May, 2012

Caring For Your Dentures

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Caring for dentures is a little different from caring for your natural teeth. Beyond the obvious – you can remove them for cleaning – there are a few things to remember in order to protect your dentures.

The care for removable partial dentures or complete dentures is similar. You must remember that dentures are delicate and can break. It is a good idea to use a folded towel placed on the counter top or over the sink while you are handling your dentures. Heat can cause dentures to change shape so never use hot water on your dentures and never, ever, leave your dentures in the car.

Dentures need to be brushed daily just like your own teeth. The brushing removes food particles and can help prevent staining. The material used to make dentures can scratch so remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a special denture cleaner that does not contain abrasives.

Your dentures aren’t the only things that need to be brushed. Just because you don’t have teeth doesn’t mean that you don’t need to clean your mouth. Brush gently over gums, cheeks, tongue and the roof of your mouth.

If your dentures are no longer fitting properly and you find yourself using lots of denture adhesives or pads to keep them in place it may be time to have them relined or replaced. Today we can also create dentures that attach to dental implants so you’ll never have to worry about embarrassing  slippage.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit. Remember, even if you wear a full set of dentures you still need to visit the dentist for examinations to look for oral diseases or oral cancers. We can also make sure your dentures fit properly and comfortably.

Don't Let Bad Breath Be A Turn Off

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Bad breath is a big turn off but almost everyone has halitosis from time to time. Avoiding the problem depends on finding the cause because most cases of bad breath are preventable.

Food – Onions, garlic, coffee, and sugary drinks cause bad breath but even sulfurous vegetables like cabbage add to the problem. The bad breath caused by some foods sticks with you even after you have brushed because of the chemicals absorbed in your bloodstream and the digestive process itself. Avoiding these foods is the only way to solve the problem.

Poor Oral Hygiene – Decaying food particles that have not been cleaned from the mouth are a feast for your oral bacteria. If the thought of that doesn’t get you to brush after meals I don’t know what will. When you exhale the odor from decomposing food, bacteria and the plaque on your teeth can get pretty nasty. Proper brushing and flossing can take care of this – ask your hygienist to show you proper techniques for both at your next visit.

Oral Disease or Infection – Gum disease is responsible for severe bad breath. The same bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities are responsible for your halitosis.

Smoking -  There are over 4,000 chemicals in the average cigarette and 200 of those are poisonous. Is it any wonder that smoking is bad for you. The health effects of smoking are well documented and smoking contributes to gum disease which means even worse breath. This is another situation where part of the problem comes from the chemicals in your bloodstream. Stop smoking and enjoy fresh breath.

Dry Mouth – Xerostomia, also known as “dry mouth” is a condition that reduces the amount of saliva you produce. Saliva is extremely important for a healthy mouth. It rinses away food particles and helps remineralize our teeth. Without the cleansing effects of saliva flow the food debris stays in the mouth and is attacked by bacteria causing an unpleasant odor. This condition can be a side effect of certain types of medicines or may be a sign of a more serious condition. Talk to both your dentist and your physician if you are experiencing dry mouth.

Medical Problems – Many medical issues including sinus infections, diabetes and even kidney failure can cause your breath odor to change. If you have good oral hygiene habits, visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings but suddenly develop bad breath you should visit your physician.

Treating bad breath includes  brushing and flossing regularly. Remember to invest in a tongue scraper and use it every day. This will remove odor causing bacteria living on the tongue. Regular visits for professional dental cleanings will make sure that oral bacteria that cause bad breath are kept in check.

If you have a meal that is heavy on the onions or garlic you can try to mask the immediate effects by chewing a piece of parsley (naturally cleansing and deodorizing) or a piece of sugarless gum. Your breath will be back to normal in about a day.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center serving Toccoa, GA and the surrounding area today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment. Clean, shiny teeth and fresh breath are just a phone call away.



Does Sugar Rot Your Brain And Your Teeth?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

We all know that eating sugar is bad for your teeth but does sugar consumption rot your brain as well? Scientists and UCLA seem to think so.

Researchers fed two groups of rats a solution containing high-fructose corn syrup instead of drinking water for six weeks. One group of the rats was also given omega-3 fatty acids which are known brain boosters.

Before the sugary drinks started, the rats were trained to run a complicated maze. After six weeks on the high-fructose corn syrup water they were again placed in the maze to see how they would do.

The rats that didn’t get the omega-3 fatty acids were slower. Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla said “Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier.” It turns out the the rat brains had developed signs of insulin resistance. Insulin controls blood sugar and also regulates brain function. “Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning” said Dr. Gomez-Pinella. “Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body.”

High fructose corn syrup is usually found in soda, processed foods, snack foods, applesauce and even baby food. Any type of added sugars should be avoided if possible to keep your weight down, your smile free of cavities and now, to keep your brain healthy. Reading labels is important when purchasing processed foods but the easiest way to avoid added sugars is to cook using fresh ingredients from scratch.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit. Dental damage caused by too much sugar needs to be diagnosed and treated early. Please call our full-service office today.

Can Dental Implants Work For You?

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Dental implants are an amazing way to replace a lost tooth but implants might not work for everyone. How do you know if a dental implant will work for you?

First let’s talk about what a dental implant is and how it replaces a missing tooth. The implant itself is a small device that is inserted into your jaw and acts like a tooth root. The implant is made of a special metal that is designed to work with your body and allow the natural bone in your jaw to accept and maintain the implant. A replacement tooth in the form of a special type of dental crown is placed over the implant and your new tooth is complete. Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth or even to anchor a complete set of dentures.

Using a dental implant also helps maintain the health of the jawbone. Our jawbone operates on the “use it or lose it” principle and when teeth are lost due to accident or oral diseases the bone no longer has to keep those tooth roots in place. With no tooth roots to maintain the bone begins to shrink, which may give an older appearance to the face. When dental implants are placed in the jawbone this shrinkage is avoided allowing you to maintain a more youthful jawline over time.

To receive dental implants you should be in good overall health and your jawbone must be healthy enough to hold the implants in place. Your periodontal health is also important so we will make sure your gums are healthy enough for dental implants.

To find out if dental implants can work for you please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation. We are a full-service dental practice and all phases of your dental implant treatment will be handled in our Toccoa, GA office.

4 Good Reasons For Women To Visit Their Dentist

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Do you need more reasons to visit your dentist? According to the Centers for Disease control only 71.4 percent of women over the age of 18 had their teeth cleaned during 2008. I imagine the statistics stay about the same year after year. This means that almost 30% of women skipped their dental visit and the health check that comes along with it.

The reasons people skip making appointments usually include anxiety or finances. Neither of these should be a reason for avoiding cleanings and checkups.

Over the long run patients who maintain regularly scheduled care typically have lower dental care costs because problems are discovered when they are small and easily, and more cheaply, resolved.

Dental anxiety or fear can be avoided through the use of sedation dentistry. Who knows – you may discover that a dental visit isn’t that bad after all!

Your regular dental hygiene visit can do more for your health than keep your gums in shape. Non-dental related health issues can also be spotted during your checkup. Here are 4 of the most common:

  1. Heart disease – Women who get dental care may reduce their risk of heart disease by 1/3 according to researchers at Berkely. While gum disease doesn’t seem to cause heart disease their is a link that science is still figuring out.
  2. Oral cancer – Each visit to the dental hygienist includes a visual and manual screening for oral cancer and any discolored, swollen or ulcerated area will be brought to your attention.
  3. Nutritional deficiencies – Your gums and tongue can tell a lot about your nutritional status. For example a pale tongue can indicate an iron deficiency.
  4. Diabetes – The health of your gums and teeth may suggest diabetes. The link between oral health and diabetes goes both ways – diabetes increases the risk you will have gum disease and having gum disease makes it harder to control your diabetes. Diabetic patients usually need dental cleanings more often than every six months.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your dental hygiene visit. The health of your smile, and your overall health are important!


Ancient Dental Calculus Excites Anthropologists

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Those of you who are harboring ancient dental calculus of your own because you haven’t been to visit your dental hygienist in a while should find this interesting. 1000 years from now anthropologists could use your hardened plaque to figure out what you ate!

Researchers at the University of Nevada discovered that by removing very small particles of dental calculus from the teeth of ancient remains and running the samples through a mass spectrometer they could figure out whether ancient diets were primarily plant or animal.

Researcher Dr. G. Richard Scott explained that bone is normally used for this but museum curators frown on the experiments because the bone is destroyed in the process. Hair and nails said Scott “are great when you find them. The problem is they just don’t hold up very well. They decompose too quickly. Dental calculus, for better or worse, stays around a very long time.”

Dental calculus definitely falls into the “worse” category when it comes to your oral health. Dental plaque is a biofilm that forms on your teeth that is made up of oral bacteria, food debris, etc. The substance is soft and can be removed easily at first but after a day or so hardens to become calculus. Calculus can’t be removed by brushing and flossing alone, you need the help of your friendly dental hygienist to get the stuff off your teeth.

Ancient man was not aware of the importance of good oral hygiene and I can only imagine the bad breath! Contact Wilbanks Smile Center  in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-2581 to schedule your dental hygiene visit. Ancient calculus is only a good thing if you are an archeologist and even then, only if it is in an ancient mouth.


Dental Anxiety Is Common But We Can Help

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Dental anxiety is more common than you might think but you don’t need to avoid taking care of your oral health – we can help! Dental anxiety can start in many ways including family members telling horror stories to children about old-time dental care or a bad experience with a dental procedure previously. Modern dentistry is virtually painless.

Whatever the reason for the fear we first need to acknowledge that the anxiety is real and that we can talk about it. Sometimes talking about it is all that is needed! But for many patients the anxiety and fear prevents them from even making an appointment. Delaying dental care just makes the problems worsen over time because tooth decay doesn’t ever heal itself.

No matter your level of anxiety Wilbanks Smile Center can treat you without discomfort with the use of sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry allows you to get the care you need, even preventative care like dental cleanings, without feeling nervous. Options for treatment range from nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation and even IV sedation. Using sedation dentistry we can correct years of neglect in just one or two appointments.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439  to find out your options for sedation dental care. Remember that sedation dentistry can be beneficial for patients who do not fear the dentist but have a strong gag reflex or have difficulty getting numb.

Sports Drinks Tearing Up Teens Teeth

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

A study published in the journal General Dentistry found an alarming increase in the damage teen athletes are doing to their teeth. This damage is not done on the playing field, it is being done by constant consumption of sports drinks and energy drinks.

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda,” said study author Dr. Poonam Jain. “Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

To test the damage that the drinks can do to teeth the researchers soaked samples of human tooth enamel in the drinks for 15 minutes and then in saliva for 2 hours. This was repeated four times a day for five days to mimic the exposure that teens are typically getting. When not in testing the samples were stored in artificial saliva.

After only five days of exposure to either sports or energy drinks there was irreversible damage to dental enamel. Energy drinks actually caused twice as much damage to teeth as sports drinks did.

How do you know if your teen is damaging their tooth enamel? The damage causes the teeth to become sensitive and more likely to develop cavities. If your child is complaining about tooth sensitivity they need to realize that their energy or sports drink may be the problem.

Minimize the use of these drinks and when they are used your child should chew sugar free gum or rinse their mouth with water to help return the acidity levels in the mouth to normal. Don’t have your child brush their teeth immediately after consuming these drinks – the softened enamel may be further damaged by the brushing action.

Remember, adults drink these beverages too! The same rules apply because adults experience the same type of damage.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 if you or a family member are experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain. Working together we can protect your child’s smile.

Dental Fillings Of The Future

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Scientists at the University of Maryland are working on dental fillings that may change filling cavities in the future. The new fillings are designed with special antibacterial agents that kill harmful bacteria in the tooth and regenerate tooth structure lost to decay.

A dental cavity happens when the mineral content of the tooth has been dissolved by acids secreted by oral bacteria that live in the plaque on tooth surfaces. Even when the dentist removes the decay from the tooth there are still some bacteria left behind. The new nanocomposite filling material is designed to destroy remaining bacteria and also help rebuild tooth minerals.

Dental fillings have come a long way since the old mercury based amalgam fillings of yesteryear. While this new dental filling material at the University of Maryland is still in the research stage the tooth colored composite fillings used today are far superior to those old silver fillings. Not only do new composite fillings avoid mercury exposure for both dentist and patient, they are long lasting and don’t expand and contract when exposed to hot or cold substances like old style fillings did. This expansion and contraction often led to cracked fillings or even broken teeth. Because composite fillings are the same color as your teeth no one will ever know you had a cavity! Your smile remains beautiful even when laughing out loud!

Visit Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA for your next dental check up. Please contact us immediately at 706-886-9439 today if you are experiencing tooth pain or think you might have a cavity. We are a full-service dental practice and you will not be referred out of the office for specialized care.

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