Westfield's Dental Department

Posts for: February, 2016

By Kenneth Krause, DMD
February 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

There are a number of teeth whitening options to put the brightness back into your smile — from professional dentist office applications to over-the-counter products for home use. But before you decide on an option, you should first consider whether whitening is right for you and to what extent.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself — and us — before undergoing a whitening treatment.

Do I have any dental problems that make whitening problematic? The underlying cause of the staining may stem from decay, root canal problems or other dental issues; in these cases the underlying cause needs to be treated first, because whitening would only mask the actual problem. You also may not want to whiten your teeth for aesthetic reasons: people with certain features like short teeth or gummy smiles may find these features become more prominent after teeth whitening. It might be more advisable in these cases to consider other cosmetic options first.

How much whitening do I really need to improve my smile? One of the biggest myths about teeth whitening is the brighter the shade the more attractive the smile. A truly attractive tooth color, however, is more nuanced, and every person’s ideal color is different. The most attractive and natural color is one that matches the whites of your eyes.

What effect will whitening have on existing dental work I already have? In most cases, none — and that could be a problem. Composite resins or ceramic dental material have their color “baked in” and bleaching chemicals used in whitening have no effect on them. The concern then is whether whitening nearby natural teeth may produce a color mismatch between them and the dental restorations, resulting in an unattractive appearance.

Before you decide on teeth whitening, visit us first for a complete exam and consultation. We’ll discuss whether whitening is a good option for you, or whether there are other issues we should address first. We can also advise you on products and techniques, and how to get the most from your whitening experience.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Important Teeth Whitening Questions…Answered!

By Kenneth Krause, D.M.D.
February 12, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Flossing  

What is Proper Flossing Technique? What you need to know about flossing your teeth.

You brush your teeth three times a day, just the way you’ve been told since you were a little kid. Flossing though, that’s something else. You’ve tried to floss, but your experience was less than perfect. In fact, you’ve totally given it up. But now, you’re thinking of starting up again and you would like to know just how to floss correctly. Dr. Kenneth Krause of Krause Dental in Westfield, IN wants you to know Flossingtoo.

To start, take about 18 inches of floss. Wrap the each end of the floss around your middle finger of each hand, leaving only about two inches free to work with. Hold the free two inches in between each of your thumbs and index fingers. Slide the floss up and down between each of your teeth.

This next part is important. When you slide up and down each tooth, make certain to wrap the floss around your tooth in a “C” shaped curve. This wrapping technique ensures you will keep the floss next to your tooth and remove the plaque all the way down the tooth surface. If you don’t wrap the floss, you may miss plaque and cut your gums.

Now, do the other tooth and come back up with the floss. Move to a clean piece of floss by moving your middle fingers to free up another piece. Move on and do each of the other teeth in your mouth, both the top and bottom arches. That’s it, you’re done!

If you have dexterity problems from arthritis or other reasons, don’t let that stop you. Your Westfield dentist can introduce you to a variety of tools available on the market to help you. You can try a variety of holders and preloaded floss picks to make things easier.

There is a big debate about whether to use waxed or unwaxed floss and there are pros and cons to each. Waxed floss is easier for most people because it is unlikely to shred on tight teeth or fillings, however, it may not remove as much plaque because of the wax coating. Unwaxed floss picks up more plaque, but it can also shred in between tight teeth or rough fillings. You can talk with Dr. Krause about which type might be best for you.

Dr. Kenneth Krause of Krause Dental in Westfield, IN wants flossing to become a daily habit, and he’s there to help you on the path toward good oral hygiene. Call him today and find out more about your dental health!


A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.

We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?

Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.

When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?

In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.

So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.

If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”