What is a Tooth Filling?

What Is A Tooth Filling?

Say cheese! We all desire to have a nice white, bright smile. Whether it’s some trauma to a tooth or dental or gum disease, we’ve all probably needed to visit the dentist. When the structure of our teeth is affected, you most likely had a tooth filling.

The Purpose of a Tooth Filling?

Once your final set of teeth grow in, dental care is of the utmost importance because losing a tooth will be permanent. But when the tooth does become damaged or has decay, a tooth filling is necessary to restore its original shape and function.

In the cases when the damage or decay is due to bacteria (causing cavities), your dentist will remove this bacteria before filling it with one of the materials available. A tooth filling will also prevent further damage from taking place.

The procedure of a tooth filling includes:

  1. Assessment. Your dentist will determine the cause of your tooth issue and how many teeth are affected.
  2. Before the tooth filling. When you return for your treatment, the area around the tooth will be numbed. After the area is entirely numb, any decay is removed with a drill.
  3. Tooth filling. When the area is completely clean, the area is sealed with a filling. Your dentist will check that your bite feels normal. If your bite feels off, they will file down the material to restore the natural bite.

Types of Tooth Fillings

When a tooth filling is required, your dentist will offer a variety of materials at different prices. The most common types of tooth fillings are:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Amalgam
  • Tooth-colored composite


Gold fillings can last between ten to fifteen years or longer. The advantage of this material is that it won’t corrode and is well received by the surrounding gum tissue. Unfortunately, it’s the most expensive type of filling.


Porcelain fillings are made to match the color of your existing tooth, making it virtually indistinguishable from your other teeth. This material is also very durable and can last about 20 years.


Amalgam filling, better known as silver fillings, is a material that consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper. While they are the cheapest (and most common) type of filling, they are aesthetically unpleasant.

Tooth-Colored Composite

An advantage of composite fillings is that the material chemically bonds to the tooth structure. This type of filling, it’s not only used as filling material but also to fix chipped, broken, or worn teeth. Unfortunately, composite fillings can only last between five to ten years when applied to teeth.

How Much is a Tooth Filling?

The price of a tooth filling will depend on:

  • The location of the tooth to be filled
  • The size of the filling
  • The type of filling material you choose

In some cases, your dental insurance may cover certain fillings. If you don’t have dental insurance, silver amalgam fillings can cost between $50 and $150, composite fillings can cost between $90 and $250, and porcelain/gold fillings can cost anywhere between $250 to $4,500.

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