January, 2013

Vitamins That Promote Healthy Smiles

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

People discovered a long time ago that vitamins have an effect on healthy smiles — remember sailors on long voyages experiencing scurvy? Sailors lived on dried grains and meats and didn’t have access to the vitamin C in fresh vegetables so they ended up with spongy gums and tooth loss. Actually the effect of vitamin deficiency on healthy smiles has been described as far back as Hippocrates and herbal cures for the problem are found in cultures worldwide.Wilbanks Smile Center can replace lost teeth using dentures or dental implants.

Scurvy isn’t the only bad thing that can happen to your healthy smile if you are short on the right vitamins. Here are a few you need to know about:

  • Vitamin A helps maintain saliva flow and healthy mucous membranes. Get yours from sweet potatoes, melon, spinach and beef liver.
  • Vitamin B-1 fights inflammation and helps keep your gums a healthy pink. Sunflower seeds and many vegetables are good sources.
  • Vitamin B-2 prevents those little cracks, or flakes that form at the corners of your mouth. This condition is called cheilosis and milk products, mushrooms and lean beef are good sources of B-2.
  • Vitamin B-5 helps with the healing of oral tissues. If you have had recent oral surgery you might want to increase your intake of egg yolks and liver.
  • Folic Acid is another B vitamin, B-9, and helps fight yeast growth and the symptoms of chronic gum inflammation. Beef liver, spinach, greens and asparagus are all full of this nutrient.
  • Vitamin C will ensure you don’t get scurvy like those sailors. Actually vitamin C is required for our bodies to make collagen which is necessary for healthy gums. Citrus fruit is full of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin D is needed to build strong bones and teeth. While sun exposure causes our bodies to create this vitamin, most people need supplements to ensure a proper level.
  • Calcium is another bone and teeth builder. Get yours from low fat dairy products and leafy greens.
  • Magnesium goes hand in hand with calcium when it comes to building bones and teeth. Supplements may be needed for magnesium as well.

A good multi-vitamin can make sure that you have all of these essential nutrients but getting as many as possible from a healthy diet is even better. Researchers are discovering that calcium ingested as food is better for us than calcium taken as a supplement.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit. Your healthy diet and our fabulous dental team can ensure a healthy smile for life!

What is Cone-Beam CT?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

What is Cone-Beam CT and why do we think it is so important for our patients? This technology enables dentists to view life-like 3-D images of bone structure, tooth orientation, nerve canals and pathology of the scanned area. This enables us to diagnose and treat with greater accuracy. For example, placing a dental implant using this 3-D technology allows us to see exactly where nerves and sinuses are which is essential in this procedure.Cone-beam CT scans allow Wilbanks Smile Center to diagnose in 3-D.

The Cone-Beam 3-D CT gives us the same advantages of our digital x-rays:

  • Immediate images, no need to wait for developing
  • We can enhance and alter the image to get a better view
  • Because we can show them on a monitor immediately they are a great tool for patient education
  • Storing and retrieving the images is fast and easy

Along with these advantages, the Cone-Beam 3-D CT also gives us:

  • The ability to view the scan in 3 dimensions, rather than a flat x-ray,  which allows us to reveal conditions that we could never  observe before.
  • Makes certain procedures like implants much easier because we can measure three-dimensional distances between anatomical features
  • We can now map joints for more effective treatment of TMJ disorders
  • We can diagnose root fractures and visualize the locations of root canals, locate sinuses, evaluate trauma and locate small problems before they become big ones

Most dental offices don’t choose to invest in cutting edge technology but here at Wilbanks Smile Center  we want our patients to have access to the highest levels of treatment available. Other dentists in the area have to send their patients to us for these scans, requiring an extra visit. Our patients have this technology on site – no extra appointments.

For more information about this technology and to find out what other cutting edge treatment options are available at Wilbanks Smile Center please contact us at 706-886-9439 today.


Tooth Grinding Solutions

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Tooth grinding every now and then does not usually cause harm but chronic tooth grinding is a problem that needs a solution.

Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can be caused by stress, an abnormal bite, crooked teeth or even missing teeth. The grinding often happens during sleep so many people don’t realize they are doing it unless someone tells them. Signs of bruxism include: morning headachesTooth grinding can cause facial pain and tooth damage which Wilbanks Smile Center can help you avoid., sore jaws and facial pain. If you suspect you might grind your teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. We can examine for signs of grinding such as damage to the teeth and jaw problems.

The constant grinding and clenching cause two types of damage. Your teeth can break, wear down or become loose because of the bruxism. Some people actually wear their teeth down to stumps. When this happens tooth loss may occur and the damage must be repaired using crowns, bridges, root canals, partial dentures or implants.

Additional damage is done to the jaw joint itself leading to severe facial pain, headaches, neck pain, hearing changes and even changes to facial appearance.

The medical community has not found  a sure-fire way to stop tooth grinding but dentists can create a mouth guard that can protect your teeth and jaw joint from damage. There are steps that the patient can take to reduce the chances of tooth grinding including: cut back on caffeine, avoid alcohol (grinding tends to get worse after a drink), don’t chew gum, pencils or anything else that isn’t food, use warm compresses to relax your jaw muscles before bed and if you find yourself clenching during the day take the time to relax your jaw.

Early intervention is important when treating bruxism. Don’t ignore your grinding until severe damage has been done – there is help!

Please contact Toccoa, GA family dentist Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation.

The Flu and You

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Did you get your flu shot? This post won’t have much to do with your oral health but I would like to talk about your health and your chances of getting the flu this year.Dr. Wilbanks offers tips for preventing the flu.

The best protection we have against the flu is the vaccine – but lots of people have heard that it is only 62% effective so they think “why bother?” and don’t get the shot. Now I understand not wanting to get another shot, I give injections all day long and I still don’t like to be on the receiving end. Getting the flu is just so miserable that a small, painless injection is a good start on the road to prevention. Good news is that if you do get the flu after having the shot you will probably have a milder case.

What else can you do to avoid the flu?

  • Wash your hands frequently, and really wash, with soap and water! You don’t actually need fancy antibacterial soaps, just plain soap and water.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands.
  • Clean the stuff you touch. Think about all the items you touch each day and how many people have touched them before you… Use disinfecting wipes to clean your phones, keyboards, remote controls and doorknobs. Wash your hands after using the ATM, touching the stair rails, etc.
  • Stay home if you feel sick. Even if you don’t have the flu, you don’t need to share your virus with your friends.

How do you know you have the flu and not another virus? Flu symptoms usually come on very quickly and give you the “I feel like I was run over by a truck” feeling. Symptoms will include fever, chills, sweats and muscle aches. You probably won’t have stomach symptoms – that means you have another type of virus.

Call your doctor if you have an underlying medical condition, are very young or very old, or if you fever becomes very high. Reports from around the country have said that this flu strain is treatable with antiviral medicine such as Tamiflu but it needs to be started early in the illness.

Keep your immune system strong by eating lots of fruits and veggies, take your vitamins and get enough sleep and exercise. Probiotic supplements may help boost your immune system as well.

If you do get the flu and you have a dentist appointment scheduled please contact us as soon as you feel ill. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit. Stay well!

CEREC Omnicam Makes Single Visit Restorations Easy

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Getting your dental restorations, including crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays, in only one visit sounds too good to be true. But using the CEREC Omnicam makes it easy!Wilbanks omnicam

Wilbanks Smile Center has always used cutting edge dental technology to make the dental experience better for our patients. The  CEREC Omnicam, a powerful 3-D intraoral camera that not only lets us view the inside of your mouth in 3-D, it also creates the digital impression that is then used to make your restoration right in the office, immediately!

This means that all needed treatment can be completed in one appointment. No temporary crowns to fall off, no messy impression material to gag on, and no reason to come back in a week or two to complete your dental work (unless you just want to stop in to say Hi). The restorations created by CEREC are incredibly durable and clinically proven with more than 25 years of supporting research. The crowns and other restorations are custom color matched to your existing teeth and are all porcelain, meaning they have the translucent lifelike appearance of your real teeth.

Find out more about single visit dentistry using the CEREC Omnicam by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439. Your perfect smile is closer than you think!

New Treatment for Sensitive Teeth?

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Scientists have reported in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials a novel advance toward dealing with sensitive teeth using ideas from Mother Nature.Sedation dentistry allows anxious patients to receive needed treatment at Wilbanks Smile Center.

Teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks affect a lot of people. Tooth sensitivity tends to increase as we get older and the hard outer part of our teeth, the enamel, and the underlying layer of dentin is worn away. Enamel is lost over time because of acids we consume in substances like soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary snacks. There are special toothpastes and sugar free gums that can help with tooth sensitivity but the researchers wanted to find a substance that would help rebuild both enamel and dentin at the same time.

They turned to a sticky substance that allows mussels to attach to rocks. They believed that the sticky substance could help keep minerals in contact with dentin long enough for the rebuilding process to occur. Otherwise the minerals would wash away in saliva. They performed tests that involved bathing human teeth with worn enamel and dentin in a liquid containing the sticky substance and minerals. The teeth reformed dentin and enamel. However when the teeth were bathed in minerals only, they reformed only the enamel layer.

Rebuilding teeth that have been damaged would help all the people with sensitive teeth but could also be a big step toward reducing tooth decay. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment.

Gum Disease Bacteria Use Our Own Immune Systems Against Us

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Bacteria and viruses are sneaky. The flu virus changes every year and now we know that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can manipulate our immune systems! Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA can help you fight the effects of oral bacteria which cause gum disease.

Research published in The Journal of Leukocye Biology showed how one bacteria that causes gum disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis) manipulates our immune system and disables the normal body processes that would destroy the bacteria. The study highlights how this bacteria establishes a chronic infection in the gums — it prompts production of an anti-inflammatory molecule which  stops the function of cells that would otherwise destroy the bacteria and protect against the disease.

Researcher Jannet Katz, DDS, PhD said “Since greater than 50 percent of the U.S. population over 50 year-of-age develop adult periodontal disease, we hope that the results of our study will ultimately help int he development of novel treatments that could prevent or ameliorate the chronic infection caused by the pathogen P. gingivalis.”

Dr. John Wherry from the Journal said “These new studies now demonstrate that these bacteria go beyond merely evading our body’s defenses and actually manipulate our immune systems for their survival.”  Hopefully soon there will be a treatment to block this manipulation and allow the body’s natural defenses to fight the infection.

Fighting gum disease is important because the oral infections have been linked to so many other problems. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to deliver early, bacteria from gum disease has been found to travel to organs throughout the body and the inflammation caused by gum disease affects the cardiovascular system and joints.

If you haven’t visited your dental hygienist in a while then 2013 is the year to get back on schedule! Gum disease can be treated but it won’t go away on its own.

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


More Links Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

More scientific evidence linking type 2 diabetes with a greater risk of gum disease has been published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. This is one of the largest investigations of the link using data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study(an ongoing study of 51,529 male U.S. health professionals).Fight the link between diabetes and gum disease with help from Wilbanks Smile Center.

The research showed that men with type 2 diabetes had a 39% increased chance of having gum disease and a 22% increased risk of tooth loss compared to those without diabetes.Among men with a low intake of fruits and vegetables, having diabetes was associated with a 49% greater risk of gum disease. Men who at lots of fruits and vegetables seemed to protect themselves against the increased risk of gum disease.

The researchers noted “These results hold important public health implications due to the associations between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease and nutritional alterations associated with tooth loss.” They added “Greater collaboration between diabetes care providers and dentists could be used to identify at-risk patients in both clinical settings.”

More and more diabetic patients are beginning to understand the importance of good oral health and treatment of their disease. This study also appears to show that a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables could offer some protection against gum disease. Most of us don’t get enough nutrition through these natural sources.

Even if you aren’t diabetic, eating lots of fruits and vegetables is just flat-out good for you. Add some to every meal – berries or bananas with breakfast, add a salad to your lunch, add just one more veggie to your dinner plate! Green leafy vegetables and those with bright colors offer the most nutritional boost.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next dental hygiene appointment – this is especially important for our diabetic patients. Call today!

Does the Amazon Hold the Natural Key to End Dental Pain?

Friday, January 4th, 2013

An Amazon plant used by the ancient Incans as a toothache remedy could be a new, natural, weapon against dental pain. The first two phases of clinical trials for the remedy which is derived from the Acmella Oleracea plant have proven highly successful.Research is ongoing for a new, natural dental pain gel created from plants from the Amazon rain forest.

A Cambridge University anthropologist, Dr. Francoise Barbira Freedman, is leading the effort to bring this natural pain killer to the commercial market. Most dentists currently prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to fight dental pain. A natural alternative would be a welcome choice for many patients.

According to Dr. Freedman, “The story began in 1975 when I first went to live among the indigenous people of Peru. We were trekking through the rainforest and I was having terrible trouble with my wisdom teeth. One of the men with me noticed and prepared a little wad of plants to bite onto. The pain went away.”

Dr. Freedman said she forgot about the incident for many years until a neuroscientist colleague asked her to bring some medicinal plant samples back from Peru. “Almost as an afterthought I remembered to include the one I’d used on my teeth. It was added to the bottom of the list, but somehow the list got reversed and it was the first one tested back in the UK. It was immediately successful and we’ve never looked back.”

Dr. Freedman said “We think the remedy is better than current treatments because NSAID drugs are systemic and have long-term effects; the plant product is not systemic and does not have any known side effects.” The plant is being made into a gel that is applied to the mouth and works by blocking nerve endings.

Research like this also shows us all how important saving these parts of our planet can be. You never know where the next drug to cure a fatal disease could come from so we should all support conservation of our natural world.

Until we have this new product the best way to avoid dental pain is to maintain good oral health care at home and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to find out more about our preventive dentistry and to schedule your next appointment.

Dentistry and Dementia

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

The risk of developing dementia later in life has been linked to dentistry, actually to oral health!

A University of California study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at residents of Leisure World, a retirement community in California. This long term study looked at oral health habits and dental visits, tooth loss and number of natural teeth remaining. The 5,468 adults, who had no prior diagnosis of dementia, were followed from 1992 to 2010. The researchers discovered that those people who reported brushing their teeth less than once per day had up to a 65% greater risk of developing dementia that those who brushed 3 times per day.

The researchers also discovered that dentures made a difference for those who had lost teeth. Men who did not wear dentures and therefore had an impaired ability to chew their food had a 91% greater risk of dementia! Women had also had an increased risk but at a lower rate.

The goal for all of us it to live a long, healthy life and good oral health is key to achieving this. The ability to chew food effectively is the first step in our digestive process, the process that gives our bodies the fuel they need to function. Remove this ability and the entire body suffers.

Tooth loss can be avoided through good oral care at home and regular dental visits. For those who experience tooth loss it is important to replace the missing teeth – they are not there just to make your smile more attractive. For one or two missing teeth a dental bridge can be used. Dental implants Wilbanks Smile Center can replace lost teeth using dentures or dental implants.offer a more lifelike, permanent replacement option.

Patients who have lost all of their teeth have options too. Regular dentures are the choice for many patients but did you know that you can used dental implants to anchor a special type of denture so that slipping dentures will never happen to you. Dental implants offer the additional feature of helping to preserve the health of the jaw bone which normally shrinks when teeth are removed.

Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next appointment. Working together, we can help you achieve and keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life!

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