February, 2011

The Truth About Dental Implants

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

It used to be that losing a tooth meant getting a bridge or partial denture. While these are good options for replacing a missing tooth they also have a limited life span and will likely need repairs. Another alternative is the dental implant which functions just like a natural tooth and if cared for properly can last a lifetime. What are the common misconceptions about dental implants?

Dental Implant Surgery is Painful – No, dental implant surgery is performed in the dental office and can be performed under local anesthesia just like many other dental procedures. Many patients, however,  like the option of sedation and it is readily available.

Dental Implants are Too Expensive - While an implant may be a little more expensive up front, over time, however,  it is the most cost effective because it can last you a lifetime.

They have a High Rejection Rate – Dental implant rejection happens in only about 2% of cases and it is usually because the patient has an allergy to the metal. Implants are made of titanium which is a metal commonly used in medical procedures because almost none of the patients react to it once it is placed in the body.

A dental implant can be used to replace one tooth or many or even used to anchor a denture. If you need to replace a missing tooth please contact Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439. We will be glad to answer all of your questions regarding dental implants and let you know if  dental implants are right for you.

Smoking and Gum Disease

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

We all know smoking is bad for your  heart and lungs. Did you also know it affects your teeth and gums?

Smokers may first think of the obvious – ugly yellow nicotine stains on their teeth. But more worrisome is the effect that smoking has on your gums and other oral tissues.

When your dentist performs a complete oral examination one of the things he/she is looking for is signs of oral cancers. Smoking doesn’t just cause lung cancer, it can also contribute to oral cancer formation. Many people switch to smokeless tobacco products to avoid damaging their lungs but chewing tobacco is even worse when it comes to oral cancer formation.

A big challenge for dentists is treating gum disease in patients who smoke. Smokers are six times more likely to have severe gum destruction when compared to non-smokers. Treating gum disease is more difficult when the patient smokes because smoking reduces our ability to heal.

Recent research has also shown that smokers have lower levels of the good kind of oral bacteria and much higher levels of the bad or disease related types of bacteria, especially the types that are linked to severe periodontal disease.

The best thing to do – quit using any type of tobacco product! Tobacco is highly addictive but their are numerous treatments that can help you stay on track. If you do use tobacco products it is important to let your dentist know. You may be scheduled for more frequent dental hygiene appointments to help keep your gums healthy. If you smoke and already have developed periodontal disease it is important to work with your dentist and hygienist to manage your disease.

If you have been avoiding routine hygiene appointments or dental treatment because of fear or anxiety about your treatment please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia today at 706-886-9439. Dr. Wilbanks and his team will help ease your anxiety and using sedation dentistry you can receive all your needed dental care without worry.

Closing the Gap

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Some celebrities like David Letterman and the model Lauren Hutton have always worn the gaps between their two front teeth with pride – but most people want the gap gone. The gap is known as a diastema and can be corrected by several methods.

One way to close the gap is by using dental braces. In many cases the diastema can be closed with clear braces such as Invisalign in place of regular orthodontic treatment.

For those who are seeking immediate gratification, the advanced technology used in cosmetic dentistry offers a solution. Depending upon the width of the gap your dentist may choose cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers to give you a beautiful, gap-free smile.

The outcome of these procedures? Freedom to smile without worry. The increased confidence and self-esteem among patients who have cosmetic procedures is astounding.

If you are unhappy with the gaps in your smile please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in beautiful northeast Georgia today at 706-886-9439 to discuss your treatment options.

Help for Pregnant Women with Gum Disease

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Many studies have proven the link between a pregnant woman’s oral health and possible premature birth. There was some possible good news in this area when a small clinical trial showed that pregnant women with gum disease who used an antibacterial mouth rinse reduced their chances of giving birth early by about 15%. More follow up studies will be needed to confirm the results and additional study of the safety of using this type of mouth rinse when pregnant will also be reviewed. The researchers were excited by the possibilities for improving mother and infant health through the use of something as simple as a mouth rinse.

What can a woman do now to reduce her odds of premature delivery when pregnant? The best thing you can do is to get healthy before you even become pregnant – healthy eating, brushing, flossing and regular hygiene appointments will help keep your gums in tip-top shape.

If you already suffer from periodontal disease and are thinking about starting a family please have your gum disease treated before and during your pregnancy.

It doesn’t seem fair, but even if your gums are normally healthy there is an increased risk for gum disease while you are pregnant. You should be extra careful about brushing and flossing and don’t skip any of your dental hygiene appointments!

To schedule your next dental hygiene appointment please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia at 706-886-9439.  Please call today for a healthy you, and a healthy baby!

February Focus on Pets and Children's Oral Health

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I knew that February was National Children’s Dental Health Month but I learned that another member of your family is also getting special recognition for their healthy teeth this month – the family pet. It turns out it is also National Pet Dental Month according to the American Veterinary Medical Society.

Actually, keeping all the mouths in your household clean and healthy is a smart thing to do – it helps avoid treatments for cavities or gum disease in the future. Surprisingly, many of the strategies we can use to help our children maintain good oral health will work for our pets as well.

Many people don’t think about caring for their infant’s teeth but it is very important. You should clean your baby’s mouth and gums regularly with a soft infant toothbrush or a cloth and water. A baby or toddler  should never be put down to sleep with a bottle containing milk or juice and they should be weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age. Once those baby teeth come in they should be brushed at least twice a day using a soft child sized brush and a small amount of toothpaste.

As your child gets older keep up the brushing routine. Teach your child to avoid soft drinks and unhealthy, sugary snacks in favor of fresh fruits, vegetables and milk or water to drink. Allow only sugarless gum. Teach your child to floss each night and make sure that they see the dentist twice a year. If orthodontic treatment is needed for your child it is best to spot the problems early.

Our four legged friends need a little more of our help in keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Brush your pets teeth each day with a special pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste (they tend to swallow the toothpaste so a special one made for pets is better) or wipe their teeth and gums with gauze and water. Don’t give sweet, sticky treats to your pets and make sure they have plenty of opportunities to chew (rawhides, crunchy dog and cat treats). Wet pet food can tend to stick to teeth so stick with dry kibble or feed both. Make sure your veterinarian checks the health of teeth and gums at each visit.

While we can’t help you with keeping Fido and Fluffy’s teeth healthy we would love to help you keep the rest of your family smiling in February and beyond. Please contact Wilbank’s Smile Center at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your appointment. Conveniently located in Toccoa, Georgia.

Dental Health Linked to Children's Weight

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

A study done at the Arizona School of Dentistry found that increased body mass index (BMI) caused dental development to accelerate. This means that children that are overweight or obese grow faster than children who are normal weight. This becomes a very important factor when discussing orthodontic treatment for these children.

Timing is an important factor in orthodontic treatment and this study shows that overweight children may need to start orthodontic treatment earlier than other kids. Placing children in braces late can result in more complex (an expensive) treatment requirements.

Overweight children have also been shown to have a higher risk of dental cavities than other children. This is primarily caused by poor eating habits and frequent, long term drinking of sugar-laden beverages such as juice and sodas. Eliminating or reducing sodas and similar beverages from your child’s diet will not only help protect their teeth but will also reduce the amount of calories they are taking in each day.

Poor dental health in childhood results in a lifetime of necessary dental treatment. Protect your child by limiting sugary drinks and snacks and making physical activity and outdoor play part of their day.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, Georgia at 706-886-9439 today to schedule dental check-ups for your family. What is more beautiful than the smiles on the faces of your family? Call us today!

Top 3 Myths About Gum Disease

Friday, February 4th, 2011

The American Academy of Periodontology estimates that three out of four American suffer from some form of gum disease. These cases range from mild gingivitis to very severe periodontitis. Despite these amazing numbers only about three percent seek treatment for their disease.

Since more and more research points to gum disease being linked to diabetes, heart disease, pre-term births and certain forms of cancer it is more important than every to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

The top three myths surrounding gum disease need to be put to rest.

  • Bleeding gums are not a big deal. Gums that bleed when you brush or floss are a sign that something is wrong. I am confident that if your hands bled when you washed them you would seek a diagnosis and a cure.
  • Only people with poor oral hygiene get gum disease. While poor brushing and flossing habits certainly contribute to gum disease there are many other factors involved. If you smoke, have a poor diet or if you have a family history of gum disease it can increase your risk.
  • Periodontal therapy is painful. Recent advances in technology have made the treatment of gum disease much easier. The use of lasers, digital radiography and new drug therapies allow for the comfortable treatment of gum disease.

Did your gums bleed this morning when you brushed your teeth? If you answered yes then it is time to contact Wilbanks Smile Center at 706-886-9439 to schedule your appointment. Don’t delay, we are conveniently located in Toccoa, Georgia.

Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Some studies estimate that well over half of the populations suffers from dental anxiety or fear. For most patients this is merely mild anxiety but some people delay or avoid dental treatment for years. There are many reasons for dental fears; family stories about bad experiences, perhaps a painful procedure in the past, a fear of getting anesthetic or the feeling of loss of control in the dental chair. Whatever the reason, the fear felt by these patients is real and can be dealt with so they can receive the care they need.

Putting off needed dental care only leads to higher expenses and even more treatment needed down the road. This is because existing problems only continue to get worse over time. Cavities and gum disease don’t heal themselves!

Modern dental offices are much different than the places that our grandparent’s visited. Sedation dentists are able to give all needed treatment without the patient experiencing the anxiety that usually comes with their dental care. Depending upon the needs of the patient there are various types of sedation available. The vast majority of patients are able to receive all their needed care using a mild oral sedative that allows them to completely relax. Sedation dentistry allows years of dental neglect to be repaired in just one visit.

If you experience fear or apprehension when visiting the dentist please contact Wilbanks Smile Center  today at 706-886-9439 to discuss your options for sedation dentistry. Conveniently located in Toccoa, Georgia for all your cosmetic and restorative dental needs.

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