Any dentist will agree that brushing and flossing go a long way in preventing cavities. However, it’s not always easy to clean every nook and cranny, especially your molars. Molars are rough and uneven, which makes them the favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to accumulate. To help protect your teeth, your dentist may suggest oral sealants or dental fillings. They will recommend one or the other based on the current state of your teeth. Considering sealants vs. dental fillings in Columbia, Maryland? Reach out to Dr. Michael Hsu at Columbia Smiles today. You can call 410.690.4855 or contact our team online.
What Is an Oral Sealant?
A dental or oral sealant is a thin protective coating that’s made from plastic or other dental materials which adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can keep cavities from forming and may even stop the initial stages of tooth decay from becoming full-blown cavities.
Studies show that dental sealants can reduce the risk of decay by almost 80% in molars. This can be beneficial, especially for patients who are children. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also released a report that states that school-aged children without sealants on their teeth have almost three times more cavities than children with dental sealants.
What Are Dental Fillings?
Before delving into dental fillings vs. sealant, it’s essential to understand what dental fillings are. There are several types of dental filling material currently available to repair cavities, including tooth-colored composite fillings and silver-colored amalgam fillings. Composite resin materials are increasingly used to fill teeth, as many patients prefer tooth-colored fillings.
There are also treatments called crowns, which are used to repair badly broken-down teeth. Crowns can be made of porcelain, stainless steel, gold, or other metals. In general, dental fillings and crowns don’t last a lifetime, and patients with crowns or fillings should go to regular dental appointments to have them checked out by their dentist periodically.
Dental Fillings vs. Sealants: Which One Should You Consider?
Now that you know what sealants and dental fillings are, it should be easier to understand their benefits. Your dentist will recommend dental sealants or fillings for you, or a family member, should they see the need for their utilization.
Tooth decay, as you’ve learned earlier, is damage to a tooth that can lead to small holes called cavities. More severe decay can cause a larger hole or even the destruction of the entire tooth. If tooth decay is not treated by a dentist, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
Sealants and dental fillings are both optional because you’re not restricted to choosing just one. However, some dental filling recommendations from your dentist can be critical. Both options target the prevention or repair of the damage that tooth decay has caused. The solutions have a similar application procedure: they both involve the application of a seal that is hardened by ultraviolet light. The main difference between the two is the longevity of the applied intervention. A sealant can last for years but is often damaged and needs to be replaced by your dentist during regular dental appointments. A dental filling may last for a decade.
Generally, you should go with the procedure your dentist recommends. Remember that dental sealants are preventative, while dental fillings help repair the damage that’s already there.
Schedule an Appointment at Columbia Smiles Today
If you’re comparing sealants vs. dental fillings in Columbia, Maryland, contact Dr. Michael Hsu at Columbia Smiles today. You can call 410.690.4855 or reach out to our team online.