November, 2015

Adult Orthodontics - Lots of Choices

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

There are lots of reasons that adults end up with crooked teeth. The good news is that there are lots of choices for adult orthodontics today.

It could be that your teeth weren’t perfect as a child but you never had braces. It could be that you had braces but didn’t wear retainers (you know who you are!). Your teeth could have shifted with age – a very common problem. Crowded, crooked teeth are not only unsightly — they are more difficult to keep clean and thus are more prone to tooth decay.

Options for adult orthodontics include: traditional braces, invisible braces and now you can even have orthodontic treatment if you are missing some teeth by using dental implants.

  • Traditional braces no longer look like you have a mouth full of metal. Today we have clear brackets that are not noticeable when you smile or speak. Traditional braces are used to correct a wide range of problems including overbite- underbite, crowding and crooked teeth.
  • Invisalign are invisible braces. Invisalign does not use brackets and wires to move the teeth. Instead, a series of clear aligners are created at a special lab. Each one of these aligners is worn by the patient for a specific amount of time and then the patient moves to the next aligner. Invisalign trays are virtually invisible when worn — your friends and co-workers won’t even know you are straightening your smile!

Find out more about your options for a more beautiful smile by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Drowsy Driving and Your Dentist

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Drowsy driving is a serious public health issue and driving without adequate sleep can compromise your judgement and reflexes as much as driving under the influence. Reaction times are delayed, decision making skills are reduced and it is almost impossible to remain alert and attentive to the road when your eyes desperately want to close. The American Association of Sleep Medicine is stepping up their efforts to make these facts known.

It is estimated that drowsy driving causes about 328,000 crashes, including 6,400 fatalities, each year. One big reason for sleepiness behind the wheel are sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that causes people to stop breathing during sleep. This happens many, many times each night depending upon the severity of the case.

Why is your dentist talking about drowsy driving and obstructive sleep apnea? Because a dentist who has been trained in dental sleep medicine can offer a highly effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that avoids the masks, hoses and machines associated with CPAP therapy. An oral appliance is  able to keep the airway open throughout the night, treating obstructive sleep apnea in a comfortable and unobtrusive manner.

How do you know you have sleep apnea? If you have been told you snore loudly, gasp during sleep, feel sleepy throughout the day, have experienced weight gain, increased blood pressure and wake feeling unrefreshed following sleep you may have obstructive sleep apnea. The first step is getting a proper diagnosis and then deciding on treatment.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 406-391-8777 to schedule your sleep apnea consultation today. Drowsy driving is dangerous, but getting a healthy night of sleep can keep your eyes on the road.

Could Diamonds Repair Teeth?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Microscopic sized diamonds might join gold, silver, porcelain and composites that are used to repair damaged teeth. Scientists have developed a new material with nanodiamonds (really, really tiny diamond pieces) that may improve current root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy clears out the damaged, infected pulp in the middle of the tooth. The pulp becomes infected due to deep decay, old fillings that have developed decay underneath and cracks or breaks in a tooth. As anyone who has experienced this can attest, infected pulp causes a very painful toothache.

Currently dentists fill the cleared out space with a substance called gutta-percha. In some rare cases, however, a patients tooth can become re-infected which calls for re-treatment. Researchers have been exploring other fillers to prevent this from happening. Turns out that nanodiamonds are strong and can be modified with antimicrobrial drugs. Lab testing has shown that the nanodiamonds, combine with gutta-percha and amoxicillin (an antibiotic) create a material that is stronger than gutta-percha alone and is effective at killing bacteria that cause root canal re-infections.

Future studies are needed to see how this new material might work in clinical practice, but this is just another example of the advances in dental materials over the years. Dental fillings have changed as well.

Decayed teeth used to be filled with dental amalgam, a mixture of several metals and mercury. While it is still legal to use dental amalgam in this country, most advanced practices no longer do. Mercury is a neurotoxin and dental amalgam is bad for the environment and the health of dental workers. Composite tooth colored fillings are more durable and safer for patients and dentists.

Find out more about your options for dental care by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

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