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.

Ever Wonder What a Tooth Is? | Indianapolis Dentist

We use them to eat, smile and speak, but have you ever stopped to think about what exactly your teeth are? Like, what exactly are these strong white teeth taking up space in your mouth? They may look basic, but teeth are actually complicated structures.

Enamel. 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.

Cementum. 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.

Dentin. 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, making them more prone to decay and severe cavities.

Pulp. 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 the ability to transmit ‘senses’ such as temperature, pain, and pressure. The pulp also helps to form and repair dentin from within the tooth.

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.

Keep Your Grin Bright at Home | Indianapolis Dentist

Getting teeth whitened in the dentist’s office is one way to improve your confidence and make you want to smile a lot more. However, the maintenance of this whitening treatment really comes into play once we leave the dental chair. It’s still important that you continue to look for ways to maintain your smile, or if possible, make it whiter and brighter. Listed below are four very useful tips for those who want to have a brighter and whiter smile:

Use whitening toothpaste. Visits to the dentist are important not just to get treatment to have your teeth whitened, but also to remove the bacteria and plaque that have built up over time. Ask for any tips they may have for upkeep.

Chew gum and crunchy produce. Saliva is your mouth’s naturally means of cleaning bacteria and plaque, so pop in a stick of sugar-free gum. Speaking of consumption, munching on crunchy produce such as apples, carrots and celery can also help you keep your teeth bright and clean.

Take better care of your tooth enamel. Although considered as the hardest substance in the human body, tooth enamel cannot repair itself if it breaks down. It is important that you take good care of your tooth enamel by providing it with necessary protection, such as by getting fluoride treatment at the dentist’s office and using a fluoride-toothpaste.

Drink plenty of milk. Dairy products are high in calcium, which helps keep your teeth white and bright. Dairy gives your teeth the calcium it needs to keep enamel strong and helps rid your teeth of food particles that can cause stains and discoloration.

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.

The ABCs of Oral Cancer | Indianapolis Dentist

While some think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 115 new individuals each day in the US alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth and is one of several types of cancer grouped in a category called head and neck cancers. If you notice any of the below changes, contact your dentist or health care professional immediately:

  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
  • A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40.

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.

No Sleep Increases Your Unhealthy Snacking | Indianapolis Dentist

As seen on SleepDallas.com

A decrease in sleep, increases your appetite… and ultimately, your weight.

Ironically in dreamland, we are all our ideal size. 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 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 evident when your body lacks 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. You’ll grab for the chips, chocolate and candy rather than choosing carrot sticks.

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. That will result in you not just making bad food choices but making frequent bad choices.

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.

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 Happens at a Dental Checkup? | Indianapolis Dentist

We know that our dental visits help ensure that we continue to have a healthy mouth and bright smile. But if you have never been to the dentist, these dental checkups can seem daunting. After all, no one is raving about having to go to the dentist. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. So, in order to clarify some things for those that may be unaware, here is a basic rundown of what you can expect from a typical dental visit:

The first thing most dentists will do when for a patient’s first visit is conduct x-rays. The x-rays not only provide a current glimpse at the state of the patient’s oral health, but they offer a glimpse at the patient’s dental history. Fillings, crowns, bridges and implants will be plainly visible, as well as any existing problems such as untreated decay.

Based on the result of the x-rays, it’s likely that the dentist will determine if any teeth need attention, a cleaning is needed, etc. Depending on the time allotted for the visit, the dentist may be able to address his recommendations at that time or may ask that the patient make a follow-up appointment. This is also the time you can ask about any questions you may have.

If serious problems are discovered, it’s not unusual for dentists to refer patients to other specialists. Some dentists will refer patients needing root canals to an endodontist, and patients needing corrective braces to an orthodontist.

Visiting the dentist shouldn’t be something to fear or avoid. They are here to help and are willing to address any concerns you may have.

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.

Swish Like a Fish | Indianapolis Dentist

periodontal diseaseWho doesn’t love that minty fresh feeling your mouth has after a good rinse with mouthwash? Your breath is not only the benefit of mouthwash, though – mouthwash can help keep your gums and teeth healthy if used properly.

Mouthwash can cut back the level of bacteria in your mouth. Combined with brushing and flossing regularly, rinsing with mouthwash will do a much better job of removing plaque and debris. Research shows that adding a rinse with mouthwash to your oral care routine can in fact improve the overall cleanliness of your mouth and help keep gum inflammation at bay.

Keep in mind – most mouthwashes are at their most effective when in contact with your mouth tissues for 30 seconds per use. It may sound impossible to do with the strong taste, but it’s worth toughing it out if you want the best results. Bonus fact: it’s also a good cleaning agent for mouth guards. Still not convinced? Here are the dental health benefits of mouthwash:

Freshens breath. First and most obviously, mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath. Mouthwash kills bacteria associated with causing bad breath leaving you with minty fresh breath.

Prevents plaque build-up. Various mouthwashes help prevent plaque build-up on your gums, in-between and on the surface of your teeth. And while it prevents the build-up of plaque, it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists.

Removes particles. We are taught to use mouthwash after brushing but using it prior can loosen particles stuck in your teeth, making it easier to brush.

Cavity prevention. Mouthwashes that contain fluoride can help to prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel at the same time. Remember, not all mouthwashes contain fluoride so check the label.

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 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.

Taking Care of Your Dental Implants | Indianapolis Indiana

If you have just received dental implants, half of the battle is over. Getting them in is one thing, however, maintaining them is more important. Now is the time in which you should practice better oral hygiene than you did before. Good oral hygiene before, during, and after placement of dental implants will ensure the health and longevity of the implants.

Proper care of your implants is important to their continued function and good health. While they are not subject to cavities as our natural teeth are, they can develop gum inflammation, and even infection and bone loss if not properly maintained. Whereas localized inflammation and infection around your teeth is known as periodontal disease, a similar process can occur around implants and is known as peri-implantitis.

Your “new teeth” will require periodic checking by your dentist to ensure the surrounding gums and bone are maintained and healthy. This also requires periodic x-rays to evaluate the level of bone around your implants. The dental restorations attached to your implants will also require periodic checking by your dentist to verify that they are secure and functioning properly.

Implant dentistry can restore your smile and oral health. To see if dental implants are right for you, contact Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit the website www.dentalimplantsindianapolis.com

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.