When faced with dental problems associated with tooth decay, questions usually arise concerning which treatment is best for you. Of course, consulting your general dentist about your dental health is the most effective solution. However, knowing the difference between dental fillings and sealants for treatment and prevention is also essential.
What Are Dental Fillings?
Dentists apply dental fillings to restore a patient’s decayed tooth and prevent it from getting further damaged. It’s often necessary for teeth located at the back part of your mouth. The materials used for dental fillings usually vary from white fillings, silver fillings, gold fillings, and ceramic fillings.
When you eat sugary and starchy foods, tooth decay can occur over time. Unhealthy eating habits, paired with poor dental hygiene, can cause your teeth enamel to weaken and suffer from cavities.
When this happens, your dentist will perform a procedure to remove, clean, and put a hole in the decayed part of your tooth. Afterward, the dentist will use dental fillings to fill this hole.
You can minimize the need for dental fillings through healthy dental habits. Properly brushing your teeth, eating a healthy diet, and regular flossing habits can enhance dental health.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are tooth-colored seals to shield your tooth from tooth decay. They are used to seal the deep grooves in your molar teeth, where food chewing happens. Dentists can apply dental sealants before tooth decay occurs as a preventative measure.
Molars have natural grooves that allow bacteria to lurk and produce acids. These germs are hard to get rid of with a toothbrush due to your molars’ deep fissures. So your tooth needs dental sealants to prevent bacteria from producing cavities.
Teens and children are often candidates that can benefit from dental sealants. To best identify if a sealant is already appropriate for your child, ask your dentist.
Difference Between Dental Fillings and Dental Sealants
Which option is best in which circumstance? Dental fillings and sealants sound similar in many ways, including that they both protect your tooth enamel from cavities. However, they have differences that can help you identify which option is best for your needs.
- Purpose: Dentists apply sealants for preventive reasons while they apply fillings for restoration and treatment. Sealants protect and shield molars from tooth decay, while fillings fill holes caused by tooth decay.
- Longevity: Dental fillings and sealants differ in terms of durability. Fillings last longer while sealants may only last a few years, or even less. The duration usually depends on your dental habits and oral hygiene.
- Materials: The materials the dentist uses in dental fillings vary in different circumstances. For cosmetic reasons, composite filling materials are best for your tooth. For durability purposes, gold filling materials can last years after a dental filling procedure. Dental sealants, on the other hand, only use plastic film. They are first applied in liquid form on the tooth but soon hardens using ultraviolet light.
Tooth Decay Treatment and Prevention
We now consider your dental concerns. The decision to use dental fillings or sealants depends on your specific needs. The difference between a dental filling and a dental sealant can help you identify which will work better in your situation. However, a dental professional can advise and apply the treatment that is best for your situation.
At Lovett Dental Webster, our dental professionals will work together with you to achieve your optimal dental health. Whether it’s a dental filling or sealant you need, they can help. Various dental services that can help you achieve optimal dental health include:
- Restorative dentistry
- Preventive dentistry
- Cosmetic dentistry options
- Pediatric dentistry techniques
- Fluoride treatment options
Learn More at Lovett Dental Webster
Fillings are best for restoration, but sealants work best for prevention. Even if you don’t have tooth decay today, it’s best to look for prevention measures now than go for restoration later.