Orthodontics Can Change Your Smile

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Orthodontics used to be considered a treatment just for kids – not anymore. Adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in higher numbers today, and with good reason because braces can change your smile.

Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you and maybe yours isn’t as perfect as you would like. Maybe you had braces as a child but your teeth have shifted over time (and maybe you didn’t wear those retainers like you should have). Maybe your teeth were always straight but have shifted some as you have aged. Maybe there is just that one little tooth, right there in the front, that has always bothered you when you look at photographs. There are so many reasons for adult orthodontics and today there are also many choices when it comes to treatment.

Orthodontic treatment today doesn’t mean years of metal brackets and rubber bands. Some cases can be completed in only six months. Some cases don’t need brackets at all and teeth can be straightened using clear plastic trays. The choice will depend upon your wants and the type of treatment your dentist feels is most appropriate.

Invisalign braces straighten teeth using a series of clear plastic aligner trays. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks and then changed to the next in the series. This gently moves the teeth to their proper place. Most people find Invisalign incredibly comfortable and the trays can be removed so you can eat (no need to limit foods that could damage brackets) and clean your teeth.

If you aren’t completely happy with the appearance of your smile then it is time to contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-391-8777  to schedule your consultation. Adult orthodontics may be just what you need to achieve the smile you’ve always longed for.

Straight Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Quick – what is the first reason that people get orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth? Yes, many people get braces to improve the appearance of their smile, but straighter teeth also lead to a healthier smile!

Everyone knows the routine for brushing and flossing to maintain a healthy smile. Sticking to this routine protects our teeth from plaque buildup, gum disease and tooth decay. Unfortunately for people with misaligned or crooked teeth brushing and flossing is severely inhibited. Crooked teeth are almost impossible to floss effectively, meaning that food debris and plaque is trapped in those hard-to-reach areas. Crooked teeth also mean that the toothbrush cannot reach the entire surface of the tooth, again leaving the tooth open to decay.

Crowded or misaligned teeth can also cause excess force on certain parts of the jaw. This can lead to painful jaw joint (TMJ) dysfunction and can even weaken the jaw bone surrounding the teeth. Frequent headaches, facial pain, neck pain and clicking or popping noises in the jaw joint are signs that damage has occurred.

Crooked teeth can also lead to cracked teeth. Orthodontic treatment does much more than make a smile look pretty, the treatment is also designed to ensure that teeth are placed to ensure a proper bite. Teeth that press against one another because they are out of place cause damage that is avoided in people with straight teeth. Teeth are meant to close against one another in a certain way, when this does not happen the constant tooth on tooth banging will cause chips and breaks. The uneven bite also causes uneven wear and tear on the tooth enamel which again leaves teeth open for decay.

Find out more about orthodontic treatment, your options for braces and how a straight beautiful smile can be a healthier smile in the long term.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

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.


Orthodontics Gives You More Than A Pretty Smile

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Lots of people think that orthodontic treatment is just for cosmetic purposes — to get a pretty smile. The truth about straightening teeth is much different and leads to a healthier smile.

Crooked teeth aren’t pretty, but those crooked teeth are also more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease because crooked teeth are harder to clean and give bacteria more places to hide. A misaligned bite can lead to cracked or broken teeth and cause painful problems with the jaw joint.

Orthodontic treatment in children can be used to prevent some of these future problems by helping to guide the development and positioning of the adult teeth. Children should visit the dentist regularly after age 1 and should be evaluated for dental braces by age 7. Early intervention can help stop damaging habits, like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, that could cause tooth alignment issues as the child gets older.

If you didn’t have braces as a child, it isn’t too late. Orthodontic treatment for adults is very popular. Patients today want to keep a healthy smile for life and they also know the value of a nice smile. Many adults find that Invisalign orthodontic treatment is perfect for their lifestyle. Invisalign uses a series of custom made clear aligners to gently straighten your smile without the brackets and rubber bands. Invisalign is comfortable to wear and the trays are easily removed for eating, brushing and flossing! They are almost invisible when worn so no one will know you are straightening your teeth!

Find out more about orthodontic treatment and how you can achieve a healthier smile along with your straight teeth. Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

Keeping Your Smile Healthy After 50

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

There is news to smile about for people past 50 – more and more are keeping their smiles! A few generations ago it was expected that teeth would be lost as we got older – today this is no longer true. People are keeping their teeth longer than before and the number of teeth that older American’s retain has increased. Keeping our teeth longer does mean that there are some problems to be aware of as we age.

Tooth Decay

We usually think of kids getting cavities but tooth decay can happen at any age – even over 50! Some patients who have never had a problem with cavities find they start getting them on the surface of their teeth, more commonly decay forms around old fillings or at the root of the tooth. Old dental fillings need to be checked regularly and replaced if they show signs of damage or leakage. Fluoride treatments, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste or using a fluoride rinse, help protect teeth against decay. Ask your dentist if over-the-counter products will work for you or if you should step up to a prescription strength product.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is caused by medications, smoking, or some medical conditions. Dry mouth is uncomfortable, but more importantly, saliva plays a huge role in keeping our mouths healthy. Saliva protects our teeth from decay by washing away food debris and helping to remineralize tooth enamel that has been softened after exposure to acids in food and drink. Chewing sugarless gum helps stimulate saliva in some people or you may find that a saliva substitute works best for you.

Gum Disease

Bleeding gums are never normal. Gums that are swollen, red or bleed easily tell us that you have gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease will only progress leading to eventual tooth loss and even affect the bone in your jaw. Gum disease and the inflammation that goes along with it has also been linked to a number of serious health problems including cardiovascular disease. Keeping your gums healthy by brushing, flossing and visiting the dental hygienist regularly can help maintain your overall health – which saves healthcare dollars in the long run!

Oral Cancer

Over 40,000 people in this country will be diagnosed with oral cancers and more than 8,000 will die from the disease. Oral cancers are linked to smoking, heavy alcohol use and HPV (the human papilloma virus). Surviving oral cancer means early detection is necessary. Your dental examination includes an oral cancer screening – don’t skip this important step.

Crowded Teeth

Our teeth move as we get older. Typically the bottom teeth become crowded and you may find that food “sticks” in new places in your mouth. Crowded teeth are more than a cosmetic worry. Teeth that are crowded are more difficult to keep clean and this may lead to erosion of the gums or gum disease. More and more older adults are deciding to straighten those crooked teeth – talk to your dentist about your options for creating a straight, beautiful smile without the “brace-face” you remember from childhood.

Please contact our full service dental office, Wilbanks Smile Center, in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-8777. We’ll be happy to work together to help you get (and keep) a healthy, beautiful smile for life!

Crooked Teeth More Than A Cosmetic Problem

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Crooked teeth and misaligned bites are usually thought of as a purely cosmetic problem — after all don’t people get braces so their smile looks nicer?

Actually those crooked teeth and misaligned bites can cause a lot of damage over time. They can interfere with proper chewing and cause strain to the jaws and muscles. There is an increased risk of breaking a tooth that is out of place and keeping crossed teeth clean is almost impossible. This increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Teeth are crooked for a number of reasons. Some people have mouths that are too small for their teeth which causes them to crowd and shift. Sometimes the upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size which results in an overbite or and under bite. Many times crooked teeth are inherited from mom and dad, just like your blue eyes!

Most people can see if their teeth are crooked but your dentist will look for problems to determine whether the crookedness requires treatment. The dentist looks at the abnormal alignment of the teeth, the appearance of the face, speech difficulties and difficulty chewing correctly.

Orthodontic therapy, aka braces, has come a long way over the past several years. Many cases can now be resolved using invisible tray type braces that can be removed for eating and brushing. The old silver brackets and wires are long gone and new braces sport clear or tooth colored brackets so they can hardly be seen.

Getting braces as a child is a wonderful way to avoid problems later in life, but if you never had braces, or forgot to wear your retainers, it isn’t too late. More and more adults are wearing braces and as a result, have more beautiful and healthier smiles.

Find out if orthodontic treatment is right for you by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-9439.

What Does Malocclusion Mean?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Healthcare professionals, including dentists, often throw around words that most people don’t really know the meaning of. Let’s talk about malocclusion, a term that is often used but many don’t realize that it simply means “poor bite”.

There are many different types of malocclusion but they all mean that the teeth don’t fit together correctly. A normal bite means that the upper teeth are slightly forward of the lower teeth when the teeth are closed together. The type of malocclusion is classified by exactly how the upper and lower teeth are aligned.

  • Open bite. This means that the molars fit together but the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap.
  • Overbite. When a person has an overbite, the upper front teeth are too far over the lower front teeth. In severe cases the lower teeth can even bite into the roof of the mouth.
  • Underbite. The lower front teeth are forward of the upper front teeth.
  • Crossbite. A crossbite occurs when some, or all, of the upper teeth fit into the wrong side of the lower teeth.
  • Upper protusion. This is often called “buck” teeth. The upper front teeth are pushed outward.

Problems that occur because of malocclusion

    These are only a few of the different types of malocclusion that may occur. Patients with malocclusion problems, especially children, should be treated as soon as possible. A poor bite can lead to higher rates of tooth decay and gum disease because crooked or crowded teeth are more difficult to clean.

    Problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are frequently seen in patients with a poor bite. Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include headache, jaw pain, facial pain, clicking in the jaw and neck pain. Correcting the bite so that the jaw is in the proper position will relieve this pain and prevent further damage to the jaw joint.

    Please contact Dr. Joseph Wilbanks in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation. A straight, healthy smile is only a phone call away.

    Invisalign vs. Conventional Braces

    Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

    When Invisalign aligners were first introduced more than a decade ago, the teeth-straightening treatment mainly appealed to adults who wanted to improve their smile without the embarrassment of bulky metal braces and bands. Since then, Invisalign has become increasingly popular among teens and even preteens who have lost all of their primary teeth.

    Let’s take a look at five factors that make Invisalign aligners so convenient, and how it stacks up against conventional braces:

    1. It’s Faster. The length of each patient’s Invisalign treatment varies depending on the severity of the changes needed to correct their smile, but the complete Invisalign procedure typically takes only a year. My comparison, braces take approximately 22 months. However, braces may take longer for adults than for children, with some adults having to wear braces for three years or more.
    2. No Food Limitations. With Invisalign, the patient wears their aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours per day, which allows them the flexibility to remove them when it’s time to eat meals and snacks. Those with braces are prohibited from eating “problem foods” such as popcorn, apples, caramel, hard candy and gum.
    3. Normal Flossing and Brushing. Because Invisalign aligners are easily removable, they can be taken out when it’s time to brush or floss, allowing patients to maintain good oral hygiene. While it’s often difficult to thoroughly brush around braces, and special “floss picks” must be used in place of flossing, those with Invisalign do not have to deal with these cumbersome restrictions.
    4. More Comfortable. The metal brackets and wires that make up traditional braces tend to cut into and irritate cheeks and gums, especially as the wire ends poking out near the back molars extend and need to be trimmed short. Invisalign’s aligners, which are made of a smooth plastic that is specially molded to fit snugly over the teeth, are more comfortable for many patients. Braces pose a hazard for those who play sports such as football or ice hockey, where a blow to the jaw can painfully push braces into the cheek’s soft tissue. With Invisalign, that isn’t a problem, since the aligners can be removed while playing sports.
    5. More Attractive, Less Noticeable. Best of all, Invisalign’s molded design, see-through plastic material and smooth texture make them nearly invisible when worn. Unlike braces, Invisalign’s clear aligners are virtually undetectable, so most people don’t even notice when someone is wearing them.

    Invisalign in Toccoa

    If you would like to learn more about Invisalign aligners, or any other orthodontics or dental treatments that the Wilbanks Smile Center offers, contact us today and schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.

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