Scharfenberg Dental Blog

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!

How To Protect Your Smile When You’re Sick: Our Elmhurst Dentist Explains

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

It is very common for whole-body illness to negatively affect a patient’s smile as well. There a are a number of reasons for this, and our Elmhurst dentists are here to tell you more about them. We hope that you find this information helpful as we muddle through cold and flu season!

The first reason that your smile might suffer while you’re sick is because it’s harder to keep up with your day to day oral hygiene routine. When we’re not feeling well, even the little things, like brushing our teeth on schedule, can start to feel like major chores. Make it easier on yourself during this time by keeping some oral hygiene tools close at hand by your bed—things like floss and water. Try rinsing your mouth with water or mouth rinse throughout the day to quickly and easily refresh your smile. Make an effort to brush your teeth when you are already in the bathroom, so that you are sure to clean your smile even if you don’t feel like getting up regularly.

If you’re vomiting due to illness, you want to take special steps to minimize the amount of dental damage you experience from regurgitated stomach acids. Take the time to rinse your mouth and drink water after you throw up; this dilutes the potency of oral acids and increases the amount of saliva in your mouth.

It’s also crucial that you replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head after illness. Old toothbrushes can harbor bacteria and dental debris, which may lead to re-infection. Don’t take the chance—start fresh with a new toothbrush once you’re well!

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you enjoy a strong, healthy smile, even when you’re not feeling your best. Give us a call to get more information, and to schedule a personal consultation with our team. 

Learn More About How Our Elmhurst Dentists Plan And Perform Smile Transformations

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Many patients with severely damaged smiles mistakenly believe that there is nothing that they can do achieve beautiful and healthy smiles. Unfortunately, this results in these patients living with smiles that don’t function well, and don’t make them feel happy and confident.

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to tell you that, in our office, no smile is beyond help. We offer restorative and cosmetic treatments to meet all of our patients’ respective needs. Keep reading to learn more about the process our Elmhurst dentists go through when transforming smiles.

  1. As you may imagine, the first thing that our dentists do in these situations is to perform thorough oral health assessments. We need to understand what kind of dental damage you’re dealing with, as well as the extent of this damage.

  1. Once we have a complete understanding of the current state of your smile, we’ll start evaluating treatments that can be used to make your smile healthy and sound again. In our office, we always prioritize the health of patient’s smile first; once you have a strong dental foundation, we can refine the aesthetics. Repairing damage may entail using dental crowns, dental bonding, dental implants among other treatments. Whenever we use a restorative treatment, we make sure that the results are attractive and natural looking.

  1. Finally, our team may use some aesthetically-focused treatments to enhance the appearance of your smile. You may benefit, for example, from professional dental whitening to minimize existing stains, or gum tissue reshaping to improve the visual balance of your smile. These are the kinds of treatments that give you smile an added boost.

A well-designed restorative treatment plan emphasizes improving oral health, and delivers attractive aesthetic results as a natural result. If you want to learn more about how our Elmhurst dentists transform damaged smiles, please don’t hesitate to contact our team by calling our office, or using the Contact Us page on our website.

Improve Your Smile in 2019; Our Elmhurst Dentists Can Help!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

As you move into the new year, and set your intentions and resolutions for 2019, don’t forget your smile! So many of us get complacent when it comes to our oral hygiene routines; now is the perfect time to get out of your rut!

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to help you achieve your best smile in the coming year. We are here to:

Help you evaluate your existing at-home oral hygiene routine

When you meet with our team, we’ll assess your oral health, and give you a better idea of whether there are things you can do to better care for your smile at home. For some people this means using a specially formulated toothpaste or mouth rinse, for other it means flossing more than once a day. It all depends on what your unique smile needs!

Assist you in planning out your professional treatments and appointments

The American Dental Association recommends that patients complete professional cleanings and assessments every six months or so. Unfortunately, many people fall behind on this schedule, because they get so caught up in busy day to day life. Give our office a call, or talk to us when you’re in for your appointment, so that we can help you make a plan for these appointments. Your smile will thank you!

Promptly treat any existing oral health issues

If you have been putting off treatment for seemingly minor dental issues—like damaged enamel or swollen gum tissue—our team is here to get your smile back on track in a short period of time. You don’t want to let these types of problems go on for too long, as they can compound and become more serious without adequate treatment.

If you have any questions, or you’d like to schedule a consultation with our Elmhurst dentists, just give our office a call!

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!

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