sedation dentistry

Happy National Gum Disease Month!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month. Of course it is also National Canned Food Month and National Snack Food Month, but those don’t really affect a dental office.

Gum disease awareness sounds like a joke, but it is serious business. Gum disease is completely preventable in the majority of cases and it can have serious health consequences ranging from the obvious – tooth loss, to the not-so-obvious like heart disease, poor blood sugar control and even pre-term birth. The bacteria that cause gum disease can travel throughout the body. Prevention is as simple as brushing (twice each day with fluoride toothpaste), flossing every day, and visiting the dental hygienist regularly for professional cleanings.

It is estimated that about 50 million Americans have moderate to severe gum disease and 40 million of those don’t even know it! The warning signs of gum disease include:

  • Puffy, red gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Painful or sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or teeth that appear longer

Some people avoid the dentist because they are afraid of gum disease treatment. Treatment for gum disease today is much simpler and less uncomfortable than it was years ago. Treatment will, of course, depend upon the severity of of the gum disease.

For those patients who are afraid of dental treatments and suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, there is a solution. You can receive treatment for your gum disease while remaining relaxed and anxiety-free using sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry offers various levels of relaxation and sedation for those who feel anxious. Not only can gum disease be treated, but often years of dental neglect can be corrected in just a few visits.

Find out more about dental sedation options and gum disease treatment by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Want To Feel Relaxed At Your Dental Visit - Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

If you have a hard time feeling relaxed at your dental visit, don’t feel like you are alone. Many people experience dental fear or anxiety over dental visits but fortunately, sedation dentistry can help.

Sedation dentistry can be used for a range of treatments from a simple cleaning to a full-mouth restoration. How it is used and the type of sedation utilized depends upon the severity of the fear and the patient’s needs.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Dentists who are trained in sedation dentistry use medication to help patients feel relaxed and calm during dental procedures. Sometimes this is called “sleep dentistry” but patients aren’t actually asleep unless general anesthesia is used. Levels of sedation include:

  • Minimal Sedation – Patients are awake but medication makes them feel calm and relaxed.
  • Conscious Sedation – This is a more moderate form of sedation and although patients can follow instructions they may not remember the procedure occurring.
  • Deep Sedation – This places the patient on the edge of consciousness and is used for patients with high levels of anxiety.
  • General Anesthesia produces an unconscious state which brings added risks. This is usually reserved for oral surgery.

Are You A Candidate For Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation is appropriate for people with fears or feelings of anxiety that are preventing them from receiving the dental care that they need. Sedation dentistry can also help in cases of:

  • A bad gag reflex.
  • Patients with a low pain threshold.
  • People who can’t sit still in a dental chair.
  • Patients who need a large amount of dental work.

Most dentists can administer minimal sedation such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or pills to make patients relax.

Conscious sedation permit requirements vary slightly from state to state, but typically a mini-residency with a minimum of 60 hours of didactic/classroom education and direct participation in administering IV sedation to 20 to 30 clinical dental cases will cover most state requirements. Wilbanks Smile Center and Dr. Wilbanks are certified by the state of Georgia to provide IV conscious sedation. The differences in oral conscious sedation and IV conscious sedation are:  the training requirement of 100 hours of continuing education credits; safety and the ability to regulate the amount of sedation and medication to keep the patient comfortable, which is not possible in oral sedation; and the patient is monitored throughout the procedure with a vital sign monitor.

Find out more about sedation dentistry and how it can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile without fear by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Dental Phobia Helped By Therapy

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

Lots of people suffer from dental phobia or fear of the dentist. Researchers at Kings College in London found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) offered a long-term solution to the problem.

This study looked at 130 patients and “fear of injections and drilling was the reason for the phobia in the majority of the patients.” These patients were then treated to a series of sessions that slowly incorporated the usual things that happen during a dental visit. After several weeks of exposure to various aspects of dentistry, patients reported a reduction in their fear of dental treatment.

Many patients avoid dental treatment altogether and live with pain and disfiguring dental problems because of anxiety.

Patients can get the treatment they need without long-term therapy simply by talking to a dentist that provides sedation dentistry. There are different levels of sedation available depending upon each patient’s needs and levels of anxiety.

Depending on a patient’s anxiety levels, different degrees of dental sedation may be required. These varying degrees include:

  • Conscious Sedation – Most dentists use conscious sedation, a state that lets patients feel relaxed but also remain awake and able to respond to commands. You will not remember most of the procedure with this sedation.
  • Deep Sedation – Patients with higher anxiety levels may feel more comfortable with deep sedation, which provides a state somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness. In this state, patients cannot respond to commands and may need breathing assistance.
  • Unconsciousness – An unconscious state is also occasionally obtained but requires general anesthesia and brings about added risks. This is usually only used for oral surgery.

Sedation dentistry allows patients that have avoided dentistry for years to have several procedures during one visit, without feeling anxiety or discomfort.

Find out more about sedation dentistry in Toccoa, GA by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center at 706-391-8777 today.

Dreading Dental Visits?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Does the thought of a dental visit fill you with dread? You aren’t alone – many people are dental phobic to one degree or another. At one end of the spectrum are those that seek regular care — but never really relax in the chair. At the other end of the spectrum are people who are so fearful that they put off needed care for years, often living in pain, just to avoid the dentist.

No matter where you fall on this scale, the modern dental office has a way to help.

First, think about what you really fear at the dental visit. Are you worried about the anesthesia injection being painful? Today many dentist first numb the area with a topical anesthetic and then utilize computerized machine that gives a virtually painless shot. Some people are uncomfortable with the feeling of not being in control during their treatment — guess what — you can simply raise your hand and ask us to stop for a moment and we will gladly accommodate you.  Using nitrous oxide during your appointment makes the time fly by and eliminates anxious feelings, and once the gas stops, you are able to resume your regular activities. See, the dental visit is sounding better already!

Dentists can also provide fearful patients with medication to help them relax prior to an appointment. Patients who experience serious dental phobia or patients who need extensive dental care may find that sedation dentistry is the perfect solution. Years of dental neglect can be corrected in just one visit. There are different levels of sedation available, simply discuss your needs with your dentist. It is possible for you to get the care that you need without worry and panic.

Find out more about sedation dentistry by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 today.

Dental Anxiety Passed On By Parents

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Fear of the dentist is not just confined to the United States. All over the world lots of people experience anxiety about dental visits. A recent survey found that much of this fear may be learned from parents!

The survey asked a group of parents about dental anxiety and about 48% said it was a problem for them. Surprisingly, when the children were asked the same question the percentage was almost identical. ”It’s easy for kids to pick up on their parents’ anxieties when it comes to the dentist,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, Vice President of Dental Science and Policy at the Delta Dental Plans Association, which commissioned the survey. “If children have a bad experience, it could jeopardize their willingness to visit the dentist throughout childhood and into adulthood.”

Children should visit the dentist about the time they get their first tooth. Early dental visits allow the child to be comfortable in the dentists office and also will allow the dentist to spot any problems early. For example, disharmonies between the growth of the upper and lower jaw can happen as your child is growing. An inconsistency between the length or width of the jaw can result in an imbalance of the facial bones, muscles and teeth. Early orthodontic treatment can reposition the jaw so that as the child continues to grow, the bones and teeth align correctly. If these inconsistencies are not addressed during childhood, they can result in major jaw issues that require orthognathic surgery on the jaw.

What about adults who already have dental anxiety? Patients who are fearful or anxious can receive all the care they need while feeling relaxed using sedation dentistry. Varying levels and types of sedation are available for patients depending upon their needs.

Find out more about solutions to dental anxiety by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Can Sedation Dentistry Help You?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Are you nervous about visiting the dentist? Do you have a sensitive gag reflex? Maybe you just have a hard time sitting still for extended periods. Sedation dentistry can help you make your dental visits comfortable and anxiety free!

There are many reasons that patients choose sedation dentistry. For many it is a way to get the dental care that they need without fear and anxiety, for others it is just more comfortable. Sedation dentistry is perfect for patients who need a large amount of dental treatment – using sedation your dentist can complete many procedures in just one visit.

Because different patients have different needs, there are varying levels of sedation. Many patients are familiar with nitrous oxide, sometimes called laughing gas, which is highly effective for mild and moderate dental anxiety. Other sedation options available include:

  • Conscious Sedation – Most dentists use conscious sedation, a state that lets patients feel relaxed but also remain awake and able to respond to commands. You will not remember most of the procedure with this sedation.
  • Deep Sedation – Patients with higher anxiety levels may feel more comfortable with deep sedation, which provides a state somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness. In this state, patients cannot respond to commands and may need breathing assistance.
  • Unconsciousness – An unconscious state is also occasionally obtained but requires general anesthesia and brings about added risks. This is usually only used for oral surgery.

To find out if you are a candidate for sedation dentistry please contact Wilbanks Smile Center, conveniently located in beautiful Toccoa, GA at 706-391-8777. We will be happy to discuss your case and discover the most effective type of sedation dentistry for you.




A Guide to Sedation Dentistry

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Many people experience nervousness and anxiety when visiting the dentist, but millions of Americans suffer from a more serious dental phobia. This heightened sense of fear can lead to a person delaying dental care and routine check-ups for years or even decades, causing dental health to deteriorate. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can help ease this anxiety and enable patients to receive the dental care they deserve.

Though it is commonly referred to as “sleep dentistry,” most patients remain awake during sedation, albeit in a sleepy state. There are various methods available to achieve varying states of sedation, depending on the needs of the patient and the amount of work being performed.

Is sedation different than anesthesia? While sedation helps to put the patient in a relaxed state and ease nerves about the work being done, anesthesia is still required to reduce pain in most procedures. The anesthesia is usually injected after the patient is sedated.

What are the different types of sedation? The method of sedation most commonly used is nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” which is administered by placing a mask over the patient’s mouth. Sedation can also be delivered orally or intravenously. There are also various levels of sedation: conscious sedation, deep sedation and unconsciousness. Your dentist will determine the level of sedation used based on a number of factors, including the state of your health, the work being performed, and your anxiety level.

What are the benefits of sedation dentistry? Sedation helps put patients at ease who might otherwise be reluctant to have dental work done. It can also calm some patients long enough so that multiple treatments can be performed in a single visit. Those who have a bad gag reflex, a low pain threshold or tooth sensitivity can also benefit greatly from sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about sedation dentistry or any other dental treatments, contact Wilbanks Smile Center 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.

Dietary Supplements and Dental Care

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

American’s love dietary supplements and we spend about $30 billion a year on them. Do dietary supplements affect your dental care?

Dentists always ask about drugs that patients are taking. We do this because certain medications can affect bleeding during a procedure or healing after. Most patients are very conscientious about listing all the medications prescribed by their doctor, but they don’t always remember to list the ones that they buy at the vitamin store or over-the-counter. Many of these dietary supplements can have similar effects on the body and dentists need to know if they regularly taken.

For example, patients who experience anxiety about dental visits and regularly take St. John’s wort or valerian may be limited in their choice of sedatives used before the dental visit. “Significant interactions exist between St. John’s wort or valerian and the most commonly used benzodiazepines,” said the authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Antibiotics are used to fight oral infections and the study found that amoxicillin, cephalexin, metronidazole and penicillin were the best choices for patients taking dietary supplements. They noted that calcium supplements could prevent doxycycline and tetracycline from being absorbed properly.

A survey completed by the National Institutes of Health found that 67% of those 50 and older had not discussed alternative medicines and supplements with their healthcare provider. Because patients older than 65 are seven times more likely to experience adverse reactions to drug interactions it is important that all healthcare providers be provided an up-to-date list of medications and supplements.

The study noted that there were four dietary supplements that had the greatest potential for adverse drug interactions. These are St. John’s wort, ginkgo, evening primrose and valerian.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your next visit and remember to update your medication list in our files.

Gag Reflex A Problem During Dental Visits?

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

A new study from Italy shows that accupuncture can help dental patients who gag during dental visits. If your gag reflex is a problem, you aren’t alone. 

Patients who have a sensitive gag reflex often avoid the dentist, depriving themselves of needed care. The researchers from the University of Palermo completed a small study that compared taking impressions on patients who normally gag, with and without accupuncture treatment.

The study participants self-reported their “gag reflex” scores on a 0-10 scale. During the impressions taken normally, the participants averaged a score of 7. Accupuncture needles were applied just before taking the second round of impressions and the average gag reflex score dropped to a 1! Accupuncture  is not currently a common therapy used in US dental offices but this study may offer future insights into the problem of gagging for patients.

Sedation dentistry is often used for patients with dental anxiety or a strong gag reflex. Sedation can also help those who simply have a hard time sitting still for dental treatment or those who require extensive treatment. Options range from the very mild, including nitrous oxide, to deeper sedation using medications. Sedation dentistry allows patients to receive needed dental care, even extensive procedures, while remaining completely relaxed.

Find out more about sedation dentistry and if it is right for you by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA at 706-886-9439.



Dental Office Sounds May Trigger Anxiety

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Do you suffer from dental anxiety? If visiting the dentist makes you nervous it turns out part of the reason could be the sounds of the dental office. A recent study found that the sounds of the drill and the suction can really set some people on edge. Just like fingernails on a chalkboard, I guess.

There are some things you can try if the sounds of the dental office bother you or make you nervous. Many dentists will provide headphones and music if you ask for them – or you could bring your own and be completely in control of your own playlist! Try to make your appointment at a slow time in your day. If you don’t feel rushed, it will be easier to relax.

The easiest way to relax during a dental appointment is to take advantage of sedation dentistry. No, you don’t have to be completely asleep (unless you want to be). There are various levels of sedation available to our patients.

  • Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is a very popular choice. Nitrous oxide is wonderful because it is very short acting and you can drive home following your appointment but it allows you to relax and not remember the procedure.
  • Oral medication sedation using a small pill. Taken before the appointment, this medication will make you drowsy but you will still be aware. This is a deeper level of relaxation than nitrous oxide.
  • Intravenous sedation offers the deepest form of sedation.

Sedation dentistry can help patients who do not have dental anxiety but may have other problems that make dental visits difficult. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, difficulty getting numb, have difficulty sitting still in a dental chair or require a large amount of dental work then sedation dentistry might help you.

Find out more about your sedation dentistry options by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.


Contact Us

Our Smile Gallery

smile gallery