Root Canal Therapy - Why Do I Need It?

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Root canal therapy treats the inside pulp of the tooth. Why root canal therapy is suggested is because the inside of the tooth has become infected and root canal therapy can preserve the tooth. 

The pulp of the tooth usually becomes infected because an untreated cavity has allowed bacteria to enter the center of the tooth or because of trauma to the tooth. Your dentist will review your symptoms which may include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Abscess

Once the pulp of the tooth is infected it is imperative that treatment begin as soon as possible. Not only will treatment alleviate the discomfort, but it will avoid the danger of the infection spreading throughout the body. Yes, untreated tooth infections can actually become deadly.

The actual root canal therapy may take several visits to clean out the infected center of the tooth, and then clean and seal the tooth to prevent further damage. Because a tooth that has had root canal therapy is weaker than a healthy tooth a dental crown is typically placed at the end of treatment.

There are many old horror stories about root canal treatment but most of these stem from the severe toothache that prompts the visit to the dentist, not from the procedure itself. Local anesthesia ensures that you will remain comfortable throughout the procedure.

Is There An Alternative Treatment?

The alternative to root canal therapy is to remove the infected tooth and replace it with a dental implant. Dental implants are placed in the jaw and serve as an artificial tooth “root”. A special implant crown is placed over the implant and the resulting restoration looks, feels and functions just like a natural tooth. Talk to your dentist about your treatment options for your infected tooth.

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




Low Vitamin D Levels and Dental Implant Success

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Can low levels of vitamin D affect the success of your new dental implants? It turns out he answer is yes!

Dental implants are surgically implanted into the jaw and the bone actually integrates with the implants – basically turning them into a new tooth root. Implants provide a base for the implant crown, which replaces the missing tooth, and the dental implant also helps maintain the structure of the jaw bone itself.

Vitamin D is pretty amazing because it is a nutrient that our body can actually manufacture on its own, although it is also found in certain foods. However, about half of us have deficient levels of vitamin D! This is important because vitamin D is crucial for the health of our bones and teeth because it allows our bodies to absorb calcium. Without vitamin D that fortified milk and calcium supplements cannot make new bones and maintain tooth enamel. If your body isn’t able to absorb new calcium it will try to get the calcium it needs from your existing bones, including the jaw.

Studies have shown that rats that have less vitamin D in their diets have trouble integrating the implants into the jaw. Giving rats vitamin D supplements helped rats with osteoporosis and chronic kidney disease have successful implant healing. Insulin combined with vitamin D helped diabetic rats achieve implant success as well.

If you are contemplating dental implants there are several ways to increase your vitamin D levels. Spend a little time in the sun in a tank top and shorts and your body will begin producing vitamin D – it only takes about 10 minutes of exposure so you don’t need to worry about sunburn! Many foods are fortified with vitamin D and some are naturally high in the substance like egg yolks and beef livers. If you are vegetarian include mushrooms in your diet which are brimming with vitamin D. Talk to your doctor about vitamin D supplements if your levels are low.

Dental implants rarely fail but adding the knowledge that healthy vitamin D levels can make a difference in their success should not be overlooked.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your dental implant consultation and find out how dental implants can be used to replace just one tooth or even to anchor a complete denture. We look forward to your call.


No More Slipping Dentures

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Most people who wear dentures simply aren’t happy with them. They don’t feel secure, they slip, they can make speech difficult and can make the enjoyment of certain foods almost impossible. Dentures don’t have to be like that — imagine a denture so secure it feels like having your own teeth.

A special dental implant procedure called All-on-4 is used to anchor a denture that will be unlike anything you have worn before. All-on-4 uses 4 dental implants in the lower jaw and 4 in the upper to support a full denture that will restore your smile and give you back your quality of life.

When teeth are lost, a side effect is bone loss in the jaw because the bone is no longer supporting teeth. Dental implants have been shown to help reduce this bone loss. Implant dentures also help stabilize the bone in the jaw and may help slow or prevent future bone loss.All-on-4 dental implants can be used in patients who have already experienced some bone loss, without the use of bone grafts.

After the implants are placed in the mouth a temporary denture will be placed immediately. After a period of time that allows the implants to integrate into the bone, the final denture is set it place. Patients do not have to spend any time being “without teeth”.

Find out more about immediate placement dentures using dental implants by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center, your Toccoa, GA implant dentist, at 706-391-8777. We’ll be happy to schedule your consultation visit!


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.

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.

Lost A Tooth? You Have Options

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

In years past, if you lost a tooth you really didn’t have any options. You could ignore the gap in your teeth or you could get a bridge. Today we have a wonderful option for replacing missing teeth – the dental implant!

Dental implants can be used to replace just one tooth or many. Dental implants can even be used to anchor full sets of dentures – no more slipping, sliding and watching what you eat.

A dental implant is a small titanium post that anchors in the jawbone and is used as a replacement tooth “root”. The implant will fuse with the bone creating a strong base for an implant crown or denture. In the case of a single tooth, the dental implant is placed and then a special implant crown is created that matches the fit, function and look of a natural tooth. Benefits of dental implants include:

  • Routine brushing and flossing, just like caring for your regular teeth
  • Replacement teeth look and feel completely natural
  • No denture pastes or adhesives – ever
  • Replacing teeth helps maintain the ability to chew and maintains the health of the jaw bone

Simply ignoring a missing tooth has serious drawbacks. The remaining teeth will move to fill in the gap causing problems with the bite which can lead to painful jaw joint problems. The bone in the jaw seems to work on a “use it or lose it” principle. If teeth (or implants) are not anchored in the jaw, the bone begins to recede. This leads to that sunken look you see in the faces of people who have worn dentures for many years.

Save your jaw and save your smile by replacing missing teeth with dental implants. Talk to Dr. Wilbanks at Wilbanks Smile Center about how dental implants can improve the health and beauty of your smile.

Contact us today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

Should I Sleep With My Dentures?

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Should you sleep with dentures in your mouth? Sleeping with dentures is not recommended for many reasons and a study published in the Journal of Dental Research gives another good reason to take the dentures out at night. This research showed that conventional denture wearing during sleep doubled the risk of pneumonia in the very elderly.

Poor oral health is a risk factor for pneumonia among elderly patients. This is yet another good reason to keep up with dental hygiene appointments as we age. Researchers in Japan found that wearing dentures at night dramatically increased the risk for developing pneumonia. The group of 228 men and 296 women were all over age 85 and were examined annually over three years to identify their oral health status and their overall health. The patients who wore their dentures overnight were at a 2.3 times higher risk of pneumonia.

In addition to the increased risk for pneumonia, the researchers also found plaque on the tongue and denture itself, as well as inflammation of the gums and infections of Candida albicans. The people who removed their dentures at night did not experience these problems. Removing dentures at night gives the gum tissue and underlying bone a chance to “rest” without the pressure of the denture.

Today we have many options for saving damaged teeth and replacing those that are missing. Dental implants are a wonderful option for replacing a lost tooth or several teeth. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Caring for Dentures

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Proper care of your dentures is important for your oral health and can extend the life of your dentures.

Dentures are breakable if dropped so take care when handling them. Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cleaned. Brushing will remove food and plaque. Denture material can stain so brushing away food debris and surface stains will help prevent permanent staining. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, never a hard brush, and gently brush all surfaces.

Denture cleaners help clean and kill bacteria that clings to the dentures. Never use household cleansers or whitening toothpastes to clean your dentures – these are very abrasive and will scratch the denture. Don’t use bleach to clean the denture because it may bleach out the pink portion of the appliance. Ultrasonic cleaners (like jewelry cleaners) can be very helpful for maintaining your dentures. Never use hot water to clean a denture as it may cause the denture to warp. When dentures are not in your mouth they should not be allowed to dry out.

Your dentist can adjust and repair your denture when needed. New dentures may need follow-up appointments for adjustments until they feel comfortable. Please don’t attempt a do-it-yourself repair on your dentures, bending the metal clasps or attempting to use a household glue can permanently weaken these structures.

A set of dentures is not permanent. The jawbone will shrink over time since it is no longer serving to anchor teeth. The dentures may need to be relined or remade due to normal wear and tear and age related changes in gums and bone.

Find out more about denture care and learn about how dentures can be anchored using dental implants by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

Top Causes of Missing Teeth

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Everyone has lost teeth at some point in their lives. When you’re young, your baby teeth fall out and you grow something a little more permanent in your mouth. These new teeth are supposed to be the ones that stay with you throughout the rest of your life. Unfortunately, some people have to deal with the loss of one or more permanent teeth as they age.

Other than the obvious cosmetic reasons, missing teeth can hurt your health in a number of ways. It may make chewing difficult, cause pain in the jaw and face, alter speech, allow other teeth to shift incorrectly, and may cause more dental health problems as food and bacteria can get trapped in the gap.

So why do some people lose their teeth in the first place? Keep reading to find out more.

Top 3 Causes of Missing Teeth

  1. Periodontal disease. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Brushing, flossing, and scheduling dentist visits every six months are the most important steps to preventing this oral health issue. If left untreated, gum disease can cause the loss of one or even all of your teeth.
  2. Tooth decay. When a cavity develops, it is important that you seek treatment from your dentist. Cavities that are left alone could very well destroy a tooth. Fixing a cavity is a simple procedure that will allow you to keep the affected tooth, but ignoring a dental health problem will almost certainly lead to further complications.
  3. Physical trauma. Incisors are most at risk when it comes to tooth loss through physical trauma. Athletes involved in contact sports or anyone participating in any type of physical activity should exercise caution. Mouth guards and general observation while participating are just a couple of methods that may help prevent a tooth loss injury.


If you lose a tooth, Wilbanks Smile Center can help. We offer dental implants and other restoration options to improve the look and health of your mouth. With dental implants, crowns, bridges, or dentures, you can regain confidence in your smile once more.

Dentist in Toccoa

If you have any questions about tooth loss or how we can help treat it, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to serving you!

Can A Perfect Smile Make You Happier?

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Everyone loves a smile but a new study from the University of Manchester in England showed that people with a “perfect” smile were happier and had less stress than those with missing teeth.

The researchers found that adults with full or partial dentures had less confidence and experienced more stress than people with a full set of natural teeth or people with dental implants. We have known for a long time that an attractive smile can change how other people feel about an individual but this study shows that feeling confident in your smile has a big affect on how we feel about ourselves as well.

Many people who wear full or partial dentures experience problems with proper fit. This leads to slipping or movement of the denture and can add a low level of worry and stress. “Will my denture slip while I’m eating a meal with my friends?”

This study group was made up of men and women between the ages of 24 and 82 who were in good health and had good oral hygiene but all were missing some teeth and some had lost all their teeth. The study participants were asked to score themselves on quality of life and happiness.

The study participants then underwent treatment with dental implants for one or more missing teeth. They were again asked to score themselves following the treatment. Not surprisingly, the scores were much higher following the dental implants.

Don’t suffer with dentures that don’t fit – find out if you are a candidate for dental implants. Dental implants can be used to replace one tooth or many. Four dental implants can even be used to anchor a full set of dentures – no more slipping!

Find out more about dental implants and how they can change your life for the better by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

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