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Scharfenberg Dental Blog

Learn More About Aesthetic and Structural Dental Problems Our Elmhurst Invisalign Dentists Treat

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Improving the appearance and the health of your smile is easier than ever before thanks to state-of-the-art treatments like Invisalign. This versatile and effective treatment can optimize your smile without disrupting your life. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst Invisalign dentists

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic system that incrementally moves teeth into better alignment using clear plastic aligners. Invisalign is completely metal-free and removable.

Can Invisalign Help Me?

Invisalign is designed to improve dental alignment, so, it might be right for you if you want to:

  • Close gaps between your teeth
  • Straighten crooked or crowded teeth
  • Correct an overbite, underbite, or crossbite
  • Widen your smile

What many people do not realize is that making these aesthetic changes to your smile can also improve the health of your mouth. It is easier to clean between straight, properly aligned teeth, for example. Additionally, research shows that properly structured bites wear better over time than underbites, overbites, and crossbites. By taking steps to refine your smile now, you can protect your oral health for the future.

How long does treatment take?

As you might imagine, the answer to this question varies greatly on a case to case basis. The average treatment time for Invisalign is 12-18 months. Your treatment timeline may be different depending on the current state of your smile as well as the dental goals you want to achieve.

The best way to get an accurate idea of how long treatment would take for you is to schedule a consultation with our Elmhurst Invisalign dentists. Once we take a look at your smile, and talk to you about your dental goals, we can give you a better idea of whether Invisalign is right for you, and what your treatment process would look like.

Give our office a call, or use the Contact Us page on our website to get started, today! 

Maintain A White And Bright Smile With Our Elmhurst Cosmetic Dentists

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Almost every patient that we speak to wants to show off a white, bright, and luminous smile. However, for many of us, this gets harder to achieve as time goes on. Daily life, and the realities of aging dental enamel, can make our smiles start to look dark, dull, and stained. The good news is that our Elmhurst cosmetic dentists have the tools and treatments necessary to refresh your smile again!

The first step in the treatment process is to determine precisely why your smile is looking discolored or dull. This type of aesthetic change can occur due to:

  • Enamel thinning, which allows more of the yellow dentin to show through the surface of the tooth
  • Accumulated environmental stains from foods, drinks, and especially tobacco products
  • Damaged teeth, especially if the nerves or roots of the tooth have been damaged
  • A buildup of unsightly plaque or tartar on the dental surface

Understanding why your smile looks discolored allows our team to personalize our treatment recommendations to suit your specific situation. You may end up using one of these treatment solutions, or combining a few for maximum results:

  • Professional dental whitening treatment—using a concentrated topical gel, our dental team lifts discoloration from the tooth surface. This type of treatment is especially effective in combating environmental stains.
  • Dental bonding—this treatment option actually covers unsightly enamel with a fresh layer of custom-shaded dental resin. Bonding takes only one day to complete, delivers immediate results.
  • Porcelain veneers—this is another option that actually covers your natural enamel to achieve results. Every dental veneer is individually crafted to the patient’s specifications. Once the veneer is bonded in place, it completely transforms the visible tooth structure.

There is absolutely no reason to continue living with a smile that looks older or duller than you want it to look. Thanks to advances in the world of cosmetic dentistry, we now offer a range of solutions to dental discoloration! Remember, you can always call our Elmhurst cosmetic dentists to learn more and to schedule a personal consultation!

Our Elmhurst TMJ Dentist Answers Questions About Living With Jaw Dysfunction

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

For many people, when they think about oral health, they think primarily about teeth and gums. However, in reality, all of the parts of your smile, including bone structure, are interconnected. This is why it’s so important to be mindful about jaw health, and stay alert for signs of TMJ issues, so that you can seek treatment before your smile is compromised. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst TMJ dentists.

How and why do jaw problems develop?

There are a number of potential causes of jaw dysfunction. Sometimes jaw damage is the result of a discrete injury—like a bike or sporting accident. In these cases, it’s pretty clear that the jaw joint is injured, and it is crucial that you undergo treatment so that ill-effects do not linger. Other causes of TMJ problems are subtler. Uneven teeth for example, will put strain on your bite, and cause structural problems. Also, people who suffer from bruxism, or chronic dental grinding, often deal with jaw damage as a result.

What are some common symptoms of TMJ damage?

Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction may be chronic or they may come and go. Regardless, you should speak to your dental team if you notice:

  • A popping or clicking sensation when you chew
  • Jaw pain or discomfort
  • Limited jaw mobility: some people are able to feel their jaws “lock” when they try to open their mouths all of the way
  • That you are unconsciously altering your bite to compensate for jaw dysfunction

How does Dr. Scharfenberg treat TMJ problems?

Effective TMJ treatment begins with identifying the underlying cause of jaw dysfunction. Our dental team always matches the treatment to the root source of jaw damage. If, for example, a poorly aligned bite is putting strain your temporomandibular joints, then orthodontic treatment or customized restorations can help alleviate this pressure. Patients who suffer from bruxism may benefit from protective dental appliances.  

TMJ problems can be effectively and comfortably treated by our Elmhurst TMJ dentists. Please, don’t hesitate to contact our team to schedule a personal consultation! 

Our Elmhurst Dentist Give You More Information About Cold Sore Development And Treatment

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Cold sores are undoubtedly uncomfortable and annoying, but they’re also exceptionally common. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost half of the adult population of the United States has HSV-1, the virus that causes cold sores. Keep reading to get more information from our Elmhurst dentists.

Many people will experience an onset of symptoms shortly after contracting the virus—this is called “primary herpes,” and for some people this will be the only observable outbreak they ever have. Keep in mind, however, that the virus is still present in the patient’s body, so the patient should still take proactive measures to keep from spreading it.

Other people will experience recurrent symptoms, usually individual cold sores, periodically after the initial outbreak. Cold sores most frequently appear on a patient’s lips; however, it is possible for them to develop on other areas of the face, including the chin, inside of the nose, and the cheek.

There are certain factors that can trigger cold-sore development:

  • Increased stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Illness, such as cold or flu
  • Sun exposure and sunburn

When you have an active cold sore, it is best to let it run its course with minimal interference. You absolutely do not want to pick at the lesion, as this can lead to scaring and delay the healing process. Try using over-the-counter creams as well as ice to keep the swelling down and numb sensitive skin.

While you have an active outbreak, you want to be especially careful not to spread HSV-1.

  • Refrain from kissing
  • Do not share drinks or utensils
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Try not to pick at the sore

At Scharfenberg Dental, our Elmhurst dentists can help you make a plan to deal with cold sore development. Please give our office a call, or use the Contact Us page on our site to reach out to our team!

Our Elmhurst Dentist Dispels Common Myths About Oral Health

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

In order to properly care for your smile, you need to have all of the accurate, quality information that you can get. Misinformation about dental health is rampant, and, unfortunately, it prevents many people from achieving long-term oral health.

Today, our Elmhurst dentists are addressing some common misconceptions about oral health. We hope that you find this information in your own life!

“It’s always a good idea to brush; I should do it as much as I can.”

We’ve all know that we have to brush our teeth in order to stay healthy, so, at first blush it makes sense that more brushing = better teeth. However, this isn’t necessarily true. First of all, brushing is actually slightly abrasive, so over-brushing may lead to dental erosion and gum damage. Plus, you need to be mindful about brushing after eating or drinking. Keep in mind that our dental enamel is actually slightly softened directly after acid exposure; brushing during the first 20 to 30 minutes after you eat or drink something acidic may cause your enamel to thin.

Additionally, there are a number of good reasons as to why the ADA recommends that patients brush once in the morning and once right before bed—this schedule is designed to refresh your smile at critical points in the day. If you feel like your brushing routine isn’t cutting it, talk to your dentists before you make any alternations to your existing oral hygiene plan.

“Too much dental whitening can make my teeth look fake”

Some patients avoid whitening their smiles because they worry that their teeth will end up looking “too white.” The truth is that the professional whitening treatments we use are designed to life discoloration from your natural tooth’s surface. This means that whitening treatments simply work to restore your smile to its previous level of whiteness; we are not painting a new shade over your enamel. If you’re concerned about whitening results, please talk to our Elmhurst cosmetic dentists; we’ll design your treatment plan to meet your specific needs.

As always, our Elmhurst dentists are here to give you any additional information that you may need to make sound decisions for your smile. Give us a call to get started! 

Looking For Tooth Replacement Treatments? Our Elmhurst Dental Implant Dentists Can Help

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Every case of tooth loss is different, and, consequently, the treatments that our Elmhurst dental implant dentists offer need to personalized in kind. The process of choosing the correct restorative treatment begins a thorough oral health assessment, and ends with a whole, healthy, and attractive smile!

Every tooth replacement treatment that we utilize is customized to fit the patient’s smile, both structurally and aesthetically. This means that we ensure that the shapes, sizes, and colors of replacement teeth blend with the patient’s existing teeth and maintain structural harmony.

  • Dentures

    Dentures today are much more advanced than the ill-fitting prostheses that come to mind for many people. Dentures are an efficient, attractive, and effective way to replace a full complement of top or bottom teeth. Modern dentures are custom-molded and fit to the patient’s jaw and gum tissue. Additionally, our team can use titanium implant roots to permanently hold dentures in place.

  • Bridges

    These versatile prostheses are held in place thanks to small brackets that attach the bridge to neighboring teeth. Once your bridge is in place it will blend in seamlessly with your smile as a whole. A dental bridge is an expedient tooth replacement option.

  • Dental Implants

    Dental implant technology is unique in that it permanently anchors replacement teeth into the patient’s jawbone. Every individual implant restoration has a titanium root that serves as the replacement tooth root. Over time the titanium base actually bonds with the natural bone tissue through a process called osseointegration. These replacement teeth are state-of-the-art and exceptionally stable.

When you meet with our Elmhurst dentists, we will help you determine what kind of tooth replacement treatment best meets your oral health needs and aesthetic goals. The best way to get started is to give our office a call, and to schedule a personal consultation. 

Protect Your Smile From Environmental Stains With Help From Our Elmhurst Dentists

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Many people find that, despite their best efforts, their teeth start to look discolored or stained over time. The truth is that environmental stains can sneakily compound over time; sometimes we don’t even notice them until they become severe. Today, our Elmhurst dentists are giving you some useful information about how environmental stains develop, and what you can do to minimize them.

The first step is to understand the major threats to your bright, white smile:

  • Deeply saturated foods and drinks

    Red sauces, chocolate, and red wine can all stain dental enamel with repeated exposure.

  • Dental Acid

    When your teeth come into contact with acidic substances, your dental enamel is temporarily softened, making more porous and vulnerable. The more acidic substances you consume—like fruit juices, sodas, and wine—the more likely you are to develop yellow or dull looking teeth. It also matters how you consume acidic treats; it is better to eat or drink them in short sittings, rather than continuously throughout the day, so as to limit the amount of time your enamel is soft.

By maintaining excellent oral hygiene habits, you can fight back against dental staining:

  • Keep up with your oral hygiene plan

    Make sure that you follow all of your dentist’s recommendations when it comes to brushing, flossing, and completing professional dental cleanings. You may also consider incorporate whitening toothpaste or mouth rinse formulations into your routine.

  • Rinse your smile

    Get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with water when you finish eating or drinking. Not only does this flush out dental debris, it also stimulates saliva production.

  • Wait 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure to brush

    Remember that acidic substances temporarily soften enamel. Well, enamel stays soft for about 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure. Refrain from brushing your teeth during this time, as you may inadvertently erode enamel.

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you treat existing discoloration, and to minimize future stains. So, give our office a call to get started! We look forward to speaking with you. 

Our Elmhurst Dentists Educate Patients On The Root Causes Of Dental Decay And Damage

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Our Elmhurst dentists truly believe that the more our patients know about the mechanics of dental decay, the more empowered they are to care for their smiles. That is why we have put together this quick overview of common causes of dental infections. We hope that this information gives you a better idea of what’s happening inside of your mouth, day in and day out!


Plaque is a sticky film that is full of oral bacteria. Plaque develops every day and night; it’s a byproduct of eating, drinking, and breathing. There’s no way to completely avoid plaque production, but you do want to take steps to minimize the amount of plaque on your smile. The bacteria inside of plaque feed on oral sugars in the mouth, and release harmful acids as a result. This is why plaque build-up puts you at increased risk of developing cavities and gum disease.


Tartar is plaque that has been allowed to sit on the patient’s smile, undisturbed, for a day or two. Essentially, tartar is plaque that is calcified—it has hardened and bonded to the tooth structure. Tartar gives oral bacteria an even more stable and permanent environment in which to thrive.

Cleaning Guidelines

By brushing and flossing your smile as recommended by your dentist (for most of us, this means brushing twice a day, and flossing every night), you clear away newly developed plaque, and refresh your smile. Semi-annual professional cleanings allow our team to eliminate accumulated tartar, which is too hard for patients to get rid of their own.

Symptoms of Decay

If you are dealing with an existing oral infection, you may notice symptoms such as:

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Dark spots on the enamel
  • Bleeding gum tissue
  • Swollen gum tissue
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gum tissue that is pulling away from the tooth structure

Keep in mind that, sometimes, dental infections progress asymptomatically, so it’s also important to keep up with your schedule of professional dental assessments.

As always, our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have about caring for your smile—we look forward to speaking with you! 

Your Smile Transformed—Are Veneers Right For You?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If you are one of the many adult dental patients who wants to improve dental aesthetics, our Elmhurst cosmetic dentists can help you. We offer a number of aesthetic treatment options that deliver attractive, natural looking results. Today we are providing an overview of one of these treatments: the dental veneer.  Are veneers right for you?

A veneer is a thin porcelain restoration that is designed to resurface the patient’s visible tooth. A veneer is only as thick as a contact lens, so it can be applied to the patient’s existing tooth structure without appearing bulky or awkward.

Dental patients of many ages choose to use dental veneers because they are:

  • Customizable

    Veneers are shaped, sized, and shaded to match the patient’s natural dental shade. This ensures an attractive end result, and allows our team to blend veneers with the patient’s existing smile.

  • Durable

    Because veneers are crafted from porcelain, they are designed to hold up to the wear and tear of daily life. Veneers are also stain-resistant, so they remain bright over a period of many year.

  • Expedient

    The entire dental veneer treatment process can generally be completed in just two to three dental appointments. Veneers allow patients to achieve smile transformations quickly.

  • Versatile

    Using dental veneers, you can improve your dental aesthetics in a number of different of ways: closing gaps between teeth, covering dark and damaged enamel, improving dental alignment, and lengthening disproportionately short teeth. Even better is that you can achieve all of these objectives at once with just one cosmetic solution.

Thanks to veneers, more and more patients are able to improve their smiles without undergoing lengthy, inconvenient treatments. If you think that veneers may work for your smile, please feel free to contact our Elmhurst veneers dentists; we’ll be able to assess your smile to determine whether these porcelain restorations can meet your needs.

Combat Gum Disease With Help From Our Elmhurst Periodontal Disease Dentists

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

When it comes to well-known oral health issues, cavities are probably the most talked about problem, but gum disease can be just as damaging. Today we’re shining a light on gum disease, so that you can better prevent and combat this problem in your own life. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst periodontal dentists

A Silent Threat

In many cases, gum disease first progresses asymptomatically. As you would imagine, this makes it particularly difficult for patients to spot emerging infections on their own. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important for patients to complete semi-annual cleanings; these regularly scheduled appointments give our dental team a chance to identify and great oral infections in their earliest stages.

Comprehensive Treatment Plans

Periodontal disease occurs when oral bacteria are able to infiltrate the gum tissue, where they grow and multiply. In order to effectively treat gum disease, you need to minimize the number of bacteria in your mouth, and that takes a comprehensive approach. Successfully treating gum disease is not something that happens overnight. Our dental team will clear away already damaged oral tissues, eliminate built up plaque and tartar, and help you develop a new oral hygiene plan that keeps your mouth as clean as possible; only then can your tissues heal and regenerate.

Long-term Benefits

When you treat gum disease in a timely manner, you set your smile up for success in the years to come. Periodontal disease, when left untreated, leads to gaps between your gum tissue and teeth, tooth loss, and even jawbone tissue deterioration. Stop these potential problems before they get started, and minimize bad breath, too!

Ready to take some steps toward achieving a healthier smile? Contact our Elmhurst gum disease dentists by calling our office, or using the Contact Us page on our site—we’re here to help!

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