The cost of a filling can vary depending on who you go to, the type of filling and degree of restoration required. An amalgam is cheaper than a composite but an amalgam will last significantly longer if you are unconcerned about aesthetics. Also, there is the back and forth debate over whether or not amalgams are linked to other health issues. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have determined there is no danger from an amalgam filling. Yet there are specialists and consumers who remain unconvinced of these findings.
One of the ways to find out the actual range of cost is to just call a local dentist from the internet and ask them. The problem with a quote over the phone is that each person presents a different set of restorative circumstances, but you should be able to get a range of costs or a free consultation.
While costs vary from one area to the next and from one office to the next, the cost of typical amalgam filling ranges from approximately $75 to $175 per filling, whereas a composite resin filling ranges from $125 to $300 for a single surface restoration. You should expect about 3 to five years (possibly 7 years) from the composite and as many as 20 years or longer from an amalgam. Actually, a well-cared-for amalgam filling can last a lifetime, so the expensiveness of the filling really becomes a minor consideration.
Restorative circumstances are going to vary from tooth to tooth and decay may be found in one small spot or throughout a tooth, you never know until you start the restoration. The restorative fees are based on the number of surfaces needing filling in a single tooth. Since composite resin restorations are more time consuming and require greater skills to completion they are more expensive than amalgam fillings and weigh in on the more expensive side of caries restorations.
Typically dental insurance covers most or all of the costs of a silver amalgam filling, but only 50 to 80 percent of the cost of a composite filling because insurance companies feel the higher charge for the tooth-colored material is considered cosmetic. One exception is when an old amalgam filling is cracked or broken and is replaced with a composite filling.
Your dentist should be advising you of the type of filling based on the size of the cavity and the location of the tooth in your mouth. Amalgams are more likely to be placed in the back of your mouth while composites are more likely to be used on more-visible front teeth. WebMD.com gives an overview of typical filling procedures and Colgate.com lists pros and cons of different types of fillings.
The trick is to find a qualified, well trained dentist, and that requires you to educate yourself about the dentist you choose and a basic knowledge about dentistry. If we can be of service or answer any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.
Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328
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