Tag Archives: Dr. Kirtley

Don’t Be a Dental Scaredy Cat | Indianapolis Dentist

What are your biggest fears? Do they cause you to put your well-being in danger? With many of these fears, it is possible to avoid it altogether, for others it could cause issues in the future. One of these fears is the dentist. The British Dental Health Foundation has found that 1 in 10 people suffer from dental anxiety, and most are women.

The most common fear of visiting the dentist is having a tooth drilled and the local anesthetic injection. People are not born with a fear of the dentist. “You develop it and can overcome it”, the Foundation stated in a press release.

And it’s absolutely true. Because we aren’t practicing dentistry the same way we did in the past. It isn’t your grandparent’s dentist anymore. With today’s technology, your entire dental experience can be a pain free, anxiety free one. And it is all thanks to relaxation and sedation techniques that have been proven in helping overcome dental phobias.

Your dental professional can now offer sedation dentistry for patients with dental phobias and anxiety. For those that are very anxious or if you are undergoing a longer procedure, we offer conscious sedation. This treatment uses a combination of medications that put you into a very relaxed dream like state.

Many of our patients have commented that if they had known how comfortable treatment was under sedation, they never would have had any worries about dental treatment. This is such a relaxing procedure that some people call it sleep dentistry. Don’t let a fear of the dentist keep you from having the smile you’ve always wanted.

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.

Halloween: Your Smile’s Least Favorite Holiday | Indianapolis Dentist

The end of October may feature one of America’s favorite holidays, but it sure isn’t your teeth’s. Yes, it’s Halloween, the nighttime holiday where kids dressed up as their favorite character and hunt the neighborhood for sweet confections. While many parents have echoed the line that candy will rot children’s teeth, there’s no reason to deny children the enjoyment of Halloween candy, but it’s important to supervise them to ensure that their Halloween is enjoyed in a way that keeps their teeth safe. Here are some helpful tips:

Moderation. Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation – by teaching children to eat a moderate number of treats, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras so they can’t be eaten when you aren’t looking.

Snack time sweets. Allow children to eat candy during a fixed time period – rather than an all-day feast, they’ll have a fixed window for candy. This allows them to prioritize their candy enjoyment, minimizes the chances that they’ll consume far too much, and by following treats with brushing, helps prevent cavities.

Hygiene fun. Focus on fun, but effective, dental hygiene. Children often need stimulation beyond simple health to brush regularly and sufficiently, so swap toothbrushes every few months with new, fun characters/colors, and give your children the opportunity to pick their own fluoride toothpaste.

If you have questions about how Halloween impacts your children’s dental health, contact your dentist or ask at your child’s next dental appointment. Help them help your smile.

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.

Bazooka Joe Is Saving Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumOkay so, maybe that isn’t exactly true. But it is safe to say, millions of Americans chew gum. Some use it for the fresh breath, some us it to curb food cravings, some just like to chew gum for the bubbles, but chewing gum is really good for your teeth. But all chewing gum isn’t the same.

First, the science. The physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you chew after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth. In fact, clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay. It’s always best to brush and floss, but if a toothbrush isn’t handy, sugar free gum is a great second option.

It’s important to note that it’s important to chew sugarless gum, and if possible, choose gum sweetened with Xylitol. Tooth decay starts when bacteria in your mouth consumes sugar – whether that sugar comes from a sugary drink such as cola or ice cream from dessert, it stays within your mouth and attaches to the surface of your teeth. When that sugar is allowed to stay in contact with your teeth, it provides an opportunity for decay to set in as bacteria has food to grow and multiply within your mouth. When you chew gum, the additional saliva neutralizes oral acids and flushes sugar away from the teeth, starving bacteria and protecting your teeth from cavities.

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.

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

89683018Sealants, also known as dental sealants, are made out of a plastic material that’s placed on the molars and premolars for added protection against tooth decay.

The main reason why sealants are primarily placed on the permanent back teeth, or the molars and premolars, is that these teeth have fissures or grooves. These deep fissures or “pockets” can trap bacteria and food particles, as well as are difficult to clean. This combination makes the permanent back teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Although using fluoride toothpaste and getting fluoride treatment at the dental office does help provide protection to all the surfaces of your teeth, your permanent back teeth need extra protection and that’s where dental sealants come in.

Dental sealants help make sure that the grooves and fissures are not at more of a risk for plaque buildup and tooth decay as your other teeth are.

Are dental sealants applicable only to the permanent back teeth?

Although dental sealants are usually placed on the premolar or molars, dental sealants can also be used on other permanent teeth, so long as they have grooves or pits.

In some children, for example, their baby teeth may also have grooves that could benefit from having dental sealants placed on them.

Are dental sealants exclusive to children?

No. While children are the ones who usually get dental sealants on their molars and premolars, adults too can sometimes have dental sealants placed on their back teeth. That is, if their teeth with grooves and fissures do not have fillings or dental sealants yet.

How are dental sealants placed?

The dentist first cleans the tooth surface thoroughly using a paste and rotating brush. Then, the dentist washes the tooth and lets it dry for a few seconds or minutes. The dentist then appliances an acidic solution on the grooves of the tooth’s chewing surface. The solution is left there for a few seconds before the dentist rinses it off. The use of the solution helps create small microscopic areas in the grooves and fissures, as well as fine rough surfaces. The rough surface and microscopic areas help the dentist attach the dental sealant to the tooth.

Once the tooth has completely dried up, the dentist places the dental sealant on the tooth. The sealant is then hardened using a light. Although some dentists may choose to use a two-component dental sealant that sets and hardens on its own.

Once done, your dentist will send you on your way and you can chew on your tooth again as you did before.

Dental sealants have been used to great effect since the 1970s. There are enough studies to show how dental sealants can help tremendously in lowering one’s risk for tooth decay, essentially preventing it on the chewing surfaces it’s applied to. Dental sealants have also been known to last for years, if not decades. Although if you want and if deemed necessary, the dentist can place a new dental sealant on your permanent back teeth.

While dental sealants and fluoride treatments tremendously help lower your risk for tooth decay and other dental problems, it’s still important to take proper care of your teeth at home and to visit the dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning.

 

The Different Types of Gum Disease

gum diseaseGum disease is an inflammation of the gums and is caused primarily by the bacteria found in plaque. If you didn’t already know, plaque is a colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. The more often you brush your teeth, the less time that plaque has to build-up on your teeth and the lower your risk is for gum disease. If, however, you let plaque buildup by not brushing and flossing every day, the bacteria can end up infecting your gums, teeth and eventually, the tissue and bone that support your teeth. The result? A severely infected tooth that has to be removed by a dentist, or in worse cases of infection, the tooth may fall off on its own.

There are three stages of gum disease and these are:

  • Gingivitis. This is the earliest stage of gum disease and is also when the inflammation of the gums are evident, mainly due to plaque buildup at the gumline. The resulting infection also causes the gums to bleed as well, which you may notice when you’re flossing or brushing your teeth. It is important to note that gingivitis is still reversible, but only through proper dental care and by observing proper oral hygiene at home.

 

  • Periodontitis. At this stage, the damage is usually already irreversible. There may also form pockets below your gum line, which can trap food and plaque and make your condition much worse. Frequent visits to the dentist and improved oral care at home is important to help prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.

 

  • Advanced Periodontitis. This is the final stage of gum disease and is where the infection has not only affected, but has already destroyed the fibers and bone supporting your teeth. This can result into your teeth shifting or being loose, which can severely affect your bite and eventually cause tooth loss. At this stage, aggressive and constant periodontal treatment is the only way to save the infected teeth and gums. Although treatment is not always enough and the infected teeth may already be beyond saving.

How Do You Treat Gum Disease?

Gingivitis, as mentioned earlier, can still be reversed via proper brushing and flossing. Rinsing with mouthwash isn’t necessary, but will still help. If you take proper care of your teeth and gums, you’ll prevent plaque from building up in your mouth and prevent, or even reverse, gum disease.

If, however, you have failed to take proper care of your teeth and let plaque buildup and let it harden to become tartar, your only option is to go to a dentist for a professional cleaning. The only way to remove tartar that’s found above and below your gum line is to scale your teeth. If scaling isn’t enough, a root planing procedure may be necessary. This is a procedure that will help smooth out any irregularities on the roots of your teeth to help prevent plaque buildup in the future.

As early as today, make the necessary changes to your oral hygiene and take better care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once and rinse with mouthwash, preferably one that’s prescribed to you by your dentist. If you do all these, and visit your dentist regularly, you significantly lower your risk for gum disease. Also, in the off chance that you do have gum disease, you increase the chances your dentist catching and treating the infection before it spreads and causes serious damage to your teeth and gums.

Four Useful Tips For A Whiter and Brighter Smile

Chewing GumGetting teeth whitened in the dentist’s office is one way to improve your confidence and make you want to smile a lot more. However, getting treatment is just a start. 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.

  1. 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. Also, during dental visits, you may want to ask your dentist to recommend you a specific type of whitening toothpaste to use at home, as well as further instructions on how to use such whitening products.

 

  1. Chew gum and crunchy produce. Saliva is your mouth’s naturally means of cleaning bacteria and plaque. The more saliva you have, the cleaner your mouth will be and chewing gum has been known to increase saliva production. Although make sure that you chew gum that’s sugar-free and with Xylitol so you do not end up damaging your teeth by consuming too much sugar.

 

Speaking of consumption, munching on crunchy produce such as apples, carrots and celery can also help you keep your teeth bright and clean. Although such vegetables and fruits don’t necessarily whiten your teeth, they are naturally abrasive and help remove from your teeth the substances that can cause stains and discoloration.

 

  1. Take better care of your tooth enamel. Your smile may already be white, but it may not be as bright as you want it to be because of weak enamel. Although considered as the hardest substance in the human body, tooth enamel cannot repair itself if it breaks down. This means that if the tooth enamel has been affected by gum disease in the past, there’s no way to restore it. If it’s weak, it’s also much more susceptible to stains. As such, 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.

 

  1. Drink plenty of milk. Or pretty much any other dairy product you can think of. This is because dairy products are high in calcium, which helps keep your teeth white and bright. Also, aside from giving your teeth the calcium it needs to keep enamel strong, cheese can also help rid your teeth of food particles that can cause stains and discoloration.

Seeking professional treatment to have teeth whitened are certainly the best way to improve the appearance of one’s teeth. However, the effects of such treatment can only last for so long if you don’t take proper care of your teeth.

To help keep your teeth white and bright all the time, make sure that you follow the teeth whitening tips given above, practice good oral hygiene at home and of course, visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

If you’d like to whiten your smile, contact Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111 to schedule a consultation to help treat the underlying cause, or visit www.smilesbygeorge.com for information about Dr. George Kirtley and his practice.