Posts Tagged ‘cosmetic dentistry’

Dental Fillings

Dental Fillings – A Complete Overview

Many Americans will need to get a dental filling at some point in their life. Dental fillings are one of the most common procedures performed by dentists, but many people have questions about them. There are more and more options that you can choose from when getting a dental filling besides the traditional silver or amalgam fillings.  If you are experiencing sharp pain when biting down, or a throbbing in your jaw that just won’t go away you may need to see a dentist get a cavity filled. There are a number of options and techniques that you can choose from. Let’s start by exploring the two major choices you make when getting a dental filling: amalgam versus composite fillings.

What is a dental filling?

When a cavity has progressed past the tooth enamel, and thus cannot be repaired by a fluoride treatment, a filling is required. Fillings can be made from a variety of materials, but their purpose is to close the tooth and prevent any more bacteria from entering the next layer of the tooth. The first step is to prepare the tooth for the placement of the restorative material. The tooth is prepared by cutting away a portion of the tooth that is infected to make space for the restorative materials. Any dental decay is removed and the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. Portions of the tooth that is structurally unsound are also removed. If the restorative materials cannot be added to the tooth immediately sometimes a temporary restoration is placed.  After the tooth has been prepared, the restorative material is placed. The materials used can vary widely depending on location, availability, patient preferences, and cost. The two most common types of filling materials are amalgam and composite fillings. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these filling types.

What are amalgam fillings?

Amalgam fillings are often known as “silver fillings.” These are made out of a mixture of metals, that is why they are called an amalgam. They are often composed of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. The mercury is rendered inert by the other metals and despite making up 50% of the filling, is a safe and stable compound. This filling is very strong and durable, making it perfect for long term use. This kind of filling has the longest history of being successfully used, with the earliest amalgam fillings being first used in the 19th century. Unlike composite fillings, amalgam fillings can discolor the tooth as light cannot pass through the tooth as it naturally does. Some people also may have some sensitivity to the metals that are used in the amalgam.

What are composite fillings?

Composite fillings are a newer kind of filling that is made from a resin that is composed of ceramic and plastic compounds. This makes them easily matched to the natural tooth color of the surrounding tooth. This makes them a great option for fillings in teeth that are exposed when you smile, like your front teeth. They are often known as “white fillings” or “tooth-colored fillings”. These filings are nearly invisible. They easily adhere to the tooth and actually bond to the surface of the tooth. They also preserve the maximum amount of the tooth compared to amalgam fillings. They are easily shaped with your tooth so less of the tooth is needed to be removed to place them. It is important to note that the procedure to get a composite filling can take a little longer than getting an amalgam filling. Because white fillings don’t contain mercury, there are no health risks associated with using white fillings. And some people even experience less post-treatment discomfort and sensitivity from composite fillings.

What does dental bonding involve?

Getting a dental composite sometimes is called dental bonding. Generally, this can be done in a single visit to the dentist. The resin is bonded and shaped to the tooth after being placed, hardened and polished. This kind of composite is ideal for small cosmetic dental work. When compared to other kinds of tooth repair, such as crowns or veneers, fillings will require the least amount of enamel to be removed Generally, the process begins with a gentle phosphoric acid being applied to the tooth. This allows for a surface for the resin to be applied and bonded to. The resin is putty-like. It is shaped and sculpted onto the tooth surface.  Then, a special light is used to harden the resin and set it in place. It is then polished and buffed for a smooth finish. The entire process takes just about 30 minutes to an hour. Often anesthesia is not needed unless the bonding is used to fill a decayed tooth. 

How long do composite fillings last?

Fillings do have a finite lifespan before they begin to fail and must be replaced. It is important to see a dentist as soon as you notice that your filling has failed. This allows them to replace it as soon as possible and preserve the health of your teeth.  White composite fillings are good for seven to ten years in most healthy patients. But, there are always advancements in the material field for tooth fillings. This data may not be reflective of current materials, as the data is based on older types of dental fillings.  Newer materials may even be as durable as amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are slightly stronger and durable, lasting for potentially up to 12 years if they are taken care of properly.

Are white fillings strong?

White composite fillings may have a reputation of being much weaker than amalgam fillings, but this is quickly changing. The new developments in the materials used in composite fillings have made them much stronger than in the past. Many more people are choosing to use a composite filling over an amalgam filling than in the past. 

What is the best material for dental fillings?

The best material depends on you, the patient, and your oral health needs. When working with your dentist to address tooth decay, be sure to consider at least the following:
  • Aesthetics, how you want your teeth to look
  • Cost, insurance may be able to help
  • Any health concerns
Composite fillings are the most attractive option when it comes to dental fillings, but they can be more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings. They are also not as durable. 

How much do dental fillings cost?

The cost of a dental composite filling can range between $300 to $600 per tooth. Most dental plans will cover the cost of the procedure and most will cover the cost of bonding. The insurance companies will often cover the filling when it is done for reasons to preserve the tooth’s structure or to fill a cavity. The procedure of getting a dental composite often will take just a single visit to the dentist.  Amalgam fillings are much cheaper, with the average cost running between $50 to $150 for a single amalgam filling. This price may vary depending on your location, the dentist, what insurance covers, and many other factors. 


Here are some commonly asked questions that many patients ask. 

Are dental fillings painful?

During the filling procedure, you are not likely to feel any pain. Fillings are not used in parts of the tooth that have nerves, so you shouldn’t feel any pain, just like you feel no pain when getting a hair cut. 

Are tooth fillings good?

Tooth fillings are a good option to stop tooth decay once it has penetrated the enamel. However, they cannot replace good dental hygiene. Even after getting the filling continue brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day.

Can I fill a cavity at home?

No, cavities should be filled by a dental professional. Sealing the tooth without the cleaning and preparation just traps the infection in the tooth.

How bad is getting a filling?

The process of getting a feeling is easy and often fairly comfortable. The procedure is painless and will often do a lot to eliminate the pain from tooth decay.

How long do dental fillings Last?

Dental fillings can last between eight to twelve years depending on the materials used. Consult with your dentist to see how long the materials they offer will last.

Quality Dental Work in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Golden Smiles Dental in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can do all the necessary dental work to determine the option that’s right for you. Golden Smiles Dental proudly serves the Rancho Cucamonga area with a full range of Dental & Implant services. Give us a call at (909) 481-8990 to schedule an appointment.
Dental Implants Illustration

Everything you need to know about Dental Implants

Dental implants have become a popular option for patients that are looking for a tooth replacement solution. Many have questions about dental implants and may have some fear and confusion around how they work. This article will present all the information that you will need to know before choosing to get a dental implant

What are dental implants?

To put it simply, dental implants are an artificial tooth that is shaped similarly to a screw. They are placed directly into the jawbone where they bond with the bone. On top of the implant is the base, called an abutment, that supports the artificial base called a crown. By being anchored directly into the jawbone, they are a stable and sturdy base to support the crown.  They are durable and lasting tooth replacement solutions. When a tooth is missing, the bone that the root of the tooth will slowly decay over time, changing the shape of your face. Dentures or tooth replacement solutions that simply sit on top of the gums can do nothing to prevent this. Dental implants are the only solution that preserves the natural bone of the jaw. And they can actually help stimulate bone growth.  Not only can dental implants provide a great smile, but they can also improve your oral health by essentially replacing your tooth almost as if you had your natural tooth back. They have an advantage over traditional dentures as they preserve the natural jaw bone and thus prevent bone decay and change to your facial shape.  The titanium of the implant will fuse to the bone, so the implant won’t slip, make noise, or cause bone damage like how fixed bridgework or dentures can. The materials also don’t decay, unlike your own teeth which support the bridgework.  The implant is mounted with an abutment which holds the crown. The crown is made from a variety of materials, from porcelain to zirconium, and is made to look like your natural teeth. Modern implants have a long history of success, with a 30-year track record as the most effective way to replace lost teeth. What makes them so successful is the fact that they look, feel, and function just like a natural tooth. The surgery itself is one of the safest and predictable procedures when performed by a trained and experienced dental implant dentist

Why do people get dental implants?

People may get dental implants for a variety of reasons. Generally, your dentist might recommend dental implants if you:
  • Have one or more missing teeth
  • Do not smoke tobacco
  • Want to improve your ability to speak after tooth loss
  • Are unable to unwilling to wear dentures
  • Have healthy tissues in your mouth
  • Have enough bone structure to support the implant
  • Have a fully-grown jawbone
  • Don’t have any health conditions that could impact bone healing
  • Can commit several months to the process

How are dental implants put in?

The implant is surgically placed into the jaw and how the surgery is performed depends on the type of implant used and the condition of your jawbone. There may be a few different procedures involved. Because the process requires the jaw bone to heal around the implant, the process can be quite long before it is complete.   Let’s take a look at what a dental implant procedure could look like.

Preparation for the Surgery

In the planning phase, expect to go to a consultation with dentists and other specialists who will assess the health and condition of your mouth, your jaw, your face and possibly see dentists who specialize in the gums and bones, one who designs and fits artificial teeth, and occasionally an ear, nose, and throat specialist. The complexity of this part of the planning depends on a patient’s particular situation. The evaluation before the surgery will include at least these three things:
  • A comprehensive dental exam. This will include dental x-rays, 3D images, and models made of your teeth and jaw.
  • A review of your medical history. Be sure to tell your dentist of any preexisting conditions and any medications that you take. Including any prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs and supplements. If you have a heart condition or orthopedic implants you may be recommended to do a course of antibiotics before surgery to prevent infection.
  • Creation of a treatment plan. This plan will be custom built to outline the exact steps that you will be taking to prepare for, and recover from the surgery. It will include details like which teeth and how many are being replaced, the condition of your jawbone and remaining teeth, and other details.
You should also discuss with your dentist any anesthesia options, such as local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia. Depending on what is chosen, your dental team will instruct you about what you will need to do before the surgery, like not drinking liquids or eating food. You will also need someone to take you home after the surgery and to rest for the rest of the day.

The Dental Implant Surgery

The surgery is often done in stages and is an outpatient surgery. Between each stage is a period for recovery and healing. The steps involved in dental implant surgery may include:
  • Removal of the damaged tooth
  • Preparation of the jawbone, with potential bone grafting, if needed
  • Placement of the dental implant
  • Bone growth and healing
  • Placement of the abutment
  • Placement of the crown (artificial tooth)
This process can take many months from start to finish. The majority of this time is devoted to healing and waiting for the growth of new bone. Sometimes the steps can be combined, depending on the types of materials used, and the condition of your jaw bone.

Recovery from Dental Implant Surgery

When recovering from the surgery, you may experience many of the typical discomforts that come with dental surgery. Some of the discomforts to expect include:
  • Swelling in the gums and face
  • Bruising of the skin and gums
  • Pain or discomfort at the implant site
  • Minor bleeding
Talk to your dentist if you feel like you would need pain medication. If the swelling or the discomfort or any other problem gets worse in the days following the surgery, contact your oral surgeon. After each stage, stick to soft foods while the site heals. The stitches will often dissolve on their own, but they may require removal by the surgeon as well.

Is it painful to get dental implants?

The surgery itself will likely not hurt as you will be under some form of anesthesia, whether that is local anesthesia or general anesthesia. That detail will be discussed with your doctor during the initial consultation and planning.  During the surgery, the gums are cut open and a hole is drilled. However, there are no nerves in the jaw to feel pain so if you are only under local anesthesia for the gum pain you won’t feel any pain from the drilling.  The period that may cause the most discomfort and pain will be the recovery and healing period. It is likely that your dentist will prescribe pain medications or recommend over the counter pain relievers. Follow exactly the recovery plan outlined by your dentist for the best possible recovery.  Most people do not experience extreme pain during the procedure or recovery. Expect soreness and swelling for the first days after the surgery. Most patients compare the pain as being less than having a tooth being pulled. 

How much does it cost to get a dental implant?

A mouth of dental implants generally requires only four implants to be placed per arch, one for the top arch and one for the bottom. These serve as anchor points for the denture arch that is placed securely on top of them.  Because of the many factors involved with determining the cost, including the location of the service, the kinds of materials used, the implant model type, how extensive the surgery is, and many other factors, it can be difficult to readily estimate what dental implants will cost. The average cost for one tooth is replaced with a dental implant is anywhere between $1500 to $6,000 including office visits, x-rays, anesthesia, and more. A full set of teeth replaced can be between $3000 to $30,000 depending on the factors mentioned above.  Insurance can sometimes help, depending on if it is being implanted to meet a medical need. If the insurance company considers it to be a cosmetic company, then they will often not cover the expenses.  They may cover portions of the procedure, but it is important to contact your insurance company to see what they will cover. Your dentist can often help with this part of the research.


How much does one implant cost?

One implant can cost between $1500 to $6000 on average, depending on many factors. A full mouth can cost between $3000 to $30,000 on average.

How long is recovery?

Recovery can last several months depending on the timeline set up by your dentist. It is not a short recovery, but can sometimes take months.

Does it hurt to get an implant?

The surgery itself is often painless, but the recovery can be painful or uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure.

Why should I get an implant?

If you are missing one or more teeth and you don’t want to deal with dentures sliding around and you want to be able to get your natural tooth back, dental implants are as close as you can get.

Quality Dental Implants in Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Golden Smiles Dental in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can do all the necessary dental work to determine the option that’s right for you. Golden Smiles Dental proudly serves the Rancho Cucamonga area with a full range of Dental & Implant services. Give us a call at (909) 481-8990 to schedule an appointment.
tooth whitening cost

Teeth Whitening – A Complete Guide

Getting your teeth whitening is among the most popular cosmetic treatments in America. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 90% of Americans requested tooth whitening during a visit. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry also reported that tooth whitening is the most common thing people request is to improve their smile.  So what is it all about? Is tooth whitening worth it? What is involved in getting a brighter smile? Today we will take a look at these questions and more as we explore what goes into getting a better smile. Some of the techniques and products can be used at home, but we will also take a look at professional teeth whitening which gets you better and faster results.

Why Are My Teeth Yellow Even Though I Brush Them?

Over time, it is natural for the teeth to discolor due to a variety of factors. These include:
  • Food and drink. Coffee, tea, and wine are just some of the foods that can stain the teeth. What do they have in common? They all have pigments that can attach to the enamel, the white outer part of your tooth. 
  • Tobacco use can also have a major impact on your oral health beyond just tooth discoloration. The tar and the nicotine in tobacco each contribute to the discoloration. Nicotine turns yellowish and stains surfaces when exposed to oxygen.
  • Tooth trauma. Sometimes a tooth will turn a different color as it reacts to an injury. The tooth will reinforce itself by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer beneath the translucent enamel. 
  • Medications can also discolor the teeth, which can be a side effect of some antihistamines, antipsychotics, and high blood pressure medications. Other medications can also discolor teeth, such as antibiotics and chemotherapy.
  • Age is the most common cause of tooth discoloration. The outer layer of the teeth, the enamel, will naturally become thinner so that the darker, more yellow dentin layer will show through. 

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening describes any process in which the teeth are made shades lighter. This can be achieved by changing the color of the enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth. The most common active ingredient in teeth whitening is hydrogen peroxide and is either delivered as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.  The hydrogen peroxide will break down unstable free radicles in the tooth, which allows for small, less heavily pigmented tooth enamel. These reflect less light, and so have a whitening effect.  Dental professionals should be consulted in order to correctly identify and correct the type, intensity, and location of the tooth discoloration. How long the tooth is exposed to the whitening agent, and the concentration of the bleaching compound determine how white the tooth will become.  Dentists have the best access to the tools and techniques that can powerfully and quickly transform your smile from drab yellow to shining pearly white. 

How Do Dentists Whiten Teeth?

When seeking an in-office treatment, you have a few options. You can:
  • Have the dentist create a mold of your teeth and then using that newly-made tray apply a bleaching gel to the teeth for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Laser whitening can whiten the teeth. A bleaching agent is carefully painted onto the teeth and then a powerful laser is shone onto the teeth, activating the whitening properties of the bleach. This takes about an hour.
  • Chairside bleaching is where the dentist applies a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield and then applies a bleaching agent to the teeth. This often only takes one dentist visit.

What Is The Best Whitener For Your Teeth?

If you are not ready to spend the money to get your teeth professionally whitened, then you do have a few at-home options to choose from. The market offers lots of options that can fit easily into your lifestyle and routine. You are sure to find the right treatment for your smile and your tooth sensitivity.  Some options include:
  • Tooth whitening strips. These are versatile little strips of plastic loaded with a bleaching agent that easily sticks to the teeth without slipping around. Some even come with a lightweight blue light device that helps to activate the bleaching gel, so that it can penetrate the enamel more. This is the same technology that dentists use in their offices, just on a smaller scale. The strips are generally applied for about an hour.
  • Budget options include whitening toothpaste. These are fairly cheap with most only being a few dollars more than regular toothpaste. These come with whitening agents of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide for a double approach to whitening. You won’t see the same results as other whitening products, but it is great for preventing stains and lifting stains off the teeth.
  • For sensitive teeth, you can find special whitening strips there as well that can feature natural ingredients, including salt, coconut oil, sage oil, and lemon peel oil. These can even be used on crowns, porcelain caps, and veneers. 

Is Teeth Whitening Bad For Your Teeth?

Teeth whitening is not without some side effects. There is always a chance that your gums will be sensitive to the chemicals that are used in the bleaching. If you already have sensitive teeth this chance increases.  There is also the risk of bleaching the gums by improperly applying the bleaching gels, and some whitening at-home kits can damage the enamel if not properly applied.  This is why professional teeth whitening is recommended. Dentists are trained to be able to properly apply the bleaching agents in order to get you the best results. They are also able to do so faster, and the results last many times longer than at-home kits. 

What To Avoid After Teeth Whitening

The top five foods to avoid after teeth whitening include:
  1. Dark or strongly colored liquids. These include red wine, coffee, and tea. Also drinks like soda, and tomato juice makes the list. If it can stain a white shirt, it could stain your teeth.
  2. Acidic beverages. This is where dark sodas back a one-two punch. They are both dark and acidic. The same goes for fruit juices and alcohol. The acidic environment created by these drinks can stain your newly whitened teeth.
  3. Sugary foods. Soda, cakes, cookies, and anything sweet can stain your teeth by encouraging bacteria growth which can lead to tooth decay and discoloration.
  4. Food with added color, or natural color. Things like soy sauce, ketchup, and chocolate. Lay off these foods until your teeth are no longer sensitive.
  5. Anything that could stain a white shirt. Refrain from these foods for the first 24 hours after a whitening treatment in order to maintain and maximize your treatment.

Do Teeth Whiteners Work?

Short answer: yes!  Long answer: Tooth whitening works best for people who have yellow teeth. They are less effective for people with brown teeth, and if your teeth are damaged and are gray or purple, tooth whitening may not be the best option for you. Because it can be complicated to find the cause of tooth discoloration, it is best to consult a dentist who can pinpoint what the cause is and recommend a course of treatment in order for you to get your best smile. 

How Much Does It Cost To Have Your Teeth Professionally Whitened?

Professional teeth whitening has an average cost of $650. This figure can climb to near $1000 depending on the products used and the rates of your dentists. In most cases, the cost is well worth it.  People report that they are able to see a difference in appearance in their teeth after just one treatment. This is because the bleaching agents used in the treatments are considerably more powerful than any available in an at-home kit. These kits are often no more than 10% hydrogen peroxide, where in-office treatments are close to 25 and 40%. 


How Can I Whiten My Teeth In One Day?

A professional teeth whitening session can lighten your teeth dramatically with an hour of treatment. But, if you need your teeth whitened today, there are a few options you have. While none of these three treatments will dramatically change your smile, they can help shine it up.
  1. Brush with a tooth whitening toothpaste
  2. Use activated charcoal 
  3. There is limited evidence that oil pulling with an oil like coconut oil can help whiten the teeth.

How Can I Make My Yellow Teeth Whiter Naturally?

There are a number of things you can do to help whiten the teeth naturally. These include:
  1. Brushing your teeth. Good oral hygiene is the key to a bright smile.
  2. Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. These are easily found in whitening toothpaste.
  3. Coconut oil pulling can help whiten the teeth, and its as easy as using mouthwash.
  4. Apple cider vinegar can be used to whiten the teeth.
  5. Lemon, orange, or banana peels can be used to help whiten the teeth.
  6. Activated charcoal is a great addition to any at-home routine.
  7. Eat foods with a high water content to help keep your teeth stain-free

Can You Really Whiten Your Teeth At Home?

With many of the kits on the market today, you can actually whiten your teeth at home. There are a number of gels, kinds of toothpaste, and whitening strips that you can choose from. Some even include a light similar to the one used by dentists to whiten the teeth. Golden Smiles Dental in Rancho Cucamonga, CA can do all the necessary dental work to determine the option that’s right for you. Golden Smiles Dental proudly serves the Rancho Cucamonga area with a full range of Dental & Implant services.  Give us a call at (909) 481-8990 to schedule an appointment.
Teeth Whitening

How Much Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening has proven to be one of the most popular treatments in America, with a proliferation of at-home kits, gels, and strips. Professional whitening treatment is also available, but the question remains, what does teeth whitening cost? And is it worth it? In today’s article, we’ll explore the different options that are available on the market and how much they cost. Your journey to a brighter smile starts now!

Professional Teeth Whitening versus At-Home Whitening

First, let’s take a look at the different treatments on the market. 

At-Home Whitening

There are a bevy of options to choose from if you want to whiten your teeth at home. These options include:
  • Whitening Toothpaste. These are used to remove surface stains and gently polish and remove the stains on the teeth. 
  • Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips & Gels. These clear, peroxide-based gels are applied with a small brush to the teeth or are applied using clear plastic strips. These often contain hydrogen peroxide and are used to bleach the teeth. Care must be taken in order to properly bleach the teeth. Results can be seen within a few days and final results are generally sustained for a few months.
  • Whitening Rinses. These are like mouthwashes, in that they freshen breath, reduce dental plaque and gum disease while whitening the teeth. However, this treatment may not be as effective as other over-the-counter treatments. 

Professional Teeth Whitening

When you go to the dentist to get your teeth whitened they often will use a tray-based tooth whitener. These are filled with a gel-like peroxide that then sits in the mouth in order to bleach the teeth.  You can also take advantage of a quick and powerful treatment that involves applying the whitening product directly onto the teeth and then combined with heat, a special light or a laser. Results can be seen within one 30 to 60-minute treatments. Sometimes multiple treatments are needed. This kind of treatment often is the most long-lasting and sometimes can be the most expensive.

The Cost of Different Treatments

When it comes to at-home or over-the-counter treatments they can run as low as a few dollars for a tube of whitening toothpaste, to as much as $40 for an at-home treatment kit. Each kit often will contain enough strips to last about a week or two.  There are also over the counter tray treatments that can cost up to $100. There can be augmented by a custom-fitted tray from your dentist, which will sometimes cost $400 or less. These solutions can be quite cost-effective but they often do not last as long or offer as dramatic of results. They often need a multi-week commitment to their consistent use in order to be effective. This may not work for everyone’s schedule but that is where in-office treatments can help.  When it comes to professional tooth whitening, cost often is the biggest factor to prevent people from going ahead. The average cost of an in-office teeth whitening is $650, but it can climb to $1,000 or more depending on the type of product used and how much your dentist charges.  For most people, this investment pays off. People will often notice the difference after a single treatment. This is because the bleaching ingredient is much stronger than anything that will be available in the store. Generally, those treatments contain 10% peroxide, while professional treatments contain between 25 and 40% hydrogen peroxide.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Teeth Whitening Cost?

Often dental insurances do not cover teeth whitening, as it is considered a cosmetic expense. However many do offer affordable dental plans that may help out with some of the costs. Many dentists will often offer several third-party financing options that can help with the cost of an in-office treatment. If you think that you want to get your teeth whitened, or speak to one of our experts about teeth whitening cost and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Clean Teeth daily teeth routine

The Best Daily Teeth Routine

The best thing you can do for yourself is following a daily routine, but when it comes to dental health, what is the best daily teeth routine? Most routines involve brushing at the bare minimum twice a day. But doing just the minimum cannot guarantee that you will be free of any dental health problems like cavities.  Today we are going to explore the best daily teeth routine, and what you can do to protect your dental health.


Brushing your teeth forms the foundation of the best daily teeth routine. But not everyone brushes their teeth with the proper routine. The American Dental Association recommend that you follow these recommendations:
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Choose a toothbrush that will fit your mouth and reach all areas easily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or when the bristles become frayed. Worn bristles will not be able to effectively clean your mouth. 
  • Choose an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is naturally produced in the mouth and repairs damage to the tooth enamel. The fluoride in the toothpaste can help this too.

What is the proper brushing technique?

After selecting the right toothbrush and the right toothpaste, you should consider using the proper brushing technique. It is surprisingly simple and you likely won’t have to adapt your natural brushing technique to accommodate. Just follow these steps:
  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. 
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, just angle the brush vertically and make several strokes.

How often should I brush?

To put it simply, brush your teeth for two minutes two times a day. The residue left by the bacteria in your mouth will build up during the day and at night, so it is important to keep up a consistent routine of brushing your teeth twice daily.  Doing so will prevent excess plaque from building up and remove excess food. Plaque is a sticky white film that contains the bacteria. Whenever you eat a meal or a snack with sugar, the bacteria in the plaque will produce an acid that can eventually break down the tooth enamel.  Plaque that isn’t’ removed will eventually harden to tartar. Tartar buildup can inflame your gums leading to gum disease.


In addition to brushing your teeth, you should also floss your teeth. Flossing forms another core foundation of the best daily teeth routine. Flossing removes bacteria where the bristles of your brush cannot reach.  Only 4 in 10 Americans floss their teeth according to a national poll, and 20% of Americans never floss at all. Simply flossing is not enough, but flossing correctly is just as important and making sure you floss at all.  Flossing isn’t as complicated as it seems. Here are five easy instructions to floss your teeth correctly.
  1. Break off about 18 to 24 inches of floss. Wind the majority of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving about 1 to 2 inches of floss for your teeth. 
  2. Next, hold the floss taut with your thumbs and index fingers. 
  3. Place the floss between two teeth. Gently glide the floss up and down, rubbing it against both sides of the teeth. Try not to glide the floss into your gums, as this can scratch or bruise your gums.
  4. When the floss reaches your gums, follow the curve of the floss at the base of the tooth to allow the floss to get between the gums and the teeth.
  5. Repeat the steps as you move from tooth to tooth. Use a clean section of floss with each tooth. 

Is Mouthwash Part of A Daily Teeth Routine?

Mouthwash forms an important part of the best daily teeth routine. Mouthwash helps to rinse the teeth and gums. It often contains an antiseptic to kill harmful bacteria that live between the teeth and the tongue.  It can help fight against bad breath and some people use it to help prevent tooth decay. Mouthwash does not replace a good foundation of brushing and flossing. It’s only effective if used correctly. In order to do so, follow these steps:
  1. Brush your teeth. Follow the above best practices to have your teeth cleaned well. However, wait a few minutes after using a fluoridated toothpaste, as the mouthwash can wash away the concentrated fluoride of the toothpaste. 
  2. Use only as much mouthwash as the product instructs you to use. This is typically between 3 and 5 teaspoons.
  3. Empty the cup into your mouth and swish it around. Don’t swallow the mouthwash. Instead, gargle for 30 seconds. Some people find it helpful to set a timer. 
  4. For best results make sure your teeth are freshly cleaned before using the mouthwash.

Whitening Strips

Whitening strips put the finishing touch on the best daily teeth routine. Whitening strips should be used after your teeth have been cleaned. They provide an easy and safe way to whiten your teeth at home.  Most kinds of whitening strips are very easy to use. Each brand will come with their own instructions, but keep an eye out for the following:
  • First, brush your teeth before applying the top. This helps them adhere to your teeth better. Simply remove the whitening strip from its liner and place the gel side to your teeth, aligned with your gum line. Press the strip against your teeth for the best contact and fold the remainder of the strip behind your teeth.
  • Then take note of the number of daily applications. Some require a single application per day, while others require two applications. 
  • Note next how long each strip should be applied. This can range between 5 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on how strong the product is. Read your teeth whitening strop instructions closely. 
  • Finally, note how long the regimen should go on. Some last a week, and others last up to a month. 

How Often Should I Get A Dental Cleaning?

In addition to following the best daily teeth routine, you should also see a trained dentist or dental technician at least once a year to get a routine examination and cleaning. If you have a history of periodontal disease you may need to get your teeth cleaned more often in order to prevent the recurrence of infections or disease. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes or heart disease, you will also need to get your teeth cleaned more often.  If you smoke, quitting smoking can be the best thing you can do for your dental health. Smoking can stain your teeth and can cause other tooth and gum problems. If you do not intend on quitting, you may need to get your teeth cleaned more frequently. Your dentist can recommend how often to have your teeth cleaned if you smoke.  If you think that you want to get your teeth cleaned or speak to one of our experts about the best daily teeth routine and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Dental Fillings

Dental Fillings: What are the types and which is the best?

Whenever a dentist detects a cavity, they will recommend that their patient gets fillings. A filling is where the dentist removes a decayed portion of the tooth and then they fill the area of the tooth with strong material. The filling prevents further tooth decay and maintains the health of your tooth. Exactly what material is used is dependent on a number of factors, from cost, the location and extent of decay, the patient’s insurance coverage, and the dentist’s recommendation. There are many filling options that can potentially be used. This article will explore what types of fillings are available and bet used.

What Kind Of Materials Are Used?

There are many dental fillings on the market today. The fillings available include gold, silver, amalgam, composite resins, and even advanced materials like zirconia and more. During the initial consultation, your dentist will explain the options that you have and the extent of the cavities that need to be filled.  All of these factors are considered when it comes down to the final decision of which material to use for the filling.

Composite Fillings Or White Fillings

Composite fillings also called white fillings, are made from powdered glass quartz, silica or other ceramic particles added to a resin base. Once the tooth is prepared, the filling is bonded onto the area and a light is shone onto the filling in order to set it. The dentist will match the color of the composite fillings to your teeth. They have the advantage of being well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of the teeth. They actually bond to the tooth structure, providing even more support for the tooth. They are also very versatile in their uses and can be used to repair chipped, broken or worn teeth.  Composite fillings also have the potential to spare more of the tooth structure, as less of the tooth needs to be removed compared with amalgams. However, there are some disadvantages that should be considered. The composite or white filling lacks the same amount of durability as amalgams. Typically, the last 5 years compared to the 10 to 15 years of amalgams. They also may not hold up as long if used for large cavities. They also take longer than amalgam to place, sometimes up to twenty minutes longer than amalgam to place. You may also be required to go to multiple visits to the dentist’s office in order to place the filling. The filling material can also chip, depending on the location. They also cost up to double the cost of amalgam fillings.

Amalgam Fillings or Silver Fillings

Amalgam fillings, known as silver fillings, are made from a combination of mercury and silver alloy. Generally, they are 50% mercury, 35% silver, and 15% tin, copper, and other metals. Amalgams are long-lasting and hard-wearing and have been in use for over 150 years. They also are very durable and can last up to 15 to 20 years. Amalgam fillings are often used in molars and other chewing teeth. The mercury in dental amalgam is not poisonous after it is combined with the other materials in the filling. The chemical nature of the filling changes so that it is harmless. With over 100 years of research into the safety, no reputable study has found a connection between amalgam fillings and any medical problem. Some disadvantages to the amalgams include the destruction of more tooth structure, as a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling is needed to be removed. It can also discolor the tooth, creating a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure. It is also possible to experience cracks and fractures as the teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids. Some people, less than 1% of people, may experience an allergic reaction to the mercury in the filling.

Gold Fillings

Gold is one of the most long-lasting and hard-wearing filling materials and will last many years. Gold is a strong material that does not tarnish. One of the differences between the gold and the silver filling is that the gold filling is made in a laboratory. In the meantime, the dentist will place a temporary filling. Once the gold inlay has been made, the dentist will fix it in place with dental cement.  Gold fillings can last 10 to 15 years and often longer. And some people find it more attractive than silver fillings. They do tend to be more expensive, often 10 times higher than amalgam fillings. They also require multiple office visits in order to place them.  If a gold filling is placed next to a silver filling it can cause a sharp shock called a galvanic shock as the silver and gold make an electric current. This is very rare, however.

Zirconia Fillings

Some fillings are made out of ceramics like zirconia which are resistant to staining and can last more than 15 years and can cost as expensive as gold. Porcelain inlays are made in a laboratory and they will need at least two visits to your dentist. Porcelain is hard and long-lasting and is often matched in color with your natural tooth.  You may also be interested in glass ionomer fillings. These actually form a chemical link with the tooth. They release fluoride which helps to prevent further tooth decay. This type of filling is fairly weak, so it is often only used for baby teeth and non-biting surfaces such as around the base of the teeth. It will require some preparation in order to have the filling bond directly to the teeth. 

Which Type Of Filling Is For Me?

Choosing the right filling is always a complicated question. The best way to choose is to review with your dentist about which filling material will best fit your situation and your budget. Your insurance company may cover a portion of the cost of dental fillings. There may even be financial options should you need to do a payment plan.  If you think that you need to fill a cavity, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening – Your Complete Guide

Teeth whitening has become a big industry as more and more people want to find ways to make their smiles brighter. There are now so many different options available from state-of-the-art treatments using lasers to at-home teeth whitening kits using bleaching gels. But how do you choose between the many options available? What are the benefits of each method and how effective are they? This guide on teeth whitening will show how each treatment works and the pros and cons of each. With this guide, you can be best informed about how cost-effective each treatment is so you can make the right choice to get whiter teeth.

How to Get White Teeth

There are a number of basic methods in use to whiten teeth today. These include:
  • Using gels, strips, and trays containing a percentage of a special bleach
  • Laser treatment
  • Teeth whitening toothpaste
  • Teeth whitening mouthwash
The best teeth whitening method to choose depends on how much your budget is and how fast you want to see results. Additionally, you must consider how permanent you want the treatment to be and how much discomfort you are willing to go through. Please note that these treatments only work on natural teeth. Things like dentures, fillings, veneers or dental implants will remain the same color.

What Makes Teeth Discolored?

Teeth are generally not naturally bright white. The enamel that coats the teeth is a blueish-white color and is translucent. The dentin — the material beneath the hard enamel — is a yellow color and that shows through the enamel.  The enamel grows thinner as a person ages, so it is natural for teeth to look darker or more yellow as we age. However, there are a number of foods and drinks that are strongly colored and acidic in nature and other factors that can accelerate discoloration. These include:
  • Berries
  • Sauces like curries and tomato sauce
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine
  • Sugary drinks
  • Smoking
  • Braces
While the best way to maintain your smile is to avoid staining them, however, that is always not that simple. You can minimize the staining power of these foods by eating them with foods that prevent tooth staining like cheese, lettuce, celery, carrots, apples, and cauliflower. These foods help clean the teeth through friction and can neutralize the acid that damages the enamel.

In-office Teeth Whitening Treatments

It is prudent to visit your dentist and discuss with them potential teeth whitening options. Their treatments are very effective and they know how to perform them safely and can assist in case of any side effects.  In-office treatments are divided into three general types: Laser teeth whitening, Zoom teeth whitening, and professional bleaching.

Laser teeth whitening

Laser teeth whitening sounds futuristic and dangerous, but it is actually quite simple. Lasers are used to speed up the bleaching effect of a concentrated gel that is applied to the teeth. This makes it the most instant teeth whitening method, but also one of the most expensive. First, a rubber seal is applied around the gums to prevent the bleaching product, likely containing hydrogen peroxide, from bleaching the gums. Then the dentist will shine a laser on your teeth and accelerate the teeth whitening process.  This is an intense teeth whitening process that can give you results after just one visit. It also has the greatest potential for sensitivity after treatment. However, this sensitivity is temporary. Additionally, your dentist can recommend steps to take in case of greater sensitivity.

Zoom teeth whitening

This kind of whitening uses a technology from Philips that uses a powerful LED light to accelerate whitening instead of a laser. This process is less intense, coming with a lower chance for sensitivity but this can mean that you will need to do multiple sessions of about 45 to 60 minutes. Follow this method by an at-home course of teeth whitening treatment to prolong the results.

Professional bleaching

This is the cheapest form of in-office treatment where the dentist will apply professional grade tooth whitening gel via custom trays. This kind of gel is much stronger than the gels available for in-home treatments. This means they can produce much greater results than commercially available kits. The dentist will start by taking an impression of your teeth to create the custom tray. Then, you can go home and use the gels at home. The trays can be left in overnight, which makes it convenient so you don’t have to wear it during the day. Check with your dentist to see what options they have available.

At-home Teeth Whitening Treatments

These at-home kits are best used after a professional treatment to maintain the brightness of your teeth. These treatments include:
  • LED whitening
  • Bleaching trays
  • Teeth whitening strips
  • Whitening toothpaste

LED Whitening

These kits emulate the professional level of LED treatment that is available at an in-office treatment. These come with a tray that sometimes can be molded to fit your teeth, a bleaching gel, and an LED light to activate the bleaching agent.  These may offer good immediate results but they may quickly fade away or require multiple applications.

Bleaching Trays

Over the counter bleaching trays are similar to the LED at-home treatments. They come with an accelerator fluid that is applied directly to the teeth before the gel is used. The treatment can take between five to thirty minutes daily, depending on the strength of the gel.  These treatments will generally require a week to two weeks in order to get better results. Some products require that you combine the beaching trays with products like pens, polishers, and kinds of toothpaste. These combined can create good short-term results. One risk with this kind of treatment is that the whitening kits are not custom fit to your mouth so there is a greater risk of the beaching agent leaking out and burning or blistering other parts of your mouth. Additionally, you may not get the best coverage with these methods.

Teeth Whitening Strips & Toothpastes

These are small plastic strips that are attached to the teeth and are a cleaner and easier way to apply a bleach than gels or trays. Most of the brands generally are required to be placed on the teeth for about 30 minutes and then they are removed, but some even naturally dissolve after the 10-15 minutes of wear.  These can do a good job of brightening your front teeth but they aren’t going to be as effective for the teeth in the back of the mouth. They are a cost-effective method that can be used to produce good results quickly. This is a great solution for quick and painless options if you needed to whiten your teeth in time for a photo shoot. Tooth whitening kinds of toothpaste are good for removing surface stains. These won’t change the natural yellowing that comes with a reduction in enamel. This is also the cheapest option which makes it a very popular option to give your smile a little boost. They can also be used to prolong the results of more powerful treatments.

How Much Does It Cost To Have Your Teeth Whitened?

The cost of teeth whitening depends greatly on the method chosen. You can spend as little as five dollars or less on a tube of teeth whitening toothpaste. Or you can potentially spend much more on in-office laser treatment.  With teeth whitening, what you pay for is what you get. Professional in-office teeth whitening costs are going to be much more than home treatments, but you are gaining the experience and expertise of a trained dentist who can work with you to create a treatment plan that fits with your needs.  Additionally, many dentists offer financing options to help mitigate the cost of treatment. You should also check to see what coverage your dental insurance might provide. If you think you would like to see what tooth whitening treatment is good for you, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at  (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Invisalign Overview – How Invisalign Works to Straighten Teeth

Many people want to get straighter teeth, but the inconvenience and embarrassment over wearing metal brackets and the discomfort from traditional orthodontic work cause many to put off or rethink that decision. Invisalign presents a great alternative. Invisalign uses nearly invisible aligners to gently move your teeth into position. No metal is used and each aligner is custom made to fit your mouth. They work with a series of trays that gradually shift your teeth into place. Each tray is manufactured to be incrementally straighter than the previous one, generally by only 0.25mm each. Every two weeks, you get a new set of aligners. This slowly moves your teeth into their ideal place. All you have to do is insert the tray! You can forget the old days of uncomfortable and ugly brackets. Invisalign aligners are clear and hardly noticeable which means that they are a perfect option for adults and teens who want to straighten their smile without drawing attention to it.

The Three Steps to Getting a New Smile

Invisalign aligners take three simple steps to acquire.  First, meet with your doctor and get a preview of your new smile. Using a special scanner, your doctor can take a fast and precise 3D scan of your mouth and then map out a treatment plan that is customized for you.  You can also take the smile assessment on the Invisalign website to see if Invisalign is the right option for your needs.  This step is key to setting yourself up for success. Your doctor will ensure that your aligners fit well and they will answer any questions and give you an overview of the treatment. Second, you will begin wearing the aligners and have regular check-ins with your doctor. Continue this routine uninterrupted until the treatment has been completed. Depending on the complexity of the case, Invisalign aligners could transform your mouth in as little as 6 months, but you can expect to see results within a few weeks. Finally, by maintaining your smile with good oral hygiene and potentially with the help of a retainer, you can ensure that your smile shines for many years to come. Invisalign offers its own brand of a retainer, but you can always work with your dentist to see what options best work for you.  Be sure that you are seeing a dentist or orthodontist that is trained in Invisalign. These specialists need to attend a series of instructional sessions and continue with ongoing training. Because of the deep knowledge that is required to successfully treat patients using Invisalign, it is important to see trained specialists like those at Golden Smiles Dental.

Treatment Timeline for Invisalign

For the average adult, the treatment timeline tends to be around 12 months. This varies depending on how complex each case is. Teens may have a more complex and variable timeline.  All patients will work closely with your dentist to develop a treatment plan that is customized to your individual needs.  Additionally, sometimes the dentist will use small attachments to help perfect your smile. These are tooth-colored bumps that can be placed on the teeth in order to help the aligner grip the teeth and create the desired movement.

What Can Invisalign Fix?

What makes Invisalign so special is just how many dental problems it can fix. From gaps in teeth, to over or underbites, to teeth crowding, your dentist can create a special Invisalign aligner just for your mouth. Getting a mouth of straight and aligned teeth is not only good for your confidence, but also for your health. Gapped teeth can leave the gums unprotected and this can cause or make worse periodontal disease. Overbites and underbites can lead to stress on the jaw and joint problems, while overcrowded teeth can lead to plaque accumulation as well as greater difficulty in maintaining the teeth. This can lead to cavities. Invisalign can address all of these issues so that you are able to have the best oral health possible.

Does Invisalign Prevent Me From Eating My Favorite Foods?

Luckily, Invisalign aligners can be removed while eating. This means that you can go about your normal routine without much inconvenience. You simply remove them in the morning and in the evening to clean them. Simply brush them like you brush your teeth!  Remove your aligners when you eat as well. You never have to worry about food being stuck in wires or brackets. Invisalign can actually keep your teeth cleaner as you can maintain your normal oral health routine while aligning your teeth.  And for those athletes out there, you can remove your Invisalign and wear a mouthguard! Just be sure to replace them after the game. One of the best features of the Invisalign system is that you can see the progress of your smile as it happens. You never have to wonder how your teeth will look when the plan is finished!  Additionally, your mouth won’t be irritated by the metal braces. You don’t have to apply messy wax to the braces to prevent them from scratching and cutting the insides of your cheeks.  While the first few days of each treatment stage can be a little uncomfortable, Invisalign is a far easier choice to deal with. The discomfort is generally described as a kind of pressure.

After the Invisalign Treatment

When you have finished reaching your perfect smile, your doctor will likely recommend retainers. This is the same as if you were getting traditional braces or invisible aligners. Retainers are needed to keep the teeth in place after the treatment.  You also need to maintain good oral health. This means brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Be sure to follow any further recommendations made by your dentist following your treatment.  If you think Invisalign aligners are for you, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at  (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Dental Implants Illustration

The True Cost of Dental Implants

The options available for tooth replacement are many and each has its own costs associated with them, but what is the real cost of dental implants? Unlike traditional dentures, they require no glues or adhesives to stay in place and they often last many years if not decades. They also have the advantage of acting very much like a natural tooth and helping to preserve the shape of your face.  It seems like more and more is being said about dental implants and their advantages. They are popular for very good reasons. They look and function very much like natural, real teeth, but they are designed to be durable and strong. But how much is this going to cost you? 

How much does it cost to get a full mouth of dental implants?

On average a full mouth of dental implants only requires four implants per arch, four on top and four on the bottom. These are anchor points on which the arch is placed. Together they hold in place a denture securely and naturally to the gums.  The final cost of your bill will often take in factors such as location, the number of dental implants that are required, the materials that are used for the implant and what if anything your dentist needs to do before the surgery. This can be things like tooth extraction, or molds of the teeth. You are also paying for the dentist’s expertise. Be sure that you are going to a reputable and skilled oral surgeon as your oral health impacts the entirety of the rest of your health.  Getting a full set of teeth replaced can open the door to greater health. You can enjoy the foods you once enjoyed, speak with ease and clarity, and never worry about your smile again. The cost of more than one implant can range from $3,000 to $30,000, and if you opt for the best of all the available options that could go up as high as $90,000. 

How much does a dental implant cost for one tooth?

Getting a dental implant can cost roughly anywhere between $1500 to $6,000 including the cost of the office visits, any x-rays, any anesthesia, and any other associated costs. As with getting a full mouth of implants, the cost is directly related to the location, materials, and any prior procedures that will be required to be done.  While this may seem like a large investment, remember that you aren’t paying for just a quick and simple fix. You are investing in your future health and livelihood. Being able to eat good, healthful foods is going to impact your ability to live a full and healthy life. If you are missing a tooth, you can not only impact your health by not being able to chew the foods you love and need, but your appearance will change as well. The jawbone will naturally recede if there is no tooth root to encourage the bone to grow. This means your face shape will change over time. A dental implant will save you that shift in appearance by being anchored directly into the jawbone. This allows it to act as a natural tooth and it will bond directly to the bone. This creates a stable and secure base for the implant crown.

How much does insurance pay for dental implants?

Often insurance will cover the cost of dental implants if they are being implanted for a medical need. If it is considered a cosmetic surgery then many insurance companies will not cover the cost of dental implants. It is important to check with your dental insurance to see what they will cover and what costs you can expect to have to cover for the surgery, visits and other aspects of the service. Sometimes only portions or parts of the dental implant procedure will be covered, such as the initial consultation, office visits and more.  Call your insurance as soon as you are considering to get dental implants and you may save yourself a ton of money. Some Medicare Advantage plans may include dental implants, so it is important to know what your coverage will and will not include.

Why do dental implants cost so much?

One of the reasons why dental implants can be so costly is that they are not a single procedure, but require seeing a dentist or oral surgeon multiple times in order to check on your progress and provide consultations. Here is a very basic breakdown of what you can expect to do if you are planning on getting a dental implant:
  • Consultation. During the consultation, your dentist will check your mouth, get x-rays, and give a diagnosis of the condition of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. This is important to determine if you are a good candidate for implants. If you want to proceed with the implant surgery, your dentist will then take a mold of your mouth to be used in the creation of the implant.
  • The setting of the implant. The implant surgery itself generally consists of the dentist or oral surgeon drilling a small hole into the jawbone and inserting the implant. You sometimes will get a temporary tooth after this procedure.
  • The Abutment and Crown placement. After your gum and jaw have healed from the insertion of the implant base, an abutment is placed. This basically provides a surface for the permanent crown to be fixed on to. Sometimes the crown is placed after a period of more healing depending on the needs of the patient.
If you think dental implants are for you, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at  (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Composite Fillings

What you should know about Composite Fillings

When it comes to fillings, you have to basic options: amalgam fillings or composite fillings. Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals, and composite fillings are made from ceramic and plastic compounds. Each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. 

What are amalgam fillings?

Amalgam fillings are what are commonly known as “silver fillings”. These filings are made out of a mixture of mercury, silver, tin, and copper. The mercury that binds the metals together makes up around 50% off the filling. This combination makes them strong and durable. The mercury, when combined with other metals, is a safe and stable compound. This kind of filling has a long track record and has been around since the late 19th century. However, unlike composite fillings, they are very noticeable and can discolor teeth as light cannot pass through the tooth naturally. Some people can be sensitive to the metals that are used in the amalgam.

What are composite fillings?

Composite fillings are a resin made from ceramic and plastic compounds. Because of this, they can be matched to the natural color of your tooth and the filings can blend into your smile. These are often known as “white fillings” or “tooth-colored fillings”.  These filings have the great advantage of being nearly invisible. They are also very easy to adhere to the tooth, as they bond to the surface of the tooth. Best of all, they preserve the maximum amount of tooth. Because the resin is easily shaped to match your teeth, this means that less drilling is required.  It is important to note that the procedure to get a composite filling may take a little longer than amalgam fillings. Additionally, because white fillings don’t contain mercury so there are no health risks associated with the use of white fillings. Some people even experience less post-treatment discomfort and sensitivity from composite fillings.

How long do composite fillings last?

Despite the immense advancements in dental technology over the past few years, fillings do have a finite period of use after which they start to fail. This means it is important to see a dentist as soon as the dental filling begins to fail.  Luckily, white composite fillings are good for seven to ten years in healthy patients. However, this data is based on older types of dental fillings and significant advancements in filling manufacturing have increased this number.  Newer studies have found that white composite fillings are beginning to reach the same amount of durability as amalgam fillings. They can potentially last for up to 12 years if taken care of properly.

Are white fillings strong?

While white composite fillings have a reputation of being weaker than amalgam fillings, new developments in the materials that are used have made them much stronger than in the past. This means that more people are choosing white fillings over amalgam fillings in order to preserve their natural smile.

How much does dental composite cost?

On average, the cost for a composite filling ranges between $300 to $600 per tooth, however, most dental plans cover the cost of the procedure and most of the cost of bonding. Insurance companies will often cover the filling when it is done for structural reasons or to fill a cavity.  Getting a dental composite often requires a single visit to the dentist. Sometimes this procedure is called dental bonding, as the resin is bonded to the tooth after being sculpted, shaped, hardened and polished. This kind of composite is ideal for small cosmetic dental work, or for smaller cavities.

What does dental bonding involve?

The procedure generally begins with a gentle phosphoric acid being applied to the tooth. This is painless and provides a surface for the composite to be bonded to. The putty-like resin is then placed on the tooth surface, shaped and sculpted.  Finally, a special light is used to harden the resin and set it. Then it is polished and buffed for a smooth finish. The entire process takes around 30 to 60 minutes per tooth. Anesthesia is often unnecessary unless the bonding is used to fill a decayed tooth. Compared to other forms of tooth repair, like crowns or veneers, composite fillings require the least amount of enamel to be removed. If you think dental composite fillings are for you, and you live in the Rancho Cucamonga, CA area, give Golden Smiles Dental a call for your consultation at  (909) 481-8990. Our expert team will be more than happy to answer your questions.