When A Smile Makeover Is Your Best Option

Serving Chicago, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and surrounding areas in Illinois

Have you been shelling out a boatload of money over the past 5-10 years in order to replace decades old cosmetic dentistry work? You’re not alone. In fact, you are one of millions of American adults who are constantly replacing metal crowns, discolored bonding, and ill-fitting bridges. We understand that it’s often difficult to find the time to replace everything at once, but Dr. Alfe wants Chicagoland area residents to know that in most cases, opting for an Extreme Smile Makeover will save you both time and money in the long run.

Why a Smile Makeover?

With a smile makeover, you’ll end up saving time because you won’t be in and out of the cosmetic dentist office every 6 months or less to fix the next issue that arises, such as a chipped bonding or loose crown. Instead, Dr. Alfe will put you on a clear track towards improving your smile that won’t require you to keep coming in for long appointments. Having to replace old fillings and other cosmetic dentistry work ends up costing you more because you’ll constantly need to replace a discolored filling that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the adjacent teeth.

Smile Makeover Options to Consider

At your initial consultation with Dr. Alfe, she’ll discuss your Smile Makeover options. For most patients, Six Month Smiles or Invisalign is recommended first for those who have bite issues or crowded teeth. After realigning your teeth using either of these gentle and effective techniques, Dr. Alfe will discuss the finishing touches on your Smile Makeover.

Your options include porcelain veneers if you’d like to change the shape of your teeth, teeth whitening if you’re unhappy with the hue of your teeth, laser gum treatment to reduce your gummy smile, or Botox to enhance the features surrounding your smile. Having a great looking smile will boost your confidence, and Chicago Smile Spa wants to make sure you’re always feeling your best.

Sick and tired of replacing old dental work all year round and not getting the results you want? Come in and talk with Dr. Alfe about your wants and needs regarding your smile. We guarantee we’ll find the best, most conservative and effective treatment for you!

Should I Replace My Porcelain Veneers?

Serving Chicago, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and surrounding areas in Illinois

Porcelain veneers are a wonderful option for individuals who want to fix gaps between their teeth, cracks or chips, as well as change the shape of their teeth. Keep in mind that just like all dental work, porcelain veneers don’t last forever, which means at some point you’ll need to replace your veneers.

When properly taken care of by the patient and installed correctly by a professional cosmetic dentist, porcelain veneers can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Yet over time wear and tear can occur. At Chicago Smile Spa, we want to make sure you’re aware of the signs that point to the need to schedule an appointment for replacement veneers.

When replacement veneers are necessary

  • Chips and cracks are found. Porcelain is a great option because it’s durable and mimics the look and feel of real enamel. However, it isn’t as strong as enamel. If you accidentally bite into something and chip or crack the veneer, it’s important to get a replacement as soon as possible. Also porcelain can wear down and may begin to expose the tooth behind it.
  • Tooth decay sets in. Just because there’s a layer of porcelain on the front of your tooth that’s immune to cavities and decay, doesn’t mean the natural tooth behind it is. Patients with porcelain veneers should always thoroughly brush and floss their teeth to avoid tooth decay. If tooth decay does set in, the veneer will need to be taken off and replaced after Dr. Alfe treats the original tooth.
  • Receding gums occur. Gum recession is caused by a multitude of reasons, include poor dental hygiene and even genetics. If you’ve had porcelain veneers placed on your teeth and over time notice that the edges of the veneers are showing, this is a sign of receding gums. Dr. Alfe will need to remove and replace the existing veneer with one this is refitted to match the shape of your tooth.

If you’ve opted for porcelain veneers from another cosmetic dentist, there may be a chance that they were installed improperly or that they weren’t the right size for your tooth to begin with. After an initial consultation and assessment from Dr. Alfe here at Chicago Smile Spa, she’ll be able to tell you the possible cause as to why you need a replacement. Schedule your consultation today!

How to Find the Best Dentist in Chicago

Serving Chicago, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and surrounding areas in Illinois

Have you recently moved to Chicago for school or a new job? As you’re settling into your new life here in the Windy City, don’t forget to find new doctors for all your health care needs. One of the most important doctors you need to find within the first few months is a dentist.

It can be daunting trying to find a dentist on your own, which is why we’ve provided an expert guide for you on how to go about researching for the best dentist in Chicago.

  1. Ask for referrals. Whether you’ve moved already or not, you can always reach out to your current dentist and ask if they know of any dental offices in the Chicago area that they would recommend. If you approved of your previous dentist, chances are they will recommend a dentist with similar values and techniques. You’d be surprised how many dentists have business connections to other practices throughout the state or even the country due to being members of the same organizations or study clubs. For instance, Chicago Smile Spa’s Dr. Alfe frequently attends and speaks at cosmetic dentistry focus groups which cover case studies as well as review new dental technology.
  2. Family or friend recommendation. One of the best ways to find a reputable dentist in Chicago is asking friends and family members in the area who they see for their routine cleanings or cosmetic dentistry work. If you don’t have friends and family in the area, don’t hesitate to reach out to your new coworkers for recommendations. Many of Dr. Alfe’s patients came from friend and family referrals; there’s nothing more trustworthy than this type of recommendation!
  3. Consult your insurance company. If you’ve started a new job in Chicago, chances are you’re on a new insurance plan as well. Be sure to get in touch with your insurance company’s representative to discuss your options and go over the list of dentists that are available to you under your new plan. It’s also important to ask if there’s an out of network option in case you need cosmetic dentistry services in the future. Cosmetic dentistry work is oftentimes not covered by most dental insurance plans. At Chicago Smile Spa, we do our best to help our patients cover the cost of their cosmetic dentistry work by providing a number of financing options.
  4. Take to the Internet. We’re on our phones and in front of computers all day anyways, so why not use those devices to find a dentist? Even if you’re not ready to commit to a new dentist just yet, browsing the Internet and doing your research is oftentimes the best way to start. Be sure to check out third party review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List to find past patient reviews about a particular dentist. If you like what you’re reading, give the office a call to schedule an initial consultation!

Are you looking for a professional dentist that’s located in Chicago? Contact our office today at (773) 348-2704 to schedule an initial appointment!

Have Amalgam Fillings? Here’s Why You Should Replace Them

Serving Chicago, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and surrounding areas in Illinois

At our Chicago cosmetic dental office, one of the main services we provide is restorative dentistry. Dr. Alfe sees many patients every month, many of whom are here to have their old dental work replaced. Shockingly, we often see patients who still have Amalgam, or silver, fillings.

What is Dental Amalgam?

You’re probably wondering what the big deal is about dental Amalgam as it’s been used in dentistry for the past 150 years. It must be safe, right? Unfortunately it’s a common misconception that Amalgam fillings are made of pure silver; instead it’s created from a variety of different metals, including mercury. Although mercury is found in very trace amounts, there have been studies showing that exposure to higher than normal amounts of mercury can lead to long-term health problems. The Amalgam fillings include this naturally occurring substance because it makes the filling more malleable yet it hardens and can withstand constant pressure from biting and chewing.

Should You Be Concerned About Amalgam Fillings?

Depending on who you ask, Amalgam fillings are either bad for your health or they have no effect on it at all. Keep in mind that if you do have this type of filling, you will be exposed to trace amounts of mercury over a long period of time, though multiple studies have shown that these amounts are not harmful to humans. In fact, we are exposed to mercury all the time due to the foods we eat and the pollution in the air.

When the Amalgam is placed into your tooth to fill a cavity, the mercury has already reacted and joined with the other different compounds that make up Amalgam, including tin, silver, and copper — making it safe to handle and therefore safe to use as a cavity filling material.

Dr. Alfe’s biggest concern about Amalgam fillings is that they very often cause the tooth to crack.  Because the metal filling is so rigid and the way they are placed weaken the bottom part of the tooth, years of chewing forces cause the tooth around the filling to crack.  Sometimes the fracture is small and can be repaired with a tooth colored bonded filling.  Sometimes the crack is more severe and can require a crown, root canal, or in the worst cases, an extraction.

Alternative Options to Amalgam Fillings

At Chicago Smile Spa, our goal is to give our patients options when it comes to fillings, which is why there are alternatives to Amalgam available. Porcelain crowns and onlays are a great alternative for those who don’t like the appearance of their old metal crowns, or for those who are concerned about what types of materials were used in their original crown. Porcelain is equally as malleable and is also custom-made to blend in with the color of your surrounding teeth.

If you’re worried about the old metal fillings and have noticed bleeding gums or inflammation around the tooth with the filling, contact our Chicago cosmetic dentist today so Dr. Alfe can help replace your old filling and restore the look of your smile!

Benefits of Clear Braces for Chicago Adults

Serving Chicago, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and surrounding areas in Illinois

Did you know braces aren’t just for the kids these days? Adult orthodontics is on the rise in Chicago and we bet you could even name a few friends who have opted for clear braces recently. Older adults have been seeking out adult orthodontics in Chicago with the goal in mind to improve their confidence as well as their oral health. At Chicago Smile Spa, Dr. Alfe specializes in clear braces for adults.

If you’re on the fence about whether adult orthodontics is best for you, here are a few benefits for choosing clear braces.

  • No Metal Mouth. Adults are seeking clear braces in order to avoid the stigma of being a “metal mouth.” There is finally a discreet option to straighten out your smile without drawing attention to yourself. Although clear braces aren’t as “invisible” as Invisalign, they are less noticeable than traditional wire and bracket braces.
  • More Affordable. Many of Dr. Alfe’s patients never had braces when they were young simply due to the fact that their families couldn’t front the cost, especially if multiple kids needed orthodontics. The great thing about waiting awhile to get adult clear braces is that you now have more saved up to get the smile you’ve always wanted.
  • Longevity. It’s no secret that we’re living longer due to improvements in health technology and treatments — and this includes the oral health realm. The LA Times reported in 2011 that the use of adult orthodontics has risen 24% from 1989 to 2008 — and the main reason for the increase is due to the fact that people are retaining their natural teeth longer all thanks to better dental hygiene and dental technology. If we’re living longer, why not invest in a beautiful smile for the long run?
  • Teeth Still Move. Believe it or not, although your jaw is fully developed by the time you’ve graduated undergrad, your teeth will still tend to shift if you aren’t consistently wearing a retainer or night guard. This shifting can cause a number of problems down the road, including misaligned bite and gum recession. Choosing clear adult orthodontics in Chicago is a great way to realign your bite and prevent oral health issues in the future.

If you’ve been unsatisfied with your smile but aren’t sure what your options are, contact Dr. Alfe at Chicago Smile Spa today to request an initial consultation. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had braces in the past or not because it’s time to focus on improving your smile now so you can enjoy it in the future!

Call Dr. Alfe!