Category Archives: General Health

When Eating Ice Cream Begins to Hurt Your Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

If you’ve ever experienced a sharp and annoying pain in your teeth whenever you indulge in the wonderful frozen treats this summery weather can provide? No one wants to hear that they can’t have ice cream or iced tea because their teeth are too sensitive. So, what causes this cruel summertime malady?

Loss of tooth enamel, which leaves the dentin exposed, is the main reason why tooth sensitivity occurs. This may happen if you’ve been using a hard-bristled toothbrush instead of a soft one, as it may wear away as the abrasion can wear away the tooth enamel. However, it can also be the result of frequent consumption of acidic foods or gum recession.

It is important to take note, however, that the sharp pain when exposed to hot and cold food and beverages is not always caused by tooth sensitivity. Sometimes, it may be because of the following:

  • A cracked, chipped or fractured tooth
  • Dental caries
  • Constant grinding or clenching of the teeth, or a condition known as bruxism
  • A broken restoration that’s been leaking
  • A side effect of certain teeth whitening procedures, namely tooth bleaching

In order to find out if your teeth are indeed sensitive, talk to your dentist. Be sure to describe your symptoms in detail, like when the pain first started or anything you’ve done for the pain. Using your descriptions, the dentist will try to find out the possible cause of your sensitivity, and once finished, the dentist will then treat the underlying cause. The treatment will usually vary, depending on the case.

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 to Consider When Getting Dental Veneers | Indianapolis Dentist

Who doesn’t want their idea of a perfect smile? No one has the same idea of the ideal grin, but it’s one that will make them excited to smile every day. Unfortunately, not everyone is born with that smile. If you think you have less than perfect teeth, veneers are a great way to give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Dental veneers are composed of thin custom-made shells of either porcelain or composite resin that fit over teeth. They are a cosmetic dental product that’s used to mask tooth imperfections, all the while giving teeth a natural and attractive tooth. Aside from discolored, chipped or misshapen teeth, veneers can also be used to fix and improve worn down and uneven teeth, as well as uneven spaces or gaps in between them.

But that’s not all – beyond aesthetics, one good thing about veneers is that there’s very little tooth structure lost during the process. The procedure also requires the use of little to no anesthesia, which decreases the chances of complications from the use of anesthesia.

There are two types of materials commonly used in dental veneers – composite resin and porcelain. However, porcelain veneers are considered better for the following reasons:

Appearance. The translucent properties of porcelain allow porcelain veneers to look as natural as possible.

Durability. Although very thin and brittle, they can last for years and even decades if they’re taken care of properly.

Stain-resistant. Porcelain, as a material, is an impervious ceramic and is also quite smooth. Also, the material will not pick up permanent stains from highly pigmented drinks and food, cigarettes, tobacco, coffee and so on.

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.

Smile Makeovers Will Change Your Life | Indianapolis Dentist

They say that first impressions last, and few, if any, makes more of an impression than your smile. This is why it’s important that your smile make as good of an impression as it can. If you are, however, like most people, you’ve likely dreamt of having a better-looking smile, one that’s straighter, and preferably, whiter. To get that smile, a process known as a smile makeover may just be what you need.

A smile makeover is a process whose main goal is to improve the appearance of the smile through a combination of various cosmetic dentistry treatments or procedures. The list of treatments includes, but are not limited to, dental veneers, composite bonding, tooth implants and teeth whitening. It is similar to a full mouth reconstruction where multiple procedures are involved. However, the two differ in that a smile makeover is elective, while a full mouth reconstruction is necessary.

More than being a cosmetic procedure, though, a smile makeover carries a lot of functional and health benefits as well. Cosmetic dental treatments alone are expensive enough, which makes it safe to say that a series of such treatments is bound to cost a lot.

But it is worth it? If you’re perfectly content with what you have, then good for you. However, if you’re like many others whose personal and professional life is and has been suffering because of how much trouble they have smiling, then you may want to really consider getting a smile makeover treatment.

Yes, a smile makeover is expensive, but as long as you see your smile as something that you’ll own and wear for the rest of your life, it is a worthy investment for a lifetime of smiles.

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.

You Really Should Get Your Teeth Cleaned Twice a Year | Indianapolis Dentist

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:

Oral cancer prevention. Just like with any 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.

Treatment and prevention of oral infections. Contrary to popular belief, normal and healthy mouths do not and never will bleed when flossing or brushing, even after a round of dental cleaning. Bleeding gums are one of the earliest signs of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other complications if not treated early.

Clean, fresh breath. Sure, it’s normal for the mouth to not always smell minty fresh. But bad breath on a regular basis is a telltale sign of an oral infection, something that only your dentist can treat.

Dental problems lower. 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.

Keeping your teeth white and healthy. The first impression we make to strangers is our smile. By visiting the dentist regularly, you can keep your teeth looking shiny and healthy, allowing you to smile way more often without being self-conscious.

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.

Do You Have Dental Phobia? | Indianapolis Dentist

Are you one in the millions of Americans considered to have a dental phobia? Maybe you had a bad experience as a child, maybe you just can’t handle people and instruments that close to your face. Whatever it is, you’re definitely not alone.

Dental anxiety and phobia are extremely common. In a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of those who didn’t see a dentist regularly said that fear was the main reason. Dental phobia keeps many people from seeing their dentists for regular check-ups, which could result in poor oral health. Women are more likely to suffer from this phobia than men.

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. Today dentistry is much different than it used to be. It can be a pain free, anxiety free experience. Relaxation and sedation techniques have been proven in helping overcome dental phobias. Some of the signs of dental phobia include:

  • Tension or having trouble sleeping the night before a dental exam
  • Increasingly nervous while you’re in the waiting room
  • The sight of dental instruments or personnel increases your anxiety
  • The thought of a dental visit makes you feel physically ill
  • Panic or trouble breathing when objects are placed in your mouth during a dental appointment

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 it’s often referred to as sleep dentistry.

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.

Missing Teeth? Make a Dental Appointment Today | Indianapolis Dentist

There are many adults that have had a couple of decayed or missing teeth replaced. While replacing your missing teeth for aesthetic reasons is understandable, it’s important to have any missing teeth replaced for your oral health. Your teeth are meant to work together to help you chew, smile and speak. When you have missing teeth, these can be difficult to do. The loss of your back teeth may cause your mouth to shift and your face to appear older or sunken in. Fortunately, with the help of modern dentistry, missing teeth can be replaced. The following are some of the tooth replacement options that should be available to you by your dental care professional:

Dental implants. Many people opt for dental implants to replace a single tooth, several teeth, or to support a full set of dentures. The process of getting dental implants placed typically involves three phases that take place over several weeks, which is the main disadvantage.

Bridges. If your teeth can be fixed with a dental bridge, which is basically a dental appliance that is used to fill in the missing space. Unlike dental implants that are surgically placed and securely integrated into your jawbone, bridges rely on the neighboring teeth for support.

Dentures. Dentures are removable dental appliances that can replace a single tooth or a full set. Dentures usually have replacement teeth attached to a plastic base that matches the color of your gums and, depending on your case, are either partial dentures or full dentures.

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.

Ways to Brighten Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

teeth whitening

As we prepare to embark on another year, it is important to try to start it off on the right foot. For some of us, it is a brighter smile. And while we do our best to keep up with our dental hygiene, over time our teeth will begin to develop a yellowish tinge. It’s time for a teeth whitening treatment. But which to choose? Here is a quick breakdown to help you as you decide which option to choose.

Zoom! Plus teeth whitening

Teeth whitening can help you achieve a beautifully white smile by bleaching your teeth and removing any deep stains that cannot be removed by brushing or hygiene appointments. Here at our Indianapolis teeth whitening office, we use the latest Zoom! Plus, in-office laser tooth whitening system as seen on hit TV shows such as Extreme Makeover. The Zoom! system delivers great results and in about 1 hour we can brighten your teeth by several shades.

Home bleaching

In addition to in-office power whitening, we also offer professional home bleaching kits. We custom fabricate whitening trays to fit over your teeth and then supply you with a professional-grade tooth whitening solution to carry out the whitening procedure in the comfort of your own home. The home bleaching delivers results over a longer time period. Many of our patients choose combination treatment with in-office whitening followed by the home bleaching. This enables you to maintain your beautiful white smile and top it up whenever you want.

There is no reason we have to start the year with a less than perfect smile. It’s time to schedule an appointment to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

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 Is Cosmetic Dentistry? | Indianapolis Dentist

cosmetic dentistry

We know that the dentist will keep our smiles healthy, but they are also here to improve your smile through the use of cosmetic dentistry. But what exactly is cosmetic dentistry and how does it benefit you and your smile? Let’s take a second to break down the various procedures and how they can improve your smile. 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 are a thin layer of porcelain on top of the tooth that 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 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 for maximum effectiveness.

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.

Sorting Through Your Trick-or-Treat Bag | Indianapolis Dentist

Sorting Through Your Trick-or-Treat Bag

When we think about Halloween, we think about overflowing bags of free candy. And while we hate to admit it, these sweet treats are not very tooth-friendly and can have devastating effects. When candy gets stuck in the grooves of your teeth it can cause a damaging acid to form in your mouth. This acid from the candy affects the teeth 20 minutes before it’s neutralized. Here’s a breakdown Halloween’s favorite candy from best to worst for our smiles:

Best Candy for Teeth

  • Chocolate dissolves quickly, which decreases the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with teeth. Choose your favorite chocolate but avoid the fillings like nuts or caramel, as they can damage to teeth.
  • Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva production, which flushes away bad bacteria from your teeth, gums and tongue.
  • Sugar-free gum can help remove food particles and stimulate saliva production.

Worst Candy for Teeth

  • When it comes to sticky candy, stickier the candy, the worse it is for teeth.
  • Hard candy stays in your mouth longer, drenching your mouth in sugar.
  • Candy corn is full of sugar that produces acid that eats away tooth enamel.
  • Sour candy is high in acid levels, which can break down tooth enamel.
  • Jawbreakers are so hard they can actually chip a tooth.

Make sure to brush and floss your teeth after indulging in your Halloween treats. If you can’t brush right away, drink plenty of water to help loosen some of the residue left behind. Brushing and flossing your teeth is a must, especially during Halloween.

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.

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.