Dental fillings are the most common repair for holes in teeth caused by tooth decay. Fillings can be made of many materials including silver, mercury, zinc and other metals. The cost of a dental filling will vary by geographic location, type of filling, and difficulty associated with the filling. There are mainly two types of filling- amalgam fillings and composite fillings. As more is learned about the potential problems with metal fillings, many dentists now use white, composite fillings.
How Much do Fillings Cost?
1. Amalgam Fillings
Traditionally known as silver fillings, amalgam fillings are the metal fillings that have been used by dentists for years. Amalgam fillings contain a mixture of silver, mercury, tin and other metals.
- Costs. Amalgam fillings cost between $60 and $150 depending on the amount of amalgam that must be used to fill the hole.
- Pros and Cons. Amalgam fillings are extremely durable because they are made of metal. These fillings are easy and quick for a dentist to use. For the patient, one of the biggest advantages is that amalgam fillings are cheaper than composite. On the other hand, there is some question as to whether some of the metals used in these fillings (particularly mercury) may be harmful. Most people also experience hot and cold sensitivity for some time with an amalgam filling.
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2. Composite Fillings
Composite fillings are those that more closely match the color of natural teeth. Composite fillings contain glass, plastic, ceramic and acrylic materials.
- Costs. Composite fillings cost from $125 to $250 depending on the amount of time and material needed.
- Pros and Cons. Composite fillings are great for teeth at the front of the mouth where the natural color makes the filling less noticeable. The strength of the tooth may be improved using this type of filling because it is bonded to the tooth. These fillings are durable lasting from 5 to 15 years. The disadvantages of composite fillings include the higher cost, the length of time it takes to apply the filling, and the precision required to do the filling. These fillings can also become discolored by tobacco, coffee, tea, and other substances.
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3. Insurance Costs Of Dental Fillings
In order to have dental fillings covered by insurance, you must have dental coverage. Even with dental coverage, a policy may only cover part of the cost – and may not cover composite fillings at all. In most cases, the cost of fillings may only be covered at 50-80 percent of the cost. If your dental policy does not cover cosmetic dentistry, it may not cover composite fillings. In some cases, the patient will be required to pay for the dental procedure and then submit a form for reimbursement from insurance. It is important to know what your policy will cover BEFORE you go to the dentist for a filling.