Dental treatments and fillings
Information on fillings, root canal treatment and periodontal treatment
When it comes to dental treatments, there is a difference between cavities, periodontosis and root canal therapy. This page presents the different dental treatments and fillings.
Treating cavities and getting fillings
When dentists detect signs of tooth decay, they start by removing the affected tooth substance to save as much of the healthy tooth as possible. They then move on to replacing the missing substance with a filling, for which various different materials are available.
Fillings in detail
- Amalgam: Amalgam is an alloy mixture of silver, copper, mercury, indium, tin and zinc. The advantage of amalgam is that it is affordable, quick and easy to work with. Amalgam fillings last for six to ten years – and even longer if they are well maintained. These fillings are especially suitable for molars, where they are exposed to great stress. Amalgam is not normally used for teeth at the front of the mouth because it has a dark metallic colour. As of 1 July 2018, amalgam has continued to be used in fillings for baby teeth and in treatments for children under the age of 15 and for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding only when the dentist has determined that it is medically necessary. Usually other materials like composite fillings are used.
- Glass ionomer cement: Glass ionomer cement is a mineral cement used as a soft material directly in the tooth. Glass ionomer cement is frequently used to fix dentures in place. It is not suitable as a filling material because it has a limited lifespan. It is used in temporary fillings and baby teeth with cavities.
- Compomer: Compomer is a mixture of glass ionomer cement and plastic and, like glass ionomer cement, is only used in limited situations: to treat baby teeth with cavities, at the neck of the tooth and for temporary fillings.
- Composite: Composite plastic fillings are a mixture of plastic and inorganic material. They last for four to six years. Since tooth-coloured plastic fillings blend in with the surrounding tooth, they are used in teeth at the front of the mouth. The disadvantage of plastic fillings is that the material can shrink. The gap created at the edge of the material, between the tooth and the filling, then provides an opportunity for new tooth decay to occur. The material can also discolour over time. Composite is not always suitable for the size of the filling in molars. Composite fillings are more time-intensive and use more material than amalgam fillings. For this reason, composite fillings incur higher costs, which can only be covered in part by the health insurer.
- Inlay: Alternatively, your dentist can use gold or ceramic inlays, which are embedded into the tooth. Dental moulds are used to produce dentures and dental prostheses that are an exact fit to your mouth, replacing the lost tooth substance with precision. Gold inlays are easy to work with and allow for highly precise edging of the fillings on the tooth. Their advantage is that they last for up to 20 years: they are slightly less likely to crack than ceramic inlays. However, gold inlays are really noticeable, which is why they are not used in teeth at the front of the mouth.
The following overview is designed to outline which materials we cover the costs for
|Amalgam||Silver||Posterior teeth||8–10 years||Normal||No|
|Glass ionomer (cement)||Light, matt||Milk teeth||1–2 years||Normal||No|
|Compomer||Tooth colour||All teeth||4–6 years||High||Yes|
|Composite (plastic)||Tooth colour||All teeth||4–6 years||High||Some|
|Gold inlay||Gold||Posterior teeth||10–15 years||Very high||Yes|
|Ceramic inlay||Tooth colour||Posterior teeth||10 years||Very high||Yes|
Please note: if you are allergic to amalgam or another filling material and this has been established by an allergist, your dentist can use an alternative material for your filling, such as a composite plastic. If this is the case, then we will cover the cost of the alternative filling material.
Root canal treatment
If your dental pulp is inflamed and cannot heal on its own, your dentist will try to save your tooth with root canal treatment. Your dentist will remove the affected pulp, clean the root canal and then seal off the pulp cavity with a filling. This is often a fairly drawn-out procedure, since it commonly requires several appointments to treat. If your root canal treatment is considered essential from a dentistry perspective and your tooth can be saved by the procedure, then SBK will cover the costs for you.
If you already suffer from bleeding gums in the event of minor irritation such as daily brushing, this may be a sign of periodontal disease – also known as periodontosis. The gums start to recede and create pockets around the teeth. If your dentist recommends periodontal treatment, then they will contact us directly to cover the costs. Generally speaking, you will receive the go-ahead from us within a few days of us receiving the necessary paperwork, which means we have agreed to cover the costs of this contractual treatment.