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Options For Dental Fillings - What To Ask The Dentist

Type of Dental Fillings

There are several types of dental fillings: amalgam (silver), composite (white) and gold fillings. Let's take a look at the various dental fillings in detail below:


Composite fillings are usually more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because they require a more sophisticated process, more expensive materials and additional office equipment. Composite materials offer an esthetic alternative to traditional amalgam materials. Composites are more likely to be used on more-visible front teeth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth to help prevent breakage.

Composite insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Composites (white fillings) last about 8 years with a range of 7-10 years. Composite fillings restore the natural appearance of the tooth. Composites require less removal of tooth structure. Composite fillings, if they are done correctly, take about 60% longer, require special expertise and expensive materials, and are more difficult to place, and so they cost considerably more than silver.

Composite requires the use of special bonding technology that many dentists are uncomfortable with. Composite resin dental fillings were created as an alternative to traditional metal dental fillings. Composites are not only used for restoring decay, but are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth. Composite resin fillings are strong, durable, and make for a very natural looking smile.

Composite fillings are usually more expensive than traditional amalgam fillings because they require a more sophisticated process, more expensive materials and additional office equipment. As such, people who have previously received amalgam fillings often return to their dentist to have them replaced with composite fillings.


Amalgam is one of the best filling materials when dentists need to place fillings in areas of the mouth that are difficult to keep dry, such as molars (back teeth) or cavities below the gum line. Amalgam or composite resin are the most common materials. Amalgam and composite fillings are the most popular but glass ionomers are gaining recognition and my dentist went over those with me last time I was in his office. Amalgam fillings are the cheapest and the cast gold fillings have the longest durability (up to 15 years).

Amalgam fillings have a silver coloring which some people don't want in their mouth in which case they choose the tooth colored composite style. Amalgam is a metal, which expands and contracts with hot, cold and biting. Amalgam fillings also raise a red flag because they contain mercury, which is a very toxic element. Amalgam Fillings Amalgam fillings may contain mercury, and are often referred to as metal fillings.

Amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury liquid and small pieces of silver and other metals such as copper, tin and zinc. Amalgam fillings are made up of a composition of metals containing silver, copper, tin and zinc and mercury liquid. Amalgam: A silver/mercury mixture, which is used for fillings.

Amalgam tends to be self sealing which means that once it is placed, a small amount of corrosion takes place underneath the filling and this corrosion fills microscopic voids between the tooth and the filling. Amalgam fillings must engage undercuts within the cavity preparation so they will not dislodge. Amalgam also requires a minimum depth of a millimeter and a half in order to form its crystalline structure while composite fillings have no minimum depth. Amalgam fillings are normally fitted onto the back ‘chewing’ teeth.

Amalgam, gold or porcelain fillings cannot be used with laser or air abrasion prepared fillings. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response. Amalgam is widely used for direct fillings, and done in single appointment. Amalgam fillings expand with age, possibly cracking the tooth and requiring repair and filling replacement. Amalgam removed from teeth is classified as toxic waste in various countries, but in many countries it is not regulated, including the United States.

Silver Mercury Fillings

Silver mercury fillings that were placed years ago, before bonding technology, may need to be replaced to prevent fractures. Silver weakens the teeth, making them more susceptible to breaking. Silver fillings have a longer history of use than mercury-free fillings, thus some feel that they are more tried and tested.

Silver amalgams used in large class II molar restorations; invariably cause a tattoo phenomenon of permanent tooth discoloration to a violet-gray/green tinge and even brown/black tint, this is quite evident when a clinician attempts the removal, replacement or repair of a failing old silver-amalgam restoration. Silver fillings ("Amalgam") are becoming a thing of the past.

Silver fillings the most common type of dental filling are not actually pure silver, but a combination of silver, mercury, tin and copper. Silver Amalgam is the most commonly used material in the restoration of decayed teeth in the world. Silver amalgam is a popular dental filling that has been used extensively worldwide for over 200 years.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are well tolerated by sensitive patients and are resistant to corrosion, tarnishing, and wear and tear but are among the most expensive filling materials. Gold fillings are often requested by patients for their aesthetic appeal. Gold fillings require more work on behalf of the dentist, and thus the prices of these fillings are much higher then for plastic resins and silver fillings.

Gold fillings also take much longer to produce, and several visits to the dentist are required for tooth moldings and fittings. Gold fillings which are defective from imperfect adaptation to an enamel margin, from recurrence of caries, or from fracture, are often susceptible to repair. Gold fillings give the tightest seal to the tooth. Gold fillings have excellent durability, wear well, and do not cause excessive wear to the opposing teeth, but they do conduct heat and cold, which can be irritating.

Gold fillings are usually quite expensive, although they do last a very long time. When you have gold fillings, you can expect them to last at a minimum of 15 years with proper oral care. The dentist will recommend gold fillings for your teeth if they will not be visible when you smile or talk. Restoration of gold fillings is considerably more expensive then that of its counterparts.

There are two categories of gold fillings, cast gold fillings (gold inlays and onlays) made with 14 or 18 kt gold, and gold foil made with pure 24 kt gold that is burnished layer by layer. Recent advances in dental porcelains and consumer focus on aesthetic results have caused demand for gold fillings to drop in favor of advanced composites and porcelain veneers and crowns.

How Long Do Fillings Last?

On average, amalgam fillings are expected to last approximately 12 years, while composite fillings are expected to last five to seven years.

Cost of Dental Fillings

Information about Cavity Fillings: types, costs, pros and cons. Disadvantages: cost more than dental amalgam, material shrinks when hardened, may leak over time. Disadvantages: Cost is similar to Composite resin, not recommended for biting surfaces and permanent teeth, could increase chance of periodontal disease. Disadvantages: conducts heat and cold, may irritate sensitive teeth, high cost, may cause wear to opposing teeth.

Disadvantages: is not tooth-colored, may cause tooth sensitivity, high cost, requires at least 2 office visits. Your dentist can help you choose which type of tooth filling is best for you based on the size of the space to be filled, aesthetics, durability of dental filling materials and dental filling costs. Patients love them because they're more durable than most dental fillings and less costly than a dental crown.

A) Composite fillings usually cost more than dental amalgam fillings. As a basis of comparison, the cost of a dental amalgam filling will usually be on the order of about 25% to 30% less than the cost of a comparable dental composite filling. This price difference reflects the relative cost of the materials involved and the relatively greater amount of time it takes the dentist to place a white filling as compared to a dental amalgam filling.

Although costs vary across the country and by dental office, the cost of typical metal filling ranges from approximately $75 to $145 per filling, whereas a composite resin fillings range from $150 to $200 for a single surface white composite filling. Types of dental fillings, methods and costs all differ depending on the specific case and the dentist performing the procedure.

This avoids repeat dentistry and is the cost-effective option for the long term. The main disadvantage of metal fillings is the high cost of the fillings, and it requires at two visits tot eh dentist. Composite filling is most costly and most accurate dental filling material. The dental insurance company in turn provides coverage against any occurring dental costs. But since different types of fillings are better for different dental conditions, your dentist will help you decide which type of filling is right for you based on factors including the location and severity of the decay, the cost of the filling, and your insurance coverage.

But gold fillings can cost as much as 10 times more than silver amalgam fillings, and it takes more than one office visit to fit them properly. Composite Resin Tooth-Colored Fillings Aesthetics shade/color can be matched to existing teeth well suited for front teeth use Versatility in uses in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken or worn teeth Tooth-sparing preparation less tooth structure may need to be removed compared with amalgams.

Durability may not last as long as amalgams on average Increased treatment time because of the process to apply the composite material Chipping depending on location, composite materials can chip off the tooth Expense composite fillings can cost up to twice the cost of amalgams.

Does Insurance pay for Dental Fillings?

While most dental insurance coverage will only cover a percentage, usually 50% to 80%, of these fillings. Dental Insurance can be rather expensive to opt for and it mostly becomes difficult to pay for expensive dental insurance premiums. What you need a dental treatment done by dentists that include specific types of insurance.

Dental Insurance - Customer Service Department

Our customer service department is ready to assist you with any questions you may have and help you purchase an employer, family or individual dental insurance plan today.  We provide access to many of the largest, most recognized individual dental insurance networks in the nation.

InsuranceCompany.com is a specialist in dental insurance, dental discount plans, vision and prescription coverage programs for individuals, families and groups. We have been serving the dental community since 1983, you will find our licensed dental insurance agents are well informed and ready to assist you. Compare dental insurance plans and decide which one is right for you and your family.

Many of our dental plans have next day benefits including vision and prescription. InsuranceCompany.com offers quotes for individual and family dental insurance plans including an option to compare dental national coverage plans. Remember, buying dental insurance does not have to be a painful process. We offer dental benefit coverage in all 50 states.

I hope this dental information has helped you and your family.
Dr. David Blunt


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What are Dental HMO's

These insurance plans, also known as "capitation plans," operate like their medical HMO cousins. This type of dental plan provides a comprehensive dental care to enrolled patients through designated provider office (dentist). A Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) is a common example of a capitation plan.

The dentist is paid on a per capita (per person) basis rather than for actual treatment provided. Participating dentists receive a fixes monthly fee based on the number of patients assigned to the office. In addition to premiums, client co-payments may be required for each visit. Some typical features of these plans:

- Monthly premiums (some require you to prepay a year's worth)

- Co-payments for office visits

- Free preventive or routine care

- You must select from an approved network of dentists

- May have an initial enrollment fee

- Annual dollar cap

- Your average monthly cost: $5 to $15

- Companies selling these plans are regulated by state insurance departments.

Finding the right value in dental insurance or dental plans is an important step in purchasing dental coverage for you and your family. Both types of dental plans have advantages and disadvantages and one size does not fit everyone.

Keeping this in mind is an important rule when you shop for the dental plan that best fits your needs. We sell both individual and family dental insurance and dental discount plans throughout all 50 states. Here are some brief examples that may help you decide.

Indemnity - Dental Insurance

This is the plan where you choose your own dentist. The dental insurance plan pays the dental office (dentist) on a traditional fee-for-service basis. A monthly premium is paid by the client and/or the employer to an insurance company, which then reimburses the dental office (dentist) for the services rendered.

An insurance company usually pays between 50% - 80% of the dental office (dentist) fees for a covered procedures; the remaining 20% - 50% is paid by the client. These plans often have a pre-determined or set deductible amount which varies from plan to plan. Indemnity plans also can limit the amount of services covered within a given year and pay the dentist based on a variety of fee schedules. Some typical features of these plans:

  • High deductibles before coverage begins (well-designed plans don't apply the deductible to preventive services)

  • Probationary periods on certain procedures that last up to a year

  • Annual dollar limit on benefits

  • Chose your own dentist

  • Your average monthly cost: $15 to $25

  • Companies selling these plans are regulated by state insurance departments.

Dental Discount

You will want to use caution with this type of dental plan since it is not insurance. The managing organizations have negotiated with local dental offices to establish a set price for a particular dental procedure and offer deep discounts (some up to 70%) off the regular ADA pricing code.

This plan has several advantages over traditional dental insurance plans, namely, there are no exclusions for pre-existing conditions. This allows a patient to receive immediate coverage for work without meeting any waiting period requirements.

Learning About Dental PPO's

Preferred Provider Organizations

Another true insurance plan, a Preferred provider organizations ( PPO) falls somewhere between an indemnity plan and a dental HMO. This plan allows a particular group of patients to receive dental care from a defined panel of dentists.

The participating dentist agrees to charge less than usual fees to this specific patient base, providing savings for the plan purchaser. If the patient chooses to see a dentist who is not designated as a "preferred provider," that patient may be required to pay a greater share of the fee-for-service. 

A group of dentists agrees to provide services at a deeply discounted rate, giving you substantial savings — as long as you stay in their network. Unlike the more restrictive DHMO, though, you can go out of network and still receive some benefits. Some typical features of these plans:

  • Monthly premiums

  • Annual dollar cap

  • You must stay within the approved network of dentists or pay higher deductibles and co-payments

  • Your average monthly cost: $20-25

  • Companies selling these plans are regulated by state insurance departments.

Direct Reimbursement Plans

A dental care plan now coming into vogue is the direct reimbursement plan. This is a self-funded benefit plan — not insurance — in which an employer pays for dental care with its own funds, rather than paying premiums to an insurance company or third-party administrator. You, the patient, pay the full amount directly to the dentist, then get a receipt detailing services rendered and the cost, which you show to your employer. The employer reimburses you for part or all of the dental costs, depending on your specific benefits.

Your company might reimburse 100 percent of your first $100 of dental expenses and then 80 percent of the next $500, and 50 percent of the next $2,000, with a total annual maximum benefit of $1,500. Or it might reimburse only 50 percent of your first $1,000, resulting in a $500 yearly cap.
Some typical features of a direct reimbursement plan:

    Some typical features of a direct reimbursement plan:

  • Neither you nor your employer pay monthly premiums

  • Freedom to choose any dentist

  • Typical employer cost: depends on the number of employees and

  • benefit caps

  • Benefits usually capped at $500 to $2,000 annually.

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Dental Insurance Disclosure

The dental insurance programs listed are based upon the zip code you entered and their availability. If we are unable to offer a dental insurance plan, we will provide a dental discount plan, if available, and clearly state it.

Please be sure to contact the plan dental office to confirm they are accepting new patients and they are accepting the dental plan you have selected. If you have any dental plan questions please feel free to contact our office during regular business hours. You will find our licensed insurance agents ready to assist you.

Our dental web site is very clear if you are selecting a dental insurance plan or a dental discount plan. We understand that there are many dental plan web sites popping-up all over the internet, claiming to offer "dental insurance" when in fact they do not and are not licensed to offer a dental insurance plan.

If you find a site that says they offer dental insurance, they are "required" to show their insurance license information on the web site, as noted at the bottom of this page. If they don't, then report them to your local state department of insurance.

If you find a dental web site stating they offer "dental insurance" and in fact they don't, then take the opportunity to report that site to the search engine you found them on.

Our entire staff is licensed to offer, sell and service dental insurance. Always ask to speak with a licensed insurance agent. Ask them if they are licensed. Full disclosure is our guarantee...

Members can save on all dental charges and procedures including dental restorative cosmetic work (fillings, dental crowns, dental braces, dental implant's) and dental product related items, etc.), dental hygiene services, preventative work (teeth cleaning, x-rays, etc).  General dentistry, dental hygienist, dental assistant, dental assisting and all specialties where available are covered.

Thank you for choosing InsuranceCompany.com®
 we look forward to serving you and your family...

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2020-07-02T10:08:25+00:00 Harbor City - Los Angeles, California.