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Scharfenberg Dental Blog

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!

Elmhurst Sedation Dentist Explains How Relaxation Treatments Are Used In Dentistry

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Advancements in dental technology are continually improving the patient experience, as well as treatment outcomes. Sedation dentistry, in particular, is opening up all kinds of possibilities for patients who were otherwise dentistry avoidant.

Our Elmhurst sedation dentists offer a number of different relaxation options. When you come in to meet with our team, we’ll be able to give you a better idea of what type sedation is right for you. In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of popular types of sedation:

Nitrous Oxide

This type of sedation is often referred to as “laughing gas,” because it can make you feel happy and giggly. Before treatment, once you’re in the dentist’s chair, you’ll simply inhale laughing to start relaxing. Many patients love nitrous oxide because it is effective, non-invasive, and the effects wear off naturally in a short period of time.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Many people who are too anxious to even make it to their appointments, can benefit from oral conscious sedation. This treatment allows you to start relaxing before you even get to our office. About an hour before your appointment is scheduled to begin, you’ll take a small dentist-prescribed pill at home. You’ll need someone to get you to your appointment, because you’ll already be under the effects of sedation by the time your appointment starts. As the name suggests, you’ll never actually be unconscious during your appointment, but due to the medication’s amnesic effects, you likely won’t remember any your appointment once the sedative effects wear off.

Dental Spa Therapy

Dental Spa Therapy offers an all-natural alternative to other relaxation treatments. Using acupressure, muscle manipulation, chiropractic care, aromatherapy, and more, our team can keep you calm and comfortable in the dentist’s chair.

If you think that sedation treatment may be right for you, our Elmhurst sedation dentists are here to give you all of the information and support that you need to move forward. Give us a call to get started!

What’s The Deal With Invisalign? Our Elmhurst Cosmetic Dentists Explain

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

When it comes to improving the appearance, and frankly the function, of your smile, Invisalign is one of the most patient-friendly treatments out there. Invisalign is designed to move a patient’s natural teeth into better alignment, and to that end, it can achieve a number of goals. You may choose to pursue Invisalign in order to close gaps between your teeth, or achieve a straighter, more seamless looking smile. You can also use Invisalign to correct bite issues, like overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Invisalign can even improve the overall balance of your smile, allowing more of your teeth to show when you smile.

In order to achieve these results our Elmhurst Invisalign dentists will design a customized treatment plan for you. The goal is to move your teeth incrementally using a series of clear plastic aligners. Every aligner that you wear will move your teeth a little bit more, until you reach your desired smile.

Throughout the treatment process you will a specific aligner for about two to three weeks, before upgrading to the next aligner in the series. This gives your teeth time to shift and become stable in their new positions. It is crucial that you wear your aligners for as much time as possible throughout the day. Ideally, you would only take out your aligners when it’s time to eat and when you’re brushing and flossing your smile. The more that you wear your aligners, the quicker you will see results.

Because Invisalign aligners are crafted from clear plastic resin, you’ll actually be able to see your natural teeth while your aligners are in place. Many dental patients love Invisalign precisely because it offers such a discreet way to improve dental alignment.

If you think that Invisalign might be able to help you reach your dental goals, our Elmhurst Invisalign dentists are here to answer any questions you may have. So, give us a call to get started!

Learn More From Our Elmhurst Family Dentist About Why Primary Teeth Matter

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Most pediatric patients that our Elmhurst dentists see are excited about their primary teeth for one reason: the tooth fairy. However, baby teeth are good for a lot more than getting a little cash under your pillow. These teeth are developmentally crucial; that’s why it’s so important that you teach your children to care for their baby teeth well. Keep reading to learn more.

The first reason that you want to emphasize proper oral hygiene habits with your child is so that he or she develops strong and sound dental habits. Think of baby teeth as “training teeth.” Your child can learn to brush and floss effectively before their permeant teeth even come in.

Beyond allowing your child to practice good oral hygiene habits, primary teeth also serve an important role as your child matures. It is important for your child to retain his or her baby teeth so that they can learn to speak and enunciate properly. Losing baby teeth prematurely can lead to speech issues.

When your child has healthy baby teeth she will also be able to expand her diet at age appropriate times. Young patients with gaps in their smile struggle to bite and chew normally.

Additionally, primary teeth actually serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth to come. Your child’s baby teeth help to guide permanent teeth into place, and the permanent teeth from shifting or coming in at irregular angles.

The key to quality pediatric dental care is combining diligent at-home maintenance with professional treatments and assessments. Your dentist can give you a better idea of whether you should be emphasizing anything specific as you talk to your child about dental care.

Our Elmhurst dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have, and to help your child’s smile stay on track. Give us a call to speak to a member of our team and to schedule a personal consultation!


Our Elmhurst Dentist Explains How Foods And Drinks Can Affect Your Oral Health

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Undoubtedly, the tools and formulations that we use to care for our smiles make a huge difference in how smiles look and feel. But, have you ever thought about how much impact your diet can have on your oral health?

When we snack, or sit down to a meal, we coat our teeth and oral tissues in the things that we eat or drink. As you would imagine, this can affect the health and appearance of our teeth over time. Keep reading to learn more from our Elmhurst dentists.

Perhaps the best known dietary threat to optimal oral health is sugar. The truth is that the bacteria that live in our mouths absolutely love sugar; they use sugar as fuel to grown and multiply! So, when you indulge in a sugary drink or treat, you are giving the harmful oral bacteria in your mouth a boost. That’s why it’s best to limit your consumption of sugar, and to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking.

Acidic substances can also wreak havoc on your oral health. When you eat or drink something acidic, your dental enamel becomes temporarily softened. During this time period—about twenty to thirty minutes after you stopped eating or drinking—your enamel is more susceptible to sustaining damage. Fruit juices, sodas, coffee, and red wine are all examples of acidic beverages. In order to safeguard your smile from acid, you want to make sure that you don’t brush your teeth for at least a half hour after eating or drinking. Brushing during this time period may actually be too abrasive, and cause inadvertent damage. It’s also helpful to drink some water, and rinse your mouth with water, shortly after acid exposure.

By being thoughtful about your eating habits, you can give your oral health a boost, and help to prevent dental damage in the future. If you want to learn more about how environmental factors, like food, can affect your smile, please give our Elmhurst dentists a call!

Elmhurst Dentist Outlines Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Dental sensitivity often starts out as a nuisance, and then intensifies into a problem that negatively affects the sufferer’s day to day life. The good news is that there are treatments available that can help to prevent sensitivity, and minimize existing discomfort. Our Elmhurst dentists are here with some information about the causes of dental sensitivity; we hope that this information helps you protect your smile moving forward.

In order to understand dental sensitivity, you first have to know how a tooth is designed. A tooth has three layers—the dental enamel, the dentin, and the dental pulp. The enamel is hard, non-porous, and free of nerves—this is the protective layer of the tooth. Below the enamel is the dentin, which is slightly more sensitive and vulnerable. At the center of the tooth is the pulp, which holds nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues.

When you experience dental sensitivity, your dental enamel is not adequately protecting the inner layers of your tooth.

This can happen because your dental enamel is thinning, either due to bruxism, acidic substances, or simply wear and tear.

Your inner tooth may also be vulnerable if your gum tissue has started to recede. As the gum tissue that used to protect the roots of the tooth pulls away, your dental nerves are exposed to cold air, foods, and drinks, which all cause discomfort. Receding gum tissue is often due to gum disease, but you may also be damaging your gum tissue if you are brushing your teeth too aggressively.

Finally, harmful oral bacteria can work their way through your enamel, and create a passageway that allows irritants to reach your inner tooth. In these cases, our team will need to eliminate the infected material, and then restore the tooth with a filling or crown.

With all that modern dentistry has to offer, you absolutely do not have to live with sensitive teeth forever. Our Elmhurst dentists are happy to give you any additional information that you may need—just give us a call to get started!


Our Elmhurst Dental Implant Dentist Responds To Commonly Asked Questions About This Treatment

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Many patients who have lost a tooth or multiple teeth know about standard tooth replacement options—historically dentists have used dentures or bridges to replace the look and functionality of a patient’s smile. More recently dental implants have been implemented to replace missing teeth—this dental innovation actually mimics the structure of natural teeth so they look and feel natural. What many patients don’t know is that dental implants can actually be used with conventional tooth replacement options—dentures and bridges—to increase the effectiveness of these treatments.


Dental implants are small titanium rods that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. Over time the titanium bonds to the natural bone, forming an effortlessly stable tooth-root. After the titanium is implanted it is capped with a natural looking dental restoration. Our Elmhurst dental implant dentists use dental implants individually to replace a singular missing tooth. Additionally, we use dental implants in conjunction with dentures and bridges to make them more stable, comfortable and long lasting.


Dental implants can be used with dentures to anchor the dentures more securely to the jawbone. In many cases, existing dentures can actually be retrofitted to attach to new dental implants. Most patients find that it’s easier to eat, speak, and smile without their dentures shifting after dental implant attachment.


Additionally, dental implants are implanted to anchor bridges. Bridgework is traditionally anchored to neighboring teeth for stability. Unfortunately, this can cause unnecessary strain on healthy teeth. By inserting a dental implant to anchor the bridge piece, you can preserve natural teeth by taking the strain off of them.

Dental implants can be used independently or with existing dentures or bridges to help restore a patient’s smile and keep them comfortable and confident. Some patients simply prefer dentures and bridges, and they are amazed at how much more functional these appliances are once they are stabilized with even one or two dental implants. If you have questions about how dental implants work alone or in conjunction with other treatments please give our Elmhurst dental implant dentists a call—(630) 733-1624.

Elmhurst Dentists Explains How Various Levels Of Dental Damage Are Treated

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Even when we are doing everything that we can to care for our smiles, sometimes dental damage pops up anyway. Our Elmhurst dentists understand this, which is why we work so hard to provide a number of restorative treatments to patients of all ages.

In this short article we’ll be outlining some of the treatments that we regularly employ in order to correct existing dental damage. Let’s get started!

The dental crown is a tried and true restorative option that can help a patient regain a healthy smile after dental damage. Crowns are used to repair teeth after dental infection or considerable dental damage. The crowns that our dental team places are natural looking, white, and metal free restorations. Once your crown is in place it will look great, and help you jump back into your normal daily routine,

Dental bonding is another treatment that we use in order to correct damaged dental enamel. When dental enamel gets cracked or chipped, our dental team can use dental resin to fill in these weak spots, and fortify the tooth. Because dental resin can be shaded to suit the individual patient, the finished aesthetic result is very attractive.

Some patients achieve their desired results by using porcelain veneers to cover damaged teeth. Because veneers are designed to cover the visible surfaces of the patient’s teeth they can completely transform the patient’s smile. Every veneer is shaped and shaded to deliver natural looking results. Once veneers are in place, they are easy to care for, and stay in place 24/7.

These are just some of the treatments that we most commonly use in order to help people reclaim healthy and whole smiles. If you want to learn even more about the restorative treatments that we offer here in our office, please call our Elmhurst dentists to get started!

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