Tag Archives: Dr. George Kirtley Indianapolis Indiana

Can Periodontal Disease Be Cured?

periodontal disease

Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. If they’re puffy or red and bleed much more easily, then it is possible that you’re suffering from gingivitis, the most common form of periodontal disease. Although seldom painful, gingivitis shouldn’t be taken lightly. If left unchecked, gingivitis can spread to the ligaments and bones below the gums, becoming what’s known as periodontitis.

Without treatment, periodontitis can wreak serious damage on your teeth and gums, to the point that the infection causes a very painful tooth abscess and even make your tooth become loose and fall out.

Given how serious periodontal disease is, one might ask, can it be cured?

Treatable, But Not Curable

There are generally just two types of periodontal disease – gingivitis and periodontitis. Of the two, the former is a mild form and it is treatable with proper dental treatment in the dental office and good oral care at home. However, there is no cure anymore once gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.

Patients who develop severe periodontal disease, or periodontitis, will require extensive treatment at the dental office. This usually involves a special cleaning to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces called scaling and root planning, or sometimes referred to as deep cleaning. Medication to help control the infection and pain, as well as to aid the healing process are also necessary. Other treatments may also be involved as well, especially if some, if not all, of the teeth have been severely infected, or in worse cases, have fallen out already.

The extensive treatment process can take months. It’s also quite expensive as well, especially if you don’t have dental insurance. Even worse, once you’ve had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend you more frequent dental checkups. This is because periodontitis is something that can’t be cured, it can only be managed and kept under control via regular dental visits, deep cleanings and by practicing good oral hygiene at home.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

As complicated and as severe as periodontal disease is, you don’t necessarily have to suffer from it. Gingivitis can easily be prevented by following a program of good dental hygiene, one that begins at home and at an early age.

A good dental hygiene routine to follow is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. It would be an even better idea to brush your teeth after every meal. Brushing alone, though, isn’t enough, as you have to make sure that you do it effectively and thoroughly. It’s recommended that you take at least three to five minutes to brush and floss your teeth. Also, remember to floss first before brushing to help clean away any loose food particles and bacteria that may be lodged in between your teeth.

Most important of all, don’t forget to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. Although the frequency may vary, dentists do recommend getting a dental checkup as often as every six months to one year. Call today to schedule your checkup with Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111.

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.

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.

What Are My Options For Missing Teeth?

ThinkstockPhotos-146796980If you don’t feel confident about having a few missing teeth, don’t worry because you’re not alone. In fact, most have had a couple of decayed or missing teeth by the time they’re adults.

Now, it doesn’t matter how you lost your teeth, what matters is that you have them replaced. This is because having missing teeth replaced can go a long way in giving you back a complete set of teeth. This means you’re getting your smile back. Not only that, but the way you chew and speak will all go back to how it once was when you still had a full set of teeth.

Listed below are some of the tooth replacement options that should be available at your dental care professional.

Dental Implants

Because they’re surgically implanted, dental implants offer a long-term and durable solution to those who have a few missing teeth.

The typical process of getting an implant involves three stages that take place over several weeks and even months. The first of the process is where the implant is surgically buried, and the second is where the implant is checked for proper integration and some of the posts are connected. In the last part of the process, the dentist installs the prosthetic tooth and the patient walks out of the clinic with a new, full set of teeth.

The lengthy process is a huge disadvantage. However, many dental health professionals do not see that as much of a problem. This is because dental implants are the most similar to natural teeth among tooth replacement options, and are the ones who can possibly last for as long as the patient lives.

Bridges

Dental bridges are, basically, dental appliances used to bridge the gap left by missing teeth.

Unlike dental implants that are surgically implanted and allowed to fuse with the jawbone, bridges rely on the adjacent teeth for support. Like an anchor of sorts. The effect on the adjacent teeth is something worth taking note of if you plan to get a dental bridge to replace your missing teeth.

Dentures

For those who are missing more than a couple of teeth, dentures may be your only hope.

Dentures are removable appliances with artificial teeth and come in as partial dentures and full dentures. The difference between the former and the latter is that the former, which as the name suggests, replaces only a set number of teeth. Meanwhile, full dentures require all of the remaining teeth to be removed first to, basically, be replaced by a full set of removable artificial teeth.

Now, as you can see, you are not entirely hopeless. More importantly, though, is that it doesn’t matter which of the three treatment options you choose. The important thing here is that you have those missing teeth of yours replaced. Because, if not, you’re going to end up with an incomplete smile and the many other complications that come with it, such as increased risk for gum disease, malocclusions, jaw pain, and so on.

If you’re interested, visit your dental health professional immediately and have yourself checked to see which of the three treatment options will benefit you the most.

If you’re interested in replacing your missing teeth with the dental restorations mentioned above, contact Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111 to schedule a consultation to see which of three treatment options will benefit you most or visit www.smilesbygeorge.com for more information.

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

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.