Dental fillings range in price from $50 - $4500 without insurance. The vast range in the total cost of fillings is due to the material used, the number of teeth filled, and the type of tooth needing filling. Dental fillings treat a small hole, or cavity, in your tooth. If you do not have insurance, dental fillings can be expensive. Still, there are multiple ways to reduce the cost and get dental fillings for an affordable price.
The Cost of Dental Fillings
Fillings can be costly without insurance, costing up to $4,000. It is essential to get a dental filling for a cavity early. Leaving a cavity untreated can lead to more serious dental issues that require more expensive and often more painful procedures, like root canals or tooth extraction. The price can vary significantly due to the material used for the filling, your cavity size, how many teeth require fillings, and the types of teeth that need fillings.
Material Used In Dental Fillings
The material used in your filling will be the most costly expense related to your procedure. There are four main types of filling material used for fillings. You and your dentist can decide which material suits your needs and budget.
Cost of Dental Fillings by Material Used
Type of Fillings
Average Cost for 1-2 Teeth
Average Cost for 3+ Teeth
Metal: Metal fillings, also called silver amalgam fillings, are an extremely common material used for dental fillings. The filling is a mixture of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and zinc. They are the least expensive of the four types of possible materials and the most noticeable.
Source: Gardens Dental
Composite: Composite dental fillings are more discreet than silver or gold fillings, as they have a similar color to that of regular teeth. These dental fillings are custom colored to match your surrounding tooth enamel closely. Composite fillings are bonded to your natural tooth structure and help enhance its strength.
Source: Avason Family Dentistry
Gold: Gold dental fillings are likelier to stand out against your normal teeth color. These types of fillings are becoming less and less common; however, this material does not corrode and is extremely durable. Many people stray away from gold fillings due to their expense. However, not pure gold, these fillings are extremely costly, amounting to up to $1,000 for 1-2 dental fillings.
Source: Children and Adult Dentistry
Porcelain: Porcelain dental fillings are also referred to as ceramic fillings. This type of filling is usually comparable in price to gold fillings but is virtually unnoticeable due to the color matching of the natural tooth.
Source: Dental Clinic
Number of Teeth Needing Fillings
As the table above shows, the more fillings you get done at once, the less you pay per dental filling. However, while the cost of getting several cavities filled at once is lower than the cost of doing each individually over separate appointments, each cavity demands a certain amount of time and filling material. Ultimately, more fillings will cost more.
Location And Type Of Teeth Needing Fillings
The type of tooth that needs fillings is important in the material used and the overall cost. For example, gold and composite fillings are more resistant to chipping and fracturing, so they are often used for molars and premolars. Location is also a factor, as some spots are more challenging to reach, making the procedure more complicated. Extra time and equipment can result in an increased cost.
Additional Costs Associated with Dental Fillings
Where you live could also affect the treatment price, as bigger cities usually have more expensive rates. Rural areas and small towns typically have lower rates, but the availability of appointments and dental professionals may be limited.
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Payment Options for Fillings
There are several ways to reduce dental filling(s) costs. These include obtaining dental insurance, entering a payment plan, utilizing an FSA or HSA, using Medicaid coverage, or finding a dental school offering reduced prices.
Dental fillings are necessary procedures. Fillings are usually always partially or fully covered by dental insurance. Consider getting dental insurance to reduce your total expenses. This Mira article offers advice and information on finding the cheapest dental plan.
Some dental offices offer payment plans for procedures. These allow you to pay off the total cost of treatment over several months rather than upfront at once. You should ask your dentist's office if this is an option.
A health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) may help reduce the cost of dental fillings. Funds from an FSA or HSA can cover the costs associated with receiving a dental filling. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 752 states that an individual can use their FSA coverage for all dental procedures that treat or prevent dental disease; this includes dental fillings.
These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for IRS-qualified medical expenses. Depending on the office's rules, your FSA or HSA might even reimburse you for co-pays or office visits.
As part of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, states must cover dental services for people enrolled in Medicaid under age 21. This includes dental fillings.
However, if you are over 21, you must check with your state-specific Medicaid dental coverage. States can choose whether or not to provide dental benefits to their Medicaid recipients. Most states offer emergency dental services for adults. Still, less than half of the states provide comprehensive dental care, including fillings. This document outlines state-specific dental benefits.
Dentists in Training
Another option for reducing the cost of dental fillings is to check to see if a university near you has a dental school. Dental schools offer basic care like exams, extractions, fillings, and dentures. These procedures are usually offered at a reduced cost since dental students provide free and reduced dental work. The American Dental Association lists dental schools nationwide, some of which offer this option.
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Cost of Dental Fillings Without Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Consider this additional information regarding the cost of dental fillings without insurance.
What Are Some Reasons I Might Need A Dental Filling?
You might need a dental filling for many reasons, the most common being a cavity. Other possible reasons include:
- Small holes in your teeth
- Fractured teeth
- Discolored teeth
- To strengthen teeth
What Happens If I Put Off Getting A Filling?
It is highly recommended not to avoid or delay getting a dental filling, especially if you need a filling for a cavity. Delaying a filling for a cavity can allow the cavity to grow, which could mean a more expensive procedure, such as an extraction or root canal, later. Additionally, if you donʻt treat the need for a filling urgently, you could prolong and even increase the pain you experience.
How Much Does A Dental Filling Cost With Insurance?
Dental fillings are not an elective or cosmetic procedure, so your insurance provider should partially or fully cover your care. Patients can expect to pay about $10 to $50 in out-of-pocket costs for a metal filling and between $40 and $100 if they choose composite.
On average, getting a dental filling without insurance will cost between $50 and $4,500 without insurance. This extensive range in price is due to the many factors that play a role in the total cost. Understanding the factors contributing to dental fillings' cost is essential to finding ways to save money and reduce expenses.
Kendra Bean is from Maui, Hawaiʻi. She is currently enrolled at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, specializing in Epidemiology. She is passionate about improving health literacy and access to care, specifically in rural areas.