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How Long Does It Take to Get a Filling?

Take care of that cavity with a filling.


Snacks and soda can provide a boost of energy mid-day. While eating and drinking sweets may be delightful, they should be enjoyed in moderation. Otherwise, you may be putting your teeth at risk for cavities.

Snacks and sugary drinks cause the environment in your mouth to change and allow bacteria to breakdown the sugar into acid. This acid causes cavities and damage to your teeth. Longterm damage can include infection, toothache, tooth fracture and tooth loss.

Cavities begin when the tooth enamel is weakened and softened by the acid. Once the tooth structure is weakened, the tooth becomes susceptible to cavities, first causing a pit or small hole in the tooth. If left untreated, the hole can grow and cause sensitivity and/or pain. Cavities can vary in size and appearance. They can appear as a small pit or a deep and wide hole. They are sometimes unable to be seen by the naked eye and can only be detected with an X-ray. When a cavity is diagnosed by your dentist, they typically will create a treatment plan for a silver or tooth-colored filling to repair the damage.

How Long Do Fillings Take?

When a cavity is detected early, a filling is the most commonly recommended treatment. The amount of time to complete a filling depends on the number of teeth involved, cavity size, location and the necessary dental materials and tools your dentist will use. A tiny cavity located on a front tooth may not require local anesthetic. As a result, it may only take your dentist 20 to 30 minutes with an air-abrasion tool to complete. In contrast, a large cavity located in a back tooth generally requires local anesthetic to numbe the area. It may take your dentist 45 minutes to an hour using dental drills. Having multiple fillings completed on the same day appointment may take over an hour.

Insurance Coverage for Your Fillings

Fillings are considered a restorative procedure and are covered under Class B, Minor Restorative Services. They include amalgam (silver) and composite (tooth-colored) fillings. There are limitations on how often a filling can be done on each specific surface of a given tooth.

Note: The information in this document is not meant to replace the advice of your dentist or another licensed healthcare professional. Talk to your dentist for any specific dental advice.