Category Archives: Oral Care

Care for a Mint? | Indianapolis Dentist

Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.”

The problem is, that is generally how you find out that you do. It’s something a significant someone will likely point out to you. 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? It isn’t as difficult as you think. The main goal to keeping bad breath at bay is to keep saliva production going. The more saliva you have being produced the less chance odor-causing bacteria have to set up camp in your mouth. 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.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

Lack Sleep, Gain Weight | Indianapolis Dentist

In dreamland, weight issues are non-existent. We don’t have to follow some low-carb diet. There is no working up a sweat running on a treadmill for hours. No need for herbal supplements or any magical pills. We just fall asleep and voila – we are instantly thinner.

Studies have shown that people who get frequent, good-quality sleep tend to weigh less than those who lack appropriate shut eye. There certainly is a correlation between good health and good sleep. People with sleep deficiencies have distorted quantities of a hormone that has been identified in controlling hunger. This creates an amplified appetite and increases your preference for high calorie foods.

There is an abundance of physical consequences when don’t get enough sleep. Sleep loss affects your mood, your appetite and your hormones. You’re inclined to desire comfort food when you are tired and it’s more probable that you will indulge your craving for them. Even though it may feel like you have a boost in your energy level, you will find yourself hungry more frequently. Your hunger isn’t the real problem; your sleepiness is.

For a lot of people, emotional eating is triggered when you are tired. This is because you’re less resistant to stress and stress leads to eating. Also, people will use food as a means to stay awake. Again, your body is craving sleep, not food, but in your sleepy state, you fail to recognize this.

In the end, get a good night’s sleep and wake up lighter. Sleep deficiencies increase your appetite and promote weight gain. Midnight cravings are actually a thing.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

What Will a Smile Makeover Repair? | Indianapolis Dentist

Your smile is typically the first thing that people will notice about your appearance, whether good or not so good. After all, life revolves around social media, and thus, selfies. But if you don’t have that typical Hollywood smile, do we just give up altogether? Not at all – you just need to head over to your dentist’s office for a consultation. You may benefit from a smile makeover.

The term smile makeover usually refers to the combination of certain dental procedures to give someone a flawless smile. Through a discussed treatment plan, your dental professional will take a unique approach to each patient’s smile goals and needs, recommending options that are in their best interest. Together you will decide which procedures will be best to achieve your perfect smile. Whether your teeth are broken, chipped, missing, discolored, or otherwise damaged, don-t you worry – it can be improved.

So, what do smile makeovers repair? Smile makeovers can address a broad range of aesthetic flaws, including:

  • Discoloration of the teeth
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Eroded, misshapen, or disproportionately sized teeth
  • “Gummy” smiles
  • An uneven gumline
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Slightly crooked teeth

Smile makeover are designed to enhance or even transform your self-image by giving you a brighter and more youthful smile, making your teeth look and function better through cosmetic and restorative dental procedures. Keep in mind the primary focus of a smile makeover is to improve the appearance of your smile rather than the health of your mouth. Therefore, if you have underlying oral health issues, they will need to be addressed before your makeover can begin to help you reach all your dental goals.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

Why Are My Teeth Turning Yellow? | Indianapolis Dentist

teeth whiteningYou have all the tools you need to keep your smile bright and shiny, but for some reason the brilliant white in your teeth has begun to fade. How is this happening? Isn’t brushing the main reason our teeth stay white? The answer is yes…and no. Yes, daily dental hygiene is the way you need to keep your dental health intact. But your teeth can also begin to change because of other factors, like your diet. When you keep a certain diet regularly, the outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years. When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened. Contributing factors to yellowing, stained teeth:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

So, now that we know what causes our teeth to become dingy looking, how do we prevent this from happening? The best way to help your stained discolored teeth is professional tooth whitening. But in between these treatments, keeping your daily dental hygiene up by brushing with a toothpaste with whitening agents at least twice a day. If a toothbrush isn’t available at the time, rinse your mouth with water several times a day with water. Sound too easy? It really is.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

Play Sports? Take Care of Your Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

When 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. 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. 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 affect 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 smile intact.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

Don’t Be a Dental Scaredy Cat | Indianapolis Dentist

What are your biggest fears? Do they cause you to put your well-being in danger? With many of these fears, it is possible to avoid it altogether, for others it could cause issues in the future. One of these fears is the dentist. The British Dental Health Foundation has found that 1 in 10 people suffer from dental anxiety, and most are women.

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”, the Foundation stated in a press release.

And it’s absolutely true. Because we aren’t practicing dentistry the same way we did in the past. It isn’t your grandparent’s dentist anymore. With today’s technology, your entire dental experience can be a pain free, anxiety free one. And it is all thanks to relaxation and sedation techniques that have been proven in helping overcome dental phobias.

Your dental professional can now offer sedation dentistry for patients with dental phobias and anxiety. For those that are very anxious or if you are undergoing a longer procedure, we offer conscious sedation. This treatment uses a combination of medications that put you into a very relaxed dream like state.

Many of 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 some people call it sleep dentistry. Don’t let a fear of the dentist keep you from having the smile you’ve always wanted.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

Halloween: Your Smile’s Least Favorite Holiday | Indianapolis Dentist

The end of October may feature one of America’s favorite holidays, but it sure isn’t your teeth’s. Yes, it’s Halloween, the nighttime holiday where kids dressed up as their favorite character and hunt the neighborhood for sweet confections. 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. Here are some helpful tips:

Moderation. Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation – by teaching children to eat a moderate number of treats, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras so they can’t be eaten when you aren’t looking.

Snack time sweets. 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.

Hygiene fun. Focus on fun, but effective, dental hygiene. 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 fluoride toothpaste.

If you have questions about how Halloween impacts your children’s dental health, contact your dentist or ask at your child’s next dental appointment. Help them help your smile.

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Bazooka Joe Is Saving Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumOkay so, maybe that isn’t exactly true. But it is safe to say, millions of Americans chew gum. Some use it for the fresh breath, some us it to curb food cravings, some just like to chew gum for the bubbles, but chewing gum is really good for your teeth. But all chewing gum isn’t the same.

First, the science. The physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you chew after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth. In fact, clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. It’s always best to brush and floss, but if a toothbrush isn’t handy, sugar free gum is a great second option.

It’s important to note that it’s important to chew sugarless gum, and if possible, choose gum sweetened with Xylitol. Tooth decay starts when bacteria in your mouth consumes sugar – whether that sugar comes from a sugary drink such as cola or ice cream from dessert, it stays within your mouth and attaches to the surface of your teeth. When that sugar is allowed to stay in contact with your teeth, it provides an opportunity for decay to set in as bacteria has food to grow and multiply within your mouth. When you chew gum, the additional saliva neutralizes oral acids and flushes sugar away from the teeth, starving bacteria and protecting your teeth from cavities.

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

What You Need to Know About Gum Contouring | Indianapolis Dentist

We all desire an exceptional smile – the kind of smile that brightens a room. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t lucky enough to have such a fantastic set of dental circumstances. But when you think of that perfect smile, what do you think of? Most patients focus on bright, white, straight teeth. However, many patients realize that there’s another component as well – your gums.

Some patients may have gums that are too high, and others have gums that are too low. The causes vary – genetics plays a part, but certain prescription drugs can cause gums that cover more of your teeth than normal, and activities such as smoking can cause gum recession, causing your teeth to look longer than expected.

Gum contouring is typically considered a cosmetic procedure – most insurance plans do not consider it medically necessary and will not cover the costs. However, it is becoming more readily available in many of today’s dental and periodontal offices. For severe cases of gum recession, exposed tooth roots can cause gum contouring to be considered a medical necessity, as the receding tissue can contribute to long term problems such as tooth decay and tooth loss.

The procedure can be done with traditional surgical techniques or lasers – ask your dentist to determine which they recommend. In many cases, local anesthesia is sufficient, though general anesthesia may be considered for larger procedures. The recovery is typically straightforward – there is some bleeding and swelling expected, but generally the soreness will subside within a week.

How does the process work?  Watch this video to see gum contouring take place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfZwanwhtxA

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

When Your Tooth Zings You | Indianapolis Dentist

When the seasons change from cold to hot, or hot to cold, our diets begin to change drastically. Soups and cocoa changes to salads and iced teas. Unfortunately, if we aren’t taking good care of our teeth, this can cause our teeth to give us a painful signal when we test its sensitivity. If you’ve been experiencing jarring sharp pain when you eat or drink hot or even cold foods, or even surprisingly during your oral care routine, you may have developed sensitive teeth.

But these are the foods of the season, so what gives? Well, there are a variety of answers here. As we age, so do our teeth. With age the enamel on your teeth can wear, leaving your tooth roots exposed. This, of course, can cause those jolting pains with tempered food and drink or even cold air. Here are some reasons this may be happening:

  • Over-brushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth whitening

Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you will benefit from professional treatment. There are a variety of treatments from simple solutions to oral surgery. Sensitive teeth solutions include:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste
  • Desensitizing or bonding
  • Surgical gum graft
  • Root canal

See your dentist at the first sign of sensitivity. If caught early enough, it can be easily treated. Many times, sensitive teeth can be treated with a good cleaning and use of a special toothpaste. If you wait to get treatment, you often end up with a bigger problem that is more difficult to treat.

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.