Cavity Treatment: 4 Questions About Getting a Filling

Getting a filling is one of the most common forms of cavity treatment. While you may cringe at the thought of having to get a cavity filled, it’s important to remember that when you fill a cavity, you’re helping to prevent the further decay and even loss of one of your teeth. If you see your dentist regularly, you can typically catch a cavity before it becomes a painful – and expensive – nuisance. But you don’t want to wait long if you’re dentist tells you that you have a cavity and need treatment. Cavities can grow from tiny, asymptomatic holes in your teeth to gaping holes that can cause terrible toothaches.

Check out these four common questions about cavity treatment; their answers may help you to realize that getting a cavity is really no big deal.

Does Getting a Filling Hurt? Having a tiny cavity filled may not hurt, but those which are larger or located near your gum line can be painful to have filled. For that reason, your dentist will numb your mouth before proceeding with cavity treatment. Under normal circumstances, getting anesthetized by needle is the most painful part of cavity treatment. The sensation feels somewhat like a bee sting. Though, in most cases, your dentist can numb the site of the shot with cream before using the needle.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Filling? Depending on the size and location of the cavity, getting a filling can take as little as 30 minutes. In fact, the longest part of a cavity treatment procedure isn’t usually the drilling or filling – it’s the numbing process. After getting being anesthetized, it may take twenty minutes or more before the site is numb.

Are Fillings Expensive? Depending on the type of filling you get, the precise nature of the cavity treatment procedure itself, and your dentist’s fee schedule, the cost of getting a filling varies. However, fillings are a pretty straightforward and common procedure, and most dental insurance companies cover a percentage of the cost of cavity treatment. Even if paid completely out of pocket, fillings usually cost between $50 and $300 and are among the least expensive procedures that a dentist performs, outside of exams and cleanings.

How Long Do Fillings Last? This answer largely depends on the quality of the filling and how well your dentist did performing your cavity treatment procedure. Some fillings, if taken care of properly, can actually last a lifetime.

Here’s a breakdown of the common types of fillings and the average length of time they last:

  • Amalgam fillings: 12 years
  • Composite resin fillings: 7 to 10 years
  • Cast gold fillings: 7 years or more
  • Gold foil fillings: 10 to 15 years
  • Ceramic fillings: 5 to 7 years

Cavity treatment, in general, is simple and common. While you may wish that you didn’t have to get a cavity filled, the good news is that there are many great dentists out there, and they can make the process relatively quick and painless. Getting a cavity filled is generally a simple procedure and – along with brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist – a great way to keep your pearly whites healthy.


Personal and first-hand knowledge and experience

*The author is not a dentist, and the information contained within this article should not be considered professional medical advice.