Category Archives: Teeth

Dental Crowns: The Key to Your New Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

crownsHaving a perfect smile is something that not many people have, but many strive to achieve. One of the biggest issues with teeth are damages incurred by everyday activities, whether it be a natural occurrence that developed over time or something that happened completely by accident. The good news is, there is a procedure that can be done to bring your smile back. And this cosmetic procedure is to replace your flawed tooth with a dental crown. With the use of crowns, you can have the smile you have always dreamed of.

No, we aren’t talking about the shiny hat worn by royalty. Dental crowns are a cosmetic restoration used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are chipped/broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay.

Crowns are “caps” cemented onto an existing tooth, fully covering the portion of your tooth above the gumline. In effect, the crown literally becomes your tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain and/or metal, but porcelain crowns are most often preferred because they mimic the characteristics of an actual tooth, both in their translucency of natural teeth and because the chemical makeup of porcelain makes these types of crowns very strong. Dental crowns also drastically decrease the amount of bacteria build-up that can lead to the loss of more teeth.

When debating between getting a crown or a filling, crowns are often preferable to silver amalgam fillings. Unlike fillings which apply metal directly into your mouth, a crown is fabricated away from your mouth. Your crown is created in a lab from your unique tooth impression which allows a dental laboratory technician to examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements. Your crown is then sculpted just for you so that your bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.

Dental crowns look extremely natural because the porcelain and composite resin crowns match the exact shade of your natural teeth. With dental crowns, you will not be able to tell the difference from your crowns and natural teeth. Because dental crowns are made from porcelain, a material that is not prone to discoloration, dental crowns are stain-resistant. With durable materials used for your dental crowns, dental crowns can last up to 15 years. With dental crowns, patients can go about their daily routines without constantly worrying about their dental crowns falling out of place.

For more information on dental crowns and 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.

How Dental Implants Can Save Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

lots of smilesMany patients put off going to the dentist. Whether they’re afraid of the pain, the noise of the procedures or the monetary cost of dental work, putting off dental visits can turn small problems into larger ones. Left long enough and your teeth can be lost due to decay, infection, or physical problems like cracking.

For the most severe dental problems, one of the common treatments is the dental implant. Where fillings remove small areas of decay with a synthetic substance and crowns place a cap over an existing tooth root, implants replace the entire tooth – root and all. The process is involved, but done properly, a tooth implant can last many decades, potentially even a lifetime.

The procedure starts by removing the existing tooth and root, and placing a titanium implant post into the patient’s jawbone. This metal post is the foundation for the entire implant, and it should be allowed to heal for 6-12 weeks, as the bone forms a permanent bond with the metal post. Once firmly bonded, the dentist will attach a second metal connector – known as an abutment – to the post, which provides a connecting surface for the replacement tooth. The dentist will then make impressions, modeling the entire mouth so that the replacement crown perfectly matches your existing bite. Finally, the crown will be attached permanently to the abutment, providing a solid, permanent tooth

While there may be some pain in the initial extraction, the rest of the procedure can typically be done under local anesthesia (such as Novocain). The procedure does take a few months to allow the post to properly bond to the jawbone, but once complete, the patient will have a natural looking, durable, convenient replacement for even the most severely damaged teeth.

For more information on dental implants 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.

Porcelain Fillings: Could the Pirates Be Wrong? | Indianapolis Dentist

periodontal diseaseIf there’s anything that we do know, it’s that pirates love their gold. They search the high seas looking for the stuff and buried boxes of it everywhere they went so as not to robbed by other water-bound marauders. And when they lost a tooth what was its replacement? Gold. Next to Donald Trump and ancient Egypt, pirates hold high rank in the gold loving department. But were they correct in preferring to use gold in their mouths?

Let’s take a look at the pros. Gold is exceptionally durable. Your fillings will generally last over a decade but could last a lifetime if taken care of and corrosion is impossible, so this is a great way to go. If aesthetics is more important to you than durability, gold will always win out over silver. Point to the pirates. However, with every pro comes a con. Gold costs a lot more than silver and takes longer to set the filling. Like, two entire dentist visits to set the filling. But if you can handle the extra cost and time required, grab yourself a bottle of rum. You are team pirate.

But what if you aren’t in the market to look like a pirate? Well then, porcelain fillings are where you should be heading. This tooth-colored filling is not only tough like the precious metal, but it is more versatile when it comes to where you can use it in your mouth as it isn’t as obvious as a gold one. The price point is somewhat similar as well. Something that does not compare is the fact that porcelain does not adjust to hot and cold and won’t wear down as quickly as their metal counterparts. Even the installation is kept to a minimum. In fact, the American Dental Association believes that porcelain fillings are the most wear-resistant fillings on the market. Looks like porcelain has a bit more of an edge over the golden version.

There are a few factors that will lead to your final decision. Making sure you have all your options is the most important and your dentist will have those options for you after a quick checkup. Regardless of the choice you make, if you need a filling done, see your dental professional as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage you can do to your teeth. Whatever you decide to use to fill your tooth, with proper oral care, your fillings will not only be taken care of for years to come, but your teeth will be so healthy you won’t need any more fillings. Two birds!

If you need to have porcelain fillings done, contact Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111 to schedule a consultation to help treat the underlying cause, or visit www.smilesbygeorge.com for information about Dr. George Kirtley and his practice.

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

What are Teeth? | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

186932212Your teeth outside of your oral care routine are probably not something you think about in depth. Teeth are actually complicated structures.

So we all know the proper care for our teeth, but what IS a tooth? Most of us have 32 teeth – hard, calcified white objects we use to chew, cut, crush, and swallow food.

The visible surface of the tooth is known as enamel. A hard, mineral surface, the enamel is typically light yellow to white in color, but is semi translucent, so the actual color of your tooth is determined by both the enamel and the underlying dentin. Made of a crystalized calcium phosphate known as hydroxyapatite, the enamel is both incredibly strong and incredibly brittle.

While enamel covers to outside of the tooth above the gum line, below the gum line the surface of the tooth is covered in a substance known as cementum. A yellowish substance, it contains less than half of the mineral content as enamel, making it much softer. The primary purpose of cementum is to provide a surface to allow the periodontal ligaments in the gums to hold onto the tooth.

Below the enamel and cementum lies the dentin. Dentin is a combination of mineralized hydroxyapatite, organic material and water, and is both much softer than enamel and much less brittle. However, it’s also more prone to decay, and severe cavities can cause significant dental problems if not treated rapidly.

Finally, within the dentin lies the tooth pulp. The pulp is soft tissue, filled with blood vessels and nerves that provide the tooth with oxygen, nutrients, and also the ability to transmit ‘senses’ such as temperature, pain, and pressure. The pulp also helps to form and repair dentin from within the tooth.

While most people will only see the enamel surface of their teeth, proper dental care will focus on maintaining each layer healthy. By protecting the enamel with proper brushing, and treating cavities formed by decay before they damage the dentin or pulp, dental care will focus on providing a patient with healthy teeth – from pulp to enamel – well into old age.

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