Two of the Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

teeth whitening

Some people are just born with much more yellowish teeth compared to others. That’s a fact. It’s also a known fact that our teeth also become yellow as we age. Though, there are also other factors affecting the color of our teeth, such as:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Drinking certain beverages such as red wine, tea, coffee and others.
  • Eating cherries, blueberries and other highly pigmented types of food.
  • The hardening of plaque resulting from the lack of proper oral hygiene.

Whitening Your Teeth

Frequent dental cleanings can easily remove most of the stains caused by certain food, drinks and tobacco. Using a whitening toothpaste can also help remove such stains in between visits to the dentists. Though, if your stains have been present for years, simply cleaning and brushing just won’t cut it.

Stubborn stains will have to be removed either by bleaching, bonding or capping. All of these methods are considered by dental care experts as very safe and effective. However, it’s usually up to your dentist to determine which type of treatment is based on both the results you want to achieve and the current state of your teeth.

How Teeth Whitening Works

Bleaching requires the use of tooth-bleaching gels to oxidize out the stain and can be done either by the dentist or at home.

A common side effect during the process is for teeth to become slightly more sensitive than usual.

  • At-home whitening. This is usually the preferred method by many people since it’s much more convenient. This is done by letting your dentist take an impression of your teeth and making a custom-fitted tray. You’ll then have to fill the tray with whitening gel and wear it for two hours a day for as long as two weeks. If done correctly, at-home whitening can be a very effective teeth whitening solution.
  • In-office whitening. This type of procedure is done in the dentist’s office. Each visit takes somewhere around 30 minutes to one hour and multiple visits are usually required to achieve the desired results.

Of the two, in-office whitening is considered the most effective solution, but it’s also much more expensive.

Tooth Bonding

Bonding is another dental procedure that relies on the use of composite resins and porcelain/composite veneers to cover the surface of stained teeth. This procedure can help not just in whitening teeth, but also giving broken and misshapen teeth a better appearance.

There are generally two types of bonding techniques:

  • Composite bonding. In this procedure, the front teeth are usually reduced so that once the composite resin is bonded or fitted, the teeth will not look too bulky. The composite resin is carefully matched with the color and shape of the surrounding teeth, so you don’t have to worry about them standing out.
  • Veneer bonding. The process is generally the same with veneer bonding, but with minor differences. Though, the biggest difference between the two is that porcelain veneers are considered to be much more durable and may last for as long as 10 years.

Taking Care of Your Newly Whitened Teeth

Whether it’s been whitened in the office, or at home, or if you’ve had veneers or bonds, your teeth can and will stain over time. The best way to prevent that from happening is to avoid smoking, heavily colored foods and generally, practicing good oral hygiene, including frequent trips to the dentist.

 

In-Office and Home Teeth Whitening

teeth cleaning

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. This is why it’s important that you invest in them to make sure that they always leave a good, lasting impression.

Chances are, though, that your pearly whites aren’t exactly as white as you’d like them. This may have caused you to become conscious about them and as a result, your self-esteem has suffered because of this.

Now, while white teeth aren’t the only ingredients of a bright and radiant smile, they are one of the most important, which is exactly why you should take the time to learn about teeth whitening treatments.

Teeth Whitening Treatments

Generally, there are two types of teeth whitening treatments – home tooth whitening systems and in-office teeth whitening.

The former is widely considered as more popular because there are plenty of available tooth whitening systems out there that are easy to use and very cheap.

Even without the prescription or the supervision of a dentist, anyone can use over-the-counter teeth whitening products. The most common are paint-on tooth gel, mouth trays, whitening gum and toothpaste, as well as whitening strips.

Safety is very rarely an issue with these products as well, but if you’re having reservations, you can ask your dentist first.

In-office teeth whitening

Less popular compared to home tooth whitening systems, in-office teeth whitening is the preferred whitening method by most dental professionals. This is because these types of treatment are just much more effective and safer too.

Generally falling under the category of cosmetic dentistry, it’s important that you find a certified and experienced cosmetic dentist before you undergo such a treatment. Otherwise, you may just end up wasting your money.

Once you’ve found the right cosmetic dentist, the fun starts.

There are various ways dentists can professionally whiten your teeth, but what’s widely accepted as the most effective is the use of a buffer in the gel, which protects the tooth enamel from any kind of damage. The use of such a gel makes the procedure not only safe, but also very effective and has been known to transform teeth many shades lighter in just a single visit.

As effective as in-office teeth whitening treatments are, it does have its limits.

This type of treatment can only affect the front teeth, usually the eight that are most evident when you smile. But, still, eight much whiter teeth are still better than none at all and is a great way to jump start your whole teeth whitening program, something that you can or, rather, should continue at home.

Have a brighter smile today

While it is impossible for you to have a totally brighter smile immediately, you can at least rejoice in the fact that it will happen, so long as you work at it.

With your cosmetic dentist’s help and proper oral care, as well as the use of dentist recommended home whitening products, not only will you have whiter and better-looking teeth, but they’ll also be much healthier too.

Learn more about teeth whitening today by calling George Kirtley D.D.S. at 317-841-1111. Learn more about Dr. Kirtley by visiting his website at www.smilesbygeorge.com.

 

Why Cosmetic Dentists Are Different From Your Average Dentist

close up smile red lipstick

When people hear the word “cosmetic dentists”, most would say that they’re no different from your average dentist or that they mainly dabble and are only interested in the aesthetics of their patient’s smile. Either way, it’s usually one of the two.

Of the two, neither is totally correct. Yes, cosmetic dentists are concerned about the beauty of their patient’s smiles, but they do also treat the same dental problems that your average dentist does.

What makes them different, in particular, is just how they pay attention to the maintenance and improvement of the natural beauty of the smile of their patients.

Take metal composite fillings, for example. The average dentist will usually recommend this particular dental restoration method because it’s been around for centuries already. However, most cosmetic dentists disagree with this.

While gold crowns and dental fillings are quite effective, they’re not particularly safe. Criticism about them containing traces of mercury aside, metal composite fillings tend to expand and contract over time, causing unnecessary damage to the teeth. And, of course, they don’t exactly look all that good.

For cosmetic dentists, porcelain is their material of choice when it comes to repairing any type of damage to their patient’s teeth because they’re malleable, easy to use, safe and most important of all, aesthetically pleasing.

The Key Difference

Cosmetic dentists also treat many of the same dental issues that general dentists deal with, such as:

  • Chipped or damaged teeth.
  • Misaligned bites.
  • Missing and/or decaying teeth.

However, the key difference here is that cosmetic dentists prefer methods that focus on both treating the problem, while at the same time, addressing the aesthetical aspect.

The keyword here is aesthetics.

Cosmetic dentists, unlike general dentists, make it their job to protect both the structural integrity and aesthetics of their patient’s smile. And, while elective, there are many cases where the treatments offered by cosmetic dentists provide much better restorative benefits compared to conventional methods, such as:

The Different Benefits Offered By Cosmetic Dentists

  • Correction of any physical flaws. The procedures preferred by cosmetic dentists can help conceal, as well as correct plenty of dental problems, from misshapen teeth, chips, cracks, unsightly gaps and stains, and so on.

 

  • Improved self-esteem. You yourself would probably agree that the one thing that’s stopping you from smiling more often is that your teeth aren’t exactly something that you’re proud of. Well, cosmetic dentists can help fix that for you so that you can smile away all you want and be prouder of the way you look. This, in turn, can help give your self-esteem a much needed boost.

 

  • Prevention of damages in the future. While most of the procedures are designed to help make teeth look beautiful, they can also affect it positively in other ways. For example, porcelain bonding can help improve the structural integrity of the teeth. Also, cosmetic dentists can cover up hairline fractures or worn edges to not only improve their appearance, but also to prevent further damage to these problem areas.

 

 

If you’re interested in taking your oral care a bit further and focus on improving your smile, be sure to schedule an appointment with George Kirtley DDS at 371-841-1111 today to see how he can transform your smile! To learn more visit our website at www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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

 

Caring for your Implants | Cosmetic Dentist Indianapolis

177406608Receiving a dental implant(s) treatments isn’t the easiest procedure. There are many steps, visits and waiting time to go through the entire process correctly. You’ve put in a lot of time and money in to your new restorative, now how can you ensure they last a lifetime? Once you have your dental implants in place, you want to make sure they are taken care of properly.

Dr. Kirtley also wants to make sure your dental implant(s) are cared for properly as well! We’ve compiled a short list of easy steps to properly care for your new implant(s).

Proper care for your new implant(s):

-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. 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; however this is especially true for people with dental implants. Your dental implants will need a thorough cleaning and plaque removal. 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: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Easy, right? With proper care, your dental implants can last you a lifetime.

Contact Dr. George Kirtley for an appointment today for more information on implants at 317-841-1111 or generaldentistryindianapolis.com.

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

Teeth Crowding Solutions | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

woman smileMany people have – or believe they have – problems with their teeth crowding that goes untreated. Crowding can be caused by a number of different factors, and knowing the actual cause may impact the treatment options. Crowding is the lack of space for all the teeth to fit normally within the jaws. The teeth may be twisted or displaced. Crowding occurs when there is disharmony in the size or number of teeth to available jaw size.

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. It is still not completely understood why this happens, but we do know that presence of the wisdom teeth are not usually directly related.

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.

If you notice crowding in your front teeth, make a point of asking Dr. Kirtley about options during your next regular checkup. There are a number of treatments available, and treating the crowding early can help prevent more serious problems from developing in the future. Even if your concerns are simply cosmetic, we can work with you to ensure that your teeth will have the best chance for minimal movement in the future.

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

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

Is a Dental Implant for You? | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

tooth whiteningMany people are living with damaged teeth in form or another. Perhaps you are one of those people? Do you have a cracked tooth, a severe cavity or physical trauma to a tooth, stemming from an accident? With circumstances like these the chances are more than likely that your tooth may not be able to be saved. Modern dentistry has a number of options that look and feel like a natural tooth, and one of the most common solutions for teeth that can’t be saved is the dental implant.

What is a dental implant? A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge(perio.org), through a combination of procedures that work together to provide a prosthetic tooth for patients. The procedure for installing the implant is straightforward, but takes time.

Implants consist of three primary components:

– A titanium post screwed into the bone of the tooth socket

– A titanium extension post is attached to the screw base and provides a socket for the crown

– A dental crown – often porcelain – is attached to the middle titanium post

Once the damaged tooth is removed, the area will be allowed to heal. Once healed, the post is attached to the bone, and again the mouth is allowed to heal. During this time, a lightweight temporary crown will be placed (often using a retainer) to maintain the patient’s smile and protect the post. After the screw is healed in place, the new permanent crown is attached, and the patient has a new artificial tooth that looks exactly like the tooth it replaced.

Dental implants are a popular choice because they last a very long time, have a high success rate, can be used for treating a wide variety of serious problems, and provide a replacement tooth that is almost indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Dental implants are popular among patients because the implant looks and feels like a tooth, implants do not require special cleaning like bridges, and they do not need to be removed nightly like dentures.

Once the procedure is complete, the resulting implanted tooth will allow you to eat normally, speak normally, and will look and feel just like a natural tooth. The dental implant has a very high success rate. However, there are many variables, especially the timing between each step of the procedure, so be sure to talk to your dentist about specifics before you commit to the procedure.

Properly cared for dental implant can last for decades.  If you have a tooth that is damaged, or if you believe a dental implant may be right for you, ask your dentist about implants.

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

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

Dental Extractions | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

skd284147sdcThere’s a classic idiom in the English language that compares unpleasant, difficult tasks to pulling teeth. Known as dental extraction, pulling teeth is recommended in some situations. While it’s certainly true that few people are ever excited about having teeth pulled, dental extractions have come a long way, and the procedure is no longer cause for dread.

Your dentist may recommend extraction for a number of reasons:
– If the tooth is seriously damaged, either due to injury or decay, and can not be saved
– If the tooth to be extracted is a wisdom tooth (third molar), it may cause crowding, alignment problems, pain, or infection
– If the tooth to be extracted is blocking another tooth from coming in
– If the tooth to be extracted is a baby tooth that didn’t fall out in time
– If the tooth to be extracted is causing crowding, a dentist or orthodontist may recommend removing some teeth to allow braces to better adjust the remaining teeth
– If the teeth are infected, or could potentially be an infection source in high risk patients such as those undergoing organ transplants or cancer treatment

Extractions typically fall into one of two classes – simple and surgical. Dentists often perform simple extractions, where oral surgeons often perform surgical extractions. Simple extractions generally involve a single tooth that is visible in the mouth, with clear alignment – after numbing the area with local anesthetic, the tooth will be loosened using an instrument known as an elevator, and then pulled with an instrument known as forceps. For surgical removal, the surgeon may use local anesthetic, moderate sedation, or general anesthesia, and likely use a combination of tools and techniques to remove teeth that may be difficult to see (or still within the gums).

While extractions are very common and generally safe, they do have some risk. The most common complications are dry sockets (where the bone is exposed to air during healing), accidental damage to nearby teeth, and incomplete extractions (where a portion of the tooth remains in the gum). You should talk to your dentist about the risks of these complications.

If your dentist recommends an extraction, it’s likely that you have a potentially serious problem. While it’s unlikely you’ll celebrate the news, you need not fear: there are worse problems to have than pulling teeth.

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

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

Types of Cosmetic Procedures | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

459899307Are you looking for a perfect smile? Modern dentists have many dental procedures that focus on aesthetics rather than simply oral health. Some cosmetic procedures are superficial, others are significant and involve surgery, but nearly every visible problem is treatable with one or more cosmetic procedures.

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 – a thin layer of porcelain on top of the tooth – 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 – even major problems involving multiple missing teeth – 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 – making sure that the procedures are done in the proper order to maximize their effectiveness. If you have elements of your smile you’d like to change, or if you have questions about particular cosmetic procedures, call your dentist and schedule an appointment – they’ll be happy to explain the procedures, pros, cons, and discuss whether or not you’re a candidate for any various procedure.

Contact Dr. George Kirtley for an appointment today to get the bright white smile you have always wanted at 317-841-1111 or generaldentistryindianapolis.com.

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

What is Gingivitis? | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

Smiling woman with perfect teethGingivitis is one of those things none of us want to hear we have. Hearing you have gingivitis can be embarrassing, since it probably means you haven’t been keeping up with your home oral care. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums. Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.

But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)

The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva. If harmful bacteria is not removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the underlying bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

Gingivitis can be prevented by proper and consistent oral hygiene. Make certain to eat a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. As always, floss your teeth every day!

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

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

Dental Sealants | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

Woman having teeth examined at dentistsTooth decay is likely to occur when food particles sit in the depressions, nooks, and crannies in and between teeth, allowing bacterial colonies to form, creating acid that eats holes into teeth. While brushing and flossing will do a reasonably good job of removing food particles from the depressions in teeth, dental sealants are a procedure used by dentists to help prevent accumulation of food in the depressions of teeth in the first place.

Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth – typically molars or premolars – to help keep food from settling within the bite surface. Dental sealants bond to the bite surface, providing a protective surface between the tooth and the food, so that patients are even less likely to experience tooth decay. Because sealants can not only keep food out, but also prevent treatment of existing decay, dental sealant is typically a procedure applied to young patients – often children and teenagers in their most cavity prone years (6-14).

The process for applying sealants is fairly straightforward. First, teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried. An acidic solution is used to roughen the surface of the enamel to allow the sealant to properly bond, and then teeth are rinsed and dried again. Finally, the sealant is painted on in a thin layer, and hardened with a special light used to cure the plastic. Properly applied, a dental sealant can protect the bite surface of teeth for up to 10 years.

If you have children in the cavity prone age ranges, or if you’re concerned about tooth decay on rear teeth that are difficult to brush, ask your dentist about dental sealants. They may not be an option for every patient, but your dentist will be able to advise you about whether or not you or your children are good candidates, as well as informing you of the cost and time frame of the procedure.

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

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