Ever wonder why dental fillings cost so much? I mean, they are such tiny things. And it takes a few minutes to place them… of course, after making sure you are numb, getting the room ready, having a dental assistant or hygienist present to help out, and of course, there is that dentist that charges these high fees for a “simple filling”.
Dental Materials Are Expensive
But we forget… the cost of the office, overhead, rent, utilities, equipment, sterilization, staff payroll, so that little filling is not so little anymore. Then add the cost of supplies. And it’s not as little as you may think. Let me compare two different types of fillings, excluding ALL the other costs involved in the procedure.
Amalgam is around $100 per 50 capsules, so $2 per filling essentially. Composite resin can range anywhere from $50 to $100 per filling because of ingredients chosen and bonding steps involved, and that’s just for the material itself. Add to this the time, other overhead and dentist expertise, and the cost of a resin, especially if BPA free, can be massively higher than you expected.
Add in the PPE
Dental materials have a wide range when it comes to cost. Each dentist can choose based on what it is they prefer, and what their patients are looking for. But in the end, the cost of dental materials has gone through the roof since COVID, and what we used to spend on dental supplies has now, at least, quadrupled in price. And then add the cost of PPE per provider, so if your dentist is working with an assistant, and each of them are in full PPE, you are looking at an additional $90 for PPE per patient per appointment on top of everything else.
So when you wonder why dental fillings are so expensive, don’t just equate it to the time spent… and if your dentist can do it quickly, be grateful, because in the end, the cost is still high but if you can get it done fast that’s a benefit to you.
This post is another in a series about quality vs. price in dentistry. Read more blogs by Dr. Agatha Bis.