Tag Archives: preventative dentistry

The Ten Most Wanted List of Dental Damages

Let’s face it – we all want a nice shiny set of pearly whites to show off to the world. They are the first thing most strangers see upon meeting, so many of us hold a smile in very high regard. Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons our teeth may not be the brightest at all times. This is when we give our dentist a jingle for a nice dental cleaning / whitening procedure.

In many cases, discolored or damaged teeth are the result of our own bad habits. Bad habits like smoking or dietary issues can lead to our teeth beginning to turn a bit dingy after a while, other problems are caused by chemicals that entered teeth during childhood. Everything we do to or with our mouths can have an impact on our teeth, and not in a good way. Poor habits, like biting your pencil, can all do small damages to our teeth. These are the top ten dental culprits:

  • Drinking tea. Hot or cold, tea stains teeth more than any other kind of drink.
  • Smoking, because tobacco yellows teeth.
  • Drinking coffee; it stains the teeth.
  • Drinking red wine; it stains the teeth.
  • Consuming too many soft drinks, which leave sugars on teeth that can create cavities.
  • Eating highly acidic foods, including starchy snacks such as potato chips and tortilla chips. They can drive enamel-busting acids deep into teeth, breaking the teeth down.
  • Ingesting too much fluoride during childhood, which can actually damage teeth.
  • Treating childhood diseases with antibiotics, such as Tetracycline, that can discolor teeth.
  • Chewing ice or your nails; it cracks teeth.
  • Grinding teeth; habitual grinding damages teeth.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

When You Become Too Sensitive | Indianapolis Dentist

If you’ve been experiencing jarring sharp pain when you eat or drink hot or even cold foods, or even surprisingly during your oral care routine. You know it’s not something to ignore but what is it? Chances are you’re developing sensitive teeth. Luckily, this is very treatable.

What causes a tooth or teeth to become sensitive? Well, there are a variety of answers here. As we age, so do our teeth. With age the enamel on your teeth can wear, leaving your tooth roots exposed. This, of course, can cause those jolting pains with tempered food and drink, even when cold air hits the tooth. This is the most likely case or why you’re experiencing the tooth pain. But there can be other reasons, such as:

  • Overbrushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth whitening

Your dental professional has a solution for all of the above conditions. Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you will benefit from professional treatment. There are a variety of treatments from simple solutions to oral surgery. Sensitive teeth solutions include:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste
  • Desensitizing or bonding
  • Surgical gum graft
  • Root canal

See your dentist at the first sign of sensitivity. But worry not, oftentimes the early stages can be easily treated. If you wait to get treatment, you often end up with a bigger problem that is more difficult to treat. Many times, sensitive teeth can be treated with a good cleaning and use of a special toothpaste.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer? | Indianapolis Dentist

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • 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

If you find that you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your dental professional as soon as possible. During your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam by feeling for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores, discolored tissue and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Your dentist may perform an oral brush biopsy if they see tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analyzing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks more suspicious, your dentist may recommend a scalpel biopsy, which usually requires local anesthesia. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Care for a Mint? | Indianapolis Dentist

Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.”

The problem is, that is generally how you find out that you do. It’s something a significant someone will likely point out to you. We all want to maintain fresh breath throughout the day, but if we don’t have a toothbrush at our disposal how do we accomplish that? It isn’t as difficult as you think. The main goal to keeping bad breath at bay is to keep saliva production going. The more saliva you have being produced the less chance odor-causing bacteria have to set up camp in your mouth. Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. Avoid sugary drinks!

Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue.

Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath. Smoking gives people horrible breath!

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

Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities.

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.

Play Sports? Take Care of Your Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

When we think about athletes, we think about strong healthy individuals that take their sport by storm with all of their physical ability. They train hard, they eat well to give their bodies the proper nutrition in order to perform at their peak. We may all have the same basic guidelines when it comes to oral care, but an athlete’s lifestyle isn’t the same as ours and needs to be treated as such. During their training, athletes often have high-carb diets and drink lots of energy drinks to keep up with things. Those two things alone are driving sugars and acids into their mouths, and these are the main causes for tooth decay and cavity-causing erosion. Researchers surveyed and examined 302 athletes from 25 sports and concluded these results:

  • Fifty-five percent had dental caries, the disease that causes cavities
  • Forty-five percent had dental erosion
  • More than three-quarters had gingivitis and 15 percent had gum disease
  • More than 40 percent of athletes were “bothered” by their oral health with 28 percent saying it impacted their quality of life and 18 percent saw an impact on their training and performance
  • Nearly half of the participants had not had an oral exam or hygiene care in the previous year

This just goes to show that oral health is an important tool and element of overall health, as it can affect one’s overall performance. And if you are in a sport that is more physical, make sure to see your dentist for a custom-fit mouthguard to ensure your teeth are protected from those tough hits. Preventative measures are key to keeping your smile intact.

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.

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.

When Your Tooth Zings You | Indianapolis Dentist

When the seasons change from cold to hot, or hot to cold, our diets begin to change drastically. Soups and cocoa changes to salads and iced teas. Unfortunately, if we aren’t taking good care of our teeth, this can cause our teeth to give us a painful signal when we test its sensitivity. If you’ve been experiencing jarring sharp pain when you eat or drink hot or even cold foods, or even surprisingly during your oral care routine, you may have developed sensitive teeth.

But these are the foods of the season, so what gives? Well, there are a variety of answers here. As we age, so do our teeth. With age the enamel on your teeth can wear, leaving your tooth roots exposed. This, of course, can cause those jolting pains with tempered food and drink or even cold air. Here are some reasons this may be happening:

  • Over-brushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth whitening

Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you will benefit from professional treatment. There are a variety of treatments from simple solutions to oral surgery. Sensitive teeth solutions include:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste
  • Desensitizing or bonding
  • Surgical gum graft
  • Root canal

See your dentist at the first sign of sensitivity. If caught early enough, it can be easily treated. Many times, sensitive teeth can be treated with a good cleaning and use of a special toothpaste. If you wait to get treatment, you often end up with a bigger problem that is more difficult to treat.

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.