A tooth filling is a dental treatment that revives the functionality, morphology, and integrity of missing tooth structure. The treatment is done as a result of external trauma or caries, and also to replace missing structure through dental fillings.
Tooth fillings help to prevent continuous decay of the teeth. The most common materials used for fillings include porcelain, gold, amalgam, and a composite resin (coloured tooth fillings).
Tooth fillings are classified into two main types—direct and indirect. Also, they are further categorized by size and location. A root canal tooth filling, for instance, is a replacement method used in filling the dental pulp location.
Generally, most people whose teeth require a filling, have often refused to take up the chance of having a tooth filling. The reason behind this train of thought is that the cost of tooth filling is expensive.
However, this is more of a myth than reality. Tooth fillings are not categorically expensive. There are different types of tooth filling, and each type has its cost and factors affecting the cost. This article will tell you all you need to know about getting a tooth filling in Ontario.
What are tooth fillings?
A tooth filling is typically used to repair minimal fractures of the teeth, decay or otherwise impaired teeth surfaces. The tooth filling materials listed in the previous section may be used to balance tooth surfaces to enhance chewing or biting.
Enamel loss is a regular part of tooth decay and may often result in a tooth being too sensitive. In most cases, tooth sensitivity caused by enamel loss can be improved significantly or eradicated completely with a proper dental filling. However, in rare cases, depending on the level of damage, the afflicted tooth may need alternative or additional procedures. They include:
They are often combined with antibiotic treatment. Sores, infected or nerve damaged teeth may demand a root canal procedure.
Dental Bridges and Dental Implants
Irreplaceable tooth damage that requires extraction of the tooth may demand a bridge or an implant.
Teeth requiring more support than offered by a traditional filling may need a dental crown.
Types of tooth fillings
There are a wide variety of tooth fillings available for the average Ontario resident. Some of these include:
This is one of the most commonly used tooth fillings. This type of fillings consists of a blend of mercury and silver alloy. Additionally, they last longer than other types of tooth fillings. Both the Dental Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) approve the use of silver amalgam due to their safety and credibility.
Composite resin or tooth-coloured fillings
This is a mixture of plastic resin and powdered glass. It is also known as plastic, white, or tooth-coloured fillings. This type of fillings typically looks more like the original tooth they’re replacing and fills the top of the teeth perfectly. They also dispense little amounts of fluoride, which may help limit the risk of further tooth decay
This is a blend of resin and glass polymer with organic acid which hardens on exposure to blue light. This can also be coloured to look more like natural teeth.
This is a self-solidifying mixture of organic acid and glass, and it’s also coloured to look like the teeth. However, this type of material is used for small or fewer filings, and for cementing metal crowns or porcelain. It can also be used for temporary fillings.
These are a mixture of copper, gold, and other metals. They are mostly used for a partial set of teeth and crowns. These are very long-lasting yet expensive and may also lead to enhanced tooth sensitivity.
This is also another temporary tooth filling agent.
Cobalt-chrome or Nickel alloys
These types of tooth fillings contain both chromium and nickel and are silver-coloured. They are also applicable as tooth cement for fixing crowns.
Related article: Achieve a Beautiful Smile with Tooth-colored Fillings
Cost of tooth fillings in Ontario
Composite fillings are generally more expensive than standard silver amalgam fillings. This is because composite fillings require more expensive materials, a more complicated process, and extra office equipment. All in all, the cost of a tooth filling can reach as high as CAD600. It all depends on a number of factors.
Composite materials offer a better aesthetic advantage over the ordinary silver amalgam materials. Hence, people with ordinary silver amalgam fillings often return to their dentist to replace the fillings with composite fillings.
Generally, the cost of tooth fillings depends on different types of factors, including:
- The location where the tooth fillings are performed.
- The dentist who performs the tooth fillings procedures.
- The number of tooth surfaces that needs filling. For instance, one tooth may have one surface afflicted by damage or decay, while another may have more surfaces affected by decay.
- The type of dental insurance coverage you have. Dental insurance usually does not cover the extra costs associated with composite fillings.
On average, silver amalgam fillings are expected to last up to 12 years. However, composite tooth fillings are expected to last up to five (5) to seven (7) years. This is dependent on your special considerations, your commitment to regular dental visits and the care with which you treat your oral hygiene.
The cost of silver amalgam is approximately CAD150 to CAD 375 per filling – on average. While the cost for resin-based composite ranges from CAD185 to CAD425 per filling – on average. This is typically reliant on the number of tooth surfaces on which the materials are placed.
Cost of Tooth Fillings with/without Insurance Policy
If you have dental insurance coverage, you’re in pure luck. Most tooth fillings should be covered at least partially by your insurance coverage since they’re quite a standard part of dental work. This means your out-of-pocket costs will be minimal and affordable.
Also, you’ll have to consider your monthly payments, co-pays, and deductibles to confirm if using insurance will be cheaper. Always compare your choices to know which one will be cheaper in the long run. In the end, this varies based on your insurance plan, but it’s essential to consider both options.
Below, we’ve compiled some average costs in other to help you have an insight on specific costs of the two major types of tooth fillings. Always take your time to compare the two types of tooth fillings with and without insurance policy.
- Amalgam tooth Fillings with Insurance – CAD75 to CAD125.
- Amalgam tooth Fillings without Insurance – CAD150 to CAD375.
- Composite tooth Fillings with Insurance – CAD100 to CAD150
- Composite tooth Fillings without Insurance – CAD185 to CAD425.
The Placement effect on the Cost of a Tooth Filling
Although you may not know this, the location of the fillings required in your mouth can have a significant impact on the costs. Filling teeth that are further in the back of the mouth will cost more than those in the front of the mouth. The ones further in the back are always harder to reach.
Also, in Ontario, if there are complications, such as a compressed molar, it’ll affect the cost of your treatment. However, note that teeth that are further back are going to be closer to the high end of the spectrum. While those teeth that are closer to the front will be on the lower end of the above-listed prices.
Sedation Costs during Tooth Filling Process
Insurance costs often include some sort of local anesthetic, a numbing agent used to reduce pain and sensitivity during the procedure. Nonetheless, you may realize that you need a sedative agent to withstand the tooth filling process. This is recommended, especially if your anxiety level is high.
If you are to undergo multiple tooth fillings at a time, it is better to use sedation during the procedure. However, sedation isn’t part of the average cost of fillings. Therefore, it’s an additional cost which must be considered separately. Dental sedation process is usually not covered by insurance, so below is the price for each sedative.
- Laughing Gas/ Nitrous Oxide: It produces light sedation which wears off quickly with an average cost of CAD35 to CAD110.
- Intravenous Sedation: It is a sedative given via an IV drip which offers deeper sedation, and usually costs about CAD510 to CAD750 on average.
- Oral Sedation: It creates a light controlled sedation and usually costs about CAD175 CAD500 on average.
- General Anesthesia: It is normally given only for surgical procedures and never for tooth fillings. Nonetheless, it can also be used under dangerous circumstances to put a patient to sleep completely. The cost is often around CAD600 to CAD800 on average.
Tooth Fillings Discounts
If you require tooth fillings but can’t afford any, check around for discount dentistry in your area. There are regular low-income dental offices and schemes around you. In fact, most of them are willing to work with you to ensure you undergo the tooth filling process at reduced prices.
Related article: Dental Care for Seniors: Tips and Treatments
Porcelain vs Composite fillings
There are few pros and cons associated with both porcelain, composite, and amalgam type of fillings. Below, we’ll explain the differences and similarities between the types of tooth fillings.
Safety and Appearance
Generally, porcelain and composite tooth fillings are more aesthetically pleasing with natural tooth-like appearance. Also, they have the potential benefit of not containing mercury or other metals that may cause toxicity or sensitivity.
Mercury toxicity levels from silver amalgam tooth fillings is a controversial topic, with no significant research to back it up.
Till date, there is no certainty to show risks posed by silver amalgam fillings for having mercury components. However, most patients do react to metal sensitivity with some reporting a metallic taste after having amalgam fillings.
Previously, composite and porcelain were not as durable as silver amalgam fillings. Nonetheless, dental manufacturers have made an excellent effort in enhancing the strength of composite resin materials. This, however, has made the composite fillings a potential fit for all teeth, including molars.
Additionally, composite materials do not weaken the affected tooth and usually require less tooth preparation. This is a stark contrast to silver amalgam fillings which require extra tooth preparation regularly. However, amalgam fillings have a long-term track history and often last much longer than composite and porcelain. Also, composite materials are more likely to leak and therefore decay more quickly than amalgam fillings.
Fillings Technique and Time
More than silver amalgam, the success rate of composite or porcelain is dependent on your dentist’s skills. Composite or porcelain replacement also requires the use of additional apparatus. Additionally, the procedure consumes up to 50% more time than amalgam fillings.
This, however, influences the high costs associated with composites and porcelain. Furthermore, most dental insurance companies do not provide coverage for the extra costs associated with composite and porcelain.
Required Dentist Skill
Notably, most dentists are expert in composite and porcelain fillings, although their level of skill varies. Choosing the perfect dentist is a vital factor in treating your tooth decay or similar damage. Confirm if your dentist has attained the level of post-graduate training which allows dentists to improve their skills in porcelain or composite restorations.
It is ideal to stay well-informed by understanding the differences between various restoration procedures. This way, you’ll appreciate every single detail about the process and what works best in your interest. Consult your dentist to ascertain the treatment cost, time, aesthetic value, and functionality of all available restorative dental treatments.
Recovery and Aftercare
Once the tooth fillings procedure is completed, your dentist will discuss ways you can prevent further decays. This will help you avoid residual formations or decay in other teeth, under or around the fillings.
Flossing your teeth with dental floss or brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste is ideal. It is also advisable to use an interdental cleaner once daily. Always keep appointments with your hygienist and dentist for teeth cleanings and routine check-ups.
Depending on your risk for cavities, your dentist may also propose the use of sealants. This is usually placed on your molars to prevent the build-up of any potential decays and plaques. Also, the use of fluoride mouth-washes as an additional preventive measure is ideal.
Furthermore, it’s vital to maintain a balanced diet and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. This is necessary because nutrition and diet affect our oral health a lot.
Related article: How to Tell If Your Fillings Need to Be Replaced
Generally, for silver amalgam, tooth fillings cost approximately CAD150 to CAD375 per fillings on average. While for resin-based composite, tooth fillings cost approximately CAD185 to CAD425 per fillings on average. This is, however, determined by the number of tooth surfaces on which the composite materials are placed. Contact us to get a quote today.