What Are Dental Fillings? Types, Procedures, and Costs

Most people are familiar with a dental filling, as it is one of the most performed dental treatments. A dental filling is used to treat damaged teeth, returning them to their normal appearance and function and preventing them from further damage. One of the best ways to prevent having to have a dental filling is to practice good oral hygiene techniques.

There are many different types of dental filling materials. This includes tooth-colored composite resin, silver amalgam, gold, and porcelain. This article will give complete information about Dental Filling.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that approximately 91% of American adults have at least one dental filling.

What Are Dental Fillings? Types, Procedures, and Costs

What is a Dental Filling?

So, what exactly is a dental filling? Read more below to see how do dental fillings work.

A cavity dental filling is a type of dental restoration that repairs a tooth whose structure has been damaged. They are most used to treat tooth decay, removing the infection and filling the hole to prevent further damage. They can also be used for cosmetic purposes, such as to cover staining or close spaces between teeth.

Types of Dental Fillings Material

There are a variety of types of dental fillings. Continue reading to see what dental filling material might suit you best.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam is a well-known dental filling. Amalgam fillings tend to last significantly longer than composite resin fillings due to their strength. They are often placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth such as the molars. In general, amalgam fillings are less expensive than other types of fillings, but can be considered less esthetic due to their silver color.

Composite Fillings

Composite fillings come in a variety of tooth-colored shades to make the restoration less noticeable. These restorations are becoming increasingly popular due to their discreet appearance. They are also fairly strong, but in general don’t last as long as fillings made from metals.

Gold Fillings

Gold is also another material used for cavity fillings. Gold fillings share similar durability to amalgam fillings. Overtime, they have lost popularity, but are still a great treatment option.

Ceramic Fillings

A ceramic filling is a typically made of porcelain. This filling is tooth-colored and more resistant to staining than composite fillings.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

Glass ionomer fillings often have the added benefit of releasing fluoride to the teeth. Fluoride can help strengthen the teeth and fight bacteria. In comparison to the other types of fillings, glass ionomers are usually less durable.

Procedure for Getting a Dental Filling

The dental filling procedure can be relatively simple and easy. Below, we discuss the step by step dental filling procedure.

Diagnosis and Examination

To determine if you need a filling, your dental professional will perform a thorough examination of your teeth and oral tissues. They will use dental X-rays or other diagnostic techniques for diagnosis and to create a treatment plan that is best for your needs.


For teeth that need minor adjustments, anesthesia may not be required. However, anesthesia is used for most cavity fillings to make the area numb.

Isolation and Tooth Preparation

Next, the dentist will isolate your teeth to make the area dry in preparation for the filling. Using a dental drill, the dentist will remove any decayed tooth enamel and sharp edges of the tooth. Depending on the filling material selected, an acid etch solution may be applied to the tooth and then rinsed prior to placement of the filling.

Filling Material Selection

Your dentist will determine the best type of filling for you. They will take into consideration your smile goals, the extent of the tooth decay, and the location of the tooth within the mouth, among other factors.

Filling Placement

Now, you will be ready to have the filling placed. Your dentist will place the dental filling inn a step-by-step manner specific to the dental material used. The completed filling will help keep bacteria from entering the tooth.

Finishing and Polishing

Once the filling is placed, the dentist will ensure there are no rough edges on the restored tooth. This step is usually accomplished with a polishing bur.

Bite Check to Ensure Proper Alignment

In most cases you will be asked to bite down normally, which your dentist will evaluate. They will confirm the filling is in proper alignment with your bite and make any necessary adjustments.

Post-Procedure Instructions

The last step in the dental filling process is the delivery of post-procedure instructions. If you were given dental anesthesia, you will be instructed to chew carefully until the anesthetic has worn off to avoid accidental injury to your oral tissues. They may also inform you of the possibility of tooth sensitivity to heat or cold over the next few weeks, which typically resolves on its own.

How Long do Dental Fillings Last?

How long do dental fillings last? Continue reading to find out the how long you can expect dental fillings to last.

With the proper care, dental fillings can last anywhere from 7 to 20 years. Brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups are necessary to maintain the health of your dental fillings. The length of the dental filling’s lifespan can also depend on factors like the type, size, and location of the filling.

Do Dental Fillings Hurt?

Do dental fillings hurt? In this section we delve into the truth about fillings.

Fortunately, dental fillings shouldn’t hurt. Your dental professionals will make you feel comfortable and relaxed throughout the procedure. Dental anesthesia is often used for additional comfort. Once the dental filling is complete, you may feel slight tenderness or sensitivity, but these symptoms usually disappear the first few days after the procedure.

How Much Does a Dental Filling Cost?

How much does a dental filling cost? The dental filling cost can be influenced certain factors, such as insurance coverage, the number of cavities you have, the size of your cavities, and the type of filling materials used. In this section we discuss the average cost of dental filling.

Dental Filling Cost with Insurance

Dental insurance can make dental fillings more affordable. Continue reading to find out the average dental filling cost with insurance.

Many dental insurance plans offer some coverage for cavity fillings. Many insurance plans offer 80% coverage for dental fillings after the annual deductible is met. On average, tooth-colored composite resin costs between $175 and $250 with insurance. In addition, silver amalgam fillings cost on average between $50 and $200 with insurance. Contact your insurance provider to find out the amount of coverage for dental fillings.

Dental Filling Cost without Insurance

Dental fillings can be paid for via other ways than through dental insurance. In this section we will discuss possible payment options and the average dental filling cost without insurance.

Dental fillings on average cost from $200 to $600 without dental insurance. The costs can vary based on factors like the filling material, extent of the amount of tooth repair needed, and the dentist’s fees. Some dental offices offer savings plans, financing options through third-party organizations like CareCredit, or other special discounts for dental fillings.

Dental Fillings Before and After Transformation

Dental fillings before and after are amazing! The process of dental fillings is simple and rewarding. A cavity dental filling makes your teeth healthier and look brand new. One of the most common types of fillings are composite fillings, which match the shade of your teeth and repair decay, cracks, and other dental issues.

Safeguard Your Teeth with Dental Fillings at Gentle Dental

Dental fillings help your teeth to both look and function the way they are meant to. If you are looking for excellent experienced doctors for your dental care including fillings, contact Gentle Dental.

When you need quality care, Gentle Dental is the place to go. Our team of dental professionals are experts in providing dental services to the community, ranging from cosmetic dentistry to dental fillings and much more! If you believe you need a dental filling, Gentle Dental offers comprehensive care that will get your smile healthier and happier in no time.


A cavity dental filling can restore your teeth back to health. The most common reason individuals require a dental filling is due to tooth decay, also known as cavities. Now that you have all the details about the procedures, cost, and types, you can be well prepared if you need a dental filling. Contact our amazing dentists and specialists at Gentle Dental, who will determine if you are a candidate for a dental filling.