Category Archives: Restorative Dentistry

Ways to Brighten Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

teeth whitening

As we prepare to embark on another year, it is important to try to start it off on the right foot. For some of us, it is a brighter smile. And while we do our best to keep up with our dental hygiene, over time our teeth will begin to develop a yellowish tinge. It’s time for a teeth whitening treatment. But which to choose? Here is a quick breakdown to help you as you decide which option to choose.

Zoom! Plus teeth whitening

Teeth whitening can help you achieve a beautifully white smile by bleaching your teeth and removing any deep stains that cannot be removed by brushing or hygiene appointments. Here at our Indianapolis teeth whitening office, we use the latest Zoom! Plus, in-office laser tooth whitening system as seen on hit TV shows such as Extreme Makeover. The Zoom! system delivers great results and in about 1 hour we can brighten your teeth by several shades.

Home bleaching

In addition to in-office power whitening, we also offer professional home bleaching kits. We custom fabricate whitening trays to fit over your teeth and then supply you with a professional-grade tooth whitening solution to carry out the whitening procedure in the comfort of your own home. The home bleaching delivers results over a longer time period. Many of our patients choose combination treatment with in-office whitening followed by the home bleaching. This enables you to maintain your beautiful white smile and top it up whenever you want.

There is no reason we have to start the year with a less than perfect smile. It’s time to schedule an appointment to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

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.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry? | Indianapolis Dentist

cosmetic dentistry

We know that the dentist will keep our smiles healthy, but they are also here to improve your smile through the use of cosmetic dentistry. But what exactly is cosmetic dentistry and how does it benefit you and your smile? Let’s take a second to break down the various procedures and how they can improve your smile. Common cosmetic procedures include the following:

  • Composite white fillings repair cavities without having silver filling in the mouth. Existing metal fillings can be replaced with modern white resin
  • Bonding uses composite resin to help change the size, shape, or color of teeth. Because it attaches to teeth in the same way that composite fillings attach, bonding can be used to fix chips on visible front teeth.
  • Teeth that are discolored or stained can be whitened – either in the office or using take-home trays
  • Veneers are a thin layer of porcelain on top of the tooth that can be used to change tooth shape, size, or color.
  • Crowns can be used as a cap on top of teeth damaged by cracks or decay
  • Orthodontics – either traditional or Invisalign – can be used to permanently straighten teeth.
  • Gum tissue can be surgically altered – either added via grafts to help with recession, or removed to create a more appealing tooth length
  • For missing, broken, or severely damaged teeth, full implants can be used to provide a replacement tooth

Because modern dentists have implants as a final catchall, virtually any problem can be solved given enough time and room in the patient’s budget. However, your dentist will be able to guide you through the process, creating a treatment plan that maps the various procedures and prioritizes them for maximum effectiveness.

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 It’s too Crowded | Indianapolis Dentist

There is nothing more uncomfortable than being stuck in a crowd. It’s hot, it makes you feel helpless and chances are someone has bad breath. The same goes for teeth. Teeth crowding is the lack of space for all the teeth to fit normally within the jaws, causing the teeth to become twisted or displaced.

One of the common causes of tooth crowding is natural occurrence – so called mesial drift phenomenon, where your front teeth drift slowly to the center of the mouth. In the past, some dentists believed this was caused by the presence of wisdom teeth, crowding the front teeth from the rear of the mouth, though in reality many of the problems are due to simple insufficient space for the number of teeth as adults grow. Beyond mesial drift, other potential causes – such as weakened support due to periodontal disease, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting – can also influence teeth to move in directions that are undesirable, leading to misalignment and crowding issues. We see many adult patients who had relatively straight teeth as teenagers coming to correct new crowding that has developed, especially in the lower front teeth.

Many see crowding as a cosmetic problem, the reality is that poorly aligned teeth are at an increased risk for periodontal disease, decay, and the patient is more likely to suffer from TMJ (jaw-joint) problems, as their irregular bite may cause strain on their jaw over time. For these reasons, fixing alignment should be considered more than simply a cosmetic procedure – correcting the alignment allows the patient to have better access to brush and floss, and their bite will be more level.

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.

Contour Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

When we think of a perfect smile, we will tend to focus on bright, white, straight teeth. However, many patients realize that there’s another component as well – healthy, nice looking gums. You may not even think about it, but have you ever noticed that some may have gums that are too high, and others have gums that are too low? This is what we mean by nice looking gums. The causes will vary – genetics play 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 available from many 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. At the end of the procedure, the patient can look forward to a gum line that is both healthy and cosmetically appealing. Think your gums could be changing on you? Make a dental appointment for a consultation and get started on the smile you’ve always wanted.

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.

Just the Facts: Porcelain Veneers Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

Dental work has been known to be rather dicey in the past, but today’s technology has given the option to have it done without anyone noticing with natural-looking materials. Porcelain veneers are considered among the most beautiful and natural-looking means of improving one’s smile. Many people know how aesthetically beneficial these veneers are, but there’s more than meets the eye. Below are a few must know facts about porcelain veneers:

Most cosmetic dentists recommend only 8 to 10 veneers on top since the upper teeth are the ones that show the most when a person smiles, but the decision will be based on a number of factors, including the patient’s smile goals, a patient’s smile, how they speak and their budget.

Cosmetic dentists will have to remove around 0.5 mm of the tooth’s original enamel, making them an irreversible form of treatment.

The typical fabrication time for porcelain laminate veneers is one week, though this may be cut down considerably with CEREC.

While porcelain is a very strong and durable material, but you’ll be making a few necessary changes to one’s lifestyle and diet to prevent damaging the veneer. The use of mouth guards when playing contact sports is also highly recommended.

Porcelain veneers can last for as long as twenty years, but gum line shrinkage may require for the veneer to be removed or replaced.

Porcelain veneers can withstand stains, but the surrounding teeth cannot, so periodic teeth whitening treatments and good oral hygiene at home make sure that the veneers stay natural-looking.

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.

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.

Don’t Ruin Your Dental Implants with Proper Care | Indianapolis Dentist

When we have the chance to improve your smile with dental implants, you will need to realize that while they are made to be quite resilient, you need to take care of them just as much as you do your own teeth. Don’t fret – it isn’t going to be an overhaul of your life. In fact, you may not even notice a difference at all. While you will be given instructions regarding aftercare and upkeep, here is a quick rundown of what you can expect to hear:

Brush and floss twice a day. Just like your regular teeth, implants need to be cleaned and flossed to prevent food particles from invading your gums and implant structure.

Say no to staining. Dental implants can stain the same as normal teeth. Steer clear of smoking, coffee, tea, sodas and wine. Don’t feel you need to avoid them completely – moderation is key.

Mouthwash. Special germicidal mouthwash is often prescribed by dentists for patients with dental implants. It helps reduce the risk of infection.

Dental visits twice a year. Regular dental visits are a part of normal dental hygiene but is especially true for people with dental implants. Your dental implants will need a thorough cleaning and plaque removal to continue to keep their brightness. Along with the cleaning, the condition of your gums, jaw and anchors will be checked.

Caring for restorations is just like caring for your natural teeth. You’ve gone through the process of getting the dental implant – maintain them for a smile that lasts a lifetime.

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 Smile Needs a Makeover | Indianapolis Dentist

multiple-smilesIs your smile everything you want it to be? Do you have some teeth that could use a fix or two? If you have some flaws to your smile that make you feel self-conscious, it may be time for a smile makeover. These days, there are lots of ways to improve it with bonding and porcelain veneers.

Both bonding and porcelain veneers have similarities. They both are used to cover dental imperfections. However, the procedures are quite different and we will break them both down so you have a better idea of what you’d prefer. A consultation with your dental professional will be the best option in order to get a treatment program into place.

Dental bonding uses a smooth tooth-colored solution that is applied to the flawed teeth. Various uses, bonding your teeth can remedy anything from covering stains, to covering up small chips and gaps. After the dental bonding solution has been applied and shaped, it is hardened by using a specialized dental light. Once dried and cured, additional layers may be applied in order to create a more natural look, then polished. Bonding is used on patients who need one or two teeth corrected.

When it comes to veneers, they are created differently. Your new teeth will be fabricated from a solid piece of porcelain. While bonding is applied to your actual teeth, veneers fit over the front and underside of your tooth, covering it completely. They are used for multiple reasons, especially when it comes to lengthening or widening teeth to close gaps or fill in chips. While bonding is best for simple small fixes, porcelain veneers are generally used for patients who have several cosmetic problems or want their entire set of front facing teeth made over. Modern porcelain veneers tend to last many years, are easy to maintain afterwards, look incredibly natural, and offer a stronger alternative to other cosmetic options. While veneers and bonding are cosmetic procedures used to treat similar problems, veneers may be a better alternative in cases where the patient wants to adjust the size or shape of the tooth.

A crown is a functional covering that dentists put over a damaged or decayed tooth or teeth after the dentist has removed the defective area. A dental crown can be used to strengthen a tooth, improve appearance and can be placed on top of a dental implant. With advancements in dental technology like the CEREC system, you can get all of this done in one day. The obvious advantage of this is that it saves you lots of time. Another advantage of the CEREC technology is precision. The scanner the dentist uses takes excellent 3D images of your jawline and the computer the dentist uses takes excellent images of the area for the crown. With such good information, your dentist has less healthy tooth structure to remove when preparing the tooth or teeth for a crown than with the traditional method. Unlike a porcelain veneer, these one day crowns are made with an enamel-like material. No metal is used. For this reason, X-rays can see through these crowns in a day and detect cavities easily.

A dental consultation is necessary to find out more about your smile makeover options and to coordinate a dental treatment plan. So ask about your options. Your smile will be gleaming very soon.

For more information on smile makeovers 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 Dental Implants Are the Ultimate Solution for Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

Dental ImplantAs far as missing teeth go, you have three dental options to choose from: dental implants, bridges and dentures. Each one of the three has its own set of distinct advantages and disadvantages. However, of all three options, dental implants are considered as a much better option. But why is that?

Dental implants are permanent fixtures of titanium posts. The posts are anchored to your jawbone and topped off with an all-new replacement tooth or a bridge that’s screwed or cemented into the posts themselves. Of the three, dental implants are the ones that feel and function like natural teeth. But to further convince you on why implants are just better, let’s talk about the different advantages of both bridges and dentures.

Bridges are dental restorations that span the gap left by missing teeth and is connected to the teeth adjacent to the space left behind. Typically, bridges consist of filler teeth, which are anchored or attached, then bonded to a crown or the surrounding teeth. The procedure for bridges is easy and rarely takes no longer than two visits, and rarely require surgery. This is a huge advantage to those that have dental anxiety. But dental bridges are cheap, especially when compared to the initial costs of other procedures, such as dentures and implants.

When it comes to dentures, they can either be partial or complete and are used to replace the bottom arch or the top arch of your mouth. If the situation requires it, dentures can also be used to replace all of the patient’s teeth. Unlike bridges, it’s hard to find where dentures hold an advantage when compared to dental implants. This is especially evident when you consider the many issues concerning dentures, such as potential warping and an uncomfortable and loose fit that may lead to embarrassing moments when speaking and/or eating.

Dental implants are not always the best choice, which is why fixed bridges and removable dentures are still used. However, dental implants are a better solution the majority of the time because unlike removable dentures, implants do not slip, or make embarrassing clicking sounds when eating or speaking. Also, unlike bridges, there’s no partial cutting involved when it comes to having dental implants placed inside your mouth. The most important factor, though, as to why dental implants are just better is because dental implants do not put the patient’s teeth at as much of a risk to recurrent decay and gum disease as dental bridges and dentures would. As an added bonus, dental implants can last for as long as 25 years. This is a full ten years to the 7 to 15 years that fixed bridges and removable dentures can only last for until they need to be replaced.

For more information on dental implants 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.