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How Long Does it Take to Get a Filling?

Get rid of that cavity with a filling!


Snacks and soda can provide a boost of energy mid-day. While the consumption of sweets is delightful, sweets should be enjoyed in moderation, certainly not constantly. Otherwise, we are putting our pearly whites that we see, brush, and eat with at risk for cavities.

When snacks and sugary drinks are constantly consumed, the environment in your mouth changes and allows bacteria to breakdown the sugar into acid, which is the cause cavities and damage to your teeth. Longterm damage can include infection, toothache, tooth fracture, and tooth loss.

Cavities begin when your tooth enamel is weakened and softened by the acid produced by the bacteria breaking down sugar. 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 discomfort. Cavities come in a combination of all shapes, sizes, and shades: deep and wide, small pit, and "invisible" where it can only be detected with an x-ray. To prevent long-term damage, your dentist will create a treatment plan for either a silver or tooth-colored filling to repair the cavity.

How Long Do Fillings Take?

When a cavity is detected early, fillings are the most common treatment plan your dentist will provide. The amount of time to complete a filling depends on the quantity of teeth involved, cavity size, location, and dental tools used. A tiny cavity located on the front tooth may not require local anesthetic; thus, taking 20 minutes to 30 minutes with an air-abrasion tool. In contrast, a large cavity located in the back tooth will require local anesthetic; thus, taking 45 minutes to an hour, using low and high speed drills. Having multiple fillings completed on the same day appointment may take over an hour.

Insurance Coverage for Your Fillings

Fillings are considered a minor restorative procedure and are located under Minor Restorative Services of your BCBS FEP Dental Brochure. This includes amalgam (silver) fillings and composite (tooth-colored) fillings. There are likely limitations on your policy as to how often a filling can be done on a specific surface of a given tooth; be sure to review the dental brochure for more detail or call customer service if you have any questions.