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Scharfenberg Dental Blog

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! 

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! 

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! 

Our Elmhurst Dentists Review Treatments That Deliver Same-Day Results

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

If you are already struggling to fit dental care into your busy routine, our Elmhurst dentists are here to help. We make it a point to offer convenient treatments that deliver results right away. Today, we are going to be talking about a few of these treatment options…

Semi-annual cleaning

During your appointment with our team, we will assess your smile for damage and signs of oral cancer. Then, we clean your smile: removing the plaque and tartar that cause cavities and gum disease. Many people are surprised at how much better their smiles look and feel after a professional dental cleaning. Using the tools at our disposal, we are able to clean much more thoroughly than you can on your own at home. Undergoing a professional cleaning is probably going to be the first step your treatment plan.

Dental bonding

Using composite resin our team is able to build up missing tooth portions, resurface enamel, close gaps between teeth, and make your smile look better aligned overall. At the beginning of treatment, our team will custom shade your composite resin to look natural for you. We then apply the resin to your natural tooth surface, shape it to meet your needs, and then we cure it so that it becomes hard and bonds to your smile. This entire treatment process takes only one appointment to complete.

Professional teeth whitening

Dental whitening is designed to remove stains and discoloration from the surface of your smile. The whitening formulations we offer are much stronger and more potent than over the counter options. Many people achieve noticeably lighter smiles after just one appointment. And, because this treatment simply restores your smile to its natural shade, you never have to worry about your smile looking too white, or fake.  

If you have a question about any of the treatments discussed in this article, or restorative and cosmetic dentistry in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Elmhurst dentists for more information!  

Overcome Harmful Gum Disease With The Support Of Our Elmhurst Dentists

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Caring for your smile begins with the foundation of your smile, your gum tissue. When your gums are unhealthy, they are not able to provide the rest of your maxillofacial structure with the stability necessary to stay healthy. Today, our Elmhurst dentists are sharing some information about gum disease. Let’s get started!

Why does gum disease develop?

The same harmful bacteria that infiltrate your teeth and cause cavities, can take root in your oral tissues and lead to periodontal disease. Bacteria use the sugars and refined carbohydrates that we consume as fuel to grow and multiply. As the bacteria in your mouth become stronger, your body has a more difficult time keeping the infection at bay.

How does gum disease manifest?

Once your oral tissues are infected you may notice a number of unwelcome changes to the way that your smile looks and feels. Your gum tissue may become swollen, red, and irritated. You will likely find that your gums bleed, especially when you floss and when you chew on tough or abrasive substances. Another, particularly unpleasant, symptom of periodontal disease is chronic, hard-to-treat bad breath.

If you notice any of these problems with your smile, it is vital that you reach out your dentist for treatment and support. Over time, periodontal disease can become more severe, and cause the connective tissues that hold your teeth in place to weaken.

How is gum disease treated?

There are a few key objectives when it comes to treating gum disease. Generally speaking, we want to minimize the number of bacteria in your mouth, while promoting your body’s natural healing process. We may recommend that you use specific tools or formulations to clean your smile at home, as well as complete regularly scheduled professional cleanings to keep plaque and tartar at bay.

Patients with advanced periodontal disease may benefit from gum grafts to build up diminished tissue and help your mouth heal.

Our Elmhurst gum disease dentists are here to answer any questions you may have, and to get you started on your way to a healthy smile. We look forward to speaking with you!

Oral Hygiene Improvements: Our Elmhurst Dentists Help You Brush Well

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

You are probably already brushing your teeth every day; that’s a great start! But are you really taking the time to get the most of your oral hygiene routine? Today we are going to find out.

Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst family dentists about you can care for your smile effectively and efficiently at home.

The first step in optimizing your brushing routine is to choose the right tool for the job. It all comes down to the three S’s:

Size: the brush head—the part that holds the bristles—needs to be sized appropriately for your mouth. This is especially important when it comes to pediatric toothbrushes; if the brush head is too big, you will not be able to clean the deep crevices of your molars.

Softness: toothbrush bristles range from extra soft to extra firm. The general rule of thumb is to pick the softest type of bristle you can without sacrificing quality or cleaning power. If you use a brush that is too firm for too long you may experience premature dental enamel thinning as a result.

Specialty: some dental patients will be better served using electric toothbrushes and supplemental tools like Waterpiks. If you are dealing with health issues like diabetes, for example, or if you are battling periodontal disease, an additional tool in your oral hygiene toolbox can make a big difference.

In the coming weeks, we will be talking about even more things to consider when designing your daily oral hygiene plan. If this article has sparked more questions in your mind, or if you are just not sure how to move forward with your own oral hygiene care, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Elmhurst family dentists for support.


Our Elmhurst Dentist Reviews 4 Mistakes You May Be Making When It Comes To Your Smile

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sometimes, making even the smallest tweaks and improvements to your daily routine can pay off in a big way over time. That’s why our Elmhurst dentists have put together this short article reviewing four mistakes you may be making day to day, and what you can do about them. Keep reading to learn more.

Snacking or sipping continuously

Oral bacteria use sugars and carbohydrates to as fuel to grow. And it’s important to keep in mind that bacteria stay active for about a half hour after you finish eating or drinking. This means that you can eat the same amount of food, or drink the same amount of your favorite beverage, and it can actually do more harm if you do so continually throughout the day, rather than in one sitting.

Applying too much pressure

We all want to make sure that we are doing enough to clear away plaque and dental debris that has developed throughout the day. However, applying too much pressure with your toothbrush an actually cause your dental enamel to wear down and your gum tissue to become damaged.  

Using old dental tools

Many of us are using ineffective, worn down tools without even realizing it. The American Dental Association actually recommends that we switch out our dental tools every three to four months. Using older tools will lead to unnecessary plaque accumulation, and it may lead you to apply too much pressure to your teeth and oral tissues.

Ignoring nighttime dry mouth

If you are regularly waking up with a mouth that feels dry or stale, talk to your dentist about what you can do to reduce dry mouth when sleeping. When there isn’t enough saliva in your mouth oral bacteria are able to thrive. So, unless this is treated you may notice increased instances of cavities, gum disease, and hard-to-treat bad breath.

Maintaining oral health for the long-term is all about developing good habits. To learn more, or to schedule a personal consultation with our team, please feel free to give our Elmhurst dental team a call! 

Learn More About Bad Breath And Treatment Options From Our Elmhurst Dentists

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

We all deal with bad breath occasionally, especially after we consume something with garlic, onion, meats, heavily spiced foods, dairy, and sugars. This kind of malodorous breath usually dissipates on its own and isn’t something to be overly concerned about.

On the other hand, chronic bad breath that is difficult to treat may be a sign of oral health problems. The same bacteria that create cavities and gum disease create unpleasant odors.

So, if you notice that are frequently dealing with bad breath, you may need to:

  • Treat existing oral health conditions

If you have already developed cavities or gum disease, these infections will likely need to be treated in order for you to notice an improvement in your breath.

  • Update your at-home oral hygiene routine

Using specifically formulated toothpastes or mouth rinses can help you neutralize more bacteria and clear away plaque. You also want to make sure that you are using an effective toothbrush—remember the ADA recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

  • Increase water consumption

Dry mouth indicates a lack of saliva in your mouth, and chronic dry mouth is linked to bad breath. Oral bacteria are able to thrive when saliva is depleted. That is why it can be so impactful for you to increase the amount of water you are drinking, and rinse your mouth with water throughout the day.

  • Take a look at your diet

There are certain types of foods and drinks that bacteria absolutely love to use for fuel. Consume sugars, refined carbohydrates, and acidic substances in moderation. It is especially important to refrain from sipping and snacking continuously, as this allows oral bacteria to remain active 24/7.

Treating halitosis is often about improving and restoring your overall dental wellness. Our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer questions you may have, and to help you schedule your personal consultation with our team. 

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