How Much Does it Cost to Get a Cavity Filled?

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Cavity Filled?

Post updated from original publishing date January 14, 2018.

The Cost of Getting a Cavity Filled: Average Prices by Filling Material

If you have  a dental cavity, chances are you have questions. And your biggest question may be “How much does it cost to get a cavity filled?”

The short answer is: It depends on several different factors. Materials, location, and cavity size all play a role in determining the dentist’s fee. But, once you know those, it’s easier to understand the cost of getting your cavity filled.

Does Insurance Cover Dental Fillings?

Since a filling is considered a medical necessity, dental insurance plans typically cover some or all of the cost of a filling. Coverage may depend on the type of filling material being used. To understand the cost before booking an appointment, it is important to check with the patient’s dental insurance provider to understand the coverage details, including any deductibles, copayments, or annual maximums. Dental insurance plans vary widely, and coverage specifics can significantly impact any out-of-pocket costs.

How Much Does a Filling Cost Without Insurance?

Whether the patient has dental insurance or not, there are many factors that influence the total cost of getting a cavity filled. Here are the average fees for different types of fillings without insurance:

  • Amalgam (silver) fillings cost about $50 to $150 for one tooth surface
  • Composite (tooth-colored) fillings cost between $90 to $250 for one tooth surface 
  • Porcelain or ceramic fillings cost between $300 – $4,500 depending on the size
  • Gold fillings cost between $250 to $4,500 for one tooth surface

With those averages in mind, here is a look at the factors that influence the total price of a dental filling. 

Cavity Fillings by Type of Material

There are several types of materials used to fill cavities. The type of filling material used determines how the filling will look in the patient’s mouth as well as how long the filling will last.


The type of material the dental filling is made of is the first factor that influences its cost. The least expensive option, amalgam, was once the preferred material for dental fillings. Often called silver fillings because of their color, amalgams contain silver along with copper, tin, and mercury. Although several scientific studies agree they are safe, the mercury content continues to raise concerns about toxicity. Because of this, and the introduction of materials that look more natural, few dentists still use amalgam for fillings. When available, amalgams cost about $50 to $150 per filling, or about $120 to $300 for three or more tooth surfaces. Amalgams are durable, lasting between 10-15 years. 


Composite fillings are made of a combination of acrylic resin and finely ground glass-like particles. Unlike metal fillings, these are much closer to the natural color of a tooth and are therefore far less noticeable. A composite resin filling will cost about $90 to $250 for one or two tooth surfaces, and about $150 to $400 for three or more surfaces. Composite fillings generally last 5 to 7 years. 

Porcelain / Ceramic 

Like composite, porcelain or ceramic fillings are tooth-colored. This type of material is used for inlays, which means the dentist takes an impression of the tooth and uses that to craft a filling. These types of fillings are more durable than composite, lasting 15 years or more, but they are also more expensive, ranging from $300 – $4,500.


Not surprisingly, fillings made of gold are quite expensive, ranging from $250 to $4,500 for a single filling. In addition to their high price, like amalgams, gold fillings are noticeable. They are much more durable than other materials, often lasting decades. Today, gold fillings are rare, with dentists favoring the natural look and durability of synthetic materials. 

dentist looking for a cavity
Image by Soropop Udomsri by

Cavity Filling Costs Also Vary by Size 

So why do prices vary so much, even for the same type of filling material?

Part of it has to do with the size of the cavity and its location in the patient’s mouth. If a cavity is fairly small and in an easy-to-reach tooth near the front of the mouth, it will take the dentist less time and effort to fill it. However, a large cavity that involves two or more tooth surfaces in a back molar requires more time and work to fix. This is especially true if the cavity is in a tooth that has already had prior damage. And, larger cavities require larger amounts of material to fill them, and this adds to the cost.

Keeping Cavity Filling Costs Under Control 

Here are a few tips to keep down the cost of getting a cavity filled.

  • Visit the dentist regularly. It may seem counterintuitive, but regular trips to the dentist are actually one of the best ways to control cavity-filling costs. That’s because preventive care and treatment can help you avoid cavities in the first place, and preventive screenings also cost less than fillings. And, regular dental checkups give the dentist the opportunity to find a cavity before it becomes severe—and before it costs more to fix.
  • Practice good dental hygiene at home. Along the same lines, making sure to brush twice a day and floss daily, as well as limiting sugary foods like sodas and candy, can help prevent cavities in the first place.
  • Talk to the dentist’s office about payment options. The billing staff at your dentist’s office will very likely be willing to work out a payment plan with you if you aren’t able to cover the entire cost of your filling up front. Setting up a series of smaller payments can make paying for a filling less of a financial burden.
  • Check out dental school clinics. Many dental schools offer clinics with care provided by dental students. Fees at these clinics are usually significantly lower than those at standard dental offices for the same exact procedures. Rest assured that the students are supervised by experienced, highly trained dentist instructors.

Whether you have a cavity that needs filling or are just in need of a dental checkup, we recommend taking the time to find a good dentist. Our dentist finder tool can help you find a qualified dentist near you.