The Facts on the Costs and Types of Dental Fillings

Mar 01, 2020

If you visit your dentist with a cavity in your mouth the dentist will be removing the decayed portion of the tooth and then filling it with dental fillings material in the space where the decayed material existed. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked and broken teeth as well as teeth worn down because of misuse like nail biting and even teeth grinding.

Dental fillings are quite popular with almost one in five Americans having cavities in their mouths. In this article, we will be explaining the different dental fillings types, procedures, and the costs involved to help you make an informed decision if you are recommended fillings to treat cavities or any other issue with your teeth.

What Are the Steps When Filling a Tooth?

When beginning the dental filling procedure the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. The decayed area will be removed with a drill or air abrasion instrument. Lasers are also being used by dentists who have the expertise and using them. The kind of instrument used for the drilling will depend on the dentist’s expertise, comfort level, training, and investment in the specific equipment along with the location of the tooth and the extent of the decay.

The dentist will also probe the area during the removal process to determine whether all the decayed material has been removed after which space will be prepared for the filling by cleaning the decay of detritus and bacteria. If the decay is located near the root the dentist may initially put in a liner made from glass ionomer, composite resin, or any other material to protect the nerve. After the filling has been placed the dentist will complete the job by polishing it.

Tooth-colored fillings require several additional steps. After your dentist removes the decay and cleans the area the tooth-colored material will be applied in layers. Ultraviolet light will be used to harden each layer of the application. When the multi-layering process is over the dentist will shape the composite material to the desired result by trimming off any excess material and polishing the final restoration.

The Types of Filling Materials That Are Available

Different types of filling materials are presently available. Teeth can be filled with gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, tooth-colored, plastic, and glass materials that are also known as composite resin fillings. The extent of the decay and its location, the cost of the filling material and your dental insurance coverage research dentist’s recommendation can assist in determining the dental filling type that will best address your needs. Let us look at some types of filling materials to help you understand better.

Cast gold filling material is durable and can last for up to 10 to 15 years or longer and does not corrode. They can withstand chewing forces as they are strong and some patients find gold pleasing to the eye than silver amalgam.

Cast gold fillings are more expensive than other materials and approximately 10 times higher than the cost of silver amalgam fillings. You must visit the dentist’s office at least two times for the placements. Many patients do not find the colored fillings pleasing to the eye and you could also be susceptible to a galvanic shock if the gold filling is placed adjacent to silver amalgam fillings.

Silver amalgam fillings are also durable and can last for 10 to 15 years and are better than composite fillings. They are affordable as compared to composite fillings but are strong and can withstand the chewing forces.

Silver amalgam fillings do not match the color of the natural teeth and can destroy more of the tooth structure which needs to be removed to make space for the filling. They can cause allergic reactions and are prone to cracking and fracturing in the presence of hot and cold temperatures.

Tooth-colored composite fillings can match the color of your existing teeth because the shade of the composites is well-suited for use in the front teeth or visible parts of the teeth. Composite fillings bond to the tooth structure providing further support to the tooth. They can also be used to repair broken, worn or chipped teeth. Extensive preparation of the tooth is not required for tooth-colored fillings compared to silver amalgam when removing the decay and preparing for a filling.

Tooth-colored fillings lack the durability that is desired and wear out faster than amalgams. You will be required to spend extra time in the dentist’s chair because these fillings take more time to apply. They are prone to chipping depending on the location where they are placed. These are the most expensive and can cost you twice as much as amalgam fillings.

You can also consider fillings made from ceramics or glass ionomer depending on your preference but must understand that dental insurance companies cover the costs of fillings only up to the price of silver fillings and any additional costs must be borne by you.

The dental fillings cost will depend upon the kind of material you have chosen, the expertise of the dentist, your geographic location and the local cost of living that will all have a role to play in the total expenditure for the dental fillings.

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