Tag Archives: General Dentistry

Caring for your Implants | Cosmetic Dentist Indianapolis

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

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

Proper care for your new implant(s):

-Brush and Floss twice a day – just like your regular teeth, implants need to be cleaned and flossed to prevent food particles from invading your gums and implant structure.

-Say no to Staining – dental implants can stain the same as normal teeth. Steer clear of smoking, coffee, tea, sodas and wine. Moderation is key.

-Mouthwash – special germicidal mouthwash is often prescribed by dentists for patients with dental implants. It helps reduce the risk of infection.

-Dental visits twice a year – regular dental visits are a part of normal dental hygiene; however this is especially true for people with dental implants. Your dental implants will need a thorough cleaning and plaque removal. Along with the cleaning, the condition of your gums, jaw and anchors will be checked.

Caring for restorations is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Easy, right? With proper care, your dental implants can last you a lifetime.

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

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

Teeth Crowding Solutions | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

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

One of the common causes of tooth crowding is natural occurrence – so called mesial drift phenomenon, where your front teeth drift slowly to the center of the mouth. In the past, some dentists believed this was caused by the presence of wisdom teeth, crowding the front teeth from the rear of the mouth, though in reality many of the problems are due to simple insufficient space for the number of teeth as adults grow.  Beyond mesial drift, other potential causes – such as weakened support due to periodontal disease, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting – can also influence teeth to move in directions that are undesirable, leading to misalignment and crowding issues. We see many adult patients who had relatively straight teeth as teenagers coming to correct new crowding that has developed, especially in the lower front teeth. It is still not completely understood why this happens, but we do know that presence of the wisdom teeth are not usually directly related.

Many see crowding as a cosmetic problem, the reality is that poorly aligned teeth are at an increased risk for periodontal disease, decay, and the patient is more likely to suffer from TMJ (jaw-joint) problems, as their irregular bite may cause strain on their jaw over time. For these reasons, fixing alignment should be considered more than simply a cosmetic procedure – correcting the alignment allows the patient to have better access to brush and floss, and their bite will be more level.

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

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

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

Is a Dental Implant for You? | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

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

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

Implants consist of three primary components:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dental Extractions | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Cosmetic Procedures | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

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

Common cosmetic procedures include the following:
– Composite white fillings repair cavities without having silver filling in the mouth. Existing metal fillings can be replaced with modern white resin
– Bonding uses composite resin to help change the size, shape, or color of teeth. Because it attaches to teeth in the same way that composite fillings attach, bonding can be used to fix chips on visible front teeth.
– Teeth that are discolored or stained can be whitened – either in the office or using take-home trays
– Veneers – a thin layer of porcelain on top of the tooth – can be used to change tooth shape, size, or color
– Crowns can be used as a cap on top of teeth damaged by cracks or decay
– Orthodontics – either traditional or Invisalign – can be used to permanently straighten teeth.
– Gum tissue can be surgically altered – either added via grafts to help with recession, or removed to create a more appealing tooth length
– For missing, broken, or severely damaged teeth, full implants can be used to provide a replacement tooth

Because modern dentists have implants as a final catchall, virtually any problem – even major problems involving multiple missing teeth – can be solved given enough time and room in the patient’s budget. However, your dentist will be able to guide you through the process, creating a treatment plan that maps the various procedures and prioritizes them – making sure that the procedures are done in the proper order to maximize their effectiveness. If you have elements of your smile you’d like to change, or if you have questions about particular cosmetic procedures, call your dentist and schedule an appointment – they’ll be happy to explain the procedures, pros, cons, and discuss whether or not you’re a candidate for any various procedure.

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

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

What is Gingivitis? | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dental Sealants | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bad Breath | Indianapolis General Dentist

Fresh BreathBad breath isn’t just unpleasant – it can actually a sign of an unhealthy mouth. Typically known as halitosis, it can be the result of poor dental habits, or could be a sign of a much more serious dental or medical problem. Bad breath can be the result of a number of different conditions, but the most common dental causes fall into two groups: bacteria in the mouth and bacteria in the gums.

As you eat food, chewing breaks food into small particles that can become stuck between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. As bacteria break down that food, the bacteria can release foul odors, which will be exhaled and noticeable to others. Patients with cavities caused by tooth decay are more likely to have food particles and bacterial colonies present – the cavities provide a protected space for bacteria, increasing the likelihood of odor causing bacteria being present.

Like tooth-born bacteria, patients with periodontal disease are likely to have bad breath. Periodontal disease is an infection within the gums, typically caused by poor oral hygiene. As plaque and tartar build up against the gums, bacterial colonies build beneath the surface of the gums, creating large colonies that not only produce foul odors, but also damage gum and bone tissue, and could potentially cause severe dental issues such as tooth loss.

Because the root cause of bad breath is often bacteria, an antiseptic mouthwash can often help mitigate bad breath – at least for a while. However, it’s important to remember that mouthwash doesn’t necessarily remove all bacteria; it only kills some bacteria for a short period of time. While mouthwash, brushing, and flossing can treat some causes of bad breath, patients with chronic bad breath should be sure to visit their dentist to ensure that no deeper problem is present, such as tooth decay or periodontal disease.

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

Halloween Candy & Your Oral Health | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

Pail Full of Halloween CandyThe end of October features one of America’s favorite holidays: Halloween. Ghosts, goblins, witches, and princesses roam the streets delivering frights and collecting candy. 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.

Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation – by teaching children to eat a moderate amount of treats, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives, including other sugary foods they’ll encounter year round such as sweet juices and starch heavy breads. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras – they can be saved for a future day, frozen for later, thrown away, or donated.

While sugar does promote decay, the effect of sugar is not instant. If children eat candy for a short time period, and then brush their teeth a short time later, the impact of the sugar is fairly minimal. For that reason, 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.

Focus on fun, but effective, tooth brushing. 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 toothpaste (but check the label to ensure it contains fluoride).

If you have questions about how Halloween impacts your children’s dental health, contact your dentist, or ask during one of your scheduled appointments – they’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

For more information on candy and tooth decay 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.

Tooth Decay | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

477787597Cavities. It may be the word most closely associated with a trip to the dentist. While many patients think of cavities, many dentists tend to call the condition tooth decay.

Whether you call it a cavity or tooth decay, the problem is the same: germs in your mouth create acid that eventually eats away at the hard surface of your teeth. If not treated, the decay can cause infection, pain, and eventually tooth loss.

As you eat food or drink beverages, a clear sticky substance, plaque, builds up on your teeth and consumes the remnants of the food and beverages. Consisting primarily of bacteria, the plaque consumes the sugars left on and between your teeth after meals. The acid from the plaque slowly destroys the enamel – the hard surface of your teeth – allowing acid and bacteria to reach the softer, less protected parts of your teeth, where decay and infection accelerates.

Dentists will use a combination of X-rays and close visual inspection to identify areas of decay in your mouth. If the decay has eaten through your enamel, the dentist will likely correct the issue by removing the decay with a dental drill, and fill the resulting void with a filling – typically resin or a substance known as amalgam.

With regular visits, it’s likely that your dentist will discover and correct decay before it becomes a major problem. Ideally, your dentist will be able to treat decay with simple fillings, rather than more invasive procedures like root canals and full tooth extractions. If you have pain in a specific tooth, schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible, so that you can treat the source of the problem before it gets much worse.

For more information on tooth decay 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.