If you’ve been to the dentist, you may have heard of things like fillings and crowns. Sometimes you may even need one yourself, they’re actually fairly common these days especially as we all keep eating foods that are apparently very bad for our teeth.
What is a filling?
It does pretty much what the name suggests – it fills a space or void.
If you have a cavity, your dentist will first start by removing the parts of the tooth that are decaying or damaged, and then add material to ‘fill’ the gap once complete.
if you have a cracked or broken tooth or teeth, fillings can also be used to repair them, and also repair teeth that have been filed down as a result of things like grinding your teeth at night.
What happens when I get a filling?
Normally, your dentist will take a closer look at the area first before adding an anesthetic (if necessary) to ensure you feel no pain.
The decayed portions of the tooth or teeth are removed using a drill, laser or air abrasion and when the dentist is sure there is no decaying matter left (normally by gently probing), the filling material will be added in layers before a special light is used to ‘set’ everything hard.
Once complete, the file will then use a file to make sure everything is even and looks as it should. It will then be polished.
How much do fillings cost?
The cost of your fillings will depend very much on where you live as well as other factors. If the job is a difficult one with a lot of work needed, you may find that you need more than one appointment or treatment. The material or kind of filling you have will also have a bearing on the price.
There are two main types of fillings:
Amalgam Fillings: These are the conventional, tradition types of filling, also known as silver fillings. They are metal so will be very durable, and they are usually made up of various metal components – tin, mercury, silver and a few others.
There are disadvantages – the safety of amalgam fillings has been questioned over recent years although more evidence is needed to support the theories. Some patients may experience sensitivity to hot and cold for a while after they first have their fillings.
You will generally find amalgam fillings will cost between $60 and $150 depending on the size of the cavity or problem, and the amount of time or material needed.
Composite Fillings: Quite the opposite of amalgam fillings, composite feelings are closer to the color of your natural teeth to make them appear more natural. The components will generally consist of ceramic, acrylic, plastic and even glass.
There are disadvantages – although more natural in color, these fillings will only last for between five and fifteen years and will easily become discolor from dark colored beverages and food.
These are also more expensive because of the time and experience necessary on the part of the dentist performing the procedure.
You will generally find composite fillings will cost between $125 to $250 depending on the size of the cavity or problem, and the amount of time or material needed.
What about dental fillings and insurance?
If you have dental coverage, you may find that your fillings are included as part of your insurance plan. However, this may not cover the full capacity of the bill and in many cases will only cover around fifty to eighty percent of it.
Composite fillings are generally not included in most dental insurance plans because it is classed as cosmetic dentistry. If you are in any doubt, ask before you have any work done otherwise you might be met with costly dental bills.