9 months of discipline is well worth the greater potential to bring a healthy baby into the world.
Along with the other health guidelines, obstetricians are now urging pregnant women to pay particular attention to their oral health. For decades, research has tracked a correlation between inflammatory bacteria in the mouth to a number of serious health problems, including many far beyond the mouth.
Once the infectious bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream (typically through tears in weakened gum tissues), it can trigger inflammatory reactions, many serious and some that can have deadly consequences. It is the nation’s’ leading cause of adult tooth loss and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and impotency.
However, because of their susceptibility, the risk for full-blown gum disease is higher for pregnant females with nearly a third developing gum disease. Yet, it’s not just the oral (and overall) health of the mother that can be affected.
Research has shown that gum disease increases the risk for pre-term delivery (prior to 37 weeks) and babies of low birth weight (less than 5.5 lbs.). One study showed the preterm birth rate for females without gum disease to be approximately 11% compared to nearly 29% for pregnant women with moderate to severe periodontal disease.
One study showed that pregnant women with gum disease were 4 – 7 times more likely to deliver prematurely (before week 37) and underweight babies than mothers with healthy gums. Too, the women with the most severe periodontal (gum) disease delivered most prematurely, at 32 weeks.
Other findings show that gum disease increases the risks of late-term miscarriage and pre-eclampsia. When oral bacteria reach placental membranes via the bloodstream, inflammatory reactions can trigger pre-eclampsia or early labor.
In one study, for example, pregnant females with higher blood levels of antibodies to oral bacteria also had higher rates of preterm birth and babies of low birth weight. These elevated antibodies have been found in amniotic fluid and fetal cord blood samples of infants who were preterm or of low birth weight at birth.
Oral problems in pregnant females can begin even when the mother-to-be is following the same oral hygiene routine as they have previously. The greater susceptibility can be blamed on fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy. These changes increase the risk for gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontal disease.
This is why approximately 40% of women develop gingivitis during pregnancy, known as pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes gums to become swollen, tender and bleed easily when brushing.
This is the result of an increased level of progesterone in pregnancy, which makes oral bacterial growth easier. Progesterone also makes gum tissues more sensitive to plaque. For those who have significant gum disease prior to pregnancy, being pregnant can make the condition worse.
Gum inflammation typically appears between months 2 and 8 of pregnancy. Signs of pregnancy gingivitis range from gums that are red rather than a healthy pink. Gums will often bleed when brushing teeth and be swollen and tender in spots.
The goal is to prevent pregnancy gingivitis before it occurs. Be committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home, which includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily and swishing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Be sure to keep your 6-month cleanings and exams. These will remove any plaque buildup that has occurred between visits.
A periodontist has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of all levels of gum disease – in a way that is safe for pregnant women (as well as all patients). Signs and symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, swollen or tender gums, gums that loosen or pull away from the base of teeth, or gums that darken in color.
If you have any of these symptoms (whether pregnant or not), you are urged to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Call our Asheville periodontal dental office at 828-274-9440 to arrange an examination to begin.
Cut Costs For Dental Care Without Sacrificing Your Oral Health
Posted on Jun 28, 2022 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS
Times are tight right now. With the price of gas, food and about everything else, budgets are more strained than ever. Although the brunt of the pandemic is mostly behind us, it has left us with an economy that is creating a “pinch” for just about everyone.
Some things we can cut back on, and probably should. Now is a good time to relook at expenses for indulgent coffee drinks, dining out, fast food runs, pricey cable TV packages, and unattended electrical usage.
Then, there are things we cannot and should not try to cut back on; one being dental care.
Certainly, we would never want to avoid the investment made in maintaining good health. Everyone knows it is far less costly, in many ways, to prevent problems or catch those that do occur at early stages. For example, having periodic mammograms or prostate checks are sound ways to find problems that may become major ones.
The goal of each individual is to live a healthy life at every age. Your smile’s health is actually a bigger part of your overall health than you may think. The findings of research continually shows that the bacteria in your mouth can greatly affect how the gut functions and how certain serious diseases and conditions can be triggered or worsened by infectious oral bacteria of gum disease.
The list of correlations between gum disease bacteria and health problems far beyond the mouth is a vast one. These include some cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure and more.
But, how are people to handle the expenses of dental upkeep during trying times? The best way, like anything that can challenge is the body, is through prevention.
The goal is to keep bacteria levels in the mouth to a minimum. Below are tips on how to keep your oral health in good condition and lower the risks to teeth and gum tissues.
Brush: The gold standard is twice a day for a minimum of two minutes using a soft bristle tooth brush and tooth paste with fluoride. However, some people need to brush more often during the day, depending on what they eat or drink. At the end of brushing, brush your tongue to dislodge oral bacteria that are embedded there.
Floss: This can have a tremendous effect on controlling oral bacteria. Our hygienist can help you with your technique or you may wish to purchase an electronic water flosser. Water flossers can be even more effective than manually flossing your teeth because they can wash away bacteria from just underneath the gum line.
Keep a moist mouth: Drink plenty of water during the day and minimize colas, tea, coffee and energy drinks. These beverages contain high levels of caffeine, which has a drying affect on oral tissues. Also drying is alcohol and smoking. Tobacco smoke contains a heavy dose of toxic chemicals that are readily absorbed by moist gum tissues.
Citrus and acidic foods and beverages: The acidity in citrus (such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit) can be tough on tooth enamel and tender gum tissues. This also includes tomatoes and tomato-based foods such as spaghetti sauce, catsup, salsa, etc. that can have a highly acidic effect.
Sugar and carbohydrates: Globally, Americans are the leading nation for sugar consumption. We also love our carbs, which essentially break down as sugar in the mouth. Oral bacteria love these foods, too, because they supercharge their ability to reproduce. Because many sweet and carb-laden foods stick to teeth longer, their ability to cause damage is even greater.
Wine: Although wine (especially red) is believed to be a healthy drink, it is the way it is consumed that makes it a particular problem for teeth and gums. Whenever you eat or drink something, an acid attack begins in the mouth. While this is an initial part of digestion, this acid is highly potent; so much that it can soften tooth enamel for up to 30 minutes after. This makes teeth more prone to decay. Because most people drink wine in sips over time, this merely extends the acid surge period. When wine’s acidity combines with digestive acids in the mouth, you place teeth at a doubly higher risk for decay. (This also applies to any alcoholic beverage, especially drinks with sweetened mixers.)
Snacking: Whenever you eat or drink anything (other than plain water), an acid attack begins in the mouth. This acid flows in with saliva and helps to begin the digestive process. However, this means for every sip of cola or granola bar bite, an acidic flow occurs in the mouth for 20 – 30 minutes. When the mouth endures these frequent acid attacks throughout the day, the damage to precious tooth enamel can lead to cavities.
In addition to a thorough at-home routine, be committed to your 6-month exams and cleanings. These visits rid the build-up that has occurred since your last appointment and catches problems while they are easy to treat.
When you take these easy and inexpensive actions to prevent problems, your oral health costs can be lower and you’ll save time AND money!
It is also important to know the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. These include: gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, tender gums that turn red in color, swollen gums, receded and sensitive gums. If you have any of these, please know that gum disease will only worsen without treatment. It is also the leading cause of adult tooth loss.
As a specialist in periodontics, our Asheville periodontal dental office provides advanced skills in the diagnosis and treatment of all stages of periodontal disease. We use advanced technology to help provide the most conservative treatment possible while restoring patients to optimal oral health. We also provide oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).
To arrange a consultation, tap here or call 828-274-9440. A referral is not necessary.