What is a tooth filling?
When a tooth is beset by decay, a dentist first cleans any fissures and cavities that may have been caused by caries and then uses a tooth filling to seal them off to prevent re-infections. Nowadays, dentists can pick between several different sealant options for dental fillings with the two most commonly used ones...
When a tooth is beset by decay, a dentist first cleans any fissures and cavities that may have been caused by caries and then uses a tooth filling to seal them off to prevent re-infections. Nowadays, dentists can pick between several different sealant options for dental fillings with the two most commonly used ones being amalgam and composite/plastic:
* Amalgam filling – A mixture of silver, copper, zinc, and quicksilver that dentists have been using for over 100 years and that is still the most commonly used material for dental fillings (especially for those that are in the non-visible part of the mouth)
• PROs: Long durability (10+ years), unimpaired ability to chew, low allerginicity
* Composite filling – A mixture of multiple substances, such as fine glass particles and methacrylates that adapts to the color of the surrounding dental enamel to produce an aesthetically pleasing result which has boosted its use in recent years (especially in the visible part of the mouth).
• PROs: aesthetic white coloring
• CONs: Shorter durability (4-8 years), potentially higher bite sensibility, may cause allergic reactions
When do I need a tooth filling?
Dental fillings are required to seal cavities in teeth in order to stop decay from worsening or to avoid tooth loss. To prepare a tooth for a successful filling, the dentist has to first remove the decayed tooth substance with a drill and then thoroughly clean the remaining cavity. Afterwards, the tooth is sealed with either a metal-based or a non-metal-based material to prevent re-infection. The whole procedure normally requires just a single appointment.
How much does a dental filling cost?
The exact cost of a dental filling depend on multiple factors including location of the treated tooth, scope and intensity of treatment, and (mostly) type of filling material.
* Amalgam filling – Can cost between € 20 and € 40 and is currently 100% covered and reimbursed by insurers in Vienna and Austria.
* Composite filling – Can cost between € 60 and € 200 and is only reimbursed by Austrian insurers if placed on visible teeth (e.g., incisors) or if a patient can prove an allergic reaction to other less costly filling materials (e.g., amalgam).
To help with the affordability of tooth fillings that are not reimbursed by insurance, patients may opt for purchasing “wrap-around” dental insurance policies.
We hope that you found this primer helpful and invite you to take a look at our related blog post for more information.