Scharfenberg Dental Blog

Elmhurst TMJ Dentist Helps Patients Manage This Condition To Maximize Oral Health

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TMJ disorder is more than just an inconvenience; patients who suffer from TMJ issues are at risk of developing a number of additional oral health issues down the road as a result.

Our Elmhurst TMJ dentists offer treatment for this condition, with the goals of minimizing day to day discomfort and preventing long-term TMJ-related oral health problems. The treatments that we use are simple, effective, and patient-friendly.

But, before we get into discussing treatment options, let’s quickly review the mechanics of TMJ disorder. Your temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. As you’d imagine, you want to keep these joints healthy so that you can eat, speak, and emote comfortably.

Temporomandibular joint problems can pop up for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, the patient’s TMJs are damaged due to accident or trauma: a bike accident, or sport’s injury, for example. However, it is more common for TMJ problems to arise because the underlying structure of the patient’s smile is uneven. When a patient’s top and bottom teeth do not come together evenly and naturally, this can cause the TMJs to slip out of alignment and become irritated. People who suffer from bruxism, or chronic dental grinding, can also experience TMJ problems as a result.

The key to successful TMJ treatment is tailoring the treatment to fit the patient’s specific needs. If your TMJ disorder is caused by a misaligned bite, for example, then orthodontic treatment or strategically placed dental bonding can take the pressure off of your jaw. Other patients will benefit from wearing a TMJ oral appliance, which helps to keep the jaw in a healthy position while protecting the patient’s teeth.

If you’re dealing with TMJ problems, our Elmhurst TMJ dentists encourage you to reach out for treatment before more damage is done. Give us a call to get started with a consultation! 

Treat TMJ Promptly With Our Elmhurst TMJ Dentists

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Patients who live with TMJ dysfunction deal with day to day inconveniences and discomforts. At the same time, these patients are at an increased risk of developing of additional oral health problems down the road. That is why our Elmhurst dentists strongly recommend that patients seek prompt treatment for TMJ issues. Keep reading to learn more!

Your temporomandibular joints are the joints on either side of your skull that connect your lower jaw to the rest of your maxillofacial structure. These joints are vitally important; they allow you to speak, chew, and emote naturally and comfortably.

Sometimes, these joints become damaged, irritated, or inflamed. This may occur due to discrete dental trauma or accidents, or it may develop over time due to structural problems with the smile.

If, for example, your top and bottom teeth do not come together naturally and evenly, this can put an immense amount of pressure on your TMJs. Many people who develop TMJ dysfunction also suffer from bruxism (chronic dental grinding and clenching).

In order to successfully treat TMJ problems, our dental team first assesses the patient’s smile in order to determine the underlying cause of the problem. Depending on the results of this assessment, we may recommend that you use orthodontic treatment, dental bonding, or customized restorations in order to bring your smile into balance.

We can also craft customized oral appliances to relieve pressure on the TMJs. These mouth guards are designed to be worn at night, and they guide the lower jaw into a healthy position, so that the top and bottom teeth can come together in a healthy way.

At the same time, these oral appliances help to protect the patient’s teeth from damage related to dental grinding. Chronic tooth-on-tooth contact will weaken the patient’s dental enamel over time, and leave the patient susceptible to developing cracks, chips, and cavities.

Every bruxism case is different, and you may benefit from using one treatment or a number of solutions in combination. The best way to get started is to contact our Elmhurst TMJ dentists for an assessment. We’re here to help you get all of the information and support that you need to achieve and maintain a healthy smile. We look forward to speaking with you!

Our Elmhurst Dentists Share Information & Treatment Tips For Bruxism

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Bruxism is a common condition among adult dental patients. People who suffer from chronic dental grinding and clenching often notice that their smiles start to change—in appearance and health—as bruxism worsens. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst dentists

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition that is characterized by dental grinding as well as tooth clenching. Sometimes bruxism is only a temporary problem—during times of great stress, for example. However, bruxism can also be a chronic condition caused by TMJ issues or poor bite alignment.

How Do I Know If I Have It?

Well, you may be able to notice yourself grinding our clenching your teeth during the day—if this happens to you, then we encourage you to reach out to your dentists for more support! But, remember that many people grind their teeth at night. To identify this type of bruxism, you want to make stay alert for:

  • Headaches up on waking
  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Bite alignment issues
  • Tooth pain

How Can I Protect My Smile?

Our dental team will tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual circumstance. If, for example, you only grind your teeth sometimes, due to stress, we may recommend some relaxation exercises and jaw stretches to alleviate the problem.

When bruxism is caused by poor bite alignment tor TMJ damage, we may recommend treatment that is designed to bring your bite into proper alignment. Additionally, some bruxism patients benefit from wearing custom-fit oral appliances at night. Not only do these appliances protect your teeth, they also guide your lower jaw into a healthy position. Finally, it may be helpful for you to replace old, ill-fitting restorations.

Now is the time to seek effective treatment for chronic dental grinding. Get more information from our Elmhurst dentists by giving our office a call, or by submitting a question for us through the Contact Us page on our site. 

Our Elmhurst Dentist Help Patients Care For Their Smiles During The Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Most of us think of the holiday season as a time of togetherness, celebration, and joy. For our smiles, however, the holidays are risky business.

That is why our Elmhurst dentists have put together this short article about navigating the holidays while protecting your smile…

Stay Alert For Problem Ingredients

For many of us, the holiday season is a time filled with homemade cookies, nostalgic candies, and celebratory libations. And, while all of these things help to create a festive mood, they can also create an ideal environment for oral bacteria to flourish.

Treats that are both sugary and sticky, like caramels or peppermints, can be especially damaging. These foods cling to your dental surfaces, and provide an easy-to-access fuel source for the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. 

Rinse Regularly

Rinsing your smile throughout the day (and night) will help your smile stay healthy, and your breath stay fresh. The very act of rinsing with water dislodges food particles and plaque. Additionally, every time that you rinse your smile you jump-start saliva production in your mouth. Because saliva is your body’s natural way of neutralizing bacteria and re-mineralizing plaque, this is a pretty important habit to get into.

Indulge Thoughtfully

It is our goal to keep bacterial activity to minimum in your mouth, and to protect your teeth from damage. To that end, we encourage you to make a plan about how and when you will consume holiday treats. Eating a cookie in one sitting, for example, is better for your smile than snacking on the same cookie continuously throughout the day. The goal is to limit the amount of time that oral bacteria are active and feeding on sugar.

If you want to learn more about how you can care for your smile during the holidays, or all year long, please contact our Elmhurst dentists to get started!


Elmhurst Dentist Shares Information About Sensitive Teeth

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Sensitive teeth and gums can really hamper your daily life and routine. You may find that you can no longer eat or drink things, and it may even become uncomfortable to thoroughly clean your smile at the start and end of each day. The good news is that our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you minimize sensitivity and protect your smile.

Let’s start by talking about some of the reasons dental sensitivity occurs:

Infection or Fracture

When dental damage or infection extends into the dental pulp you will likely experience discomfort and sensitivity. Your dental enamel and dentin are designed to cover and protect the inner tooth structure, which houses sensitive dental pulp. If these layers fail, your dental nerves will be too accessible to irritants.

Thinning Enamel

Due to things like acid exposure and bruxism (tooth grinding and clenching) dental enamel can become thinner over time. Unfortunately, this means that irritants are able to slip through and reach your dentin and dental pulp. This is why it is so important that you refrain from brushing your teeth after acid exposure, follow all of your dentist’s oral hygiene recommendations, and seek prompt treatment for bruxism. 

Gum Tissue Recession

So far, we have talked about how your tooth structure can change an result in discomfort. However, it also possible for your dental nerves to become exposed at the base of the tooth—where your nerves extend down into your jaw tissue. This occurs when gum tissue begins to pull away from your teeth, due to periodontal disease or injury to your oral tissues.

Our dental team attacks dental sensitivity in a few different ways. As always, the right treatment for you will depend on your specific situation and the state of your smile. Here are some effective treatment protocols to consider.

Encourage Healthy Enamel

One preventive thing that you can do, which can also be effective for patients with enamel that is just beginning to thin, is to focus on treatments and oral hygiene steps that strengthen your teeth. Fluoride is well-known for fortifying enamel; your dentist may recommend in-office topical fluoride applications, or specially formulated toothpastes or rinses that support enamel.

Protect Thin Enamel

If your enamel is already affected by demineralization and thinning, then you may choose to cover insufficient enamel with a dental material, like composite resin or porcelain.

Desensitize Nerves

For occasional discomfort, and to achieve short-term relief, you can use a toothpaste or mouth rinse that works to numb vulnerable nerves. Our dental team can make a recommendation about what type of formulation is best for you.

Don’t let dental discomfort derail your plans. Our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you, regardless of the current state of your smile. Call our office or use the Contact Us page on our site to reach us! 

Take Control In Dental Emergencies With Help From Our Elmhurst Emergency Dentist

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Dental emergencies are never fun, but, at the same time, they don’t have to be devastating. There are things that you can do when faced with unexpected dental trauma, to improve your dental prognosis, and minimize secondary damage. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst emergency dentists!

The first thing to do is to decide whom you will call in an emergency situation. Talk to your dentist about whether they offer emergency care. If they don’t, do they have a recommendation on whom to call? You want to make sure that the contact information for your emergency dentist is in an easily accessible place—maybe in your phone or on your fridge. Once you’ve taken this step, you have already eliminated a potential future stressor.

There are also a few general rules to keep in mind when dealing with a dental emergency. Following these simple guidelines will help you get the most effective restorative care possible:

  1. Retain as much natural dental material as possible

As much as possible, try not to disturb or clear away loose oral tissues and roots. If your tooth is knocked out, it is best to gently place the tooth into its socket, and hold it there until you can get to your dentists. If this is not possible, or if it is painful, place the tooth—with any attached roots and tissues—in a glass of milk.

  1. Avoid irritants

Do not put pain killers and medications directly on your damaged smiles, as these can actually cause more damage. Instead, numb the affected area with an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. Follow all directions when using over the counter oral pain killers.

  1. Clean gently

When your smile is damaged, your regular cleaning routine may be too abrasive and invasive. The safest bet is to gently rinse your mouth with room temp/warm water and salt to refresh your smile until you can see your dentist. Keep in mind that brushing and flossing can be very painful if you have exposed nerves or roots.

Our Elmhurst emergency dentists offer prompt dental care to help our patients overcome dental trauma and get back to their normal routines. So, don't hesitate to give us a call, or use the Contact Us page on our site to reach out!

Elmhurst Cosmetic Dentists Review Popular Ways To Improve Dental Aesthetics

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Cosmetic dentistry patients often come to our dental office with a sense that they are unhappy with their dental aesthetics, but they can’t articulate exactly what makes them feel that way. That’s where our Elmhurst cosmetic dentists come in; as the first step in your treatment plan we will collaborate with you in order to identify some key aesthetic objectives…

Say Goodbye To Stains

As enamel ages, it tends to become slightly darker and yellower in color. This occurs due to environmental stains—like those from foods, drinks, and tobacco products—as well as enamel thinning, which makes yellow dentin more visible. By brightening your natural enamel, or by covering unsightly enamel with porcelain or composite resin, you can take years off of the appearance of your smile.

Straighten Teeth

If you have teeth that are crooked, crowded, or unevenly spaced, orthodontic treatment can realign your smile. Orthodontic treatment is completed over a period of months or years; each step in the process moves your teeth a little bit more. For more immediate results, you may choose to use veneers or dental bonding to resurface your natural teeth and make your smile look more seamless.

Pay Attention To Proportions

Our eyes are conditioned to consider symmetrical things and faces more attractive. If your smile is not well balanced, aesthetic treatment can help to even out any poorly proportioned areas. Our team can also contour and refine oral tissues, so that your teeth are able to shine. These treatments may involve orthodontic care, porcelain restorations, and/or composite bonding.

You deserve to have a smile that you truly love. Our Elmhurst cosmetic dentists truly believe that, and we are here to help you make your dream smile a reality. If you want to learn more, please give our office a call, or submit your info through our Contact Us page. We look forward to speaking with you! 

Elmhurst Dentist Helps You Prepare For A Dental Emergency

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Dental emergencies are stressful, and, by definition, unexpected. That is why it can be so helpful for patients to make contingency plans, so that they know exactly what to do when faced with dental trauma. In this short article our Elmhurst emergency dentists are giving you some tips on how to deal with emergency dental situations—let’s get started!

There are a number of different types of dental emergencies, but, no matter what the specific situation, you’ll benefit from knowing who to call when faced with dental trauma. Take the time now to touch base with your dentist, and determine whether they offer emergency services. If they do, is there a specific phone number or e-mail address you should use to reach them? If they do not, do they have a recommendation on another dentist you can contact?

Once you’ve gathered this information, write it down and keep it in an easily accessible place. You can maintain a hard copy on your refrigerator, for example, and also keep the info in your phone.

Speaking generally, when faced with a dental emergency, you want to try to keep as much of your natural dental material intact as possible. Do not clear away any nerves or tissues, for example, that may be loose, or attached to damaged teeth.

If you lose a tooth unexpectedly, the best thing to do is to try to place it back into your gum tissue until you’re able to see your dentist. The tooth should fit back into place pretty easily. If it’s painful, or if it just won’t fit, place your tooth in a glass of milk for transport. Also, bring any broken tooth parts to your dental team, as they can use these pieces to design restorations.

With all that is available in the world of restorative and cosmetic dentistry, dental trauma no longer has to be a long-term problem. Our Elmhurst emergency dentists are happy to answer any questions that may have—just give us a call to learn more and to schedule a consultation!


Learn More About The Treatments Our Elmhurst Dentists Employ To Restore Smiles

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

When you are dealing with dental damage or infection it can be reassuring to know that there are treatments available to you, and that no smiles are beyond help. In this short article our Elmhurst dentists are going to be reviewing some of the commonly employed restorative and aesthetic treatments that we use to help our patients overcome dental damage. Let’s get started with…


  • Root canal therapy: root canal therapy becomes necessary when a dental infection or fracture makes it all the way to the core of the tooth. Through root canal therapy our team is able to clear away all of the sensitive dental pulp and nerves, leaving only healthy and dentin and dental enamel behind. Then, we are able to sterilize the remaining tooth structure and repair it with a restoration if necessary.


  • Custom crowns: ceramic crowns make exceptional restorations because the material mimics the appearance of natural enamel. Our team is able to use your existing teeth as aesthetic guides to design your crown. The color of your restoration will blend with your existing smile, and we will make the shape of your crown appropriately rounded or angular, depending on how the profiles of your adjacent teeth.


  • Dental implants: if you are dealing with gaps in your smile due to premature tooth loss, dental implant technology will help you achieve the aesthetics you want while simultaneously safeguarding your smile. Dental implants are permanent replacement teeth that, like your natural teeth, have roots that extend into the jawbone tissue. Implant roots are simply made of titanium rather than pulp, dentin, and dental enamel! This treatment is truly the closest you can come to growing a brand-new tooth.


Because every one of our patients is unique, restorative treatments plans must likewise be personalized to suit your needs. The best way to get started is to give our Elmhurst dentists a call, or use the Contact Us page on our site to submit a question for our team.  

Are Sugars & Carbs Hurting Your Smile? Our Elmhurst Dentists Can Help You Figure It Out

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

If you are looking to give your oral health a boost, it may be time to assess your diet. Just as some foods and drinks support whole body health, there are particular substances that affect oral health as well.

Today our Elmhurst dentists are going to be talking about one type of food in particular: refined carbohydrates. Keep reading to learn more about how refined carbs can change your smile. Let’s get started!

First, let’s review what we mean by refined carbohydrates; basically, these are carbs that have had the fiber, nutrients, and brans taken out of them. White bread is a refined carbohydrate, for example, while whole wheat bread is less processed. Breads, pastries, and doughs that are made with white flour are all refined carbs.

The reason that we need to be aware of how many sugary and carbohydrate-laden treats we are eating is because the oral bacteria that live in our mouths are able to use these foods and drinks as fuel. In order to minimize the bacterial activity, you can:

  • Limit your carb and sugar consumption
  • When possible, swap out refined carbohydrates for complex carbs
  • Indulge in treats sparingly
  • Try to eat and drink at specific times of the day, rather than snacking and sipping continuously
  • Rinse your mouth with water after you eat or drink
  • If food gets stuck between your teeth, promptly clear it away using gentle floss
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking. It is better to rinse and wait 20 to 30 minutes to brush, because your dental enamel is temporarily softer after acid exposure

If you need any additional guidance about how you can tweak your diet to best support your smile, please feel free to reach out to our Elmhurst dentists. We truly believe that dental care extends far beyond brushing and flossing; we are here to help! 

Free Smile Consultation: (630) 733-1624
Schedule Online
Patient Reviews
Write Review