May, 2010

What Do You Do If Your Tooth Is Knocked Out?

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

The most obvious answer is – get to your dentist immediately.  But what you do between the tooth being knocked out and getting to your dentist can make a big difference in how this injury is treated.  Teeth are typically knocked out because of an accident – whether it be a fall or another players elbow when playing a sport.

Many times the teeth are completely knocked out, including the tooth roots.  If this is the case put the tooth or teeth in a container of cold milk and get to the dentist within 30 minutes.  “There is a short window of opportunity in which the remaining living tissue on the root surface can be kept alive” according to Dr. Joseph Orrico of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.  He feels that because milk has a neutral pH balance and is vitamin fortified it is excellent for helping to preserve the living tissue.

Often the teeth are broken above the gum line.  In this case your dentist may suggest a root canal followed by a crown.  These procedures will save the existing tooth structure below the gum line.

In the event that the tooth has broken below the gum line, the best course of treatment may be to remove the remaining fragments of the tooth.  To replace the missing tooth a dental implant or bridge may be suggested.  Which option is best depends upon the patients age and overall dental health.  For younger patients an implant is the best option.  Bone loss in the jaw because of  missing teeth can be significant for younger patients and can cause serious oral health and cosmetic problems over the years.  Dental implants prevent this bone loss because they fuse to the jaw and act like a natural tooth root.

In case of an accident with your teeth contact The Wilbanks Smile Center immediately.  Remember, if it is an emergency to you it is an emergency to us.  Call 706-886-9439 and we will see you as soon as possible.  Wilbanks Smile Center offers a complete range of dental services to care for your emergency.

Crooked Teeth Ruin More Than A Pretty Smile

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Crowded, crooked teeth make for an ugly smile and most people think that is the only reason to fix them.  However, there are plenty of other reasons to repair that snaggle-tooth smile.

When teeth overlap or form a cross bite, it can be difficult, if not impossible to keep them clean.  Brushing and flossing a crowded mouth can still leave accumulations of plaque that can lead to periodontal disease.   While gum disease is the most common reason for tooth loss,  the effects extend throughout the whole body.  Heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea and even sleep apnea are affected by the bacteria from periodontal disease.

A smile filled with straight, white teeth isn’t just pretty – it is important for your overall health.  You can avoid periodontal disease and keep your entire body healthier by repairing your smile.  Options include metal braces or the Invisalign system.  Invisalign is a series of clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth and are almost invisible.  As you wear each set of trays for the prescribed time your teeth are gently moved into position.  Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is removable for eating and cleaning your teeth.

Call today at 800-884-9439 to discover how you can get a healthy, beautiful smile easily and affordably from the Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia.  We proudly serve as your full-service dental practice for Stephen, Banks and Franklin counties.

How to Replace Lost Teeth

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Did you know that at age 74 more than a quarter of the people have lost ALL of their teeth.  Almost 70% of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. The reasons for the loss vary – tooth decay, accidents, gum disease, excessive wear (bruxism or tooth grinding),  or periodontal disease.  Whatever the reason for the loss it is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible.

When a tooth is removed it affects more than just your appearance and your smile.  The other teeth will begin to shift in your mouth making brushing and flossing more difficult.  The jaw bone that once anchored the tooth is no longer needed in that area and begins to recede.  Chewing food may become more difficult causing nutrition problems, especially for older patients.

There are several ways to replace a lost tooth or teeth.  Dental Bridges, Removable Appliances and Dental Implants are all common.   Dr. Wilbanks will recommend the best procedure for you based upon your oral health and the number or placement of the missing teeth.  For most people, the strongest, most durable replacement option is the dental implant.

Dental implants are small titanium screws that act as an artificial tooth root.  The implant is placed in your jaw bone and the bone and surrounding tissue grow around the implant and hold it in place.  A special dental crown is attached to the implant for a natural looking and feeling tooth replacement.  Implants are used to replace just one missing tooth or can be used to replace many.  Implants can even be used as anchors for special dentures for those patients who have lost all their teeth.

Contact our Toccoa, Georgia office at 1-800-884-9439 for more information about tooth replacement using dental implants, bridges or removable appliances.  Our caring team of dental professionals pamper our patients and assist Dr. Wilbanks in making your visit special.  Call us today for more information about replacing your missing teeth.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Wisdom teeth are the very last teeth at the back of your upper and lower gums.  They are technically called third molars and there are usually 4 of them but sometimes extras do appear.  These teeth usually appear during the late teens or early twenties and are the last teeth to arrive in the mouth.  Many times there is not enough room in the mouth for these new teeth and they do not grow in normally.  Commonly, they become “impacted” or grow in at an angle or sideways.  These impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and damage to other teeth.

Even when these third molars erupt normally in the mouth, they are still routinely removed.  This is because they are located so far back in the jaw that it is difficult to clean them adequately.  Wisdom teeth are particularly vulnerable to decay and poor cleaning may contribute to gum disease.

Removal of impacted wisdom teeth is urged before symptoms appear.  Dental x-rays can show the location of the teeth and help your dentist decide what treatment is needed.  When symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth do appear they frequently include:  pain, swelling, bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

The treatment  for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction.  The surgery to remove wisdom teeth should not be painful because the area will be fully numbed before the procedure begins.  Depending upon how anxious the patient is about the procedure additional medicine or sedation options are available.

Any questions you have regarding wisdom teeth can be answered during a consultation with Dr. Wilbanks at our Toccoa, Georgia office.  You will not be referred to another doctor for routine wisdom tooth removal.  Unlike most dental offices, The Wilbanks Smile Center is proud to offer a comprehensive list of dental treatment options to our patients.  Please call today at 706-886-9439 to book your appointment.

Migraine Headaches and TMJ Pain

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Often headache patients spend years going from doctor to doctor trying to find a cure for their pain.   The cause of many headache episodes is not always a “migraine”.  The answer for many headache patients is proper diagnosis and treatment for their temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMJ dysfunction or just TMJ.

The temporomandibular joint is one of the most complicated joints in the  body.  Damage to this complex structure can be caused by accidents, a poor bite or often because of  bruxism (teeth grinding) due to stress.  The Mayo Clinic estimates that 5 to 15 percent of Americans suffer from some type of pain connected with TMJ disorders.

Symptoms of  TMJ dysfunction often include blinding headaches, facial or jaw pain, clicking noises in the jaw joint or a feeling of “fullness” in the ears or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).  Each patient may have a different combination of symptoms – or only one.

Proper diagnosis by a  dentist is who has been trained to treat TMJ dysfunction is an important first step.   Treatment options vary for each individual but  highly effective treatment involves the creation of a custom orthotic appliance.  This appliance is normally worn at night and allows your jaw muscles to stay in their most relaxed position.  Dr. Wilbanks  may also suggest diet and lifestyle changes to help ease inflammation in the jaw joint.

If headaches are impacting your quality of  life contact our Toccoa, Georgia office today for a consultation.  Wilbanks Smile Center offers you a full service dental practice at 706-886-9439.

Pregnancy and Your Healthy Mouth

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University  believe that even healthy pregnant women could be at risk for pregnancy problems caused by oral bacteria.  These doctors are beginning to study the links between which of the 700 species of bacteria living in the mouth might be responsible for pre-term and still births.  Sadly, both are growing problems in the US.

Dr. Yiping Han lead the study which found that several bacteria in the mouth can travel through the blood and can cause an inflammatory reaction in the placenta.  This inflammation may eventually cause a range of health issues.  The findings of this study were reported in Infection and Immunity.  Pregnant women need to be especially careful with their oral health to avoid gum disease.  Scheduling regular hygiene visits and good home care, brushing and flossing are required.

Dr. Wilbanks and his team will work closely with you throughout your pregnancy to ensure that you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.  If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant contact our office today to schedule a consultation.   Patients from Stephens County, Georgia to Macon County, North Carolina count on Wilbanks Smile Center for their full-service dental care needs.  Call us today for your appointment at 706-886-9439.

Orthodontics is for Everyone

Friday, May 7th, 2010

It seems that getting braces on their teeth is a rite of passage for many children in America.  In fact, some kids seem terribly disappointed when they discover that they don’t need braces.  Today, more and more of the parents of these kids are also seeking straight, white teeth.  In 2008 over 1 million adults were in braces – up 24% from 1996.  While straight teeth make for a nice appearance, orthodontic treatment in children and adults offers benefits that go beyond the surface.

Beginning preventive orthodontics in children at an early age can allow facial profiles to be changed and bad bites corrected, preventing dental and TMJ problems later in life.  Early intervention can also prevent the loss of teeth that used to go along with getting braces so many years ago.

If you never had orthodontic treatment as a child, or if you never needed it at an early  age, chances are you may need it now.  Our teeth, particularly our bottom teeth, keep moving throughout our lives.  When teeth move and overlap each other it becomes very difficult to clean them effectively – this can lead to cavities and gum disease.

Fortunately, there are many options today for straightening out your smile.  Traditional metal braces are very common, especially for children.  More and more adults are opting for the Invisalign system which uses a series of clear trays to move your teeth.  They are removable for eating and brushing and, since they are clear, most people never realize you are wearing “braces”.

For adult patients who are seeking a quicker result, Dr. Wilbanks offers porcelain veneers which are also called “instant orthodontics”.  Your teeth will not be straightened over time as with braces but the appearance of your smile will be reshaped by the use of cosmetic porcelain veneers.

If you have a crooked smile contact our office at 706-886-9439 to arrange a consultation.  Dr. Wilbanks offers a wide range of dental treatment options conveniently located in our Toccoa, Georgia office.

Healthy Eating Tips for a Great Smile

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen are the authors of YOU: The Owner’s Manual.  Many people also know Dr. Oz from his television show.  This week the two doctors gave some tips for a healthier smile in their newspaper column.  Under the heading  Eat, drink and chew your way to a great smile… they included this advice:

1. Avoid bottled water. The doctors say you’ll help keep plastic bottles out of landfills and do good things for your teeth because tap water contains more fluoride than bottled.

2.  Snack on Apples and Celery.  These healthy snacks contain substances that help fight gum disease.  Avoiding periodontal disease is good for your whole body.

3.  Add Low Fat Yogurt to Your Diet.  Drs. Oz and Roizen say that it is good for your gums.  Researchers in Japan found that people who ate about 2 ounces of sugar-free yogurt each day were less likely to have severe periodontal disease than those who didn’t eat yogurt.

4.  Use a Straw.  The acid in juices, sports drinks and sodas erodes your  tooth enamel.  The doctors say  we should avoid soda altogether since it does nothing good for your body.  Drink your sports drinks, orange, cranberry and prune juices through a straw to limit the direct exposure to the acid in the drinks.  Keeping the acid off your tooth enamel helps it stay strong.  They also suggest choosing cranberry juice when possible.  Chemical compounds in cranberries keep bacteria from sticking to teeth which helps avoid cavities and they also keep inflammation from gum disease in check.  Choose diet cranberry juice to avoid the sugar overload that can give decay causing bacteria a boost.

Visit your dental hygienist regularly, perform your brushing and flossing at home and follow the dietary suggestions above and you can keep your beautiful healthy smile for life.  If you have questions or concerns about your periodontal health contact our office today at 1-800-884-9439 to discuss your treatment options.   Our Toccoa, Georgia office proudly serves patients in Franklin, Habersham and Rabun counties in Georgia as well as South Carolina patients from Oconee county.  Our comprehensive list of dental services make us your “one stop shop” for a healthy, beautiful smile.

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