According to a recent survey, the short answer is that tooth filling costs anywhere between $115 and $285.
However, the extended response is that Australian dentists do not have set fees, so a patient could potentially receive ten different quotes from ten different dentists.
A dental filling is a treatment that restores and protects teeth that have been damaged by caries or tooth decay.
Over time, people have realised that going to the dentist saves us a lot of future pain, time and money. People generally have the impression that dental care is prohibitively expensive in Australia, however.
The truth is, there are dental clinics that are more affordable than you think — and it could be just within your neighbourhood.
In light of the fact that finding adequate dental care in Melbourne can be challenging, we penned this blog to help you along.
FAQs About Fillings Cost Melbourne?
The dentist bonds the filling directly to your affected tooth, then carefully shapes and colours the filling to match the surrounding natural teeth. The average cost of white fillings in Melbourne is $252.41.
If you choose a tooth-coloured filling, you can generally expect to pay more than if you choose the traditional metal option. Metal fillings cost roughly $50 to $100, whereas composite fillings can run between $90 and $250 each.
It's not uncommon to feel fear or concern about getting a cavity filled. Dental fillings can hurt in some instances. But most cause little to no discomfort during the procedure. So if you're avoiding your dental check-up over concerns about pain, take a deep breath, and read on.
On average, you can expect a metal filling to last for about 15 years before needing to be replaced, but the length of time can vary based on several factors, such as if you grind or clench your teeth. Tooth-coloured fillings are made from a mixture of fine glass and plastic particles.
There is no single number of times you can have a filling replaced. Usually, we will stop replacing the dental filling after the hole becomes too large. Once you have more filling material than natural tooth material, your tooth no longer holds enough strength.
Facts About Dental Care In Australia
All around the world, people in Australia rank fifth on the sugar consumption scale. Here are some interesting statistics:
How Much Sugar Do Australians Consume Daily?
Australians consume roughly 96.5 grams of sugar daily.
What Ratio Of Australian Adolescents Consume Excessive Amounts Of Sugar?
7 out of 10 children or adolescents consume an excessive amount of sugar daily
What Percentage Of Adults Brush Their Teeth More Than Once A Day?
55.5% of adults (15+ years old) report brushing their teeth two or more times every day
What Percentage Of Children Brush Their Teeth More Than Once A Day?
68.5% of children (5–14 years old) report brushing their teeth two or more times every day
In light of these facts, it's not surprising that many Australians have experienced tooth pain. Over 90% of adults have experienced decay in permanent teeth. So whether it be cavities, tooth decay or something worse, tooth pain makes seeing the dentist necessary.
Why We Avoid Going To The Dentist
Some of us may avoid check-ups because we're lazy or scared, but most think we can't afford the visit. 41% of people in Australia — that's 12.6 million people — say it's too expensive. That's nearly half of our country avoiding important care due to money.
What Affects The Prices Of Dental Filling
Several variables dictate the true cost to make things a little easier – and as a general rule of thumb. So without further ado, let's dive in and take a closer look at those factors.
Dental Clinic Locations
It stands to reason that a dentist working in a major city like Sydney or Melbourne will have to cover higher living costs. You probably didn't know this, but Sydney is one of the world's most expensive cities. There will be an increase in expenses due to higher wages, rent, and even utilities. Therefore, the price of procedures like dental fillings, dental exams, etc., will need to account for any 'extras. As a result, patients will pay more for healthcare in general.
What's more, single-location clinics based right in the heart of the CBD are likely to charge more because of where they are situated as opposed to a dental clinic located a little way out in the suburbs. Therefore it might be worth taking the short drive away from the city where charges for a tooth filling may be less.
Where The Problem Tooth Is Located
Another issue that can dictate higher or lower costs is where the problem tooth is located. For example, a distal tooth – the tooth located furthest back in the arch – is likely to be harder to fill than a cuspid/canine tooth – situated just off centre in the smile line.
It also stands to reason that a Class V restoration – those that affect the gingival facial and lingual surfaces of a distal tooth – will be more time consuming than, say, a class 1 cavity that you can clinically see. So, again, all of these factors can and do sway the cost.
Number Of Tooth Surfaces That Need Filling
Did you know that cavities are among the world's most common health problems? In fact, according to the latest Governmental Health report for Oral Health and Dental Care, Australians aged 15 and over have on average 12.8 decayed, missing or filled teeth. As a result, multiple cavities are commonplace. It's also possible to have more than one cavity in the same tooth. So while the average filling takes between 15-20 minutes to complete, you will naturally add time on the more problem teeth you have. However, any extra time taken is likely to have a sizeable impact on the tooth filling costs involved.
Type Of Tooth Filling
If you want to know 'how much does a tooth filling cost', you'll need first to know the filling material used. It, too, can impact the price you pay.
In essence, there are several different types of tooth filling. Tooth fillings include:
More commonly known as silver fillings because of their silver colour, amalgam fillings have been around for under 200 years. You put the first amalgam filling to use way back in 1826, and to this day, it still provides a cheaper alternative to other materials. On the plus side, they are highly resistant to wear and are often more durable than other materials, lasting between 10-15 years.
On the downside, their colour (silver) indicates that they aren't very aesthetically pleasing, and dentists usually limit them to cavities located at the back of the mouth, far away from the smile line.
But perhaps the biggest and most controversial problem is that amalgam tooth fillings contain small amounts of mercury and silver, copper and tin. The alloy must act as a binding agent for the other components that collectively make up the amalgam dental filling.
Naturally, mercury is toxic to humans. However, it is argued that the tiny amounts contained within fillings are insufficient to cause damage. They have been approved safe to use by the Australian Dental Association continue to support their use.
Composite Tooth Fillings
The most commonly used type of tooth filling in the second decade of the 21st century is resin-based composite filling. The main advantage of composite fillings is that they are tooth coloured and, therefore, aesthetically speaking, superior to amalgam dental fillings.
They are also more versatile, being used in various clinical situations. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that there are no proven sensitivity/allergy issues with composite white fillings.
That said, some do contain BPA, which is a compound added to improve the flexibility of plastic. In some instances, it can affect hormone production. However, like amalgam fillings, any BPA is utilised in exceptionally small amounts, and the ADA fully supports their use.
Structurally, composite fillings aren't as durable as amalgam tooth fillings and therefore last on average just 5-7 years.
Composite (white) tooth fillings take longer to place than amalgam fillings and usually require a greater degree of skill. In addition, the materials are also more expensive. As a result, composite fillings are usually more pricey than their amalgam counterparts.
These are usually custom made in a laboratory before being cemented into place. Because gold fillings contain 75% gold, they are very durable and typically last 10-15 years. On the flip side, and understandably, they are expensive compared to amalgam and composite tooth fillings.
Porcelain Dental Fillings
Porcelain fillings have a similar cost to gold fillings, so they don't come cheap. They also need to be fabricated in a dental lab before being fixed to the tooth. Unlike amalgam and composite fillings, they can't be applied on the same day. However, because they offer the most lifelike of restorations, they remain a popular choice of filling.
Porcelain has translucency just like a natural tooth, so it blends in seamlessly. Also, porcelain fillings can easily be coloured to match any existing teeth and resist staining.
Prices For Dental Fillings
In Australia, the price of a dental filling can cost between $125 and $300.
The price for dental fillings is dependent on several factors, including:
- The dental clinic and dentist performing the procedure
- The location of the tooth needing repair
- The extent of damage that needs to be repaired
- The material of the filling: amalgam fillings are less expensive than composite fillings
Suitability For Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are safe for every patient and can be made from a wide range of materials. Amalgam and composite are the two main options.
Often referred to simply as "silver fillings," amalgam restorations are composed of elemental mercury and a variety of other metals, such as tin, copper, silver, and zinc. They're sturdy, long-lasting, and have a 10-15 year lifespan. But the silver colour can darken with time, making the filling obvious when one opens their mouth. Some people may also worry that the elemental mercury used to make the filling is harmful to their health. Low levels of mercury found in amalgam fillings, however, pose no health risks.
Fillings made from composite materials, such as powdered glass and acrylic resin, can be shade-matched to the surrounding teeth. When compared to silver amalgam, it gives the tooth a more aesthetically pleasing, natural, and unobtrusive appearance. However, composite fillings only last five years, as they are not as sturdy as metal ones. They are also more likely to chip, which can drive up repair costs.
Common Dental Procedures In Melbourne
Melbourne is ripe with dental practices and procedures. We'll get into the details in a minute, but first, let's talk about why we should visit the dentist in the first place.
General Dental Check-Ups
We need dental check-ups mostly for preventive care. The idea is to invest now to avoid serious future pain. When unchecked, we may experience early dental trouble signs like jaw pain, mouth sores, bad breath, or swollen gums.
The dentist will remove excess buildup from your teeth and gum line during a dental check-up with special tools. They may also take X-rays to ensure everything looks good under the surface. The general recommendation is to visit a dentist every six months. However, if you take good care of your teeth, you may be able to stretch that to once every year.
The average cost of a dental check-up (with x-rays) in Melbourne CBD is $114.13. Here are the cheapest suburbs to get one:
- Heidelberg West $50
- Doncaster East $55
- Hawthorn $60
- Somerville $60
- Craigieburn $60
One of the most common dental procedures is filling a cavity. Unfortunately, even those faithful to keeping their teeth healthy can develop cavities. Fillings are restoring a damaged tooth by replacing decayed parts with new material.
There are many types of fillings on the market. White fillings mix plastic and glass materials and are often chosen to blend with the tooth colour. The dentist bonds the filling directly to your affected tooth, then carefully shapes and colours the filling to match the surrounding natural teeth.
- Kew – $124
- Eltham – $160
- Craigieburn – $180
- Hawthorn – $190
- Doncaster East – $200
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are the molars positioned furthest back in our mouths. We each have four wisdom teeth, and they are the last ones to develop. As a result, some people's wisdom teeth never erupt, and others don't have the room in their jaws to accommodate them. When there's not enough space, or if the teeth don't emerge, we need to have a dentist extract them.
A minor surgical procedure is required to remove wisdom teeth:
- After applying anaesthesia, the dentist will slightly trim the dense bone surrounding the tooth.
- Then, the tooth is sectioned and removed in several pieces to preserve as much bone as possible and prevent nerve damage.
- Post-procedure, swelling will occur, and the dentist will provide medications and guidelines to ensure healthy healing.
- Craigieburn – $185
- Oakleigh East – $210
- Richmond – $220
- Kew – $250
- Eltham – $250
The appearance of yellowed teeth can be very unattractive. Too much sugar and coffee are bad for our teeth, but they're also delicious. The good news is that contemporary technology can help restore our teeth's natural whiteness.
To remove surface stains, a simple cosmetic procedure called teeth whitening uses bleach. Not all bleaching methods are effective on different tooth structures.
The most typical method involves the dentist first applying a protective gel to your gums and then bleaching your teeth.
Home kits are also available, with easy-to-follow instructions from your dentist, if you prefer to handle things on your own.
Finally, there are over-the-counter alternatives that are less expensive but contain less bleach.
- Kew – $199
- Albert Park – $250
- Oakleigh East – $250
- Keysborough – $350
- Richmond – $375
- Southbank – $395
Our teeth decay over time, and a root canal is needed when a tooth section essentially dies. When this happens, a dentist goes in and removes the dead part of the tooth, then replaces it with a filling. You'll be put under anaesthesia during the procedure and won't feel any pain. Once finished, your tooth is as good as new!
- Kew – $600
- Richmond – $900
- Port Melbourne – $1,000
- Doncaster – $1,038
- Hawthorn – $1,200
The Most Common Dental Procedures In Melbourne
People often visit their dentists for general check-ups and white fillings in Melbourne.
Average Prices For Dental Procedures In Melbourne
Now that we've taken a deep dive into the different procedures, let's make a quick high-level comparison of the Melbourne metro!
- Professional teeth whitening – $504.57
- General check-ups – $114.13
- Wisdom tooth removal – $333.96
- A filling in Melbourne – $252.41
- Root canals in Melbourne – $1,392.40
Why You May Need Dental Fillings
It is the most common reason why people need dental fillings. Most people will experience tooth decay some time in their lives due to poor oral hygiene. Tooth decay is caused by food residue, especially sugar that remains on the tooth. Without proper flossing and brushing, the sugar remaining on the tooth will cause cavities. The cavity will slowly grow and eventually get into the second layer or dentine of the tooth.
If your tooth is cracked, fractured or chipped, you may need a filling to restore its functionality and appearance. Tooth damage can happen during physical exercise, so always wear a mouthguard at all times when playing extreme sports. Habits such as grinding or clenching your teeth can also weaken and damage the enamel over time.
Replacement Of A Previous Filling
Dental fillings are not permanent, and depending on the material of your filling, you may have to replace it more often. As soon as you notice a hole beginning to form, see your dentist solve the problem earlier and prevent further damage and pain. Ensure that you have regular dental check-ups with your dentist to locate existing problems and preventative care.
Dental Filling Aftercare Instructions
After a short time, the effects of the local anaesthetic will begin to fade. Long-term effects include tingling or numbness in the mouth. Paracetamol can be taken to ease pain without risk.
You can safely bite or eat on the side of your tooth that has a composite filling because they are set. In order to give an amalgam filling enough time to harden, you should avoid biting or chewing on the treated side for at least 24 hours. Avoid foods that are particularly hard, sticky, or chewy so as not to damage your filling.
To keep your teeth healthy and free of cavities, brush and floss twice daily.
After a few days, if you are still experiencing any of the above risks and complications or pain, you should make an appointment with your dentist.
You can now answer the question, "how much does it cost to get a tooth filling in Australia?" with confidence thanks to your newfound understanding of the factors that influence this estimate. There is no universal solution to this problem.
One thing is certain, though: dental issues can arise at any time and progress rapidly if left untreated.