Cost of Tooth Filling

No one wants to hear that they have a cavity, and the prospect of a filling can bring up all kinds of questions. What does that entail? Will it hurt? And for many people, a big question is: How much will that cost? Luckily, fillings are typically quick, painless, and affordable procedures, much of which is covered by dental insurance.

Getting a Filling

Cavities and other forms of damage to teeth are often spotted during an oral examination, but they can also be seen via X-ray. In some cases, annual X-rays show cavities that have begun to form since your last visit, while in others, your dentist or dental hygienist might notice them while cleaning or examining your teeth.

Before filling the decayed area, your dentist will first have to remove the damaged or decayed matter. First, they will numb the area with a local anesthetic, and then they will remove the affected material with a dental drill. While this procedure can be noisy, it is not painful.

Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned out, rinsed, and dried, your dentist will then fill the area with either dental composite or a metal amalgam. The material will then be shaped and subsequently hardened with a special UV light.

Materials Used in Fillings

The two materials that are most commonly used in dental fillings are dental composite and metal amalgam. Your dentist will likely recommend one or the other when you begin to make plans for a filling, and this recommendation will be based on the material that they prefer to work with as well as a consideration of the location of the filling in the mouth.

Because dental composite made of a durably hybrid of plastic and glass and as such is made to be tooth-colored, dentists often recommend the use of composite fillings in areas that are highly visible, such as in the front of one’s mouth.

Metal amalgam, on the other hand, is made of a combination of metals that is bound together with elemental mercury; as such, it is silver in appearance and is much more noticeable. For this reason, dentist’s usually limit the use of amalgam fillings – which are quite safe – to areas in the back of the mouth where they are less likely to be noticed.

Cost of Fillings

The cost of fillings varies depending on size, location, materials, and complication level. Simply put, there is no average cost, as these factors influence the overall cost too much to estimate. However, your dentist’s office should be able to give you an estimated cost before doing the procedure.

While most dental insurance does not cover the full cost of fillings, most dental insurance does cover the cost of biannual office visits and yearly X-rays, so this part of the cost should be absorbed by your insurance. If you are having trouble affording the cost of a filling for yourself or a loved one, talk to your dentist about the possibility of a monthly payment, as these can sometimes be made available.

Temporary Tooth Filling

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