Scharfenberg Dental Blog

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. 

Our Elmhurst Dentist Explains Problems Associated with Bruxism

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

We often think of our smiles as being attacked from outside forces—sugars, staining beverages, and one-off accidents. However, in many cases, the biggest dangers to long-term oral health are structural problems or chronic habits, like bruxism. Keep reading to learn more about how and why bruxism develops, and what you can do about it.

What is bruxism?

We use the term “bruxism” to refer to any chronic or habitual dental grinding or clenching. This behavior may manifest during the day, or when the patient is asleep, or both. Bruxism is problematic because it puts an immense amount of pressure on your dental enamel as well as your temporomandibular joints.

What causes bruxism?

There are a number of underlying issues that can lead to bruxism. Sometimes, bruxism is a response to stress and anxiety. Bruxism can also develop if a patient’s bite alignment is poor; when the teeth do not come together comfortably and naturally, the patient will unconsciously move their bottom jaw back and forth in an effort to find a comfortable resting place. A damaged to temporomandibular joint can also lead to bite destabilization and consequently dental grinding.

What kinds of treatments are available?

Our Elmhurst dentists use a number of different treatments for bruxism; we tailor treatments to address the relevant underlying cause of the patient’s dental imbalance. Orthodontic treatment and thoughtfully placed restorations, for example, can help to balance how the top and bottom teeth come together. In instances of nighttime bruxism caused by stress, it may be helpful for the patient to wear a custom-fit oral appliance when sleeping.

If you notice any signs of symptoms of bruxism in your own life, please reach out to our Elmhurst dentists to schedule a personal consultation. The sooner that you begin treatment from bruxism the less likely you will be to develop long-term complications like enamel thinning and dental sensitivity. 

Pediatric Dentistry Explained By Our Elmhurst Family Dentists

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

As family dentists, our Elmhurst dental team is committed to helping patients of all ages maintain optimal oral health. There are some special considerations to keep in mind when helping young patients safeguard their smiles. Keep reading to learn more about what we emphasize when working with kids!

At-home oral hygiene routine 

Develop good habits—we want to help our young patients get into the habit of brushing their teeth every morning and evening, and flossing once a day. Make this part of your family’s daily schedule so that it becomes an engrained part of your child’s routine. A thorough oral hygiene routine helps to:

  • Minimize plaque accumulation
  • Fight bad breath
  • Prevent cavity and gum disease development
  • Reduce enamel discoloration
  • Allow your child to retain his or her primary teeth until their adult teeth are ready to emerge

Professional appointments

The ADA recommends that all patients complete professional dental cleanings and assessments at least twice a year. When young patients have positive experiences in the dentist’s office, they are less likely to experience dental fear and anxiety as adults. During your child’s appointment we:

  • Clear away bacterial plaque and tartar—because tartar is calcified plaque, it can only be removed by professional methods
  • Treat existing infections before they spread
  • Head-off any future structural dental problems
  • Make recommendations for at-home care, to improve its efficacy

As always, our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer any questions that you have about pediatric and family dental care. The easiest way to get started is to schedule a consultation with our team by phone or through our Contact Us page.

Our Elmhurst Dentist Busts 3 Common Dentistry Myths

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

In our years of providing dental care to patients of all ages, our Elmhurst dentists have found that many people share some common misconceptions about optimal dental care. That is why we have compiled this information to help you make the best decisions for your smile. Let’s get started!

The more you brush the better

Brushing your teeth cleans your smile, so it may seem like brushing more and more is always better. However, the truth is that you can actually brush too much, which leads to enamel deterioration and gum tissue damage. For most of us, brushing once in the morning and once before bed is going to be enough. If you think that you need to brush more frequently, talk to your dental team for guidance.

All toothbrushes are created equal

Another common misconception is that any toothbrush will do just as good a job as any other. In reality, you want to tailor your toothbrush choice to meet your smile’s needs. This means that the head of the brush should be properly sized so that it reaches to your back molars. Consider, also, the firmness of the bristles on your brush. Soft bristled brushes are the least likely to cause unnecessary enamel damage and gum tissue recession. Your dental team can let you know if you would benefit from a firmer bristle.

Flossing is outdated

Even if with all of the various toothpaste and mouth rinse formulations on the market today, floss is a critical part of a healthy oral hygiene routine. You need the floss to be thin enough that it can clear plaque from those tight spaces between teeth, even in the most crowded areas of your smile.

Ready to learn more about caring for your smile day to day? Our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you, so just give us a call schedule a consultation. 

Take Steps To Protect Your Smile This Halloween With Help From Our Elmhurst Dentists

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

For many of us, this time of year comes with an influx of sugary sweets and candies in our homes. Indulging is always fun! But our Elmhurst dentists are here with some simple tips to help you safeguard your smile at the same time. It’s all about making smart choices and making a plan before temptation strikes! Keep reading to learn more…

Minimize the candy at hand

One easy way to protect your smile is to eliminate the mindless candy consumption of which we are all guilty. Make it a tradition to, post trick-or-treating, sort through your candy, keeping only your favorites. There are often organizations around town that will happily take your donated treats.

Set specific times to indulge

Another way to cut down on automatic/mindless snacking is to schedule in specific times to enjoy sweets. Because oral bacteria only remain active and feeding on sugars for about 20 to 30 minutes after you eat, you are actually helping your smile by indulging all at once, rather than continuously.

Increase your water consumption

Water is always good for your smile, because it promotes healthy saliva production. Saliva works to neutralize bacteria and re-mineralize enamel. Along with sipping H2O, try to get into the habit of vigorously rinsing your mouth after meals and snacks.

If you have any more questions about how sugar affects your smile, and what you can do about it, please don’t hesitate to give our Elmhurst dentists a call. You can also use the Contact Us page on our website, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We hope you have a fun, safe, and trick-free Halloween!

Get The Facts On Dental Enamel From Our Elmhurst Family Dentists

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Did you know that every one of your teeth is comprised of different layers? As you might imagine, the deeper you go into a tooth, the more sensitive and vulnerable the dental structure is.

Dental enamel is the outermost layer of any tooth, and as such, it serves as a protective layer. However, enamel is by no means unbreakable. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst dentists

A number of different issues can thin and weaken enamel:


  • Bruxism: this condition is characterized by chronic dental grinding and clenching. Bruxism can manifest during the day or at night while the patient is asleep.


  • Abrasive substances: if you habitually chomp on hard candies or ice, this can create micro-cracks in your dental enamel. Over time, these weak spots can become wider and deeper, while accumulating dental debris and bacteria.


  • Sugary and acidic treats: acidic substances temporarily weaken dental enamel, and leave it susceptible to damage. Additionally, oral bacteria produce acids as they feed on sugars and refined carbohydrates. All of these things contribute to dental enamel de-mineralization.


As your dental enamel is diminished you may notice


  • Increased dental sensitivity: dentin and dental pulp are more sensitive than dental enamel. So, as your enamel becomes more porous, you’ll likely experience more tooth sensitivity than normal.


  • Yellow or dull looking teeth: because dentin is yellower than healthy enamel, your entire tooth can start to look discolored as more dentin is able to show through the thin enamel layer that covers it.


  • More cavities: thin dental enamel is not as effective as healthy enamel at protecting the inner tooth from bacteria. Thus, as your enamel becomes weaker, you’ll likely experience an increase in cavity development and dental damage.


No matter what your teeth look like today, our Elmhurst dentists can help you achieve a smile that you’ll love to show off in the future. The best way to get started is to schedule a personal consultation with our dental team—give us a call or use the Contact Us page to reach out!


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