Category Archives: general dentistry

What is a General Dentist | Indianapolis, IN

A general dentist is the primary dental care provider for patients of all ages. They are responsible for all of the basic dental needs of their patients as well as assisting them in finding the appropriate help for deeper dental issues.

General dentists make up the majority of the 143,000 dentists practicing in the Unites States and Canada. Oftentimes, they become partners or associates with other dentists in a group practice. Some dentists work in government health services, research programs, higher education, corporations and even the military.

The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist regularly which is about once every six months. This will ensure proper oral hygiene and functionality. Regular checkups and oral health maintenance prevent the development of serious dental problems that may require costly treatment.

Dr. Kirtley is the only dentist worldwide who has the distinction of being accredited by both the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Visit him today for a dental check-up!

To make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website www.smilesbygeorge.com.

 

 

 

Five Top Dental Myths People Believe Are True

pearly whites

It’s been said that your teeth can tell a lot about your overall health. As such, it’s very important to know fact from fiction when it comes to taking proper care of your mouth.

Below are five of the most common dental myths that most people believe are true, but are actually bad for your health.

  1. Sugar is the main culprit responsible for tooth decay.

Sugar is definitely not good for your teeth and your health overall. However, what really causes tooth decay are the harmful acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth and teeth, not sugar. Of course, these bacteria form whenever you digest carbohydrates, which refined sugar is. But, sugar isn’t the only culprit. Even carbohydrates from healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and grains can all contribute to the formation of plaque and acid-producing bacteria in your mouth.

Fortunately, the solution is simple – brush your teeth regularly to keep plaque and bacteria at bay.

  1. You shouldn’t brush and floss your teeth if your gums are bleeding.

On the contrary, you actually should be paying more attention to your oral care routine if your gums are actually bleeding all of a sudden. The fact is, bleeding, swollen and reddish gums are one of the earliest signs of gingivitis, which, if left untreated, can progress to periodontitis. Don’t change your routine unless otherwise advised by your dentist. And, yes, do visit your dentist as soon as you notice your gums bleeding every time you brush or floss.

  1. Bleaching products weaken teeth.

Gels, pastes, and strips are all products available in the market today that are advertised to help make teeth brighter and whiter. However, people believe that they’re harmful and should be avoided at all costs. But, the truth is, all bleaching products are harmless as long as they’re used according to the directions. And, even when you use too much bleaching products, all you get is temporary tooth sensitivity or irritated gums, not weakened teeth.

  1. Baby teeth are not as important because they will eventually fall out.

While it’s true that baby teeth will eventually fall out, that doesn’t mean they’re not as important. Case in point, when a baby tooth is lost too early, either via trauma or tooth decay, the permanent teeth may not erupt at the right place, causing teeth to become crooked or crowded. Not only that, but when a baby tooth is affected by tooth decay, the infection can spread down to the developing permanent teeth.

To put simply, it never is too early to teach your child how to take proper care of his or her teeth.

  1. You’ll know when you have tooth decay.

No, just no. This is the type of dental myth that can lead to very serious dental complications. Gum disease may have early symptoms, such as bleeding and reddish gums. But, tooth decay doesn’t. Once you begin feeling pain in your teeth, that means the decay – and subsequently, the resulting damage – is already advanced and extensive. The only way to prevent and know if you have tooth decay, as well as gum disease, is to take proper care of your teeth and visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning.

For a thorough evaluation of your oral health visit George Kirtley, DDS in Indianapolis, IN. Call today at 317-841-1111.

Why Is Mouthwash Important? | Indianpolis Dentist

periodontal disease

Using mouthwash isn’t necessary. However, it is highly recommended. Quick and easy to use, mouthwash doesn’t just help make your mouth feel and smell fresh. In fact, both prescription and over-the-counter mouthwash can significantly help improve your oral health and reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease.

Benefits of Using Mouthwash

Brushing and flossing should be more than enough to control plaque growth and prevent cavities and gum disease. At least, in theory. Unfortunately, most patients do not brush or floss their teeth thoroughly enough to properly keep dental plaque in control. And, that is where mouthwash comes in.

By using mouthwash in addition to your regular care routine of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, you help add an additional layer of protection for your teeth against tooth decay and gingivitis, which promotes healthier teeth and gums.

Mouthwash can help fresh breath, prevent plaque build-up, remove any loose particles and food debris in your mouth and stop cavities from farming. However, the keyword here is “in addition”, which means that mouthwash shouldn’t be considered as a replacement to brushing and flossing. Instead, you should look at it as a way to keep your teeth and gums healthy in between brushing and flossing your teeth. As such, the ideal time to use mouthwash wouldn’t be straight after brushing your teeth, but instead, after lunch when you don’t really have time to brush or floss your teeth.

Choosing The Right Mouthwash

If you’ve considered adding a mouthwash or mouth rinse to your oral care routine, it’s important that you understand what options are available to you. More importantly, you should know what factors you should consider when making your choice.

Here are some factors that you should take note of:

  • Alcohol or no alcohol? Alcohol is found in plenty of mouthwashes and rinses. This can be a huge problem if deliberately swallowed, which is a very possible if you’re a recovering alcoholic, or someone in your household is. Also, if you want to buy just one type of mouthwash or rinse for the whole family, the safer choice would be to go with alcohol-free mouthwash products available in the market.
  • Sensitivity – Certain ingredients found in mouthwash can be irritating, especially if you have sensitive gums or if you’re recovering from a dental procedure. If either is the case for you, consider buying an alcohol-free or natural mouthwash. The latter often contain ingredients such as aloe vera and/or chamomile that generally make them gentler and more soothing on your teeth and gums.
  • Plaque control – While all types of mouthwash help protect your teeth against bacteria, some are specialized to be just much more effective. Consider dental rinse containing anti-plaque ingredients if you want to provide even more protection to your teeth and gums.

If you’re still not sure about using mouthwash, or if you think you wouldn’t like the taste or sensation, consider asking your dentist for a free sample on your next visit. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for their thoughts and suggestions regarding using mouthwash in daily oral care.

 

How to Keep Your Breath Fresh | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumDo you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

The medical condition dry mouth (xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth, by rinsing your mouth out as well. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. So make sure you drink your daily intake of water and avoid sugary drinks!

Keep coffee use to a minimum. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. If you feel like you can’t function without it, don’t quit completely. Instead, keep the intake to a minimum and have a toothbrush or sugar-free gum handy for afterwards.

Stay away from tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can not only make you more susceptible to health issues, but smoking gives people horrible breath. Keeping them out of your life will have multiple benefits.

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath smell less than fresh for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Wait for a good half hour after a meal before popping in a piece of sugarless gum. It can help with saliva flow, cleaning cavity-forming bacteria from your mouth before they can do any damage. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, so feel free to indulge in this sweet treat after a good meal.

For more information regarding bad breath and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Your Dental Visit Doesn’t Have to Be Scary | Indianapolis Dentist

Dental treatmentIt will always be a nerve-wracking time preparing to see any sort of health professional. As adults, we seem to try dodging these appointments whenever possible. You aren’t exactly sure why, you just know you don’t want to go. For many, the thought of the unknown is the worst part about these meetings. So after years of deflecting the inevitable, don’t you want to understand why?

The good thing about returning to the dentist after a long hiatus is that our first encounter is going to be virtually painless. The goal for this visit is to basically get to know you and your oral health. It’s going to be a breeze, so make your appointment to get that first consultation taken care of. Every journey begins with a proverbial first step, even if that step is your mouth’s.

When you appointment begins, your dentist is going to do is ask about your health history. It may seem intrusive because dentists focus on oral health, but a lot of issues can be determined via the mouth, so it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your general health.

Typically, next will be x-rays. They’re necessary in order for your dentist to monitor your bone & jaw health. If you have recent ones, bring them with you to bypass this step. But prepare to have them done. Once they are done, your dental professional will clean your teeth. This will help them see any issues, like chips and cavities that may be developing due to your daily oral care or other health issues. Once that is done, not only will your mouth feel amazing, but your dentist can give you a better idea about things you need to do in order to take preventative measures. We want to stay ahead of anything that may happen in the future, so a good cleaning will help see the current state of your teeth.

And that’s basically it as far as the exam is concerned. Now it’s your turn to ask the questions. Take this time to discuss any questions or concerns you have going forward. They will have the best ideas about how to treat any issue they find necessary and prepare you for any surgeries that may need to take place. Be thorough. They are there to help you feel more at ease about your health, so don’t hesitate to mention any fears you may have.

Don’t worry. This first dental visit isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’s your first step to a beautiful smile. That in and of itself is good news.

For more information regarding and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Why Athletes Have to Worry About Their Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

thinkstockphotos-166340009When we think about athletes, we think about strong healthy individuals that take their sport by storm with all of their physical ability. They train hard, they eat well to give their bodies the proper nutrition in order to perform at their peak. But what if I told you that athletes actually have more to worry about when it comes to their oral health. It’s true. We may all have the same basic guidelines when it comes to oral care, but an athlete’s lifestyle isn’t the same as ours and needs to be treated as such. During their training, athletes often have high-carb diets and drink lots of energy drinks to keep up with things. Those two things alone are driving sugars and acids into their mouths, and these are the main causes for tooth decay and cavity-causing erosion. What they don’t realize is that when you have issues in your mouth, it can progress to cause pain. These pains may not be directly involved in the sport, but it can cause issues with sleeping and training in general, two necessities for all athletes to perform their best. So, if you are an athlete looking to better your overall performance on the field, track, court, or ice, you should look into your oral health!

Recent studies done and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 showed that 18 percent of athletes who attended the dental clinic of the London 2012 Olympic Games reported that their oral health damaged their training and performance in the games.

Researchers surveyed and examined 302 athletes from 25 sports and concluded these results:

  • Fifty-five percent had dental caries, the disease that causes cavities
  • Forty-five percent had dental erosion
  • More than three-quarters had gingivitis and 15 percent had gum disease
  • More than 40 percent of athletes were “bothered” by their oral health with 28 percent saying it impacted their quality of life and 18 percent saw an impact on their training and performance
  • Nearly half of the participants had not had an oral exam or hygiene care in the previous year

This just goes to show that oral health is an important tool and element of overall health, as it can effect one’s overall performance. And if you are in a sport that is more physical, make sure to see your dentist for a custom-fit mouthguard to ensure your teeth are protected from those tough hits. Preventative measures are key to keeping your entire athletic machine running in tiptop shape.

For more information on dental care for athletes and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

DIY Remedies: The All-Natural Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

Vector cartoon sick tooth. Decay and destroy tooth.There are lots of dental problems that arise as we progress in life, and they range from minor to serious. Sometimes you don’t have time to make it to the dentist, and sometimes you are just waiting for your appointment. There must be something you can do in the meantime to help remedy a few of the more common problems that may present itself. There are loads of different over-the-counter remedies to counter these issues, but there are also natural remedies you could actually have in your home at this very moment. The following is a list of things you can do at home for a quick fix to various dental issues, listed from minor to major:

Bad breath. No one likes to know they have bad breath. It’s awkward and embarrassing, for everyone involved. Try chewing on fennel seeds or parsley. Fenugreek leaves boiled into a tea can be used as a mouthwash. Grab a handful of leaves and swish the tea around in your mouth twice a day.

Discolored teeth. There are a few things you can do to gradually turn your yellowed teeth to a sparkling white grin. Make a paste with some baking soda and water and brush your teeth with it once a week. Turn some strawberries into a paste and rub it onto your teeth. It may sound strange but the acids in strawberries scrub your teeth in the most delicious way possible. If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, mix mustard oil with holy basil leaves. The paste is fantastic for fading your teeth’s tinge.

Gum infections. If you find that your gums have become inflamed, chances are you will need to take a trip to the dentist. But in the meantime, rinse with warm saline water three times a day. It will keep the area clean and plaque-free. Chewing basil leaves is also known to sooth gums so have some handy if you begin to feel some discomfort. Mustard oil come in handy here too. Mix a little with a pinch of salt to help relieve any mild infection, or loose tooth, you may have.

Toothaches. If your pain has progressed all the way to full-blown toothache, it may feel like nothing will help it. Would you believe it can be fixed by pressing a clove of garlic on the pain? It works. Turmeric powder pressed on a cavity will work wonders on a cavity. Similar to a topical anesthetics we use for cuts, clove oil will do the same anti-bacterial things, but for your mouth.

Dental problems are bound to happen at some point. It’s natural. And as you can see, there are lots of natural ways we can help relieve some of our dental problems. They may not be total solutions, but they will work great until you can get into the dental chair.

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

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

I Knocked Out My Tooth: Is It Lost Forever? | Indianapolis Dentist

Though many hockey players consider a lost tooth a badge of honor, it is possible to reimplant 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.

For more information on options for your missing tooth and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com

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

Bad Breath: A Social Faux Pas | Indianapolis Dentist

Fresh Breath

We all want to maintain fresh breath throughout the day but if we don’t have a toothbrush at our disposal how do we accomplish that? Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.” It should come as no surprise, the main way to keeping your smile pretty is to brush and floss every day. In fact, some of us go so far as to do it after each and every meal. I personally find it to be incredibly difficult to keep up with doing so after every meal, but a couple times a day was definitely doable, especially with my mom’s constant reminders. What I didn’t know was that we are naturally given a tooth decaying weapon to fight against cavities & gum disease – saliva.

I know it seems difficult to believe but the answer is already hanging out inside your mouth. You see, tooth decay happens when bacteria feed off of the sugars we are consuming through food and drink. This plaque latches on to your teeth and begins to eat through the enamel on your teeth. So this makes sense to brush after every meal. There leaves less time for this oral menace to do a whole lot of damage. But even more than that, when the saliva glands are activated in our mouths, it naturally helps rinse off the bacteria.

How do we activate this handy dental friend? Chewing. Every meal you eat, every snack you nosh on, every piece of bubble gum you chew is all creating saliva to help fight against germs and bad breath. But keep in mind, it takes 20 minutes for sugar to be cleared from your mouth after its consumption. The more often you are chewing on something sugary, the more often you are exposing your teeth to more bacteria. Try to keep your munchies less sugary and a lot healthier. Sugar-free gum & candy is great, but so is a handy bottle of water. Keeping a nice balance will not only get those salivary glands working, but will also help out the cause when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.

Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

  • Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. Avoid sugary drinks!
  • Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue.
  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath. Smoking gives people horrible breath!
  • Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities.

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

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

 

The Terrible Ten Smile Saboteurs | Indianapolis Dentist

Beautiful smile with withe teethThere are lots of reasons our teeth may not be the brightest at all times. We go to the dentist for regular cleanings, but in the end, they always seem to go back to the way they were. But why? What are we doing to make our smile dingy or flawed? A lot of times, it isn’t how well we clean our chompers. In many cases, discolored or damaged teeth are the result of our own bad habits, says Indianapolis dentist George Kirtley; other problems are caused by chemicals that entered teeth during childhood. The way we eat,what we put into our mouths, even habits you don’t realize you’ve picked up, like biting your pencil, can all do small damages to our teeth. The biggest offenders he sees in Indianapolis:

  • Drinking tea. Hot or cold, tea stains teeth more than any other kind of drink.
  • Smoking, because tobacco yellows teeth.
  • Drinking coffee; it stains the teeth.
  • Drinking red wine; it stains the teeth.
  • Consuming too many soft drinks, which leave sugars on teeth that can create cavities.
  • Eating highly acidic foods, including starchy snacks such as potato chips and tortilla chips. They can drive enamel-busting acids deep into teeth, breaking the teeth down.
  • Ingesting too much fluoride during childhood, which can actually damage teeth.
  • Treating childhood diseases with antibiotics, such as Tetracycline, that can discolor teeth.
  • Chewing ice or your nails; it cracks teeth.
  • Grinding teeth; habitual grinding damages teeth.

For more information on habits that can cause damage to your smile and/or to make an appointment, call Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynnedale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.