Mercury Amalgam Filling Removal Cost

Written by: Staff

If you have any sort of silver filling in your mouth, you may be thinking about getting rid of it and replacing it with a resin.

A dental amalgam, also known as a silver cavity, is a common material to fill cavities, and over time, it may need to be removed due to decay, for instance.

Mercury Amalgam Filling Removal Cost
dentist” (CC BY 2.0) by ^@^ina (Irina Patrascu Gheorghita )

How much does it cost to remove mercury amalgam fillings?

The cost of removing an old amalgam filling and replacing it with a resin, in most cases, will greatly depend on your dentist, the filling used after, the amount of decay, dental insurance (if you have it) and geographical location.  From our research, the costs to just remove the mercury fillings can range anywhere from $175 to $315 per tooth, but the costs can be more than this when you factor in the new filling and x-rays needed beforehand.

However, before this procedure, your dentist will want to take an x-ray, perform a routine cleaning and examine your gum tissue, bone structure and the tooth/teeth to determine if the removal even makes sense.  These x-rays, depending on the dentist billing policy, may be an additional cost, with dental x-rays costing anywhere from $125 to $225+

Your dental insurance may cover the procedure if any decay is present inside your mouth around the tooth in question., however, notes insurance companies often cover the replacement of any cracks, decayed or otherwise non-serviceable fillings.  Depending on the size, they note the cost to have an amalgam filling replaced can range anywhere from $160 to $325.

If you want to use your dental insurance, then it’s highly recommended you check with your dentist office ahead of time to know if the procedure will be covered.  Even if you do not have a dental insurance policy, you may want to check out, a plan which works in the same way as insurance.  As long as your dentist accepts the plan you sign up for, you may be able to save a good amount of money.

If you were to choose a holistic dentist who uses a BPA and composite free filling, for example, it can be much more, often averaging $350+ a tooth.

Kate at did a great job breaking down the entire process she went through when her dentist removed her amalgam filling, and in one of her comments, she said she had the procedure done on five teeth and her total came to $3,500 before insurance.

A member on said she was quoted $250 to $425 per tooth at a local holistic dentist.

Via a reply on, she noted she had nine filling removed, with each costing about $125 each, but since each filling was wearing away due to time, her dental insurance policy was able to cover 55 percent of the costs.

What is dental amalgam?

According to the FDA, a dental amalgam, sometimes referred to as a silver filling, is a dental filling that has been done to fill cavities which have caused tooth decay in the past.  Being practiced for more than 150+ years, it’s a blend of metals, consisting of the elemental liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of copper, tin and silver.  By weight, 50 percent of dental amalgam fillings is elemental by weight, allowing it to react and bind together the alloy metals particles to form the amalgam.

The procedure

Since drilling out these fillings use an immense amount of heat, Dr. Tom McGuire notes it can cause a significant increase of the release of mercury into the air, and for this reason, cooling the filling with water and air while drilling will help reduce the amount being released.

Before the dentist begins to work on the tooth, he or she, most of the time, will give you an alternative source of air to help protect you from any vapors being released in the air while the tooth is being worked on.  At this time, a rubber dam may also be used to help isolate the tooth being worked on and prevent you from swallowing any particles being released as the filling is removed.

Using a technique known as “chunking,” a dentist will drill just enough of the tooth in order to remove either by hand or a powerful suction-like device to help minimize the mercury vapor and the amalgam particles.

After the filling is removed, the rubber dam will be removed and your mouth will be vacuumed for about 15 to 30 seconds as this will help remove any mercury vapor and amalgam particles lingering in the mouth.

Once the fillings are removed and replaced, your face and neck will be cleaned as a safe protocol to make sure you’re not bringing any mercury home.

The risks of removing a mercury filling

According to the FDA, as long as your filling remains free and clear of any decay and remains strong, then they recommend keeping it; however, if a portion of your tooth needs to be removed, then you do risk the chance of exposing yourself to the mercury vapor and this is something that needs to be avoided.  The mercury inside your tooth is an elemental mercury and it is known to release low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by your lungs.  In the end, the FDA did review multiple medical studies and what they found that low levels of this mercury vapor are a cause of concern, but based on this scientific evidence, the amalgam fillings are deemed safe for children and adults older than six.

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Average Reported Cost: $9340

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  1. Robin (Heath,  Texas) paid $9340 and said:

    I got a quote from Smile Ranch Dentistry in Heath Texas to remove 4 amalgam fillings and replace with crowns without insurance and the cost is $9,340

    Was it worth it? Yes

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