Cost of dental fillings: A Detailed Guide

Tooth decay is a common health problem, and dental fillings are necessary from time to time. But how much do they cost? The cost of dental fillings varies depending on several factors. So if you’re considering fixing a tooth or two, it might be worth checking out prices at different clinics before making an appointment to see the dental health professional. 

We’re going to look at what most people in Australia pay to give you an idea of how much the treatment will be. Using this blog post, you will be able to understand the average cost of a dental filling in Australia prior to your next visit.

What are Dental Fillings? 

A dental filling is also called a dental restoration. It is a type of dental treatment method that protects, strengthens, or restores decayed teeth or other significant tooth damage. Fillings prevent future damage and the risk of infection or pain while reducing sensitivity to avoid unnecessary pain. They are an excellent approach to preserving your teeth and keeping them healthy and strong. 

These can be made from many different materials, including gold, porcelain, glass ionomer cement, amalgam, and composite resin. Dental restoration is determined by the size of the cavity in your tooth, the colour of your teeth, and how much aesthetic improvement you expect after treatment. Some may argue that one material is superior to another. However, each has its own set of benefits and disadvantages for certain people with different needs.

Types of Fillings

direct filling vs. indirect filling

Amalgam Filling / Silver Filling

Amalgam is a conventional filling material that has been in use for more than a century. It’s created from metals, including silver, copper, tin, mercury, and zinc, and it’s considerably sturdy. Mercury exposure is poisonous in high doses, but amalgam fillings are non-toxic and helpful to many patients. The Australian Dental Association still endorses the use of amalgam fillings. However, it is advised to limit its use in pregnant or nursing women, children, and people with kidney disease.

Composite Filling

A tooth-coloured composite resin filling is a natural-looking material that can be matched to the colour of one’s teeth. However, it’s slightly more expensive and does not last as long when used for filling back molars due to constant biting force. 

Glass-ionomer cement Filling

Glass-ionomer cement is, as the name suggests, made of glass and acrylic. They can be matched to tooth colour but aren’t quite as durable or reliable for major oral health concerns like severe cavities – they’re best used on baby teeth where there’s not much biting force involved.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are a durable and expensive option that can last for years. After the dentist takes an impression of your mouth, they send it to a dental laboratory where technicians create the customised restoration.

The average lifespan for a metal filling is 10 to 15 years.

Ceramic / Porcelain Filling

This is a popular choice since you get more stain resistance and a natural aesthetic appearance that others won’t notice. This type of dental work is very durable and can last up to 15 years, and it looks just like regular teeth. The ceramic filling gives a more natural appearance that one might mistake for being part of your natural teeth. This restoration is created in a laboratory using the dental impressions taken by the dentist.

 Temporary fillings

If there isn’t sufficient time to treat a tooth with an entire restoration, a temporary filling may be used. The dentist will have to replace it with a permanent restoration at the next dental appointment.

Dental Filling Cost

advantages and disadvantages of tooth filling materials

They are most often made of porcelain or resin-based composite fillings. The cost of tooth fillings is determined by several factors, including the type of filling used, the location of the affected adult tooth, and the number of teeth that must be restored. According to the 2020 national dental fee survey, a simple filling for a single tooth (522) might cost up to $275, whereas a more complex filling (535) may have an average cost of $475.

Also, inquire with your dental insurance provider about the extent of the dental coverage under your plan.

Here is the average price of a single filling in Australia:

Silver Amalgam filling – $50 to $150 per filling

Cast-gold or porcelain filling – $900 to $4,500 per filling

Glass ionomer – $150 – $350 per filling

Posterior teeth/ back teeth

Adhesive 1 surface – Posterior Restoration (per tooth surface) – $162.39

Cusp capping – per cusp – $43.71White Filling Adhesive – back

Tooth – $304 – $417

Anterior teeth/front

Adhesive 1 surface – Anterior Restoration (per tooth surface) – $149.45

Restoration incisal corner – per corner – $48.70

White Filling Adhesive – front tooth – $293 – $400

Inlay/ Onlay 

Tooth-coloured restoration-1 surface-$727.42

Porcelain onlay costs between $650 and $990 per filling.

(May require added cost for extra surface)

Factors Affecting the Cost of Dental Fillings 

Fillings that contain ceramic, porcelain, or gold will generally cost more than those made of composite resin and amalgam. The type of material used in your fillings will affect the price of your treatment. When calculating the cost of a cavity filling, there are a few other things to consider:

  • The number of teeth that need fillings: One cavity is terrible enough, but it will be a lot more costly if you need multiple fillings.
  • Length of treatment: If you have an acute or chronic condition that requires immediate attention, such as a tooth abscess, gum disease, or something else that must be treated first before the dental filling process, you may need an additional office visit. Each dentist’s appointment and treatment would have a different cost.
  • Location of the tooth: The amount of time it takes to fill a cavity is determined by the tooth’s location. If the hole is in the part of the mouth that is hard to reach, it will make the dental procedure more complex and may cause a higher filling cost due to longer chair time or additional equipment required for completion.

 If a tooth is subjected to grinding and chewing forces. The use of stronger dental filling materials is more expensive.

  • Dental health: It’s essential to consider the durability of your adult teeth when you need a filling. If its tooth enamel and structure have been severely damaged, more durable filling materials may be necessary so that high-quality work can be delivered with no breaking or looseness over time. It will increase costs accordingly, but ultimately provide amazing benefits, such as improved strength.
  • Professional Dentist fee: It’s vital that you research the dental fees of any potential dentist before committing to their dental services. Some dentists charge more than others for similar procedures, and they may have different contract terms with private health insurance providers. So, it’s also a good idea to look into the payment alternatives the dental clinic offers. Do remember that dentists in major cities charge higher than regional dentists.
  • Filling material: The major component when it comes to price is typically the material of choice. Whether you go for a more durable or natural-looking material over something less expensive depends upon personal preference and advice given by a dental practitioner who specialises exclusively in oral health matters.

What to Expect During a Dental Filling Procedure?

  The dentist will most likely use instruments to examine the teeth or teeth during a dental visit. An x-ray may be required depending on the severity of the damage. Hence, the dental professional will check not just the tooth but also the gums and surrounding bones. The dentist will assess the damage and advise you on what may be done to repair it. If the damage is minor, a filling could be an option. However, if the tooth is irreparably damaged, you will most likely need root canal treatment. The dentist will provide you with all of the available filling material options to make an informed choice about your treatment plan. A straightforward tooth filling procedure may take 15-30 minutes.  After the treatment, the dentist may also advise you on how to perform good oral hygiene. 

Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Fillings?

Teeth fillings are generally covered by private insurance. However, the level of coverage they provide is determined by various factors, such as your deductible and the scope of coverage. Since dental insurance policies are not all the same, Some offer only half of the treatment cost, and you would be responsible for covering what’s left. There is a big difference between what health insurance covers and how many claims you can obtain in a year.

Some dental services do not have an annual limit for both kids and adults, so you may claim as often as you like. It’s important to know what your health fund covers. It might be listed under the “Extras” section of your policy.

Dental health funds can help cover the cost of fillings and other restorative procedures, so you don’t have to worry about the expenses.

Does Medicare Cover Dental Treatments?

The Australian government does not cover the expense of most dental procedures, which means that patients must pay for them themselves. The only exception is that Medicare will pay for essential dental services for young people and eligible adults.

For children between the ages of two and seventeen, the Child Dental Benefits Schedule will pay up to $1,000 over two calendar years for routine dental care such as fillings. Visit the Department of Human Services’ website to determine whether your child qualifies.

There are also public dental services for children and eligible adults. While basic and emergency services can be available, you may need to wait more than a year to receive dental care.

A health care card or pensioner card is usually required for adults. However, that depends on your location. Visit the health department’s website for your area to learn what services you might be eligible for.

Payment Options for Dental Fillings

  •  Afterpay

The convenience of paying with Afterpay is hard to beat. Afterpay offers an interest-free payment plan that allows you to shop now and pay later. You have to pay the first instalment upon purchase and subsequent payments fortnightly over six weeks. With Afterpay, you can cover the cost of dental treatment more conveniently.

You may schedule an appointment without the worry of incurring extra fees as long as you pay your dues on time.

  • In-house Finance Payment Plans

There are methods to improve the appearance of your teeth if you want to enhance your smile. However, restorative dentistry procedures are costly and not all health insurance plans cover them. Your dentist will undoubtedly give you some excellent flexible payment options to help you obtain better oral health and have a beautiful smile right away while spreading the cost over several years.

  • Openpay

 Dental treatment may be financed through Openpay payment plans, which you can pay back over time. You may take advantage of the interest-free payment plan offered by Openpay to cover all of your dental needs, from a dental check-up to cleanings to major surgery.

Payment plans are available for paying the entire treatment or for making up the difference. You may deposit 20% of your purchases between $100 and $5,000, with the remaining amount being paid back in 2 to 24 months.

Final Thoughts

Dental fillings are one of the more common services and can be an excellent investment in your oral health. However, with so many options out there for treatments and procedures these days, you may not know what your best option is.

Learn what you need to know about fillings to make an informed decision for yourself or your loved ones next time they go to the dentist. With our help, we’re confident that you will have no trouble finding out if these types of treatment options are suitable for you! Contact Peel Dental Studio today at 08 9535 4900 to see how we can improve your smile and dental health. 

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Peel Dental Studio

Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.