June, 2015

Cosmetic Procedures and Telling All

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

I was reading an interesting magazine article the other day. It was talking about the popularity of various cosmetic procedures and how they had become so commonplace and accepted.

It used to be that cosmetic surgery was something that was kept secret. “Oh, you look great!” was answered simply with an explanation about getting extra sleep, with no mention of having had a procedure. Today, there is no taboo about getting a face lift, nose job or liposuction. But the interesting thing the article stated was that people who have had cosmetic dentistry still don’t brag about it.

We all know how important a beautiful smile can be in our personal and professional lives. Discolored and crooked teeth can be deal breakers in many situations. Getting the smile you have always dreamed of is easier today than it has ever been because of dental veneers.

Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that can be used to “straighten” a crooked smile and can make your smile whiter and brighter in just a couple of visits! So why wouldn’t people brag about their new smile?

That’s OK – go ahead and announce that great genes and good dental hygiene have allowed you to have that gorgeous grin. A happy, healthy smile is what is really important.

Can dental veneers change your smile? Find out more by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

Osteoporosis And Your Smile

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

It is well known that osteoporosis can affect your smile. As they age, postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are at greater risk of losing teeth.

A new study from Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine suggests that one treatment to replace missing teeth can result in higher degrees of satisfaction in both work and social arenas for these women. What is this treatment? Dental implants!

This research is part of a series of studies analyzing dental outcomes for women who suffer from osteoporosis. This study surveyes 237 women, asking how satisfied they were with replacement teeth and how they improved their lives at work or in social situations. All of the women surveyed had one or more adjacent teeth missing. They had the missing teeth restored with implants (64 people), a fixed partial denture (60), a removable denture (47) and 66 women had no restoration work completed.

The women with the dental implants reported the highest overall satisfaction with their lives. Fixed dentures scored the next highest rating. Having no restoration of the missing teeth scored the lowest satisfaction rating. The women with the dental implants also scored highest in emotional and sexual satisfaction areas.

The results of this study aren’t surprising. Patients love their dental implants because they are the closest thing we have to a natural tooth replacement. Dental implants can replace just one tooth or can even be used to anchor and entire denture!

If you have missing teeth please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit and find out if you are a candidate for dental implants.

Chewing Gum Helps Remove Bacteria

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Dentists have been telling patients about the benefits of chewing sugarless gum for several years. Chewing gum has been shown to fight cavities and increase the flow of saliva. A new study funded by the Wrigley gum company has shown that chewing gum can also remove bacteria from the mouth.

This small study showed that chewing gum may remove as much bacteria as brushing without toothpaste, or flossing your teeth. “This study was initiated as a method development study to determine the number of bacteria that are trapped in a piece of sugar-free gum,” said study author Stefan Wessel. “According to our knowledge, this is the first time that an estimate of the number of bacteria trapped in a piece of chewed gum is determined.”

The study found about 108 bacteria detected per gum piece. The volunteer gum chewers had been asked to chew the gum for up to 10 minutes. The research showed that most of the bacteria were trapped during the initial chewing period. The researchers emphasized that brushing and flossing are much more effective in reaching many areas of the mouth, and that chewing gum would not replace these methods of cleaning the teeth. Chewing sugarless gum can be a useful addition to a good oral health regimen. Many sugarless gums are sweetened with a substance called xylitol which has also been shown to be effective against bacteria growth.

When should you chew sugarless gum? After meals is a perfect time, the extra saliva will help wash away food debris and now we know that some bacteria will be removed as well which may help with afternoon bad breath.

Find out more about keeping your smile healthy and beautiful by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Dental Implants - Just Like Having Your Real Teeth Back

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Dental implants are such an incredible advancement in the field of dentistry. Options used to be limited to bridges and dentures when replacing missing teeth but today dental implants can make you feel like you have your real teeth back!

Using dental implants we are able to offer patients a solution to their missing teeth that help achieve permanent, confident smiles. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth.

Dental implants are also perfect for those who have lost all of their teeth because today we have special hybrid dentures that snap on to the dental implants. This makes the dentures function just like the teeth they are replacing.

The implant itself is a small device that looks like a screw, typically made of titanium, which is surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant will fuse to the jawbone itself, mimicking the structure of the tooth root. Once the dental implant has healed, a dental crown can be attached to replace a single tooth. To replace multiple teeth the implant can be used to anchor partial dentures or entire top or bottom dental arches.

The replacement teeth look and feel just as natural as the tooth that was lost – in some cases even better! Dental implants are designed to last the lifetime of the patient and can restore full function and beauty to your smile.

Find out more about dental implants by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

Icky Toothbrush?

Friday, June 12th, 2015

Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology reported that people who share bathrooms may be sharing some icky stuff on their toothbrushes!

The study conducted at Quinnipiac University found that over half of toothbrushes used in communal bathrooms had fecal bacteria on them at that there was an 80% chance that those germs came from someone else using the same bathroom. Regardless of the storage method, at least 60% of toothbrushes were contaminated. Cleaning methods for the toothbrushes were also checked — it didn’t matter whether the brushes were rinsed in hot water, cold water or rinsed with a mouthwash, the contamination as still there. “Using a toothbrush cover doesn’t protect a toothbrush from bacteria growth, but actually creates an environment where bacteria are better suited to grow by keeping the brisles moist and not allowing the head of the toothbrush to dry out between uses,” said Graduate Student Lauren Aber.

So how can you protect yourself if you share a bathroom with a lot of other people? Clean your brush after each use and store it in a manner that allows it to dry out. If possible you may want to store the toothbrush in the bedroom rather than the bathroom. Change your toothbrush at least every three months or earlier if the bristles show wear.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next office visit and we’ll let you know how well you’ve been brushing!

Oral Device May Help Blood Pressure in Sleep Apnea Patients

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea often develop or have worsening blood pressure as a result. Research findings presented at the 24th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine in Seattle this week suggest oral appliances may address this problem.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which patients stop breathing during sleep because the airway has become blocked. As we sleep, the tongue and other tissues in the mouth and throat relax and can drop back into the airway. A partial blockage leads to snoring and a complete blockage causes the patient to stop breathing. Once the brain realizes that oxygen levels in the brain have dropped, the sleeper will gasp, briefly waken and begin breathing again. This leave the sleeper with fragmented sleep and often feeling extreme daytime fatigue and sleepiness. Obstructive sleep apnea also places great stress on the heart and circulatory system. The first line of treatment is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) which many people find difficult or impossible to tolerate.

Researchers presented finding that evaluated the benefits of oral appliances on blood pressure in patients who are not CPAP compliant. Researchers looked at 222 patients, of which 26 percent had high blood pressure. Compared to patients without high blood pressure, oral appliances significantly lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of the OSA patients. Blood pressure was normalized in 59% of the patients.

If you have been told that you snore loudly or have been told that you gasp or choke during sleep you  may be experiencing obstructive sleep apnea. Find out more about getting a diagnosis and treatment by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 800-884-9439.

Amino Acid Could Someday Improve Oral Health

Friday, June 5th, 2015

The amino acid, L-arginine, a naturally occurring substance, has been found to break down dental plaque. This is great news because getting rid of dental plaque could help everyone avoid cavities and gum disease.

What is dental plaque and why is it so bad? Dental plaque is a biofilm that forms on the surface of the teeth. Biofilms are slimy, sticky substances that form when bacteria are in a wet environment, like your mouth. The bacteria form colonies and excrete a substance that allows them to stick to teeth. It is these bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

L-arginine is found in dietary proteins such as red meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. It is already being used in dental products that are designed for sensitive teeth.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Newcastle University discovered that the amino acid could stop the formation of dental plaque. “This is important as bacteria like to aggregate on surafaces to form biofilms,” said Alexander Rickard of the University of Michigan. “Biofilms account for more than 50 percent of hospital infections. Dental plaque biofilms contribute to the billions of dollars of dental treatments and office visits every year in the United States.”

It has been estimated that almost 40 percent of Americans have moderate to severe gum disease. In people over age 65 the rate of gum disease rises to 64 percent. Untreated gum disease leads to much more than tooth loss. The inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease have been linked to health problems throughout the body including heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers have not yet discovered exactly how L-arginine causes the biofilm to disintegrate, but further studies will be done. In the meantime, brush, floss and visit your dental hygienist regularly to protect your smile and keep dental plaque away!

If your teeth are feeling a little fuzzy – it is probably dental plaque. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.


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