July, 2013

3 Natural Remedies for Poor Sleep

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Tired  of hearing horror stories about sleeping pills (or are you just plain tired) and looking for a more natural remedy for poor sleep? You don’t have to resort to prescription sleeping pills and their scary side effects. The reason you are having sleep problems may be due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency that can be resolved through a healthier diet or supplements.

Here are 3 common sleep problems and the vitamins or minerals that have been linked to them. Remember, before starting any type of vitamin or mineral supplement you should check with your doctor to make sure that the supplement won’t interfere with current medications or cause other problems due to existing health problems.

3 Natural Remedies for Poor Sleep

  1. Trouble getting to sleep has been linked to low levels of magnesium. Magnesium plays a key role in regulating our sleep and insomnia is one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is found in dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils and Brazil nuts. Increased magnesium levels will also help ensure strong bones and teeth!
  2. Do you have trouble staying asleep? If you fall asleep just fine, but wake up in the middle of the night, you may be low on potassium according to a 1991 study in the journal Sleep. Instead of supplements, try getting your daily requirement though foods such as beans, leafy greens, avocados and baked potatoes. We usually think of bananas as a great food source and bananas contain potassium (about 10% of the daily value) but they aren’t the best source.
  3. Tired during the day? Check your vitamin D levels. A 2012 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness. Lots of people are low on the sunshine vitamin because we don’t spend much time in the sun anymore and, as we age, our bodies aren’t as good at making vitamin D from sunlight. Try a few minutes of sunlight every day which will prompt your body to create it’s own vitamin D but fortified dairy products contain vitamin D as well. This is one vitamin where supplements may be in order if suggested by your doctor.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is also a warning sign for a sleep breathing disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be very dangerous if left untreated. Find out more about sleep breathing disorders today by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-9439 to schedule a consultation.

Raisins May Prevent Gum Disease

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Even though they’re dried fruit, raisins are also a sticky, sugary snack. These food characteristics are what we typically associate with cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. So why are people saying raisins might actually prevent these dental problems?

Don’t let the texture and sugar content fool you. According to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, certain compounds found in raisins may in fact help fight cavities and gum disease. Researchers claim that several components of the food may kill germs in the mouth.

The phytochemicals (more specifically, a plant antioxidant known as oleanic acid) found in raisins, according to the study, may stop the development of certain bacteria, like Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes gum disease. They may also prevent bacteria from sticking to the surface of teeth, which would normally lead to plaque formation and consequent cavities.

The overall results imply that oleanic acid can inhibit harmful bacteria growth to prevent gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay. It is not yet clear just how many raisins must be eaten to earn these oral health benefits. Despite this, eating a handful of raisins once in a while is never a bad idea. This study implies that we no longer need to worry about this particular snack harming our teeth or damaging our oral health.

While certain foods and treatments might help prevent cavities, sometimes they are inevitable. In these cases, teeth must be treated with fillings. Thankfully, patients can choose the usual local anesthetic or some kind of sedation when receiving treatment. Anxious patients don’t need to worry when they come to Wilbanks Smile Center as we offer sedation dentistry for anyone suffering from dental fears.

Dentist in Toccoa

To learn more about gum disease, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.

Problems With Fillings

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Usually there aren’t very many problems with new fillings but older fillings are another story.

When a new filling is placed there may be a little sensitivity at first. You may feel this as sensitivity to air, pressure, temperature or sweet things. Usually this sensitivity goes away on its own after a few weeks. If the tooth is extremely sensitive or if the sensitivity doesn’t go away on its own you should contact your dentist. Here are a few things that might cause this discomfort:

  • If you feel pain when you bite, the filling might be a little too high. Because your bite is tested before the anesthesia has worn off you sometimes don’t notice the bite is off until later. We understand it is hard to test your bite when you can’t feel it! In this case a simple reshaping of the filling will take care of the problem.
  • Toothache type pain may require a root canal. If the decay was very deep then the pulp of the tooth may be involved. After a root canal is completed  a crown is usually needed because of the weakened tooth structure. Don’t be afraid of root canal therapy – with new anesthesia techniques they are a walk in the park!
  • Referred pain means that teeth other than the one with the new filling are feeling discomfort. This does not mean there is also something wrong with those other teeth, it simply means your nerves are passing along the pain signals. This pain should go away on its own.

Older fillings, especially those made from mercury amalgam (silver fillings), have a tendency to break or leak as they age. This type of filling material is 150 year old technology and when it comes into contact with heat and cold it contracts and expands. This causes problems with the filling and can even cause cracks in the tooth. New decay forming under these old leaky fillings is common. Any discomfort from a tooth that has an existing filling should be brought to the attention of your dentist as soon as possible. Early treatment can help save the tooth or possibly help avoid needing a root canal. If your dental floss is being shredded while you are flossing then it is a good bet that you have old fillings in need of replacement even if they are not causing discomfort. Wilbanks Smile Center does not use amalgam restorations.

Untreated tooth decay, especially under an old filling, can infect the pulp of the tooth and cause an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is painful and requires treatment from a dentist. Oral antibiotics alone cannot treat this type of infection. An abscessed tooth that is not treated will cause severe discomfort and the infection can travel from the tooth to other areas of the body causing serious infection and illness.

If you need a new filling or feel that it is time to replace those old mercury silver fillings then please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule a visit.

Do You Want 150 Year Old Fillings?

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Dental amalgam or silver  fillings  have been used for over 150 years.  Most people wouldn’t be happy with a hospital that suggested using a treatment that was century old technology so why would we accept this for our smiles?

Amalgam fillings were initially created as a low cost alternative to gold fillings – the only filling material available at the time.  The original recipe contained silver shavings, zinc, copper, tin and mercury.  We now understand that mercury is a powerful neurotoxin but it is still in use.  This controversial substance is still  used by some dentists because of its low cost and because it is quick and easy to use. Not a good standard for health care decisions.

In addition to the toxic mix that makes up dental amalgam, there are other risks to these old fashioned  fillings.  The amalgam material is very sensitive to temperature changes – it expands and contracts in the presence of heat and cold.  This often causes small cracks and fractures in the filling which can cause tooth sensitivity or even weakening of the tooth.  The tiny cracks can also allow bacteria to enter through the filling leading to additional decay and creating a bigger problem in the future.  The dark fillings are also  very unattractive and cause dark shadows and black spots on an otherwise pretty smile.

Dentistry today offers many different types of composite filling materials that are bonded to your tooth structure.  These composites protect against future decay and help strengthen the tooth as well.  Once bonded in place, a composite filling won’t change shape or be affected by what you eat or drink.  Best of all, because these fillings are matched to your natural tooth color, they are virtually invisible when you smile.

Mercury fillings have long been controversial and, as time goes on, more and more dentists are following the lead of offices like Wilbanks Smile Center and getting the mercury out of their offices and out of the mouths of their patients.  Better health and a more beautiful smile can be achieved with the replacement of old fillings.

If you are concerned about your old mercury fillings contact our Toccoa, GA office today at 706-886-9439 and find out how we are working to keep mercury waste from old dental amalgams out of our beautiful mountain environment.


Top Reasons to Explore Nobel Biocare’s All-on-4® Treatment Concept

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Patients who are missing teeth have a number of dental restoration options to help restore a more aesthetically-pleasing smile.  Dental implants are an increasingly common solution, acting as a root in the mouth for a replacement tooth.  However, some patients who require a full set of implants may be unable to do so, due to severe bone loss in the mouth.  This is when the All-on-4® Treatment Concept becomes a helpful solution.

The All-on-4 Treatment Concept is a technique that secures a full set of replacement teeth with only 4 dental implants in the upper or lower jaw.  These implants are strong, functional, and give the appearance of natural teeth, affording patients the smile that they truly want.  So what are some of the benefits of the All-on-4 procedure?

Here are the top reasons to explore the All-on-4 Treatment Concept:

  1. A strong and stable solution. As these implants fuse with the bone, they become a permanent part of the mouth – helping to increase their strength and stability.  In addition, the All-on-4 treatment provides a greater bite force, allowing patients to chew through their favorite foods without worry.
  2. They look and feel natural. One limitation of traditional dentures is that that they don’t always look or feel completely natural in the mouth.  With the All-on-4 Treatment Concept,  replacement teeth look and feel as if they’re your natural teeth, providing no oral discomfort.
  3. No need for adhesives or nightly removal. Unlike traditional dentures, All-on-4 implants are a permanent solution and don’t require any removal or adhesives.  This eliminates unwanted routines, and helps patients to save time.
  4. Suitable for almost all patients. Nearly 95% of patients are suitable candidates for All-on-4, even those who have experienced a great deal of bone less in the mouth.  In many cases, the surgery is performed virtually prior to the actual procedure, which allows dentists to visualize and plan around the patient’s individual needs.
  5. Available in Toccoa. Our Toccoa, GA practice is pleased to offer dental implants with the All-on-4 Treatment Concept.  We encourage any interested patients to contact us to learn more.

All-on-4 Dental Implants in Toccoa

If you’re ready to find out what the All-on-4 Treatment Concept can do for your smile, contact us today and schedule a consultation.  Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Cone-Beam CT Offers Advantages for TMJ Patients

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Using cone-beam CT offers advantages over traditional two dimensional x-rays for diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) and facial pain according to a recently published paper.Cone beam CT can help diagnose TMJ pain in Toccoa, GA. A

lmost 50% of elderly people may experience pain in the head, neck or mouth and orofacial pain is also very common among teens and younger adults. It is often hard to diagnose the reason for this pain because it can be attributed to TMD, neuralgia, headache or dental problems. TMD, also called TMJ, is considered one of the primary causes of this type of pain.

Cone-beam CT and its ability to render a three-dimensional view makes it a unique tool for accurately evaluating the health of the structures of the face and jaw. The authors of this paper wrote, “Diagnostic imaging, when indicated, is an important part of the examination process for TMD and orofacial pain patients.”

Headaches are a common complaint among patients suffering from orofacial pain and are a strong indicator for using cone-beam CT as a diagnostic tool. Many “migraine” patients find that their headaches are resolved once the problem with their jaw is diagnosed and treated.

If you experience jaw pain or clicking, headache, facial pain, sore or stiff neck you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder. Many problems with the jaw joint are caused by grinding or clenching the teeth. Most people who grind or clench are not aware they are doing this and many only grind at night. Other TMD issues are caused by a poor bite or old dental work. A dentist who has been trained in caring for patients with TMD can evaluate, diagnose and treat this problem allowing you to live without headache or facial pain.

Find out more about diagnosing and treating TMD by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.


How to Improve Your Child’s Smile

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

You can help improve the health of your child’s smile. Did you know that dental disease is the leading chronic illness among children? There is damage being done to your child’s teeth daily, even if they brush and floss every morning and night. It can be hard figuring out how to keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy when there is so much that can interfere with their oral health. That’s why we offer prevention and treatment for various dental issues found in children.

Sometimes, it may be as simple as giving your child a piece of sugar-free gum to clear debris from their teeth 15 minutes after a meal. Sugar-free gum can also stimulate saliva production in a child’s mouth, which keeps teeth healthy and neutralizes plaque acids. The best part –  kids typically view gum as a kind of treat or entertainment, so they can enjoy the product as it helps keep their teeth healthy.

While gum is a strong option for preventing dental disease, most children will typically face larger problems that require more serious treatment. There are various procedures and therapies to prevent, treat, and cure other dental conditions. Let’s keep reading to discover more treatments that we offer.

5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Smile:

  1. Orthodontic Therapy. Misaligned teeth are not just displeasing to the eye, but they can interfere greatly with a child’s dental development. Malocclusions may cause tooth decay or gum disease, and a misaligned jaw can cause serious problems like an imbalance of facial bones, muscles, and teeth as well. Luckily, we offer braces, Invisalign®, surgeries, and various therapies to stop the habits that cause these issues or to realign the teeth and jaw ourselves.
  2. Oral Surgery. Your child may require some form of tooth extraction to make room for other teeth or to avoid overcrowding in the mouth. This preserves dental health by avoiding things like tooth decay, gum disease, or any other effects of misaligned or overlapping teeth. Eventually, after they age, most will require wisdom teeth removal as well.
  3. Fillings. Fillings are necessary when it comes to fixing cavities and cracked or broken teeth. For obvious reasons, they are needed when it comes to keeping your child’s teeth healthy. We offer tooth-colored fillings rather than metal ones, so they blend in with the appearance of the rest of their teeth and are nearly undetectable.
  4. TMJ Treatment. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is involved in talking,chewing, and swallowing, making it one of the most used joints in the body. A bad bite may cause TMJ disorders, resulting in facial pain, headaches, earaches and clicking sounds in the jaw joint. Orthodontics may help, but there are a variety of other treatments available for TMJ disorders, like mouth guards, therapeutic exercises, and surgery.
  5. Routine Exams. Just like their parents, children should visit the dentist at least once every six months. An examination and cleaning are necessary for preventing and/or diagnosing all kinds of oral health issues. We use physical examinations and X-rays to help identify things like gum disease, tooth decay, or indications of oral cancer, and a dental hygienist removes tartar and plaque during the cleaning to prevent disease. Routine check-ups are an easy and effective way to prevent dental health complications for your child.

Dentist in Toccoa

Have any questions? Find out more about how to care for you and your child’s oral health by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Stop Snoring Tips

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Want to stop snoring, or stop your partner from snoring? You are not alone. About half of adults snore at some point so here are some tips to try.

  • Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back allows the soft tissues of your mouth and throat to collapse back into your throat which creates a vibration during sleep – thus creating snoring. A full length body pillow helps some folks stay on their side or you could try the old trick of sewing tennis balls into the back of a t-shirt that you wear to bed.
  • Go on a diet. Losing weight helps lots of people stop snoring because they no longer have excess flesh around their neck. This doesn’t work for everyone – skinny people can snore too!
  • Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills. Alcohol and other sedatives make the muscles in the back of your throat even floppier so it is more likely you will snore. Even people who don’t normally snore will do so after drinking alcohol.
  • Try nasal strips. Opening the nasal passages can help some people as well. Try taking a hot shower before bed to steam open the nasal passages a little more.
  • Destroy the dust mites. Allergens in your pillows and bedding may add to your snoring. When was the last time the ceiling fan in the bedroom was dusted? Keeping your sleeping environment as clean as possible helps everyone sleep better.
  • Drink lots of water. If you are slightly dehydrated the secretions in your nose and throat will be thick and sticky which can cause snoring.

People who are chronic snorers, snore loudly and are heard gasping during sleep may have a medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea. This causes the sleeper to actually stop breathing during sleep and is very dangerous. Untreated sleep apnea is linked to heart attack, stroke and many other serious health conditions. An oral appliance can effectively treat sleep apnea without the masks and hoses associated with CPAP machines.

Find out more about diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea or how you can stop snoring by using an oral appliance by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

Can Flossing Help You Lose Weight?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Only about 49% of Americans floss every day. This number probably isn’t surprising to most of us—many people forget or may not have the time or energy to floss every day, and brushing may seem like it’s enough.

However, flossing is the only way to get food particles and other materials out of the deep crevices between your teeth. Dentists don’t just tell you to floss because they have to, but because it will help you prevent things like gum disease and other infections in the mouth, as well as help you preserve your teeth for a brighter looking smile.

It’s even possible that flossing carries some other unexpected benefits, including weight loss. Although it sounds hard to believe, there are several ways in which a flossing routine can help you reduce fat in your body. Let’s go over some of the ways that flossing can contribute to weight loss.

3 Ways Flossing May Help You Lose Weight

  1. Cleansing the mouth. Flossing leaves your mouth feeling even cleaner than just brushing does, as it removes all of the debris lodged between your teeth. With a fresher taste in your mouth, you are less likely to go eat food. Essentially, flossing can help lower your appetite and eliminate unnecessary snacks between meals.
  2. Creating a routine. Perhaps the reason so many people avoid flossing every day is because it feels like a commitment. If you are able to work flossing into your daily routine, you will feel confident in your resolve, self control and determination. These qualities may bleed into other aspects of your life, including exercise and eating a healthy diet, which you may find easier to stick to thanks to your ability to stick with flossing.
  3. Preventing inflammation. Somewhere between 70 and 80% of Americans have some form of gingivitis, a dental disease that causes inflammation in the gums. Infection and inflammation in the mouth may be linked to weight gain, according to a study conducted on animals. Inflammation promotes stress in the body, which can prompt circulatory and metabolic issues that may hurt any attempts at weight loss. Daily flossing can easily prevent gingivitis and inflammation, allowing you to lose weight while gaining a brighter smile.

Dentist in Toccoa

To learn more about flossing, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to serving you.

What to Expect at a Routine Dental Visit

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

It’s recommended that patients with healthy smiles visit the dentist at least once every six months for dental exams and cleanings. Through both a physical exam and diagnostic x-rays, these visits can help your dentist find and prevent things like tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. The earlier these problems are detected, the easier treatment is.

Dental cleanings are performed by a certified dental hygienist keep teeth healthy and clean, and can further prevent various forms of dental diseases and conditions. Healthy teeth are not only important for a brighter smile, but also a healthier you.  Read further for a more comprehensive list (from the Mayo Clinic) of what to expect at your next scheduled dental appointment.

Your dental professional will:

  • Examine your overall health and your oral hygiene
  • Evaluate your risk for tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease
  • Evaluate your need for tooth restoration or tooth replacement
  • Check your bite and jaw for problems
  • Remove any stains or deposits on your teeth
  • Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for your teeth or dentures
  • Assess how much fluoride you’re getting through your diet and use of oral hygiene products
  • Take dental X-rays or, if necessary, do other diagnostic procedures

In addition, your dentist will ask you about any other health problems you have or medications you are taking. He or she will explain if any of these things may affect your oral health or hygiene in any way. Your dental professional may even go on to advise you about certain lifestyle factors, such as diet, smoking, and more.

Make sure to schedule visits with your dentist at least once every six months for a healthy mouth and brighter smile! Patients with gum disease may have to visit a little more often until the condition is under control.

Dentist in Toccoa

If you’re due for a routine dental visit, contact us today and schedule your appointment.  Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to serving you.

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