A. How Much Are Dental Fillings?
Do you have a cavity? Would you like to know how much dental fillings cost in your area? How much dental fillings ultimately cost depends on various factors. But understanding what variables are at play can at least save you from being caught off guard by a surprise bill in the post later.
1. What are dental fillings?
Dental fillings are your first restorative line of defense against tooth decay. A filling is essentially a patch or reconstructed area in your tooth where a cavity has formed. Dental filling materials are flexible, allowing your dentist to mold them to specific areas in your mouth. Modern fillings can be made from a variety of materials. Most are hand formed and placed directly into the tooth at the time of the consultation. Others are lab-made fillings that your dentist takes an impression of, sends to the lab, and inserts a few weeks later. A modest dental filling restores the affected area of the decayed tooth to look and function properly. They block food and bacteria so your cavity doesn’t get bigger.
2. Why do you need a tooth filling?
If you have a small or medium-sized cavity, you need a tooth filling. However, the cost of dental fillings can vary depending on the size of the restoration. So the earlier your dentist diagnoses tooth decay, the faster you want to treat it. It’s very important to remember that tooth decay is a bacterial infection that will continue to spread if you don’t treat it. How much do dental fillings cost? The price goes up the longer you wait for your tooth to be fixed. Ultimately, a cavity can gradually expand into the nerve or cause so much structural damage that filling is no longer possible.
Fillings are specially designed to treat tooth decay. Common symptoms are:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tenderness to sweets
- Occasional bumps or zings coming from a tooth
- Discomfort when biting
- Teeth throbbing or pain
3. Cost of uninsured dental fillings
The average cost of an uninsured filling depends on dentist fees, the type of filling material used, the number of surfaces to be filled, and the need for additional procedures. On average, you can expect to pay $200 to $600 for a fountain pen, but it can cost as much as $4,500 depending on your individual situation.
4. Types of dental filling costs
If you ask your dental office, “How much do dental fillings cost?” they will likely reply, “What kind?” The materials your filling is made of will directly affect the cost of the procedure and even how much your dental insurance will cover. Depending on market prices, some dental filling materials are constantly being adjusted due to supply and demand. Dental fillings placed in the dentist’s office the same day are usually less expensive than those made in a lab. Laboratory fillings are much less common, but some dentists still prefer them.
The smaller the cavity, the smaller the filling, resulting in lower costs.
- Type of filling without insurance costs
- Silver Amalgam $50 to $300
- Composite resin $90 to $450
- Gold fill $250 to $2,000
- Porcelain inlay/onlay $300 to $4,500
a. Silver amalgam fillings
Cost without insurance: $50 to $300
Silver fillings are in almost all cases the cheapest type of filling. Silver restorations typically cost $50 to $150 for one or two surfaces, $120 to $300 or more for three or more surfaces. The percentage that insurance pays is usually higher than other types of fillers. Traditional silver restorations are made from amalgam or a metal alloy (a mixture of different materials). Amalgam fillings have been used for decades. They are great when it is impossible to dry a tooth as no bonding is required. The downside is that metal fillings require more tooth preparation, making them more invasive on your teeth in general. Also, they are silver. So if you have a cavity on a tooth that is visible when you smile, you can see the metal filling. But with molars, it’s usually not that much of a problem.
b. Composite fillings
Cost without insurance: $90 to $450
White composite fillings are the second most common type of filling. For one or two surfaces, tooth-colored composite fillings typically cost $90 to $250, for three or more surfaces the typical cost is $150 to $450 or more. These fillings cost a little more than the silver fillings. However, the price of white fillings has dropped significantly in recent years. There might not be much difference in paying for white fillings with dental insurance compared to older silver options. With a white filling, you can restore every tooth in your smile without the filling being visible. This aesthetic benefit alone can make the cost of white tooth fillings worth the slightly higher investment. In addition, the composite bonds to the tooth, keeping the restoration as non-invasive as possible.
c. Gold fillings
Cost without insurance: $250 to $2,000
Gold dental fillings are usually lab-made versions. Also known as “inlays” and “onlays” or “three-quarter crowns”. As a larger, laboratory-made restoration, gold is durable and flexible for more aggressive areas of caries. They are a good middle ground between a smaller tooth filling and a full-surface crown. But how much do dental fillings cost if they’re made of gold? That’s a great question. Depending on current market values, it may be higher in one month and lower in another. But they will definitely cost more than a silver or composite filler.
d. Porcelain fillings
Cost without insurance: $300 to $4,500
White tooth fillings are not the same as porcelain fillings. A porcelain restoration is made in the laboratory (inlay/onlay) similar to a crown. Because of the extra steps involved in fabrication and placement, the cost of lab-made dental fillings increases. There is also the question of the materials used. Porcelain and ceramics are not all the same. Some are made of high density zirconia. Others are CEREC treatments made to order. The type of material needed directly affects the overall cost of the process.
5. Additional costs for dental fillings
Let’s say you get a small, affordable white or silver fill. Are there other costs that could affect the cost of treatment? Absolutely.
a. Additional procedures
Average cost of the procedure
- Dental exam $50 – $150
- Dental X-ray $10-$250
- Local anesthesia $60 – $500
b. Cost of living in your area
If you are in a place with higher rents and housing, dental fees will reflect that.
c. If you are receiving sedation
Do you want to sleep during a tooth filling appointment? The additional fee will be added to your total cost. Sedation comes in different levels, as do prices.
d. Your insurance coverage
Some plans pay up to a certain amount regardless of the type of fill you get. If you’re willing to pay a little more for a white or porcelain tile, that’s your choice.
e. The number of tooth surfaces involved
Single surface fillings cost more than two or three surface fillings. If you have a gap between your teeth, your dentist has to go through the top of the tooth to get there, which means your filling will be a two-face filling. If it’s just on the occlusal surface, it’s just a surface.
6. Are dental fillings covered by insurance?
Dental fillings are usually covered by most dental insurance plans. However, your plan may dictate the type of filling covered and how much money your insurance plan pays you each year. If you only need one of the two fillings, you can only spend (give or take) a few hundred dollars, but if you need full-mouth fillings, you can easily maximize your insurance benefits. A typical tooth filling is usually about 80% covered. The level of coverage will of course depend on your policy. It is up to you or your employer (who originally enrolled in the plan) to choose the levels of coverage you receive. These vary by company, so one insurer is not always better than another.
If you have a deductible to meet, you must pay up to that amount before your insurance company will pay for the completion. In theory, even if your plan covers 80% of a fill, you can still pay 50% or more, depending on your deductible. To find out exactly how much dental fillings cost in your situation, have your dentist create an individual treatment plan for you. The Insurance and Treatment Coordinator will tabulate your coverage, include it in your treatment plan, and show you a line-by-line estimate of your rates and expected financial liabilities. Sometimes it seems like rocket science, but your dental team is there to help.
7. The cheapest way to tooth fillings
Is there a cheaper way to pay for dental fillings? Absolutely.
a. Faculties of Dentistry
An easy way to cut your dental bills by less than half is to go straight to the nearest dental school. Dental schools offer incredible, high-quality treatment, delivered by the most experienced dental students and always under the supervision of a supervising professor dentist. The results are impeccable, the costs are low, but there’s a downside: you spend a lot more time waiting. After all, they have to be checked and evaluated in their work!
b. Payment plans
It is quite common for people to use payment plans to pay for dental work. Especially since most insurers haven’t adjusted their benefits to the average cost of living for, oh, 40+ years. And these days, a lot of people don’t have dental insurance, period. With a payment plan, you typically get 0% or low interest and instant approval. You then make low monthly payments on your balance. That way, you can plan treatment right away, even if it’s not in your emergency budget.
c. Treat tooth decay as soon as possible
The sooner you treat an area with decay, the cheaper the procedure will be. The price of a small filler today can easily escalate to hundreds or thousands of dollars more over a several month treatment. Just because a tooth doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean you can put off treatment. It will eventually come back and haunt you. It’s better to finance a small tooth restoration as soon as possible than worrying about the price of a root canal and crown, which will cost a lot more.
d. Community dental clinics
Most communities have a full-time or emergency dental clinic that offers community service to people who qualify. Requirements vary depending on which clinic you attend. Most only offer basic services like teeth cleanings, exams, and tooth extractions. Some may also offer smaller dental fillings.
8. Alternative to a tooth filling
Maybe you’re still not convinced that you need dental cleaning. If this is the case, consider the following:
a. Get a second opinion
Is your new dentist overreacting to a tooth injury? If you are uncomfortable with the treatment, do yourself a favor and at least get a second opinion. When the second dentist confirms the situation, you know you need to take care of it.
b. Silver diamine fluoride
While SDF can severely stain teeth, it can help stop (stop) tooth decay in situations where a filling may not be appropriate. As with special needs patients or young children who may not be able to sit still without sedation or may be on the verge of losing their teeth in a year or two.
c. Ask your dentist to put a watch on him
Is the lesion extremely small? Have you still not broken through the outer layer of your tooth enamel? Your dentist may want to prescribe you a fluoride gel and ask you to revise your oral care routine. They may examine you at your next check-up to see if the lesion has spread.
9. What to Expect from a Tooth Filling Procedure
First, your dentist will gently numb your tooth. They usually use an anesthetic seal before the injection to make you as comfortable as possible. If your tooth is numb, they will clean decayed and damaged tooth structure. Finally, they prepare the remaining tooth surface and mold the filling material directly onto the tooth. If it is a lab-based filling, a second visit is required.
10. Do I need a root canal treatment?
If you wait too long to get a tooth filling, it almost always spreads to the nerve of the tooth. In this case, you should have to worry about the lowest cost of dental fillings. Until then, your only option to save your tooth is a root canal and a crown. Even if the decay eats up more enamel and doesn’t break through the nerve, you still need a dental crown, which costs hundreds of dollars more than a filling.
B. How Much Does A Filling Cost Without Insurance?
Without dental insurance, the average cost of a filling is $200 to $600. However, the cost can range from $100 to $4,000 depending on the size and location of your cavity and the type of filling material.
Other factors that affect the cost of dental fillings include:
- How many teeth need to be filled – Of course, the more teeth that need to be filled, the higher the cost.
- Which Teeth Need Fillings – Fillings in cavities in molars or other hard-to-reach places can cost more if additional time or equipment is needed.
- Cavity Size – If the cavity is too large or the caries is too advanced, more material and labor may be required. Therefore, filling costs may increase.
- Any Additional Conditions – If the tooth or gums are infected, multiple dental visits and treatments may be required, which will incur additional costs.
- Location — The cost of dental treatment varies by region.
- Dentist – Every dental practice has its own unique pricing and payment options.
1. Cost of silver amalgam fillings
Silver amalgam, also called metal filling, is the cheapest type of filling. These types of fillings cost $50 to $200 if one or two surfaces need to be filled, or $150 to $400 for three or more fillings. Silver amalgam fillings are made from a combination of different materials including silver, tin, zinc, mercury and copper. They are durable and last up to 10 years. However, they are less popular than other options because their silver tint makes them much more noticeable than other types of filling. There is also a chance that the metal will expand and break teeth.
2. Composite filling costs
Composite or composite fillings typically range in price from $150 to $300 for one or two surfaces, or $200 to $550 for three or more surfaces. Resin-based composite restorations are slightly more expensive than silver restorations. However, they are still cheaper than gold or porcelain. Their main advantage is that they are the same color as tooth enamel. They are particularly popular for front teeth and clearly visible surfaces. Resin composites are not as durable as metal, so they typically need to be replaced every five years. However, with proper maintenance, they can last longer, up to 10 or 15 years.
3. Gold filling cost
Cast gold, gold leaf, and gold inlays can range from $300 to $1,000 for one or two finishes and $450 to $1,800 for three or more fills. Gold fillings last a long time, up to several decades, and some people like the look better than silver fillings. However, it is rare to find a dentist who still uses gold for dental fillings.
4. Cost of porcelain fillings (inlays)
Porcelain fillings, also known as inlays, cost between $300 and $4,500 per procedure. According to ADA, inlays are not technically “fillings,” although they can serve the same purpose. Ceramic porcelain inlays are the longest and most expensive filling procedure. First your tooth will be drilled. The doctor then takes an impression of your tooth and the inlay is made in the laboratory based on the impression. These fillings are the most aesthetic as they are the most stain resistant. They last up to 15 years.
5. Additional costs
Additional dental procedures may be needed to diagnose your oral health or improve the quality of dental work. Additional dental services that may be required include:
- Dental surgery costs
- Dental exam $50 – $200
- Panoramic X-ray $100-$250
- Bite X-ray $25 – $50
- Periapical X-ray $25 – $50
- Nitrous oxide $40 – $150
- Conscious sedation/local anesthesia $75-$500
- IV sedation and anesthesia $500-$800
6. This saves you money on cavity fillings
If you don’t have dental insurance, the costs of checkups, fillings, and other routine dental procedures can quickly add up. Many people accumulate debt by putting their dental treatment on a credit card.
To save money, you can join a discount dental plan, which is a membership club. You pay an annual membership fee starting at $99 in exchange for discounted dental care from professionals in your network. You can save money on procedures including:
- Cavity fillings
- Inlays and onlays
- Root canal treatment
- Dental crowns
- Dental implants
- Tooth whitening treatment
People with relatively healthy mouths who don’t have significant gum or dental problems can save more money with a discount dental plan over traditional insurance. If you just need routine teeth cleanings and occasional dental work, check out dental plans. There are also dental care programs for inexpensive options.