Tag Archives: General Dentistry

Why Is Mouthwash Important? | Indianpolis Dentist

periodontal disease

Using mouthwash isn’t necessary. However, it is highly recommended. Quick and easy to use, mouthwash doesn’t just help make your mouth feel and smell fresh. In fact, both prescription and over-the-counter mouthwash can significantly help improve your oral health and reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease.

Benefits of Using Mouthwash

Brushing and flossing should be more than enough to control plaque growth and prevent cavities and gum disease. At least, in theory. Unfortunately, most patients do not brush or floss their teeth thoroughly enough to properly keep dental plaque in control. And, that is where mouthwash comes in.

By using mouthwash in addition to your regular care routine of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, you help add an additional layer of protection for your teeth against tooth decay and gingivitis, which promotes healthier teeth and gums.

Mouthwash can help fresh breath, prevent plaque build-up, remove any loose particles and food debris in your mouth and stop cavities from farming. However, the keyword here is “in addition”, which means that mouthwash shouldn’t be considered as a replacement to brushing and flossing. Instead, you should look at it as a way to keep your teeth and gums healthy in between brushing and flossing your teeth. As such, the ideal time to use mouthwash wouldn’t be straight after brushing your teeth, but instead, after lunch when you don’t really have time to brush or floss your teeth.

Choosing The Right Mouthwash

If you’ve considered adding a mouthwash or mouth rinse to your oral care routine, it’s important that you understand what options are available to you. More importantly, you should know what factors you should consider when making your choice.

Here are some factors that you should take note of:

  • Alcohol or no alcohol? Alcohol is found in plenty of mouthwashes and rinses. This can be a huge problem if deliberately swallowed, which is a very possible if you’re a recovering alcoholic, or someone in your household is. Also, if you want to buy just one type of mouthwash or rinse for the whole family, the safer choice would be to go with alcohol-free mouthwash products available in the market.
  • Sensitivity – Certain ingredients found in mouthwash can be irritating, especially if you have sensitive gums or if you’re recovering from a dental procedure. If either is the case for you, consider buying an alcohol-free or natural mouthwash. The latter often contain ingredients such as aloe vera and/or chamomile that generally make them gentler and more soothing on your teeth and gums.
  • Plaque control – While all types of mouthwash help protect your teeth against bacteria, some are specialized to be just much more effective. Consider dental rinse containing anti-plaque ingredients if you want to provide even more protection to your teeth and gums.

If you’re still not sure about using mouthwash, or if you think you wouldn’t like the taste or sensation, consider asking your dentist for a free sample on your next visit. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for their thoughts and suggestions regarding using mouthwash in daily oral care.

 

Why It’s Important To Get Your Teeth Cleaned Every Six Months

If only you knew just what exactly is happening inside your mouth every day, you probably wouldn’t need to be reminded, nor wonder, why it’s important to get your teeth cleaned every six months.

You see, brushing and flossing alone aren’t enough to keep your teeth clean and healthy, and to further convince you, here are five reasons why you need to visit the dentist every six months:

  1. It’s the best way to prevent oral cancer. Or, at the very least, make sure that it’s diagnosed as early as possible. Remember, just like with any form of cancer, your survival rate increases dramatically the sooner it is diagnosed. If you frequently drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, then it’s even more important to have your mouth checked every six months for signs of oral cancer.
  1. For the prevention and treatment of oral infection. Contrary to popular belief, normal and healthy mouths do not and never will bleed when flossing or brushing. If it does, then either there’s wrong with your mouth, or the way you brush your teeth. Chances are, it’s more of the former. This is true even if you think that it’s normal for your gums to bleed after a round of dental cleaning. Bleeding teeth and gums are one of the earliest signs of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other complications if not treated early. So, the next time you brush and floss your teeth, and it bleeds, take note of it and tell the dentist. Although it probably shouldn’t hurt to try and switch to another toothbrush with soft bristles, or to not brush your teeth as aggressively as before.
  1. No more bad breath. Sure, it’s normal for the mouth to not always smell minty fresh. But, for your breath to stink regularly, sometimes to the point that it affects your sense of taste, isn’t exactly what you’d call normal. That actually is a telltale sign of an oral infection, something that only your dentist can treat. Even if this hasn’t happened to you yet, this should give you even more of a reason to visit the dentist.
  1. Lowered risk for dental problems. Although dentists recommend paying them a visit every six months to lower one’s risk for dental problems, some people actually need to have their teeth cleaned much more often. And, how exactly would you know how often you need to visit the dentist if you don’t even visit them regularly in the first place?
  1. To keep your teeth white and healthy. It may sound superficial, but we tend to judge other people based on what we see first, which usually is the smile – or at least, the lack thereof. By visiting the dentist regularly, you can keep your teeth looking shiny and healthy, allowing you to smile way more often without being so conscious, giving your self-esteem a much-needed boost.

Let Dr. Kirtley help you to prevent gum disease and keep your teeth looking pretty so you never have to worry about those things ever again. Call for an appointment at 317-841-1111. Learn more about our practice by visiting our website at www.smilesbygeorge.com.

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.

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.

Whiten Your Teeth the DIY Way | Indianapolis Dentist

187957730We call them pearly whites. The more brilliant your teeth, the better your smile looks. The problem with white teeth really lies in the degree you take your oral hygiene. You can brush & floss every day, but your teeth may not keep its natural sheen. You can make appointments with your dental professional to have teeth whitening sessions, but that can get pricey. There’s always over-the-counter versions you can buy to do it at home, but what if there was a way to do it without going the chemical route? Here are six easy ways to DIY your smile back to the pearly white scene you’re used to:

The version most people are used to hearing about is a hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste, or “old reliable”. You can find a lot of toothpastes with these ingredients, but if you want to do it DIY style, just drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into a little bit of baking soda makes a paste. Apply it as you would regular toothpaste.

These next couple are sure to throw you off, but they take natural to a whole new level. Strawberries and banana peels. Yes, having these fruits handy will help brighten your smile in the most delicious way possible. Strawberries contain malic acid, and malic acid is fantastic at breaking down stains you would get from drinks like wine or coffee. So grab a couple, add about a teaspoon of baking soda & rub the paste on your teeth for 5-7 minutes. When it comes to the banana, it’s the peel that will shine up that smile. After you brush your teeth, peel a ripe banana and rub a piece along the inside of your teeth for two minutes. Minerals like potassium, magnesium, etc. will absorb into the enamel on your teeth, brightening it in a very nutritious way.

If you have some apple cider vinegar in your pantry. By diluting it with some water (3 parts water, 1 part vinegar) and mixing it with an all-natural toothpaste, you’ve made yourself a pretty efficient tooth whitening solution. If you are one that has discovered the many uses for coconut oil, you may also know that swishing it around in your mouth for 20 minutes also helps dingy teeth. But did you also know that you can turn it into a paste, just like apple cider vinegar? Heat a cup of coconut oil, add two teaspoons of baking soda & five to ten drops of natural spearmint essential oil. Not only does the coconut oil turn into a teeth whitening enzyme when mixed with saliva, but the spearmint adds antimicrobial benefits for your gums. It’s a one two punch of smile brightening goodness!

One of the latest detoxifying trends is to use activated charcoal. The porous nature of the charcoal turns out that it can also be fantastic at binding to bacteria before it can leave stains on teeth. The recipe is just as simple as all of these others: mix with a little bit of water, gently apply it to your teeth, leave to set in your mouth for two minutes, then rinse.

As you can see, it is possible to keep your smile the brightest it can be without busting your budget or using harsh chemicals. None of these DIY ideas should completely replace your oral practices in any way. In fact, no whitening solution can replace your daily brushing and flossing regime. These teeth whitening recipes are intended to be used every couple months when you want your smile the best it can naturally be.

For more information on teeth whitening sessions and 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.

Taking Care of Business: Dental Implant Edition | Indianapolis Edition

Dental ImplantYou never thought it could happen, but your dentist tells you that you need dental implants. What exactly does that entail? A dental implant is an artificial tooth root similar to a screw that is placed in your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Like a prosthetic for your smile. It will take a few procedures but once it’s done, it’ll be like you never had a missing tooth.

But what now? You have a basic grasp of daily oral care, but implants can’t possibly be the same to maintain as normal teeth, right? Does this mean you will need to retrain yourself a new dental care routine in order to look after them? Not exactly, but you will definitely have some things to alter a bit. The following are just a few things to keep in mind as you are going forward with your brand new teeth.

Once you have your implants in place, you will have a tooth/teeth that will look just like the others. You will be able to eat normally, speak without issue and no one will be able to tell so you can smile just as you did before losing the tooth. While implants are designed to withstand quite a bit, but just because they aren’t your originals, it doesn’t mean you can go neglecting them. They may not be able to get cavities like your originals, but they can go bad on you like the real versions. You can get inflamed gums and infections, or periodontal disease, just like before. So consider them exactly like your real teeth when you are looking after them. Dental implants are generally meant to last for decades to come, but they are still breakable. Handle them with care. Make sure you are careful when you are cleaning or caring for them.

Your “new teeth” will require periodic checking by your dentist to ensure that everything is working properly and the surrounding gums and bone are being maintained and remain healthy. They will also require x-rays periodically to evaluate the level of bone around your implants. If gum disease is taking place, your gums will recede, showing your implants and making them weaker and prone to breaking. Dental restorations attached to your implants will also require periodic checking by your dentist to verify that they are secure and functioning properly.

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 Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park 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.

 

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