Monthly Archives: October 2015

Dental Sealants | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

Woman having teeth examined at dentistsTooth decay is likely to occur when food particles sit in the depressions, nooks, and crannies in and between teeth, allowing bacterial colonies to form, creating acid that eats holes into teeth. While brushing and flossing will do a reasonably good job of removing food particles from the depressions in teeth, dental sealants are a procedure used by dentists to help prevent accumulation of food in the depressions of teeth in the first place.

Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth – typically molars or premolars – to help keep food from settling within the bite surface. Dental sealants bond to the bite surface, providing a protective surface between the tooth and the food, so that patients are even less likely to experience tooth decay. Because sealants can not only keep food out, but also prevent treatment of existing decay, dental sealant is typically a procedure applied to young patients – often children and teenagers in their most cavity prone years (6-14).

The process for applying sealants is fairly straightforward. First, teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried. An acidic solution is used to roughen the surface of the enamel to allow the sealant to properly bond, and then teeth are rinsed and dried again. Finally, the sealant is painted on in a thin layer, and hardened with a special light used to cure the plastic. Properly applied, a dental sealant can protect the bite surface of teeth for up to 10 years.

If you have children in the cavity prone age ranges, or if you’re concerned about tooth decay on rear teeth that are difficult to brush, ask your dentist about dental sealants. They may not be an option for every patient, but your dentist will be able to advise you about whether or not you or your children are good candidates, as well as informing you of the cost and time frame of the procedure.

For more information on dental sealants and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website 

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park.

Bad Breath | Indianapolis General Dentist

Fresh BreathBad breath isn’t just unpleasant – it can actually a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Typically known as halitosis, it can be the result of poor dental habits, or could be a sign of a much more serious dental or medical problem. Bad breath can be the result of a number of different conditions, but the most common dental causes fall into two groups: bacteria in the mouth and bacteria in the gums.

As you eat food, chewing breaks food into small particles that can become stuck between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. As bacteria break down that food, the bacteria can release foul odors, which will be exhaled and noticeable to others. Patients with cavities caused by tooth decay are more likely to have food particles and bacterial colonies present – the cavities provide a protected space for bacteria, increasing the likelihood of odor causing bacteria being present.

Like tooth-born bacteria, patients with periodontal disease are likely to have bad breath. Periodontal disease is an infection within the gums, typically caused by poor oral hygiene. As plaque and tartar build up against the gums, bacterial colonies build beneath the surface of the gums, creating large colonies that not only produce foul odors, but also damage gum and bone tissue, and could potentially cause severe dental issues such as tooth loss.

Because the root cause of bad breath is often bacteria, an antiseptic mouthwash can often help mitigate bad breath – at least for a while. However, it’s important to remember that mouthwash doesn’t necessarily remove all bacteria; it only kills some bacteria for a short period of time. While mouthwash, brushing, and flossing can treat some causes of bad breath, patients with chronic bad breath should be sure to visit their dentist to ensure that no deeper problem is present, such as tooth decay or periodontal disease.

Contact Dr. George Kirtley for an appointment today to get the bright white smile you have always wanted at 317-841-1111 or

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park

Halloween Candy & Your Oral Health | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

Pail Full of Halloween CandyThe end of October features one of America’s favorite holidays: Halloween. Ghosts, goblins, witches, and princesses roam the streets delivering frights and collecting candy. While many parents have echoed the line that candy will rot children’s teeth, there’s no reason to deny children the enjoyment of Halloween candy, but it’s important to supervise them to ensure that their Halloween is enjoyed in a way that keeps their teeth safe.

Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation – by teaching children to eat a moderate amount of treats, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives, including other sugary foods they’ll encounter year round such as sweet juices and starch heavy breads. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras – they can be saved for a future day, frozen for later, thrown away, or donated.

While sugar does promote decay, the effect of sugar is not instant. If children eat candy for a short time period, and then brush their teeth a short time later, the impact of the sugar is fairly minimal. For that reason, allow children to eat candy during a fixed time period – rather than an all day feast, they’ll have a fixed window for candy. This allows them to prioritize their candy enjoyment, minimizes the chances that they’ll consume far too much, and by following treats with brushing, helps prevent cavities.

Focus on fun, but effective, tooth brushing. Children often need stimulation beyond simple health to brush regularly and sufficiently, so swap toothbrushes every few months with new, fun characters/colors, and give your children the opportunity to pick their own toothpaste (but check the label to ensure it contains fluoride).

If you have questions about how Halloween impacts your children’s dental health, contact your dentist, or ask during one of your scheduled appointments – they’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

For more information on candy and tooth decay and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park.