Probably the most common question my receptionist is asked is “How much does a filling cost?” It is a logical question. You know you need to get a filling and would like to know how much it will cost before you book in.
Unfortunately answering it is not that simple and in most instances it is impossible to give an exact figure over the phone. I guess unless you are in the know to most people getting a filling may be like any other consumer product. But in reality it would be like ringing Harvey Norman and asking “How much does a fridge cost?” Unless you have the exact make and model the price will vary from a few hundred dollars to the tens of thousands for the very biggest and best fridges.
In dentistry what we need to get to the bottom of before we can give you a price is what “make and model” filling do you need? Here is how we go about determining those features.
Where is the filling?
Is it in the front or is it in the back? If its in the back, how far back? The further back we go the harder the harder it is to work. There is less space and more saliva and all things being equal the same filling on a wisdom tooth is technically much harder to do than on a tooth 3 or 4 teeth further forward.
If it is in the front, is it on the visible front surface or behind the front teeth? If it is on the front it will need to have an exact match in terms of colour. If its behind then as long as the colour is close then it still won’t be visible. Also what are the state of the the teeth? If someone has stained and discoloured teeth then matching colour is easy and only one shade would be just fine. If someone has very white teeth and an unblemished smile then to get a match may require the use of layering multiple different colours and tints to get the desired “invisible” out come.
How large is the filling?
This is where it gets really tricky. As a general rule the larger the filling the weaker the remaining tooth structure and therefore the greater the strength requirements for the new filling. If the tooth is very weak a Cerec Poreclain Inlay or even a Crown may be needed to strengthen the tooth. Both of these treatments involve making a restoration outside of the mouth out of a very strong ceramic that gets bonded into the tooth. Both of these will obviously cost more than a regular filling.
Larger fillings also take longer to do and as such the cost goes up with extra numbers of involved tooth surfaces.
What Type of Filling is Needed?
As I previously mentioned some teeth need only a standard filling (all restorations at Duncraig Village Dental are tooth coloured) whilst others would be best served with a Cerec or a Crown.
How Do We Decide Which Filling is Needed?
This is where my 90/10 rules comes in. After assessing the tooth and seeing 1-Where in the mouth it is? 2-How big is it? 3-How much force is it under? I will decide what restoration would be required to achieve at least 90% success at the end of 10 years. If a filling will achieve this then this is all that would be required if not then will a Cerec Inlay achieve the desired success. If we think a Cerec Inlay will not last 10 years with a 90% certainty then possibly a Crown will be necessary. In some situations so little tooth structure remains that the only predictable option would be extraction and a Dental Implant.
So if you think you might need a filling and are not in discomfort we would recommend having a consultation or examination first so that we can:-
1-Assess your tooth.
2- Present to you the options that you have available and their pros and cons.
3-Give you an accurate estimation of the costs involved.