May, 2015

Sensitive Teeth? Is It Serious?

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Ouch! That sharp pain when you bite into ice cream or sip from a hot cup of coffee might be more serious than you think. But how do you know if the sensitivity in your teeth is a sign of a serious problem — ask your dentist!

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many things, including receding gums, loss of tooth enamel, cracked fillings or even infected teeth.

If your sensitivity is throughout your entire mouth you may be dealing with gum recession or erosion of the tooth enamel. Both can be caused by over zealous brushing and tobacco use. When the gums recede they expose the tender roots of the teeth which are much more sensitive to hot and cold sensations. Fortunately, dentists can repair this damage using the Pinhole Surgical Technique. Tooth enamel can also be damaged by drinking too much soda or energy drinks. These beverages contain high amounts of sugar and acids which are a damaging combination for your teeth.

When the sensitivity is restricted to just one part of the mouth or one specific tooth the problem is probably a little more serious. A radiograph (x-ray) can help us pinpoint the problem – a cracked tooth, a damaged filling or even a dental abscess. In these cases it is necessary to treat the tooth as soon as possible to prevent serious infection. Untreated dental infections are not only painful but they can spread to other parts of the body leading to serious health consequences. Early intervention can often save a tooth that might otherwise be lost.

Don’t ignore your sensitive teeth – find out why you are feeling discomfort and put an end to it! Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.



Depression and Sleep Apnea Linked

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

New research from Australia suggests that men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are also at higher risk for depression.

Carol Lang, a research fellow at the University of Adelaide found that men with undiagnosed, severe obstructive sleep apnea had more than double the risk of depression compared to men who did not have sleep apnea. Men who had both undiagnosed severe sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness (a key symptom of sleep apnea), had even higher risks for depression – up to five times that of a man without sleep apnea.

“Many of the symptoms of OSA and depression overlap, such as tiredness, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, low vitality and poor concentration” said Lang, adding that she can’t explain why the conditions seem to be linked. She stated that the nature of the study that was completed prevented drawing those conclusions. The study looked at about 860 men ranging in age from 35 to 83. The study period was for five years and the men were evaluated twice for depression and they underwent sleep studies to test for obstructive sleep apnea. Severe obstructive sleep apnea is defined as stopping breathing for 10 seconds or longer, more than 30 times per hour during sleep. The same team that performed this research is now preparing a similar study looking at women. Since women experioence more depression than men, and women with OSA have been shown to experience more severe depression symptoms this study should be enlightening.

If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, if you have been told you snore or that you stop breathing during sleep you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Most patients are  prescribed CPAP once they have been diagnosed but, unfortunately, about half of patients cannot tolerate sleeping with the CPAP machine and mask.

A great alternative is an oral appliance created by a dentist who has received training in dental sleep medicine. An oral appliance is simple to use and most patients find them extremely comfortable.

Find out more about oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

Cavities Common In US Adults

Monday, May 18th, 2015

We tend to think about kids getting cavities but according to the Centers for Disease Control the majority of American adults have cavities. Cavities and tooth loss are important oral health indicators for adults, and can lead to conclusions about overall health as well.

“Having good oral health is important for healthy aging and poor oral health impacts quality of life by causing pain and limiting food choices,” said Dr. Bruce Dye of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “Many people also avoid social interactions because of perceived poor oral health,” he added.

The recent research from the CDC looked at data for 2011 and 2012 and found that about 27% of adults had untreated tooth decay. Approximately nine out of every ten people aged 20 to 64 had decay in their permanent teeth. The news isn’t all bad, however.

In 1960 about half of adults aged 65 to 74 had lost all of their teeth. Today only 19% of that same age group have no natural teeth remaining. Dr. Dye said “This change is pretty remarkable and means that for many Americans, dentures are no longer inevitable.” Because more adults are keeping their teeth throughout their lives, it only makes sense that there are more teeth around to develop cavities!

You can protect your teeth, no matter what your age, by following some simple steps – brush, floss and get regular dental cleanings. Add in a few more lifestyle changes like avoiding soda and smoking and your overall health will improve along with your oral health.

As we age certain health conditions and medications can make your teeth and gums more susceptible to disease and decay. Again, regular dental visits can help keep your smile as healthy as possible.

Find out more about preventing future dental decay by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in beautiful Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Feeling Anxious?

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Do you feel anxious in social situations? Anxiety disorders such as social anxiety affect one out of every six people in the US. A new study from Tel Aviv University found that anxiety experienced in social settings elevates the risk of teeth grinding.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, causes tooth wear and breakage and can lead to jaw pain and painful TMJ problems. The research found that interaction with other people was likely to trigger teeth grinding in patients who are social anxious.

“This is not a dental problem but one with clear dental consequences,” said lead researcher Dr. Ephraim Winocur. “If we are aware, then we can bring it into consciousness. Psychiatrists can identify patients predisposed to bruxism and can try to help prevent it, and dental experts will immediately know what to treat.” Although antidepressant drugs have previously been linked to bruxism, this study found no association.

Many people grind their teeth, even if they don’t suffer from social anxiety. Most grind at night when they don’t realize they are doing it and wonder why they wake in the morning with headaches and jaw pain. Many patients who have suffered from “migraine headache” for years actually have been causing their headaches by grinding their teeth. Long term grinding not only damages teeth but can cause painful damage to the jaw joint.

Bruxism can be treated and the headaches, jaw pain and broken teeth can be put behind you. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

Gum Disease and Prostate Problems

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Everything in our body is linked. A new report from Caste Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found that treating gum disease reduced symptoms of prostate inflammation. Previous studies had found links between gum disease and prostatitis which is a disease that inflames the prostate gland.

Study author Nabil Bissada said “This study shows that if we treat the gum disease, it can improve the symptoms of prostatitis and the quality of life for those who have the disease.” Bissada explained that gum disease is a system-wide condition that causes inflammation, not only in the mouth, but throughout other parts of the body.

Study participants had a needle biopsy that confirmed inflammation of the prostate and a blood test that showed elevated PSA levels, an indicator of inflammation and possible cancer. The men also had moderate to severe gum disease which was treated. After 1 to 2 months the men were tested again and showed improvement. During the treatment for the gum disease the men received no treatment for their prostate problems, but even without treatment, 21 of 27 men showed decreased PSA levels. The researchers are continuing their study and hope to make periodontal treatment a standard part of treating prostate disease.

Men are not the only ones to benefit from healthy gums. The inflammation from gum disease has been shown to affect rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and even fetal health.

Keep your gums (and your body) free from inflammation by brushing, flossing and visiting your dental hygienist regularly. If you have been told you have gum disease it needs to be treated. We used to think that gum disease led to tooth loss and that was pretty much it – now we know that untreated gum disease can have terrible consequences for overall health.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

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