Learn All About Cavity Fillings: Materials Used, Pain, Cost and More

Red Mountain Familly Dental Mesa AZ All About Fillings Materials, Appointment Time, Recognizing Tooth Decay and More
Originally posted by our friends at Red Bank Dental

All About Fillings: Materials, Appointment Time, Recognizing Tooth Decay and More

In this article:

  • What Material Is Used For Cavity Fillings?
  • What To Expect During Your Filling Procedure
  • How Much Do Fillings Cost?
  • How Painful Are Cavity Fillings?

Do you live in the Chattanooga area? Considering getting a dental filling? This page is a helpful resource from your local dentist. Make an appointment at Red Bank Dental Partners. 

What To Expect When Getting A Filling

Are you wondering about how much a filling will cost? Are you nervous about dental filling pain? Wondering what material the dentist will be using? If you’re asking any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.

A filling is a procedure that restores a damaged tooth by removing decay, cleaning, shaping and polishing the affected area and restoring the tooth with filling material back to its normal function and shape.

Why Do I Need A Filling?

When food particles are left behind on the teeth, oral bacteria feeds on them and forms plaque. Over time, plaque hardens to form tartar, and bacteria release acids that dissolve the strong outer layer of the teeth, called enamel. This creates a hole, or cavity, for oral bacteria to attack the sensitive tissues inside the teeth, and the procedure to seal the hole is called a filling.

How do I know I have a cavity?

How To Recognize Tooth Decay

As a tooth decays, you might notice the following physical symptoms:

  • Holes where food gets stuck
  • Chipped-off areas that your tongue often goes into
  • Dark spots on the teeth

Tooth decay starts off by feeling like mild sensitivity when eating certain foods, like sweets, but will progress into prolonged sensitivity to temperature or slight pain when chewing. Over time, if left untreated, tooth decay makes the teeth sensitive to certain foods or be in constant pain that lasts for several hours.

What To Expect At Your Upcoming Dental Filling Appointment

Cavities are a relatively easy procedure for your dentist. The filling won’t take very long. Plan for your filling procedure appointment to take about an hour. That includes your procedure as well as time spent in the office doing things such as filling out paperwork.

Step-by-Step Dental Filling Procedure

First, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the affected area. This causes a temporary stinging sensation. Your dentist will wait a few minutes for the anesthetic to take full affect before he or she proceeds to the next step of the procedure.

Secondly, your dentist will use a dental drill or laser to remove decay from the tooth. The dentist is not only removing decay, but shaping the tooth to prepare for your filling. Depending on the filling material your dentist uses, he or she may use a gel to prepare the area for your filling.

Next, your dentist will begin to apply filling material. Some material needs to be hardened using a special light.

Lastly, the dentist will polish the area. This ensures no edges remain on or around the filling. This will prevent any uncomfortable friction between the filling and your tongue, cheek and mouth.

The Most Important Things To Know About Dental Cavities and Fillings

Cavities are common. In fact, 9 out of 10 adults have had a cavity. And 1 out of 4 have untreated tooth decay.

Did you know that according to, Florida ranks #43 for overall oral health in the United States?

Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Fillings?

Typically dental insurance plans cover dental filling services after deductibles are met.

How Much Does A Filling Cost?

Fillings usually cost $50 to $150 for a single, silver amalgam filling, $90 to $250 for a single, tooth-colored composite filling, $250 to $4,500 for a single, cast-gold or porcelain filling. The average cost range is $100-$150 depending on the material used.

How Long Does a Dental Filling Procedure Take?

Typically, dental filling procedures take 30-60 minutes depending on your dentist.

Are Dental Fillings Painful?

There is some pain involved with the procedure, however most dentists use local anesthetics to numb the affected areas of your mouth and gums to ensure pain is minimal. You may also experience irritation after the procedure. Tooth sensitivity is common while the gums heal from the filling. You may experience pain, sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks, sensitivity to air temperature, and pain while biting or chewing. This type of pain and sensitivity should stop after a week or two. Talk to your dentist if pain persists.

Can I Work After Getting a Cavity Filled?

Yes, a cavity filling procedure will not prohibit you from going to work. You should only feel minor discomfort. If you feel severe pain after receiving a filling, contact your dentist.

How To Prevent New Cavities

Contrary to popular opinion, cavities aren’t necessarily the result of eating sugary foods such as chocolate or drinking soda pop. They’re often the result of a failure to maintain health oral hygiene. We recommend keeping a habit of good oral hygiene by regularly brushing your teeth soon afterward with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.

You also should also eat a balanced diet, limit between-meal snacks and visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.

What Materials Are Used For Fillings?

Filling materials used to be silver or flexible, biocompatible cements. Now, the most widely used substance is a tooth-colored plastic composite that is soft at first but hardens to the teeth when exposed to a UV light.

How Much Do Fillings Cost?

Filling costs depend on several factors, including:

  • Size of the filling
  • The material the dentist uses to fill the cavity
  • Amount of remaining tooth structure
  • Oral health of the patient

What Should I Expect After A Filling?

Most patients can eat and drink immediately following a filling with no precautions. Your tooth will be good as new and you likely will not be able to see where the filling was done. You may feel some mild sensitivity in the tooth that was filled which should subside within a few days.

How Long Will My Filling Last?

If you’ve ever had a filling fall out, you know that they do not last forever. Fillings usually last 3-7 years on average but you need regular dental exams to ensure it’s holding up well. If you see any discoloration, chipping, or darkening beneath the filling, schedule an appointment with your dentist soon. These are often signs that the filling needs to be replaced due to more extensive tooth decay beneath the filling.

Schedule an appointment with Atlantic Smiles Dental