October, 2012

Tooth Saving Tricks for Enjoying Halloween Treats

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

If you’ve got trick-or-treat aged children at your house you know that Halloween can be a little scary when it comes to preventing cavities. No, you don’t need to throw away all the candy and replace it with kale! Here are some suggestions for enjoying holiday treats without causing too much damage to those young smiles.

  • Sort the candy and try to get rid of the really sticky stuff. Sticky candies are especially bad for teeth because they adhere to the tooth surface, especially between teeth, and hold that sugar against the tooth surface for a long period of time.
  • Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is actually OK for your teeth. Chocolate candy bars filled with sticky filling are not.
  • Don’t allow free access to the treats. Constantly bathing the teeth in sugar by snacking on candies all day long is likely to cause cavities.
  • Make the candy part of a meal. Allow Halloween treats after your child eats a meal. They will want less candy because they are already full and eating something sugary with a meal means saliva is already flowing freely. Saliva washes away the sugar and helps remineralize the teeth, protecting them from cavities.
  • AVOID THE SUGAR/ACID COMBO. Sour candies like War Heads contain sugar and acid. This combination is terrible for teeth and should be avoided.

Brushing and flossing and regular visits for dental cleanings are part of preventing cavities in your kids. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit and don’t forget to ask about dental sealants to protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from decay.

Do You Need a Root Canal?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

When do you need a root canal? Your dentist might suggest that you need a root canal to save a tooth that otherwise might be lost. Root canals are needed when the pulp of the tooth has become infected due to decay or injury. 

The first sign that you may have an infected tooth is sensitivity to heat or cold. Your tooth may feel sensitive when pressure is placed on it and you may have found yourself chewing on only one side of your mouth! If a tooth is feeling “different” than it normally feels then it is time to get it checked. It is never a good idea to wait. Teeth don’t have the ability to heal themselves and the pain from an infection can be severe and is something we want to avoid.

Many people become fearful when they hear the words “root canal” but high tech dentistry today allows us to complete root canal therapy on a tooth while the patient remains completely comfortable. If you are nervous about your procedure or about dental visits in general, sedation dentistry is a wonderful option. Light sedation allows you to receive the needed treatment in a completely relaxed state.

What happens during the procedure? During root canal therapy the tooth is opened up and the infected center of the tooth which contains nerves and the blood vessels is removed. The empty “canal” of the tooth is cleaned and shaped using dental files. The empty space is then filled with a special material. Teeth that have had root canal therapy become brittle and can break easily. Because of this, a dental crown is usually placed as a final restoration once the root canal has been completed.

The alternative to root canal therapy is removal of the tooth and replacement with a dental implant or a dental bridge. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed in the jaw bone. A special type of implant crown is placed on the implant and the completed restoration feels and acts just like a regular tooth! A dental bridge uses the adjacent teeth to serve as supports while a false tooth “bridges” the gap caused by the missing tooth.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, or sensitivity to heat or cold, please don’t delay contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

The Link Between Gum Disease and Arthritis

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis are both the result of inflammatory responses in the human body and a new study shows it may be possible to treat gum disease and severe arthritis simultaneously.The link between gum disease and arthritis is explored by Wilbanks Smile Center.

A researcher at the University of Adelaide in Australia induced gum disease and arthritis in mice. It was observed that the animals with gum disease had much worse arthritis. The mice who had only gum disease also experienced signs of bone loss in their joints and the mice with only arthritis showed signs of bone loss in their jaws. Researcher Melissa Cantley said “So not only did gum disease influence the joint tissue, but arthritis also influenced the tissue in the mouth.” She and her colleagues are now researching whether treating gum disease with certain anti-inflammatory compounds can also reduce the symptoms of arthritis.

Our bodies are incredibly complex systems and no part of the body “stands alone”. Gum disease affects more than 60% of the world’s population and even in the US, many people ignore the condition. The bacteria associated from gum disease has been found to be able to travel throughout the body and has been linked to many serious health problems.

If you experience puffy, red gums or if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or when you floss you may be experiencing the early signs of gum disease. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at  706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit.

Lack of Sleep Costs Companies Money

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Sleepy workers can cost companies money due to errors and accidents.  It has been estimated that the total cost to American business for fatigue related incidents is about $31 billion each year. A recent survey suggested that insomnia was linked to a 40% higher risk of accidents that cost a company $500 or more. 

The American Insomnia Survey found that people with insomnia were 90% more likely to report  costly accidents at work and 40% more likely to have made an expensive error on the job (researchers adjusted for age and other factors). Insomnia is estimated to be the cause of about 7% of workplace accidents overall.

Insomnia was the only sleep disorder studied in this survey but it is not the only one that leads to excessive daytime sleepiness and increased  accidents!

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea think they are getting a full night’s sleep. Many of them fall asleep just fine and they don’t understand why they are so sleepy and fatigued during the day. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the sleeper to stop breathing during sleep. This happens many times each hour throughout the night causing fragmented sleep as the patient briefly wakes to begin breathing again. The sleep apnea sufferers don’t remember these wakings or gasping for air during sleep.

How do you know you might have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea? Signs of sleep apnea include snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, overweight and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Left untreated, sleep apnea is linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, mood disorders and early death. This is a dangerous condition that should not be ignored.

Sleep apnea can be treated by using a CPAP machine  but many patients have trouble using the CPAP masks and machines and abandon treatment. Another highly effective treatment is available from your dentist who is specially trained in dental sleep medicine. A custom oral appliance can be used to keep the airway open throughout the night is effective and comfortable.

To find out more about obstructive sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

Perfect Smile or Perfect Body - Which Would You Choose?

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Do you think you know the answer chosen by most people when given the choice between a hypothetical perfect smile or perfect body? If you thought people would pick the perfect body you would be wrong!

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry conducted a survey asking this question and found the overwhelming majority of people chose the perfect smile over the perfect body. The survey also revealed at 80% of American adults said they would pay to fix a flaw that occurred due to aging and out of that group, 62% said they would choose to improve the quality of their teeth. Only 48% said they would use the money to lose weight instead.

Almost half of American adults feel that a smile can make you look younger. The second choice for battling the effects of aging was a person’s eyes. Only 10% thought that body shape could make you look younger.

Age played a difference here. People over age 50 were more likely to think a smile could make you appear younger. Only 38% of those aged 18-29 believed a smile could make you look younger versus 54% for those over 50.

Getting a younger looking smile is easier than you might think. As we age our teeth become stained and yellow. A simple dental bleaching can erase years off your appearance by brightening and whitening your teeth.

Teeth also tend to move as we get older and crowding is common. Even if you have had straight teeth most of your life, crowded teeth, especially in the lower jaw, can cause changes in your appearance that make you look older. Ask us about your cosmetic dentistry options for a younger looking smile.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation. A more perfect smile is just a phone call away.

Rapid Weight Gain Linked With Gum Disease

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A new study shows that tracking weight gain in men may help predict the progression of their gum disease. Previous studies have shown that obese patients have a higher risk of gum disease.

This new research showed that men who gained weight rapidly had more gum disease and faster progression of their gum disease than men who had smaller weight gains. The number of obese adults is on the rise and so is the number of people with gum disease. It is not clear whether obesity – which is considered an inflammatory condition — causes the gum disease or whether the gum disease aids in the weight gain. The study author, Dr. Andrea Gorman noted that a bidirectional relationship may exist. “Oral health has a direct impact on nutrition status, and as the U.S. has a growing malnutrition problem — which includes both under- and overnutrition — oral health will need to be factored into the patient-centered health model,” said Gorman.

Dr. Gorman emphasized that the link between poor oral health and poor diet quality is essential to providing comprehensive and improved patient care. “As the practice of dentistry evolves, practitioners should be comfortable to screen and refer patients for nutrition education and counseling, especially if there are associated chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity,” she concluded.

More research will discover whether or not gum disease causes weight gain or weight gain causes gum disease but in the immediate future we need to stick with the prevention strategies we know. That means brushing, flossing every day, eating a healthy diet, exercising and visiting your dental hygienist on a regular basis. If you already have active gum disease it can be treated to reduce the inflammation in your body.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your next visit.

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