According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 92 percent of adults will develop a cavity at some point in their lives. Fillings are one of the most commonly performed dental procedures worldwide and many patients find themselves asking, “How much does a filling cost?” Fillings are generally an inexpensive and very effective method of restoration. Treatment cost ranges from about $75 to $200 per tooth depending on the size and type of material you choose. Investing in a filling to repair your tooth today can minimize your risk of requiring more costly treatments such as root canal therapy, extraction, and restoration in the future. Your dentist can guide you in choosing a treatment option that works for your budget and provides long-lasting health benefits.
Factors Affecting Cost
There are several factors which will largely determine the cost of your treatment including the condition of your smile, the materials selected, and whether you decide to receive sedation during the procedure.
Extent of Your Decay
Before placing a filling, your dentist will first remove the decayed portions of enamel and dentin. Larger cavities will result in higher treatment costs. A well-trained dentist will always recommend the most conservative treatment possible, meaning fillings will be the first line of defense if signs of decay cannot be reserved.
Investing in a filling to repair your tooth today can minimize your risk of requiring more costly treatments such as root canal therapy, extraction, and restoration in the future.
Depending on the location and extent of the cavity, your dentist may recommend an inlay or onlay. Also known as indirect fillings, these restorations cover a larger area than traditional fillings and are often made using specialized computer-aided design and manufacturing software. Your dentist will spend more time and resources creating this restoration, which will likely increase the cost of your treatment.
If decay and infection has reached the inside of your tooth, your endodontic health may be compromised. Root canal therapy is the most effective way to save your tooth from extraction. Once the infection is eradicated, you will typically require the placement of a dental crown. Although undergoing a root canal will substantially increase the price of your treatment, it can help restore health to your existing tooth structure.
Location of the Damaged Tooth
Because of their larger size and hard-to-reach location, fillings placed on molars are generally more expensive. However, smaller teeth towards the front of your mouth are more visible when you smile. Most patients elect for a tooth-colored filling in these cases. Tooth-colored fillings are more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because the composite resin is a higher quality material.
Type of Filling
While a traditional amalgam filling can restore function to a decayed tooth, a composite filling can also maintain the appearance of your smile and is a great option if you are worried about the effects of metal on your health. Amalgam fillings are noticeably dark, but composite fillings are closely matched to the color of your surrounding teeth for seamless coverage. If you choose a tooth-colored filling, you can generally expect to pay more than if you choose the traditional metal option. Metal fillings cost roughly $50 to $100, whereas composite fillings can run between $90 and $250 each.
Whether Sedation Is Needed
Although most patients are able to receive a filling with local anesthesia alone, those with severe dental anxiety or phobia may choose to be sedated. These medications can help you relax during the procedure, but will increase the overall cost of your treatment.
Are Fillings Covered by Insurance?
Dental fillings are not an elective or cosmetic procedure, which means that your insurance provider should partially or fully cover your care. Patients can expect to pay about $10 to $50 in out-of-pocket costs for a metal filling and between $40 and $100 if they choose composite. If you do not have dental insurance, the cost of a filling is relatively inexpensive when compared to other dental procedures.
It is important to remember that leaving a cavity untreated can lead to excessive discomfort and tooth loss, which can require more expensive and complex restorative procedures. Do not delay the placement of a filling due concerns over costs. Your dentist likely accepts financing so you can receive the care you need to protect your oral health.