A dental filling serves as a helpful dental restoration approach, aimed at mending the damaged part of a tooth brought about by a cavity. In essence, a filling involves permanently settling a material like silver or resin into that decayed section, filling up the tooth and preventing any further harm. Fillings are also used to patch broken or cracked teeth, or to bolster teeth that have been worn down by habits such as nail-biting, clenching, or teeth grinding.
Fillings are typically made from one of four main materials: silver (also known as amalgam), gold, composite resin, or ceramic (commonly referred to as porcelain).
Silver fillings, which are usually more affordable and longer-lasting than composite fillings, tend to endure for a minimum of 10 to 15 years. They are well-suited for cavities located at the rear of the mouth, as their durability allows them to withstand the forces of chewing and biting.
Gold fillings, known for their durability and compatibility, are often used for dental fillings. They often last up to 20 years or more without corroding, while providing an excellent fit and strong support for chewing forces. However, their drawbacks include a higher cost compared to other filling materials, and the noticeable contrast in color compared to natural teeth, which may not be aesthetically pleasing for some patients.
Composite, also known as resin fillings, can be customized to blend in with the adjacent teeth. It’s worth mentioning that many insurance policies do not fully cover the cost of composite fillings. Typically, these plans cover an amount equivalent to the expense of a silver filling, leaving the patient responsible for the remaining cost difference.
Ceramic fillings, while also designed to match the color of the teeth, tend to be significantly pricier than their composite resin counterparts.
In cases where the damaged tooth lacks sufficient structure to support a filling but doesn’t warrant a crown, your dentist might suggest an indirect filling. This type of restoration necessitates two visits for placement and resembles tooth-colored (composite) fillings in appearance.
As with any cavity, the decay or an existing filling is removed during the first visit, but then the dentist takes an impression of the tooth and its surrounding teeth. The impression is sent to a dental laboratory where a filling is made. At the second visit, the dentist permanently cements the new filling into place
Fillings can be efficiently performed at Dental Depot’s office, typically taking around an hour to finish. Dental Depot’s expert and caring staff will initially consult with you about the procedure and examine your mouth prior to commencing. X-rays may also be conducted if needed. To minimize discomfort, the dentist will administer a numbing agent to your teeth, gums, and adjacent cheek skin. It usually takes a few minutes for the numbing effect to set in.
Once the numbing is complete, the dentist will proceed to remove the decayed area within the tooth. They will then inspect the region to ensure all decay has been eliminated and clear the exposed cavity of any remaining bacteria or debris.
Following this, the dentist will place the filling and secure it to the tooth, using either cement or a curing method, depending on the type of filling chosen. Finally, the dentist will finish and polish the filling to ensure it’s smooth and doesn’t interfere with your bite.
A good oral hygiene routine is the best way to care for your filling: brush and floss daily and visit your dentist regularly, at least every six months. During your exams, your dentist will also check your alignment for any problems, such as teeth grinding or clenching; these habits put extra pressure on your teeth and can cause both teeth and fillings to crack or break.
There is a risk of the filling not fitting tightly enough against the tooth, coming loose, or breaking. If you feel a sharp edge on one of your teeth, notice a crack in or missing piece from the filling, or your tooth is very sensitive, contact your dentist. An X-ray may be necessary to determine if the filling is “leaking,” or allowing saliva or debris in between the tooth and filling, increasing the chance of developing a cavity there.
While fillings can last over a decade, they do eventually need to be replaced, especially if they have cracks or worn areas. Continuing to chew with a damaged filling can cause more damage to the tooth underneath and may become a bigger problem than just a simple replacement. Your dentist will check your fillings at your regular exams and let you know when a filling needs to be replaced.
The cost of a filling is determined by the material utilized. Single silver amalgam fillings, which are the most common and widely covered by insurance, typically range from $50 to $150. Composite (tooth-colored) fillings can cost anywhere between $90 and $250, while gold or porcelain fillings may range from $250 to $4,500.
Most dental insurance plans cover the majority of expenses related to fillings. However, some plans might necessitate a deductible or copay, and plan restrictions could result in additional out-of-pocket costs for fillings other than silver amalgam. To clarify any uncertainties, it’s a good idea to consult your dentist and/or your insurance provider.
Dental Depot provides dental care for the whole family. Our friendly team of experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive the necessary care to maintain your teeth for a lifetime. Schedule your initial appointment today. With convenient offices in Blue Springs and Independence, you can select the one nearest to you.