My Blog

Posts for: December, 2020

By Laura Elliff, DMD
December 28, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: Dental Crowns  

Dental crowns are fixed dental appliances used for covering damaged teeth or implants. Here at Elliff Dental in Batavia, IL, your dentists, Dr. Laura Elliff and Dr. Andrew Elliff, use these tooth-shaped covers or caps restoring a damaged or weakened toot’s function and strength as well as your smile’s appearance.

The dental crown placement entails taking an impression of the tooth to be treated after it has been reduced in size to ensure an accurate fit. When the crown is ready, it will be attached to your tooth using dental cement.

Why Your Dentist Might Suggest a Dental Crown

Generally speaking, dentists recommend crowns for repairing or treating these issues:

  • Chipped or fractured teeth that can’t be fixed with less complex dental treatments.
  • Discolored or oddly-shaped teeth that could work or look better with help from a crown.
  • To protect and cover an implant.
  • Lost teeth that will be restored by a dental bridge. Crowns will be needed for supporting the bridge in place.
  • Dental caries also called cavities or tooth decay, which develop when bacteria found in your mouth, make acid that harms your teeth. In teeth with minor or moderate dental caries, fillings usually suffice to repair the damaged teeth. However, deep or severe decay might need a crown to save the teeth’s appearance and functionality.

In some instances, however, a tooth that’s severely decayed will require root canal therapy to save it prior to the placement of the crown. The tooth pulp houses very delicate blood vessels, tissues, and nerves, so if the infection or decay has reached these structures, only a root canal treatment can salvage the infected tooth.

During root canal therapy, your dentist in Batavia, IL, drilling a tiny access hole into your tooth to extract the decayed pulp. The infected root canal will then be thoroughly cleaned and filled with gutta-percha to safeguard it from further decay. The tooth is then covered with a temporary dental crown until your permanent crown is ready for placement.

Caring for Your Dental Crown

Crowns generally last from five up to 15 years, considering that you follow proper oral hygiene practices since a crowned tooth could still be affected by decay. You should likewise continue seeing your dentist for exams and cleanings to help make certain that your dental crown still functions and fits perfectly.

Interested in Dental Crowns? Talk to Us

Book an evaluation here at Elliff Dental in Batavia, IL, with your dentist, Dr. Laura Elliff or Dr. Andrew Elliff, by calling (630) 482-7200.

By Laura Elliff, DMD
December 28, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   cracked mouth  

We’ve all had physical ailments that were more irritating than serious. The problem of skin cracking at the corners of the mouth fits into that category.

Both dentists and dermatologists encounter this condition often and have a name for it: perleche, derived from the French word lecher, meaning “to lick.” The term arises from patients’ tendency to excessively lick the broken skin to soothe the itching or burning.

Perleche most often arises from certain mouth conditions, although systemic problems like anemia or diabetes may also cause it. Children or younger adults, especially those with orthodontic braces or a tendency to drool as they sleep, often develop perleche; older adults with wrinkling around the mouth are also susceptible. Mouth dryness caused by reduced saliva flow may also irritate the skin and cause discomfort.

As the skin becomes irritated, the person may begin to lick the corners of the mouth to soothe them. This sets up conditions for an infection, most often caused by yeast known as candida albicans. The infection may become more acute and begin to affect the entire inside of the mouth or throat.

If you’ve developed perleche, our primary treatment goal is to reduce any infection with the aid of oral or topical antifungal drugs. One drug, Nystatin, is often taken as a lozenge that dissolves in the mouth and works its way from there through the rest of the body. You can also apply antifungal ointments several times a day to the corners of the mouth, often in combination with steroid ointments that reduce redness and swelling. You can also apply antifungal zinc oxide paste to the cracked skin, which also serves as a barrier between the skin and outer contaminants.

To reduce the chance of future outbreaks, we may recommend you rinse with Chlorhexidine, as well as replace missing teeth or refit loose dentures — these too are contributing factors to erupting yeast infections. You might also need to undergo dermatologic treatment for wrinkles if they’ve proven to be a factor in developing perleche.

Although not a major problem, perleche can be exceedingly uncomfortable and embarrassing. Thanks to a number of treatment options, you don’t have to put up with that discomfort for long.

If you would like more information on perleche (angular cheilitis), please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cracked Corners of the Mouth.”

By Laura Elliff, DMD
December 18, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implant  

In looking at options to replace your missing teeth, you might have heard others rave about dental implants. You're almost sold on this innovative restoration method—but you're a little skittish about the upfront cost.

Here are 3 reasons why getting dental implants to restore your missing teeth is a sound investment.

A solid long-term solution. Based on findings from over 3 million implant installations over the last forty years, more than 95% of implants continue to successfully function after ten years—and many are on track to last decades. That's something that can't be said for other forms of restoration. An implant's large upfront cost could in fact even out over the long-term and ultimately cost less than other restorations that may need to be replaced sooner.

A benefit to bone health. One of the more negative consequences of missing teeth is ongoing bone loss, a process that can continue to occur even when teeth are replaced by dentures or bridges. But bone cells readily grow and adhere to the titanium metal implant imbedded in the bone, slowing or even stopping continuing bone loss. If for no other reason, their positive impact on bone health is a top reason for choosing implants.

A range of choices. Replacing multiple missing teeth individually with dental implants can be quite expensive. But individual tooth replacement is only one of the ways implants could benefit you. It's possible to place just a handful of implants along the jaw to support other types of restorations like bridges and partial or full dentures. Not only is this cost-effective, but the implant-supported restoration may be more stable and secure. And these implants may also contribute to bone health.

But before you make your decision, visit us for a complete dental examination. We'll assess if your dental condition makes you a good candidate for implants, and then provide you more information on the process and costs.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants 101.”

By Laura Elliff, DMD
December 11, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implants  

Whether you’ve had several or just one tooth removed, you will require a reliable replacement solution to fill the spaces left by the lost teeth. Fortunately, you have several choices when it comes to teeth replacement, including dental implants. With dental implants, the biocompatible titanium implant fuses with the jawbone, strengthening it, and ensuring the stability of the restoration in place.

Dr. Andrew Elliff and Dr. Laura Elliff, your dentists here at Elliff Dental in Batavia, IL, offer dental implants among other teeth replacement options. But what makes implants the best tooth-replacement option? To answer this question, take a look at the cosmetic and functional benefits that they offer.

Dental Implants Preserve and Support Your Remaining Teeth

In some cases, a tooth that’s severely infected or decayed just can’t be saved that the only option is to extract it. When you lose a tooth, the neighboring tooth will need to bear the extra weight of your biting force, which could lead to shifting or cracking over time.

Likewise, this open space will narrow down and cause your other teeth to become loose, tilt, or shift. Fortunately, filling in space with an implant will help keep your teeth in place and healthy.

Dental Implants Help Maintain Your Facial Structure

Jawbone loss leads to that sunken look. While you won’t see its effects immediately, in 10 or so years, you will definitely notice your face taking on that gaunt look that makes you look older than you really are. But having your dentist in Batavia, IL, place an implant in space will combat jawbone deterioration by promoting bone growth.

Dental Implants Can Give You Back Your Smile

Besides replacing your teeth, dental implants can also give you back your smile and ensure that it feels and looks natural because of the natural-looking dental crowns on top of them. If you’re replacing multiple teeth, the dental implants can also be topped off with dentures. This is called implant-supported dentures or denture implants.

Dental Implants Restore Your Natural Speaking and Chewing Functions

Aside from giving you an aesthetically-pleasing smile, implants likewise restore your ability to speak and chew properly. Because dental implants essentially become one with your jawbone and gums, just like your real teeth, you’ll be able to eat and speak like how you did before you lost a tooth or two.

To Learn More About Dental Implants and Other Teeth Replacement Options, Contact Us

Call (630)-482-7200 to arrange a consultation with your Batavia, IL, dentist Dr. Andrew Elliff or Dr. Laura Elliff here at Elliff Dental today.

By Laura Elliff, DMD
December 08, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

As far as your appearance goes, the most important teeth you have are those in the “smile zone.” These are the teeth most visible when you smile—and the ones that awkwardly stand out if they're chipped, worn or otherwise flawed. More than any other teeth, they determine how inviting your smile is to others.

You might think you'll need extensive cosmetic dental work to fix these kinds of dental defects. But that may not be necessary: We may be able to use a dental material known as composite resin to repair the defects in your “smile zone” teeth in one office visit.

Composite resins are a combination of ceramics and plastics that have been around for some time. They've only recently come into wide use, though, with the development of new techniques to bond them to tooth surfaces. They're ideal for chips, cracks, or decayed areas where front teeth make contact with one another. They may also be used occasionally to reshape irregular or misaligned teeth.

You'll first need a complete dental examination to determine if composite resin bonding is an appropriate approach for your situation. If so, we'll begin by preparing the tooth surface to better accept the resin material. We'll then apply the liquid form of the material in layers, along with other agents to increase the material's strength. Each layer is cured (hardened) before applying the next layer.

As the layers build up, we shape the material to achieve a normal tooth appearance. We'll also incorporate your individual color shadings, so that the prepared tooth blends well with surrounding natural teeth. In effect, the procedure requires as much artistry as technical skill to create a natural look.

Though not as strong as porcelain veneers or crowns, composite resins are durable if not subjected to heavy biting forces. And for a few hours in the dentist's chair with minimal tooth preparation, a composite resin treatment can create a dramatic and exciting change in your appearance.

If you would like more information on composite resin bonding, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”