Ceramic filling for teeth: cost, durability, advantages and disadvantages

A ceramic filling is the aesthetic and higher quality alternative to an amalgam filling. It is made individually in the laboratory, is durable and stable, which also makes it more expensive. Everything about costs, course of treatment, durability and more.

Medizinisch getestet - Siegel
by dentist Dr. Jens Gottschalk

Table of contents:

Caries is a widespread disease: According to a study by the University of Greifswald, about 99 percent of adults in Germany have decayed and/or filled teeth.

Differences in dental fillings

Different materials are used for dental fillings. Basically, a distinction is made between plastic fillings and inlay fillings.

Direct fillings

Plastic fillings are also called direct fillings: The damaged tooth is filled directly with malleable materials such as plastic or composite or amalgam, which harden there.

Indirect fillings

Inlay fillings are made of ceramic or gold, for example. They are also called indirect fillings because they are made outside the oral cavity - in a dental laboratory or in the dentist's office - and are only inserted in a second step.

Ceramic fillings more popular than amalgam

For a long time, dentistry preferred to use amalgam fillings to restore teeth damaged by caries. However, amalgam contains mercury - a substance that is a highly toxic heavy metal in its pure form. The inexpensive amalgam filling has therefore fallen into disrepute. Instead, many patients are opting for well-tolerated, visually appealing plastic or ceramic fillings.

Ceramics as a material for dental fillings

Gold and ceramics belong to the hard dental fillings - however, gold is hardly used in Germany today. Ceramic fillings are not only less expensive than inlay fillings made of gold, they also enable an esthetic treatment result due to the individual adaptation to the tooth color.

Advantages of ceramic fillings:

1. Ceramics are primarily used to fill medium and larger tooth defects, provided that the patient's remaining tooth structure permits. For smaller defects, soft material such as amalgam or composite is used.

2. Ceramic is stable, durable and long-lasting. Dental fillings made of this high-quality material withstand human chewing pressure for years and hardly discolor - even if the patient likes to drink coffee or smoke.

3. In terms of temperature conductivity, ceramics are similar to natural tooth enamel, which means that ceramic fillings do not make teeth more sensitive to hot or cold food or drinks. There is also no risk of taste impairment.

Did you know?

Ceramic filling is one of the minimally invasive treatments. This means that the patient has to forfeit little of his healthy natural tooth substance in order to have the defect filled with a ceramic filling.

Treatment and production of ceramic inlays

Ceramic fillings belong to the so-called inlays. They are made individually and fit perfectly on the hole to be filled. Smaller fillings are called inlays. If the ceramic filling replaces larger parts of a destroyed tooth, they are called onlays or overlays.

To make inlays, onlays and overlays, the dentist first takes an impression of the affected part of the tooth. The filling is then made to fit precisely in a dental laboratory. In the process, the shade of the ceramic inlay is matched to the natural color of the tooth substance, making the filling virtually completely invisible when speaking and laughing.

This type of inlay is therefore considered a bioesthetic restoration. If a ceramic filling is desired, the patient often has to come to the dental practice for a second treatment. The inlay is then attached to the damaged tooth with a special adhesive or cement.

Ceramic filling with just one visit to the dentist thanks to the CEREC process

The fact that ceramic fillings require at least two visits to the dentist has long been one of the major disadvantages of this material. It took several days or even weeks for the inlay to be completed, and the hole in the tooth was temporarily filled with a temporary plastic filling. Today it is possible to fit and insert ceramic fillings in a single session.

The so-called CEREC process is used here, in which a digital model of the teeth is made using a camera. The required inlay is then milled out of a ceramic block on site in the dental practice and inserted immediately.

There is no waiting time in this case, and a temporary filling is not required.

Ceramic filling: Yes or No?



✔️ well tolerated

✔️ long lasting

✔️ inconspicuous and aesthetic

✖️ Not a health insurance benefit

✖️ expensive without supplementary dental insurance

✖️ not suitable for small holes


There are good reasons why ceramic fillings are increasingly outstripping classic amalgam fillings:


Ceramic fillings thus offer some advantages, but they also have disadvantages.

Among the negative aspects is that the patient usually has to visit the practice at least twice for the tooth to be restored with a ceramic filling. In addition, ceramic fillings are usually only used in the posterior region.

Another disadvantage is the cost: up to 550 euros are usually required for a ceramic filling. How much you have to pay, however, depends not least on how badly damaged the tooth substance is and whether you have taken out supplementary dental insurance that protects you against high costs at the dentist.

Is a ceramic filling the best dental filling?

Now, weighing the pros and cons: Is a ceramic filling the best choice for damaged teeth? This question cannot be answered in a general way. Basically, a filling is there to close holes in the teeth and thus preserve their functionality.

In addition, most dental patients want an aesthetic solution for their teeth. Which filling is the best therefore depends on several factors, such as: What is the condition of the tooth to be treated and the entire set of teeth? What is the general state of health of the patient?

Of course, the desired time and cost also play an important role in deciding on the appropriate dental filling. Ceramic fillings are more expensive than simple amalgam fillings, but they offer a visually appealing result and last for years. For many patients, therefore, they are the first choice when fillings are needed for medium to large tooth damage.

Reimbursement for ceramic fillings

What proportion of the cost of ceramic inlays is covered by the public health insurance system?

In recent years, the benefits provided by public health insurers have been cut back more and more. Many people with public health insurance are therefore wondering whether and when their health insurance will cover the costs of dental fillings.

The answer is simple: the "public" only covers basic medical care. In the case of damaged teeth, this means that public health insurance only reimburses the costs for treatment with a simple amalgam filling in the area of the posterior teeth. If the visible front teeth are affected, a tooth-colored composite filling can also be reimbursed.

Only if medical reasons speak against the use of inexpensive amalgam or composite fillings, public health insurance will pay for a dental filling made of other material.

High deductible for ceramic fillings without supplementary dental insurance

If you want a high-quality ceramic filling, you usually have to pay the difference to the cheaper alternative out of your own pocket. In concrete terms, this means: The health insurance covers about 20 to 50 euros per tooth, the remaining 300 to 500 euros must be paid by the patient.

A Top-up dental insurance can protect you from high dental bills. Depending on the selected tariff, private top-up dental insurance covers part of the costs for the ceramic inlay or even reimburses the amount completely.

FAQ on the topic of ceramic fillings

The costs usually amount to 350 to 550 euros per tooth. The total sum includes treatment and care by the dentist as well as material and laboratory costs. Since a ceramic filling is not part of the standard treatment, the health insurance company only pays the fixed allowance.

The dentist several can fill a hole in the tooth in several ways - cheaper and more expensive. For a direct filling with amalgam, the dentist usually charges 20 to 50 euros. The costs are completely covered by the public health insurance.

For a composite filling in the posterior region, 30 to 80 euros per tooth are due and a gold inlay costs 280 to 380 euros. The situation is similar for ceramic fillings, which can cost up to 550 euros or more. They are therefore among the more expensive fillings.

In addition to ceramic fillings, patients can also opt for plastic fillings. Compared to high-quality ceramic fillings, plastic fillings are relatively inexpensive. They can be matched to the individual tooth color, which makes plastic fillings an esthetic, cost-effective alternative to shiny metallic amalgam fillings.

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