Category Archives: Dental Health

When Eating Healthy Goes Rogue | Indianapolis Dentist

As we approach our brand-new year, we gear up for loads of life improvements, and many of them focus on our health. But finding the right diet to fit our lifestyle is a tough quest. Not all diets are alike and it’s important to find the right one in order to be effective and keep us on pace to achieving our new year’s goals. But what if your diet is giving you side effects? To be specific, what if your diet was giving you bad breath?

By eliminating all sugar and most carbs, and eating foods high in fat and protein, your body becomes a fat-burning machine. However, by getting your energy from fat and protein rather than carbs, one of the common byproducts is intolerable breath. But why?

The popular ketogenic diet, and most other low carb eating plans all rely on getting your daily calories mostly from fat and protein, and very little from carbohydrates. If you keep your carb intake to less than 30 grams per day, your body eventually enters a metabolic state of ketosis. Instead of breaking down carbohydrates to create glucose for energy, your body instead breaks down stored fat, which release ketones in the body. They are also released in your breath, creating a distinct odor that some keto enthusiasts describe as rotten fruit, or even metallic. 

Unfortunately, that also means ketosis breath can’t be extinguished with the typical handful of mints and swig of mouthwash. Natural remedies to try are drinking extra water, or chewing on fresh mint leaves, cloves, or fennel seeds, or grab a sugar-free gum made with xylitol.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

The ABCs of Tooth Extractions | Indianapolis Dentist

There’s a classic idiom in the English language that compares unpleasant, difficult tasks to pulling teeth. Known as dental extraction, pulling teeth is recommended in situations in which you’ve likely developed a toothache and it hurt enough to visit the dentist. And while it isn’t our idea of a fun day, dental extractions have come a long way, and you shouldn’t have a bad feeling about getting one. Here are some of the reasons your tooth needs to be extracted:

  • Seriously damaged teeth, either due to injury or decay, unable to be saved
  • A wisdom tooth (third molar) that may cause crowding, alignment problems, pain, or infection
  • Teeth blocking another tooth from coming in
  • Baby tooth that didn’t fall out in time
  • Crowded teeth may require removal to allow braces to better adjust the remaining teeth
  • Infected teeth that could potentially be an infection source in high-risk patients such as those undergoing organ transplants or cancer treatment

Extractions typically fall into one of two classes – simple and surgical. Dentists often perform simple extractions, which generally involve a single tooth that is visible in the mouth, with clear alignment – after numbing the area with local anesthetic, the tooth will be loosened using an instrument known as an elevator, and then pulled with an instrument known as forceps. For surgical removal, the surgeon may use local anesthetic, moderate sedation, or general anesthesia, and likely use a combination of tools and techniques to remove teeth that may be difficult to see (or still within the gums).

If your dentist recommends an extraction, it’s likely that you have a potentially serious problem. While it’s unlikely you’ll celebrate the news, you need not fear – there are worse problems to have than pulling teeth.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Halloween Sweets that Are Harming Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

As parents, we want to give our children the world, even if that means we have to play ‘bad cop’ once in a while. Halloween is the brink of the holiday season, a season that is filled with delicious treats everywhere we look. And that’s bad news for our smiles if we aren’t careful. The following is a list of a few culprits – the more you avoid them, the better off your smile will be. We aren’t saying don’t celebrate the season, just do it in moderation to avoid issues in the future:

Skittles. Skittles may want you to taste rainbows, but they are also letting you ruin your teeth’s enamel by combining sweet and sour for a pH level of 2.5, levels so high they can cause serious damage to your little one’s teeth. 

Caramel. Not only does the sticky texture stick to your teeth’s surface and loves to get deep into the crevices, but it can also loosen dental fixtures, like braces or fillings, making it especially harmful for those with dental work. 

Gummy Bears. Similar to caramels and other sticky candies, the gelatin used to make the gummy candy gummy, also sticks to the crevices of your teeth, making it difficult to remove.

Jolly Ranchers. Not only are they a hard candy that can damage teeth when bitten but sucking on hard candy isn’t a quick process, and the sugar wastes no time working their way into a tooth.

Halloween is an exciting holiday for the little humans. It is important to impart good habits early, while still allowing the fun to continue. The best way to do that is to make it a family affair. Happy Halloween!

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

All Is Not Lost if You Lose a Tooth | Indianapolis Dentist

For most of us, losing a tooth can be a nerve-wracking experience. Not only do you have every reason to panic because you were likely in an accident of some sort, but there is no need to fret if you think your smile is doomed. Because hockey players may consider a lost tooth a badge of honor, but it is possible to re-implant a knocked-out adult tooth. A severed root experiences damage to blood vessels and tissue, but the ligaments connecting the tooth to the bone can be re-formed. The key to a successful reimplantation is how the missing tooth is stored and for how long.

Assuming you can find the tooth, avoid scraping off any dirt particles, as you risk damaging the root further. Instead, rinse it gently with a saline solution while carefully handling it by the crown. If possible, place the tooth back in its original socket, or store it in a small container with saline or milk. Milk – containing proteins, sugar, and antibacterial substances—provides the ideal environment for a lost tooth. As an added bonus, the sugars in milk help feed cells, which need to remain alive and growing in the short term.

Don’t have access to any of the above? Don’t panic. Your cheek will work well for storage in the interim; just be careful not to swallow your precious cargo.

Placing pressure on the gums will also help to reduce the bleeding and pain as you are en route to the dentist. Depending on the damage, a successful reimplanted tooth can heal significantly in three to four weeks and become fully repaired within two months.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Being Tired Will Slowly Kill You | Indianapolis Dentist

When you snore, it isn’t some type of self-discovery – someone we love has been sleeping next to us and it has disturbed their sleep. And if you are the culprit of stealing someone’s sleep, it’s an awful feeling. We wish we could fix it. The good thing is, there are many ways to help ease your snoring issues. And it is important that you get it checked because unfortunately, snoring can kill you.

Everybody has a snoring story to share, and most of them are really funny. What isn’t funny are the damaging affects snoring has on your health. Health concerns ranging from frustrating to life-threatening can result from inadequate or lack of sleep.

Sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea can increase the risk of hypertension, heart disease and strokes. It can also lead to serious illness and major accidents. Just think about it – people fall asleep driving all of the time, and sleep apnea sufferers are over 300% more liable to be involved in a fatal car crash.

The label “sleep with sound” has been given to snoring but one thing is for sure. A snorer acquires no sound sleep. Those lacking regular, quality sleep increases their chance for heart attacks by more than 23 times. The compounded strain and stress on your body can activate depression, disease, illness, mental disorders and a myriad of physical obstacles.

If you or someone you love snores and is habitually tired during the day, the possibility for health complications and even death, are increased. That is no laughing matter. Schedule a sleep study so everyone involved can get a good night’s sleep.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Which Cosmetic Dental Procedure Will Improve Your Smile? | Indianapolis Dentist

teeth whitening

When the time comes for a new smile, there are loads of procedures available to repair whatever condition your smile is in. All you need to get started is a dental appointment. Once you’re there, you can discuss the various dental procedures available to you depending on your particular case. Here are the common cosmetic procedures and how they can improve your smile.

Teeth whitening. Everyone’s teeth get discolored or stained from time to time. Teeth whitening, or bleaching, can be done in a dentist’s office or at home with a system dispensed by the dentist.

Bonding. Life is full of accidental mishaps, sometimes those mishaps mess up our teeth. Bonding can improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, broken, cracked, stained, or gapped by bonding tooth-colored materials to the tooth surface, making them nearly impossible to distinguish.

Veneers. Another variation of the bonding technique are veneers. These are thin, custom-made porcelain shells that cover the front of the teeth to disguise discoloration or imperfections.

Tooth reshaping. This procedure changes the actual look of your teeth by modifying or removing enamel, completely changing the look of your tooth. Tooth reshaping (also known as dental contouring) is often combined with bonding.

Crown lengthening. Sometimes it isn’t the teeth that are the issue, it’s the gums. This “gummy” smile or an uneven gum line can be fixed by removing excess gum tissue, exposing more of the tooth’s crown to give the appearance of longer teeth.

Smile makeovers. Deciding your smile needs an entire makeover involves a comprehensive assessment of the overall appearance of the teeth and smile. Typically, several cosmetic dentistry procedures are required to overhaul the look of a patient’s smile, but the results will be staggering.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

When Eating Ice Cream Begins to Hurt Your Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

If you’ve ever experienced a sharp and annoying pain in your teeth whenever you indulge in the wonderful frozen treats this summery weather can provide? No one wants to hear that they can’t have ice cream or iced tea because their teeth are too sensitive. So, what causes this cruel summertime malady?

Loss of tooth enamel, which leaves the dentin exposed, is the main reason why tooth sensitivity occurs. This may happen if you’ve been using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one, as it may wear away as the abrasion can wear away the tooth enamel. However, it can also be the result of frequent consumption of acidic foods or gum recession.

It is important to take note, however, that the sharp pain when exposed to hot and cold food and beverages is not always caused by tooth sensitivity. Sometimes, it may be because of the following:

  • A cracked, chipped or fractured tooth
  • Dental caries
  • Constant grinding or clenching of the teeth, or a condition known as bruxism
  • A broken restoration that’s been leaking
  • A side effect of certain teeth whitening procedures, namely tooth bleaching

In order to find out if your teeth are indeed sensitive, talk to your dentist. Be sure to describe your symptoms in detail, like when the pain first started or anything you’ve done for the pain. Using your descriptions, the dentist will try to find out the possible cause of your sensitivity, and once finished, the dentist will then treat the underlying cause. The treatment will usually vary, depending on the case.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

You Really Should Get Your Teeth Cleaned Twice a Year | Indianapolis Dentist

If only you knew just what exactly is happening inside your mouth every day, you probably wouldn’t need to be reminded, nor wonder, why it’s important to get your teeth cleaned every six months. You see, brushing and flossing alone aren’t enough to keep your teeth clean and healthy, and to further convince you, here are five reasons why you need to visit the dentist every six months:

Oral cancer prevention. Just like with any cancer, your survival rate increases dramatically the sooner it is diagnosed. If you frequently drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, then it’s even more important to have your mouth checked every six months for signs of oral cancer.

Treatment and prevention of oral infections. Contrary to popular belief, normal and healthy mouths do not and never will bleed when flossing or brushing, even after a round of dental cleaning. Bleeding gums are one of the earliest signs of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other complications if not treated early.

Clean, fresh breath. Sure, it’s normal for the mouth to not always smell minty fresh. But bad breath on a regular basis is a telltale sign of an oral infection, something that only your dentist can treat.

Dental problems lower. Although dentists recommend paying them a visit every six months to lower one’s risk for dental problems, some people actually need to have their teeth cleaned much more often.

Keeping your teeth white and healthy. The first impression we make to strangers is our smile. By visiting the dentist regularly, you can keep your teeth looking shiny and healthy, allowing you to smile way more often without being self-conscious.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Do You Have Dental Phobia? | Indianapolis Dentist

Are you one in the millions of Americans considered to have a dental phobia? Maybe you had a bad experience as a child, maybe you just can’t handle people and instruments that close to your face. Whatever it is, you’re definitely not alone.

Dental anxiety and phobia are extremely common. In a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of those who didn’t see a dentist regularly said that fear was the main reason. Dental phobia keeps many people from seeing their dentists for regular check-ups, which could result in poor oral health. Women are more likely to suffer from this phobia than men.

The most common fear of visiting the dentist is having a tooth drilled and the local anesthetic injection. People are not born with a fear of the dentist, you develop it and can overcome it. Today dentistry is much different than it used to be. It can be a pain free, anxiety free experience. Relaxation and sedation techniques have been proven in helping overcome dental phobias. Some of the signs of dental phobia include:

  • Tension or having trouble sleeping the night before a dental exam
  • Increasingly nervous while you’re in the waiting room
  • The sight of dental instruments or personnel increases your anxiety
  • The thought of a dental visit makes you feel physically ill
  • Panic or trouble breathing when objects are placed in your mouth during a dental appointment

Our patients have commented that if they had known how comfortable treatment was under sedation they never would have had any worries about dental treatment. This is such a relaxing procedure that it’s often referred to as sleep dentistry.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Missing Teeth? Make a Dental Appointment Today | Indianapolis Dentist

There are many adults that have had a couple of decayed or missing teeth replaced. While replacing your missing teeth for aesthetic reasons is understandable, it’s important to have any missing teeth replaced for your oral health. Your teeth are meant to work together to help you chew, smile and speak. When you have missing teeth, these can be difficult to do. The loss of your back teeth may cause your mouth to shift and your face to appear older or sunken in. Fortunately, with the help of modern dentistry, missing teeth can be replaced. The following are some of the tooth replacement options that should be available to you by your dental care professional:

Dental implants. Many people opt for dental implants to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or to support a full set of dentures. The process of getting dental implants placed typically involves three phases that take place over several weeks, which is the main disadvantage.

Bridges. If your teeth can be fixed with a dental bridge, which is basically a dental appliance that is used to fill in the missing space. Unlike dental implants that are surgically placed and securely integrated into your jawbone, bridges rely on the neighboring teeth for support.

Dentures. Dentures are removable dental appliances that can replace a single tooth or a full set. Dentures usually have replacement teeth attached to a plastic base that matches the color of your gums and, depending on your case, are either partial dentures or full dentures.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.