July, 2012

Relax During Your Dental Visit

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Is it impossible for you to relax during a dental visit or does the thought of scheduling an appointment send you into a panic attack? You aren’t alone. Many people experience dental anxiety or fear in varying degrees.

For people with very mild dental anxiety simply having a trusting relationship with their dentist is all that is needed. If you suffer from more severe types of fear then you might not ever visit a dentist unless you are in extreme pain — avoiding preventive care altogether!

If this sounds familiar you need to know that there is a way for you to get the dental care that you need — even preventative care — without discomfort or fear. Sedation dentistry may be the answer for you.

Here at Wilbanks Smile Center we offer several types of sedation dentistry including nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation or even IV sedation if it is needed. Most patients are familiar with nitrous oxide and IV sedation but are unaware of oral conscious sedation. This type of sedation uses medication to induce a deep state of relaxation which allows you to receive the care you need without apprehension.

To find out which type of sedation dentistry is right for you please contact Wilbanks Smile Centerin Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation.

Is Europe Banning Dental Amalgam Fillings?

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

A European Commission has been working to reduce mercury exposure to humans and has recommended that dental amalgam use be phased out over the next 5 years. Dental amalgam is made of a number of metals and includes mercury, a known neurotoxin.

Sweden has already banned mercury fillings and Denmark, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands have reduced use of the product. Other countries like Germany and Spain have restrictions or guidance on dental amalgam use.

The Commission is making this recommendation because of the environment effects of dental amalgam. About 45 tons of mercury from European Union dental practices end up going down the drain each year and only a portion of this is captured and treated as hazardous waste.

Here at Wilbanks Smile Center we do not use mercury based amalgam fillings in our patients. We do  remove a lot of old, leaky amalgam fillings and because of this, we have invested in state-of-the-art amalgam separation equipment that keeps the mercury out of the drains and out of the environment.

Please contact our Toccoa, GA office today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit.

Healthy Teeth For Life

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Keeping your family’s teeth healthy for life is possible. The payoff for prevention is huge and includes beautiful, sparkling smiles, better nutrition because of proper chewing, avoiding toothaches and helping to avoid other health problems.

Just like keeping your body healthy by eating right and exercising, keeping your teeth healthy is going to require some smart choices and a little work on your part.

  • Start your kids prevention efforts early. When those first baby teeth come in they should be gently wiped with a clean, damp cloth or soft brush. Half of all children between 12 and 15 have cavities but you can help protect your baby by not putting them to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of milk or juice. Limit milk and juice to mealtimes and give your child water when they are thirsty.
  • Seal those molars. Only one-third of children receive these protective coatings but they can significantly reduce cavities.
  • Drink tap water instead of bottled. Most water systems add small amounts of fluoride which strengthens teeth and prevents cavities. Fluoride toothpaste should be used every day but don’t rinse after brushing – it washes away the fluoride.
  • Brush twice a day and floss every day. No excuses.
  • Rinse with water or chew sugarless gum after meals. This washes away sugars and acids from the food.
  • Don’t smoke – you all know the reasons why!
  • Eat a healthy diet. What is good for your body is good for your smile. A steady diet of soda and junk food means lots of tooth decay.
  • Skip the sugary snacks – especially the sticky ones. If you are craving something sweet it is better to have it as part of your meal. Soda is especially hard on teeth because of the combination of sugar and acid.
  • Get regular checkups and cleanings. Those simple appointments every six months can help you avoid bigger problems down the road.

Prevention is a big part of what we do at Wilbanks Smile Center.  Contact our Toccoa, GA office today to schedule your next appointment at 706-886-9439.

Cosmetic Dentistry To Improve Your Smile

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Have you been thinking about improving your smile by having cosmetic dentistry? Cosmetic dentistry can not only change the appearance of your teeth but a beautiful white smile also makes you look years younger.

So how do you choose a cosmetic dentist and how do you make sure you have chosen someone with the training and experience needed to create your dream smile?

You’ve got to ask a lot of questions!

Where did the dentist receive his or her training in cosmetics?  How many cosmetic dentistry continuing education courses has the dentist taken? Do the dentist and their staff members attend ongoing continuing education in this field?

What dental organizations does the dentist belong to? Before and after photos of previous patients are usually available.

Probably the most important part of choosing a cosmetic dentist is finding someone that you trust. You should feel comfortable talking to the dentist about your wants and needs. You cannot expect to take complete control of your smile makeover however – your cosmetic dentist has extensive training in creating beautiful, natural looking, healthy smiles. Unless you have the same training, you need to leave the details to the professional!

Cosmetic dentistry covers a wide range of procedures from simple tooth whitening to porcelain veneers to full-mouth makeovers. Most people can achieve a beautiful smile without resorting to extremes so you may be surprised by how affordable having your dream smile can be.

Find out today! Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation.

Wedding Planning Should Include Dental Visits

Friday, July 20th, 2012

There are lots of things to do when planning a wedding but both brides and grooms need to remember to add dental visits to their to-do lists.

Most brides and grooms visit the dentist for tooth whitening before the wedding but planning to stop by for a quick in-office whitening at the last minute might not be the best idea. Plan your visit well in advance and make sure you have scheduled a dental hygiene visit right before you want to whiten your teeth. Teeth that are covered in plaque won’t whiten evenly.

At your hygiene appointment you should talk about your goals for a whiter smile. Unfortunately, some types of tooth discoloration cannot be bleached away but there are other options available.

If you discover that a tooth whitening treatment won’t give you the smile you want in all of those wedding photos you may want to consider dental veneers. Veneers are very thin porcelain restorations that are can be used to create your dream smile. Teeth that are misshapen, discolored or crooked can be beautiful in only a couple of visits. Dental veneers are created especially for your smile in a dental laboratory so during your first visit your teeth will be prepared and temporary veneers placed on your teeth. The veneers are received from the laboratory in 10-14 days and you will leave your final visit with a beautiful smile — ready for the wedding photographer.

For more information about tooth bleaching or dental veneers please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

Prevention Reduces Dental Costs

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

For every dollar spent on prevention there is a four-dollar savings in dental treatment costs. I can’t think of many investments that can give you that kind of return on your money and improve your health at the same time.

Many people think that fear of the dentist is the reason most people avoid their regular check-ups but only 10% of people are so anxious that they avoid treatment. While most Americans do visit the dentist every year a significant number do not and many say it is because they lack dental insurance. Most people think dental insurance is just like their medical insurance – it isn’t. Most dental policies cover very little and have maximum annual coverage amounts that have not increased in the past 20 years.

Preventing oral health problems before they start can be a much better way to save your health care dollars. Basic prevention includes the usual brushing 2 times each day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing every day. A professional dental cleaning every six months can keep gums healthy and spot cavities when they are just beginning to form. Every time you get your teeth cleaned you are also receiving an oral cancer screening and many conditions that affect other systems in your body first show symptoms in your mouth.

Chronic health conditions such as diabetes are affected by poor oral health. Diabetic patients with gum disease have a harder time regulating their blood sugar which can lead to more expensive hospital stays. Heart disease and pregnancy problems have also been linked to oral health.

Preventing oral disease also means taking care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, drink green tea, avoid sugar and sticky foods and get enough sleep so your immune system stays healthy. Prevent cavities by drinking fluoridated water instead of bottled water – evidence has shown that this can reduce the rate of cavities in high risk children by 40%.

Prevent even more cavities in children by investing in dental sealants. By sealing the biting surfaces of the molars we can reduce the number of cavities by more than 50%.

Learn as much as you can about the health of your smile and how oral disease can affect your overall health. Knowledge is an important part of prevention so feel free to ask any questions during your next visit.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your appointment. Working together we can prevent many problems that may affect your smile.

TMJ Pain More Common In Women

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

TMJ pain is real and it can be debilitating. Our jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) is incredibly complex and can cause a great deal of discomfort, expecially for women. Headaches and facial pain due to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) affect more women than men. A recent review in the Journal of the American Dental Association looked at the reasons for this disparity.

Many studies have shown that women are at higher risk for many clinical pain conditions and evidence suggests that women and men do not experience pain the same way or to the same degree.  Anatomy and hormonal features may be the reason for this difference. According to Dr. Thuan Dao of the University of Toronto the sex difference in orofacial pain starts at puberty, peaks during the childbearing years and starts to decline at menopause.

Women who experience facial pain, migraine headaches and neck pain due to temporomandibular joint problems may spend years seeking a diagnosis. Many of the symptoms mimic other conditions or they may be simply dismissed as psychosomatic – until they find a dentist who understands the temporomandibular joint.

If you experience frequent headaches, feel pain in your jaw, neck or upper back, hear a popping noise in your jaw or your ears feel stuffy or “full” you may have a TMJ disorder. Appropriate treatment can relieve your pain without a lifetime of pills. TMJ pain is not only experienced by women – many men simply ignore their symptoms.

To find out more or to schedule your consultation please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.






Can Cavity Proof Teeth Be In Our Future?

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Researchers from Yale and the University of Chile have discovered a molecule that kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay. The bacteria called Streptococcus Mutans turns sugar into an acid that damages tooth enamel and leads to cavities.

Jose Cordova of Yale and Erich Astudillo from Chile named the newly discovered molecule “Keep 32″ in reference to the 32 teeth in the human adult mouth. They hope to incorporate the molecule into a mouthwash or lozenge form which would kill the bacteria in about a minute.

About 73% of all people have cavities and this research is aimed at reducing that number. Previously researchers at UCLA’s College of Dentistry had developed a mouthwash that eliminated almost all the decay causing bacteria over a 4 day period.

Dentistry keeps trying to put itself out of business by preventing problems before they start! Until we can effectively eliminate Streptococcus Mutans (without killing off the good bacteria in our mouths) we will have to rely on old-school prevention measures like brushing, flossing and getting regular cleanings.

Once tooth decay is discovered you no longer have to worry about those unsightly silver mercury fillings — Wilbanks Smile Center is a mercury free facility and our patients are treated using modern tooth colored composite filling materials.

To schedule your appointment please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

Are Whitening Toothpastes Worth It?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Whitening toothpastes usually cost a little more than plain old fluoride pastes. The advertisements say we are getting a special product for that extra money but are we really?

An Australian consumer group reviewed 17 of the most popular toothpastes sold “down under” and found that they all contain pretty much the same ingredients and essentially do the same job. They found that even the products that claimed to “whiten” teeth did not contain any ingredients that would alter the color of teeth although in the fine print they did claim that the toothpaste would “remove stains”.

When a toothpaste says it will remove stains it contains ingredients that more abrasive than the usual toothpaste. Using an abrasive toothpaste for long term use could lead to damaged tooth enamel and sensitive teeth. A better choice for removing stains is a visit to your dental hygienist on a regular basis – not only will your stains be removed but you’ll make sure your gums stay in tip-top shape.

If a whiter smile is really your goal then skip the fancy toothpaste and call your dentist. There are options for whitening your teeth ranging from at home bleaching to in-office procedures like Zoom! one hour whitening. Not every option is perfect for every patient so remember to ask what type of whitening would be best for your smile.

For more information about attaining a whiter, brighter smile please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your appointment.

Can A Dental Implant Replace Your Missing Tooth?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Replacing missing teeth used to mean a bridge or partial denture. While bridges and partial dentures are still a choice for some patients others are  increasingly choosing dental implants – many times we even combine the two. As wonderful as dental implants are, unfortunately not everyone is a candidate.

Dental implants are basically a small metal post that is inserted into the bone beneath your gums. As the body heals, the bone bonds with the implant which acts just like the root of a tooth. A special type of crown is placed over the implant and the patient has a replacement tooth that looks and feels just like the real thing. Implants can also be used to anchor more than one tooth at a time – they can be used to fix bridges or even complete dentures in place. No  more embarrassment over slipping dentures!

Patients who are candidates for dental implants should be in good overall health and the jawbone must be healthy enough to hold the implants in place. We also check to see that gum tissue is healthy and free of disease. If you don’t meet these criteria then a regular bridge or denture may be a better choice for you or we can work with you to get your mouth healthy enough for the implant.

Even patients who experience anxiety about dental visits can take advantage of dental implants. Using sedation dentistry we can place your dental implant while you are in a state of total relaxation – no worries and no fear.

For more information about your options for replacing missing teeth please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.


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