Tag Archives: Dental Health

How to Keep Your Breath Fresh | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumDo you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

The medical condition dry mouth (xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

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, by rinsing your mouth out as well. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. So make sure you drink your daily intake of water and avoid sugary drinks!

Keep coffee use to a minimum. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. If you feel like you can’t function without it, don’t quit completely. Instead, keep the intake to a minimum and have a toothbrush or sugar-free gum handy for afterwards.

Stay away from tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can not only make you more susceptible to health issues, but smoking gives people horrible breath. Keeping them out of your life will have multiple benefits.

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath smell less than fresh for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Wait for a good half hour after a meal before popping in a piece of sugarless gum. It can help with saliva flow, cleaning cavity-forming bacteria from your mouth before they can do any damage. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, so feel free to indulge in this sweet treat after a good meal.

For more information regarding bad breath 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.

Your Dental Visit Doesn’t Have to Be Scary | Indianapolis Dentist

Dental treatmentIt will always be a nerve-wracking time preparing to see any sort of health professional. As adults, we seem to try dodging these appointments whenever possible. You aren’t exactly sure why, you just know you don’t want to go. For many, the thought of the unknown is the worst part about these meetings. So after years of deflecting the inevitable, don’t you want to understand why?

The good thing about returning to the dentist after a long hiatus is that our first encounter is going to be virtually painless. The goal for this visit is to basically get to know you and your oral health. It’s going to be a breeze, so make your appointment to get that first consultation taken care of. Every journey begins with a proverbial first step, even if that step is your mouth’s.

When you appointment begins, your dentist is going to do is ask about your health history. It may seem intrusive because dentists focus on oral health, but a lot of issues can be determined via the mouth, so it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your general health.

Typically, next will be x-rays. They’re necessary in order for your dentist to monitor your bone & jaw health. If you have recent ones, bring them with you to bypass this step. But prepare to have them done. Once they are done, your dental professional will clean your teeth. This will help them see any issues, like chips and cavities that may be developing due to your daily oral care or other health issues. Once that is done, not only will your mouth feel amazing, but your dentist can give you a better idea about things you need to do in order to take preventative measures. We want to stay ahead of anything that may happen in the future, so a good cleaning will help see the current state of your teeth.

And that’s basically it as far as the exam is concerned. Now it’s your turn to ask the questions. Take this time to discuss any questions or concerns you have going forward. They will have the best ideas about how to treat any issue they find necessary and prepare you for any surgeries that may need to take place. Be thorough. They are there to help you feel more at ease about your health, so don’t hesitate to mention any fears you may have.

Don’t worry. This first dental visit isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’s your first step to a beautiful smile. That in and of itself is good news.

For more information regarding 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 Athletes Have to Worry About Their Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

thinkstockphotos-166340009When 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. But what if I told you that athletes actually have more to worry about when it comes to their oral health. It’s true. 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. What they don’t realize is that when you have issues in your mouth, it can progress to cause pain. These pains may not be directly involved in the sport, but it can cause issues with sleeping and training in general, two necessities for all athletes to perform their best. So, if you are an athlete looking to better your overall performance on the field, track, court, or ice, you should look into your oral health!

Recent studies done and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 showed that 18 percent of athletes who attended the dental clinic of the London 2012 Olympic Games reported that their oral health damaged their training and performance in the games.

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 effect 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 entire athletic machine running in tiptop shape.

For more information on dental care for athletes 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.

DIY Remedies: The All-Natural Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

Vector cartoon sick tooth. Decay and destroy tooth.There are lots of dental problems that arise as we progress in life, and they range from minor to serious. Sometimes you don’t have time to make it to the dentist, and sometimes you are just waiting for your appointment. There must be something you can do in the meantime to help remedy a few of the more common problems that may present itself. There are loads of different over-the-counter remedies to counter these issues, but there are also natural remedies you could actually have in your home at this very moment. The following is a list of things you can do at home for a quick fix to various dental issues, listed from minor to major:

Bad breath. No one likes to know they have bad breath. It’s awkward and embarrassing, for everyone involved. Try chewing on fennel seeds or parsley. Fenugreek leaves boiled into a tea can be used as a mouthwash. Grab a handful of leaves and swish the tea around in your mouth twice a day.

Discolored teeth. There are a few things you can do to gradually turn your yellowed teeth to a sparkling white grin. Make a paste with some baking soda and water and brush your teeth with it once a week. Turn some strawberries into a paste and rub it onto your teeth. It may sound strange but the acids in strawberries scrub your teeth in the most delicious way possible. If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, mix mustard oil with holy basil leaves. The paste is fantastic for fading your teeth’s tinge.

Gum infections. If you find that your gums have become inflamed, chances are you will need to take a trip to the dentist. But in the meantime, rinse with warm saline water three times a day. It will keep the area clean and plaque-free. Chewing basil leaves is also known to sooth gums so have some handy if you begin to feel some discomfort. Mustard oil come in handy here too. Mix a little with a pinch of salt to help relieve any mild infection, or loose tooth, you may have.

Toothaches. If your pain has progressed all the way to full-blown toothache, it may feel like nothing will help it. Would you believe it can be fixed by pressing a clove of garlic on the pain? It works. Turmeric powder pressed on a cavity will work wonders on a cavity. Similar to a topical anesthetics we use for cuts, clove oil will do the same anti-bacterial things, but for your mouth.

Dental problems are bound to happen at some point. It’s natural. And as you can see, there are lots of natural ways we can help relieve some of our dental problems. They may not be total solutions, but they will work great until you can get into the dental chair.

For more information on dental emergencies 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.

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

girl eating appleIf you’ve ever experienced a sharp and annoying pain in your teeth whenever it comes contact with anything hot or cold, then you’re probably suffering from tooth sensitivity. While not all too severe, tooth sensitivity can cause you to avoid certain foods and beverages, which is why it’s important that you get to the bottom of this annoyance.

What Causes It?

Loss of tooth enamel, which leaves the dentin exposed, is the main reason why tooth sensitivity occurs. This may happen if you’ve been using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one, as it may wear away as the abrasion can wear away the tooth enamel. However, it can also be the result of frequent consumption of acidic foods or gum recession.

It is important to take note, however, that the sharp pain when exposed to hot and cold food and beverages is not always caused by tooth sensitivity.

Sometimes, it may be because of the following:

  • A cracked, chipped or fractured tooth
  • Dental caries
  • Constant grinding or clenching of the teeth, or a condition known as bruxism
  • A broken restoration that’s been leaking
  • A side effect of certain teeth whitening procedures, namely tooth bleaching

Why Does Tooth Sensitivity Hurt?

You see, there are microscopic tubular structures in the dentin that help provide the tooth with the necessary blood and nutrients. These tubules are also responsible for connecting with the nerve fibers within the pulp. If the dentin tubules are somehow exposed to an external stimulus, such as heat, cold or a sudden change in pressure, the said stimulus alters the fluid flow in the dentin, causing the nerve fibers to perceive it as pain.

Now, that wouldn’t have happened if you had just enough tooth enamel, which, believe it or not, is considered as the hardest and most mineralized part of the human body.

What You Can Do About It

The first step is to talk to your dentist about your tooth sensitivity. Be sure to describe your symptoms in detail. Try your best to recall when the pain first started. Also, do not be afraid to let your dentist know about anything that you’ve done that has had an effect on the pain, whether it’s positive or negative.

Using your descriptions, the dentist will try to find out the possible cause of your sensitivity, and once finished, the dentist will then treat the underlying cause.

The treatment will usually vary, depending on the case. It may be something as simple as filling up a cavity, or fixing up a worn filling. Your dentist may also apply an in-office fluoride gel to help strengthen the tooth enamel, and make the experience a bit less painful. However, if your case is severe enough that the sharp pain is because your tooth’s root is already exposed, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist to get undergo gum graft surgery.

If you’ve been suffering from painful tooth sensitivity for quite some time and have avoided eating some of your favorite food because of it, be sure to set an appointment with your dentist today – and you could soon be indulging yourself on that ice cream as soon as tomorrow.

If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, 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 regarding Dr. George Kirtley and his practice.

Why Do I Need Fluoride Treatment?

ThinkstockPhotos-146796980The enamel is the hard, protective shell that covers much of the surface of your teeth. It is strong and durable. It also happens to be your teeth’s natural, built-in defense system against various dental problems, such as cavities and tooth decay.

Unfortunately, regardless of how strong the enamel is, bacteria, especially when allowed to build up, can slowly eat away at it. This can result into cavities and tooth decay, among many other things.

To prevent this from happening, dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste and receiving regular fluoride treatments to help improve the strength of the enamel and even reverse the tooth decay and its effects.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that’s found naturally in different kinds of food, as well as in water.

By receiving fluoride treatments, the strength of the tooth enamel is restored and improved. The treatment also helps make the teeth become more resistant to acid, making them less prone to tooth decay down the line.

Why is Fluoride So Important?

Of course, the main benefit of fluoride is that it helps in preventing tooth decay. However, fluoride can also reverse the effects of early gum disease, as well as replace the minerals in the enamel that plaque has eaten away.

To put it simply, fluoride is vital in keeping teeth healthy and making sure it stays that way.

In children, especially those under the age of six, fluoride treatments is important because it can help prevent bacteria from building up in areas like the gums. This helps tremendously in establishing long-term dental health early on, while at the same time, it also improves the child’s chance against gum disease.

Those who have been fitted with orthodontic braces and other orthodontic treatments can also benefit from fluoride treatments as it helps prevent bacteria from building up and being trapped.

Can Adults Benefit From Fluoride Treatments?

While you’ve probably heard about how fluoride can help in strengthening developing teeth, which basically means that children benefit the most from fluoride treatment, such a treatment is just as important when it comes to fighting off tooth decay.

Fluoride, whether coming in the form of a fluoride treatment, a mouth rinse or wash or a toothpaste, can improve the average adult’s chance against tooth decay and other dental complications.

Certain conditions can also benefit from fluoride treatments, including but not limited to:

  • Xerostomia. Certain diseases or medications can cause Xerostomia or dry mouth. However, regardless of what exactly caused it, having a dry mouth means there’s little saliva in your mouth, which is a major risk factor for gum disease.
  • Gum recession. Gum disease, in its worse stages, can cause the gums to recede and teeth to appear shorter. While this is not pleasing to look, the recession of the gums can eventually lead to the roots being exposed and prone to tooth decay, or eventually, tooth loss.

 

Patients whose teeth have deep pits and grooves, as well as those who’ve had dental work done on them in the past can also potentially benefit from the presence of additional fluoride in their mouth.

Then again, it is up to your dentist to decide whether or not your oral health could use the additional fluoride and just how much extra it needs.

Request an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to know how you could provide your teeth with additional protection, whether it is through fluoride treatments or other means.

If you feel that you would benefit from a fluoride treatment, contact Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111 to schedule a consultation today or visit www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley welcome patients from Spring Hill, Beach Grove and Warren Park.

How Smiling Affects Self-Esteem

teeth whiteningIn both sociology and psychology, self esteem is defined as the “reflection of an individual’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth”. It is also their judgement of their own selves, as well as their attitude toward their selves.

Self-esteem is also one of the deepest of all the core emotional needs of the human being and one of the key components of maintaining healthy relationships with other people. The higher your self-esteem is, the more people will be accepting of you, which in turn makes you feel important – another deep need of the human being.

The Effect of Self-Esteem on Human Relationships

In a healthy relationship, each person likes the other and accepts them just the way they are, regardless of the differences in opinion, beliefs and perspectives. However, forging ideal and healthy relationships with people you meet isn’t easy, as there’s always the risk of rejection and the lack of acceptance from other individuals or groups. And, this rejection is often the cause for the development of antisocial behaviors in those that are rejected.

The best way to lower the risk of being rejected and disliked, both at home and outside, it’s important to express unconditional acceptance of other people, a behavior which usually is reciprocated by others.

Now, you may wonder, where does smiling factor in all of this?

Well, for starters, smiling is widely considered as one of the best ways to project one’s desire to express unconditional acceptance to people they meet.

Wearing a Smile

It’s been said that it takes just twelve muscles to smile, while it takes 113 muscles to frown. And, when you smile at other people, you project to them your own self-confidence, which in turn helps make them feel better and make you more likable.

Smiles are so powerful that many people have married and stayed married simply because of a single smile that they both shared across a room. And, as cliché as that may sound, it simply just proves just how valuable smiles are.

Improving Your Smile

Unfortunately, though, making an effort to smile takes more than just developing a positive attitude. For one, regardless of how proud you are as a person, it’s not that easy to flash a smile when your teeth are missing, crooked, chipped, discolored or basically, not the pearly whites that you want them to be.

Fortunately, modern dentistry has many ways to help you fix your smile and make you more confident to flash it more often. Though, it’s important to keep in mind that while dental procedures can help you a lot, the best way to improve your smile and therefore, your self-esteem, is to start doing so at home.

At home, make it a point to practice a good oral routine. Preferably, this should include brushing twice a day for two to three minutes each session. Flossing should also be done at least once to prevent bacteria and plaque build-up in the gaps in between teeth that brushing alone won’t be able to remove. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash can also help.

A good oral routine at home and frequent trips to the dentist for dental checkups, as well as professional cleaning, are the keys to maintaining not just a better-looking smile, but one that’s unarguably much healthier.

If you’d like to improve your self esteem starting with your smile, contact Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit www.smilesbygeorge.com to learn morea bout his practice.

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beeach 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

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