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Scharfenberg Dental Blog

Learn More From Our Elmhurst Dentists About Dental Sensitivity

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

If you are one of the many people living with dental sensitivity, then you already know how down right annoying this condition can be. You may be limiting your diet or activity level, for example, in order to minimize your risk of dealing with oral sensitivity.

Well, no more! Our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you overcome dental sensitivity, so that you can get back to your best life. Keep reading to learn more:

The first step to treating dental sensitivity is to determine why it’s happening in the first place. Dental sensitivity occurs for a number of reasons:

  • Thinning dental enamel: the sensitive dentin (which sits below the protective enamel) is too exposed, and thus your teeth are irritated.
  • Receding gum tissue: the nerves below your gums and in your jawbone tissue are no longer covered and protected.
  • Existing cavities or infection: oral bacteria have degraded your healthy tooth structure, and irritants are able to infiltrate to the sensitive inner tooth layers.
  • Bruxism: chronic dental grinding or clenching has put pressure on your teeth. In some cases, this leads to visually imperceptible cracks and chips in your teeth.

The treatments that we offer will be catered to meet your specific needs. For example, some treatments, like topical fluoride applications, are designed to strengthen existing natural dental enamel. You may also benefit from protective sealant-type materials that buffer the tooth from potentially irritating agents. Additionally, there are toothpaste and mouth rinse formulations that help to minimize nerve sensitivity day to day.

As you prepare to meet with your dental team, take some notes about when, and under what conditions, you’re prone to experiencing dental sensitivity; this will help us zone in on the ideal treatment protocol for you!

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have, and to help you find lasting relief. We look forward to speaking with you!

Our Elmhurst Dentists Help You Manage Your Smile During The Holidays

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The holidays are upon us, and, for many people, this means that we’re about to be inundated with treats and goodies that may not be great for our smiles. Today, our Elmhurst dentists are giving you some tips on managing your oral health during the holidays. Let’s get started!

The first thing to do is to recognize which types of foods and drinks can lead to dental damage. Generally speaking, those items that have a lot of sugars or refined carbohydrates ramp up bacteria production in your mouth. Additionally, acidic substances weaken your dental enamel, and increase your risk of developing damage and cavities.

  • Once you understand which kinds of foods and drinks are high-risk, you can adjust your eating and drinking habits accordingly. Obviously, it’s best to avoid sugary and acidic substances as much as possible. However, when you do indulge, try to do so in a short, time-limited period, rather than doing so continuously. Keep in mind that oral bacteria stay active and feeding for about 20 to 30 minutes after you’re done eating or drinking; we’re trying to keep this “feeding time” to a minimum.


  • One good habit that you can develop during the holidays is to rinse your teeth with water after you eat. Not only does this dislodge dental debris and food particles, it also prompts your body to release saliva into your mouth. Saliva works to neutralize bacteria and re-mineralize enamel.


  • Take care not to chomp or chew on hard candies or mints. These types of sweets are prevalent during the holidays, and chewing on them can lead to tooth fracture and gum tissue damage.

If you have questions about how to best care for your smile, during the holidays or otherwise, our Elmhurst dentists are here to give you all of the information you need. Give us a call!

Our Elmhurst TMJ Dentists Review Lesser Known Symptoms Of TMJ Dysfunction

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Patients who suffer from Temporomandibular Joint problems can deal with a number of additional oral health problems as a result. This is why it’s so important to seek prompt treatment when TMJ problems first pop up.

Today, our Elmhurst TMJ dentists are going to be reviewing a few of the lesser-known symptoms of TMJ troubles. We hope that this overview empowers you to take control of your oral health, and seek treatment for TMJ dysfunction should you need to.

Many people already know that TMJ dysfunction can cause your jaw to make popping and clicking noises; this condition can also lead to pain and discomfort. However, there also more nebulous TMJ-related issues, such as:

  • Headaches—many TMJ sufferers deal with chronic headaches due to strain on their maxillofacial structures
  • Ear pain—if your temporomandibular joint is poorly aligned or damaged, you may experience pain that radiates all the way up to your ears. What first seems like an ear infection may actually turn out to be related to jaw dysfunction.
  • Tooth pain—as with ear pain, some TMJ sufferers first mistake TMJ-related discomfort for a damaged or infected tooth. Many people who deal with TMJ issues also exhibit bruxism, or chronic dental grinding. This condition can put immense pressure on your teeth and lead to dental discomfort.
  • Premature dental wear—again, since TMJ disorder and bruxism go hand in hand, you may find that bite surfaces become worn down quickly.

When you are able to seek prompt treatment TMJ problems, you can minimize the long-term dental and maxillofacial structure damage that accompanies this disorder. Our Elmhurst TMJ dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have about TMJ problems as well as treatment options. So, please feel free to reach out to our team by phone or through our Contact Us page to get started!

Our Elmhurst Dentists Help Patients Take Manage And Improve Bad Breath

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nobody wants to deal with bad breath, but the unfortunate truth is that this is a pretty common problem in the dental world. In order to effectively treat bad breath, you have to first understand why it develops. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst dentists

We all deal with bad breath occasionally, when we consume something particularly odorous, like garlic or onions. This type of bad breath is temporary, and not something to be particularly concerned about.

More chronic bad breath, on the other hand, is pretty inconvenient, and can actually indicate a larger oral health problem.

The same harmful oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease release unpleasant odors as they grow and multiply. So, if you are noticing frequent bad breath, it may actually be a sign that there are too many bacteria in your mouth.

One reason this occurs is because you are dealing with dry mouth. Saliva is your body’s natural way of neutralizing bacteria freshening your breath, so you really want to encourage saliva production day to day. It is crucial that you drink enough water to stay hydrated. You can even get into the habit of rinsing your mouth with water after eating, as this flushes away dental debris while prompting saliva production.

There are many different breath freshening products on the market today, but you want to take a look at the ingredient list before you pop that mint or chew that gum. Generally speaking, you should look for a sugar-free formulation, since bacteria are actually strengthened when they’re able to eat sugars. Chewing a sugary piece of gum may actually compound your bad breath problem in the long-term.

Our Elmhurst dentists can give you more information about how to manage bad breath and care for your smile day to day at home. Contact our team by phone or through the Contact Us page when you are ready to get started!

Our Elmhurst Dentists Improve Dental Aesthetics And More With Invisalign Treatment

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Our Elmhurst dentists are always looking for ways to improve our practice, as well as the patient experience. We know that using state-of-the-art treatments and technologies allows us to deliver exceptional results, in the most comfortable and convenient way possible.

To that end, we are happy to offer Invisalign orthodontic treatment to our teen and adult cosmetic dentistry patients. Keep reading to learn more about all that Invisalign has to offer.

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that offers a welcome alternative to traditional metal braces. This system uses clear plastic aligners to incrementally move teeth into alignment.

With Invisalign you can:

  • Close gaps between your teeth
  • Straighten crooked or crowded teeth
  • Improve bite problems, like underbites, overbites, and crossbites
  • Widen your smile so that it looks more balanced
  • Lessen TMJ and bruxism problems by refining your bite

Invisalign is quite different than conventional orthodontic treatment, because these aligners are:

  • Completely clear, and thus practically invisible once in place
  • Removable, so that you can take your aligners out to clean your smile every morning and night
  • Metal-free, and more comfortable than metal brackets and wires
  • Designed to fit snugly over your smile; they are less bulky than traditional braces

When you come in for a consultation with our Elmhurst Invisalign dentists, we’ll take a look at your smile to determine whether Invisalign can help you meet your dental goals. We’ll also talk to you about your oral health goals. If Invisalign is a good treatment option for you, we’ll take an impression of your smile to serve as the “starting point” for your aligners.

During the treatment process, you will upgrade to a new aligner every two to three weeks. Each aligner moves you a little closer to your dream smile!

Our Elmhurst Invisalign dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have, so don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or through our Contact Us page!

Our Elmhurst Dentists Helps Patients Achieve Healthy Smiles After Sustaining Dental Damage

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dental damage is never fun to deal with—there are a number of aesthetic and functional dental issues that pop up when your smile is damaged. So, while dealing with oral health problems is never going to be fun, per say, our Elmhurst dentists are here to make it as stress-free as possible. Keep reading to learn more about how we address dental damage with state-of-the-art solutions.

Dental damage can take many forms; you may find that your tooth or gum tissues become infected, that your enamel is fractured, or that you lose adult teeth unexpectedly. The first step to any restorative treatment process is to undergo a thorough evaluation with our dental team. Once we completely assess your oral health, we can start to make personalized recommendations on how you can achieve oral health again.

If you’re dealing with severe damage—that is damage that extends into the core of the tooth—you may require root canal therapy in order to restore your tooth. The purpose of root canal therapy is to remove the infected and damaged material at the core of the tooth. We’re basically trying to preserve any healthy dentin and dental enamel so that we can fill and restore the tooth.

When it’s time to rebuild your tooth, you’ll likely benefit form a customized dental crown. Every crown is designed to mimic the natural shape, color, and size of your real teeth, so once the crown is in place, it blends in seamlessly with your smile. In our office, we use completely metal-free crowns and restorations. We believe that this is the healthy and attractive choice when it comes to dental restorations.

Because every one of our patients is unique, every restorative dental plan is likewise individualized. The best way to get a better idea of how you can restore your smile is to call our Elmhurst dentists and schedule a personal consultation. 

Our Elmhurst Dentists Have Some Back To School Dental Tips For Young Students

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It’s that time of year again; many of our young patients are gearing up to go back to school! Our Elmhurst dentists have some tips on how you can help the students in your life care for their smiles this year. Keep reading to learn more!

As you get back into the school year routine, make sure that your student is brushing their teeth every morning. Too often, when things get busy, we rush through this step. But, remember, we should be brushing our teeth for at least two minutes every time that we brush. Make it a point to build these two minutes into your morning routine every single morning.

Another thing to consider is what your child is packing for lunch every day. We all know that sugary foods can harm a healthy smile, so you’ll want to keep these to a minimum in your child’s lunch box. There are also some foods that can help boost your oral health: namely crunchy veggies. So, when you include some carrot or celery sticks in your student’s lunch, you’re boosting whole-body wellbeing as well as dental health.

One of the best things that your child can do for his or her smile is perhaps one of the simplest: drink plenty of water throughout the day. When we drink water, we help to flush away plaque and dental debris. Simultaneously, water helps to prompt saliva production, and saliva further neutralizes bacteria and strengthens enamel. Encourage your student to drink water rather than sipping on sugary drinks, and make sure they’re taking plenty of trips to the water fountain during the day.

As always, our Elmhurst dentists are here to give you more guidance and information about helping your child care for his or her smile. The best way to reach us is to give our office a call, or use the Contact Us page on our site to submit an inquiry.

Elmhurst Restorative Dentists Explain Why Custom-Fit Crowns Are So Important

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

When it comes time to restore your smile, you absolutely do not want to settle for one-size-fit-all restorations. The truth is that, in order for restorations to be functional and durable, they really need to be personalized to fit the patient’s smile down to the smallest details.

A dental crown or restorations is used to rebuild and repair a tooth after damage due to infection or trauma. When our Elmhurst dentists create dental crowns, we look to the patient’s natural teeth for guidance on the shape, size, and color of the crown.

It is crucial that your restoration is appropriately sized for your smile. When a crown is too large or too small, it can actually disrupt the patient’s natural bite alignment. Poorly sized restorations cause patients to change how they bite and chew; ultimately, this can lead to TMJ dysfunction and pain.

Likewise, an improperly shaped crown can through your whole smile off. When you look in the mirror, you may notice that your teeth are naturally more angular or more rounded. Teeth come in all kinds of shapes, which is why our team looks to your existing smile to guide us during the crown fabrication process. Just like with a poorly sized crown, a poorly shaped crown can throw off the balance of your entire smile.

Finally, it’s important that we shade the crown so that it matches your natural enamel. The ultimate goal is for your dental crown to blend in seamlessly with your existing tooth color. One thing to keep in mind: if you’re interested in lightening your natural enamel, it’s best to do this before we create your crown. Once we lighten your teeth, we can shade your restoration to match your post-whitening smile. Dental crowns and restorations cannot be lightened with topical gels.  

Taking the time to thoroughly pre-plan the design of your dental crown helps to ensure that end up with results that you love. Give our Elmhurst dentists a call to learn more!

Incorporate These Simple Tips From Our Elmhurst Dentists Into Your Daily Oral Hygiene Routine

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

When you care for your smile properly at home, you help strengthen your teeth and gums, and help them stand up to the wear and tear of daily life. In this short article, our Elmhurst dentists are talking to you about ways that you can optimize your oral health routine. There are some simple things that you can do to refresh your smile every day!

First of all, your dentist will let you know how often you need to be brushing and flossing your teeth. The general recommendation from the American Dental Association is that patients brush their teeth twice a day and then floss every evening. You should follow the specific directions of your dental team re: daily brushing and flossing.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re brushing your teeth:

You should try to brush your smile for at least two minutes every time that you brush. This is actually a pretty long time! You can set a timer or listen to a two-minute-long song to help keep you on track.

Talk to your dentist about what type of toothbrush is right for you. Did you know that using a toothbrush with too firm bristles can actually cause dental damage? You want to make sure that you use a brush that cleans effectively, while being gentle enough for everyday use. For most people, this means using a soft-bristled brush, but, again, talk to your dentist I for additional guidance.

Additionally, it’s important that you not brush your teeth for at least twenty to thirty minutes after consuming something acidic. During this period of time, your dental enamel is actually softer than it normally is. Brushing too quickly after acid exposure can lead to enamel thinning over time.

If you want to learn more about taking care of your smile at home, our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you in any way we can. Give us a call to learn more and to schedule a personal consultation!

Our Elmhurst Dentist Treat Severe Dental Damage With Modern Technology

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

As with most things in life, it’s markedly easier to avoid oral health issues, rather than correct them after the fact. However, sometimes, despite our best efforts, dental issues pop up anyway. Don’t panic! Our Elmhurst dentists offer a range of treatments to help get your smile back on track after dental damage. Keep reading to learn more!

If you have a tooth that is significantly damaged, down to the dental core, then root canal therapy may be necessary to save your remaining healthy tooth structure. During root canal treatment, our team clears away any infected dental material, as well as blood, tissues, and nerves that reside in the center of the tooth. Then, we fill and restore the tooth with a customized restoration. All of the restorations we use are metal-free and custom-shaded to match the patient’s existing enamel.

Another type of restoration that can transform your smile is the dental veneer. A veneer is an exceptionally thin cosmetic restoration that is used to resurface a patient’s tooth. Veneers are permanently bonded in place, and once they are in place, your existing tooth will look completely different. One major advantage of veneer treatment is that the entire process can be completed in just two to three appointments.

For patients who are dealing with incomplete smiles due to premature tooth loss, our dental team offers tooth replacement treatments to help you rebuild your smile. Dental implants, for example, are permanent, customized replacement teeth that are actually grounded in the patient’s jaw tissue. By using state-of-the-art restorative technology, we help patients achieve smiles that both look great and function optimally.

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have about restorative dental treatment. Give us a call to speak to a member of our team, and to schedule a personal consultation!

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