Tooth Decay Restoration Or Prevention? Choosing The Right Dental Treatment
Dental procedures, such as fillings and sealants can seem overwhelming or confusing. Although a good Bethpage dentist will spend time talking you through recommended dental procedures and options, it’s still helpful to be informed before your appointment so you can work with your dentist to make the best choices for your oral health. Sometimes, fillings and sealants are recommended for your teeth or your child’s teeth. What are some of the differences?
Tooth fillings and dental sealants are similar dental treatments in many ways. Both are fast, straightforward procedures that shield teeth from future decay. However, their goal is very different. Dental sealants work preventatively by coating healthy teeth in order to prevent damage or decay. In contrast, tooth fillings are used as a restorative procedure to repair existing tooth decay or damage. Your dentist will help you understand your options and which treatment may be right for you and your child.
Tooth Fillings As a Dental Restoration Procedure
After a cavity or hole forms on tooth enamel as a result of decay, it can cause pain and sensitivity, in addition to weakening the whole tooth and putting you at risk of a more severe bacterial infection. In order to treat this problem, your dentist may recommend fillings. The procedure involved removing the decayed enamel, cleaning the area, and filling in the hole. The area will then be smoothed and blended so it is essentially invisible. Dental fillings restore the damaged area of your tooth, improving its appearance and preventing bacteria from entering into that area again.
Preventive Properties & Long-Term Benefits Of Dental Sealants
Unlike fillings, sealants are offered as a preventative treatment for teeth that are healthy and have not suffered from decay. Most commonly, sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and other areas that are vulnerable to damage or decay. Since molars are deeply grooved, plaque and bacteria can easily settle into those areas. Dental sealants act like a shield to protect tooth enamel from the acids and plaques that cause decay.
Children who have sealants applied to their teeth have three times fewer cavities, leading to fewer cavity fillings and dental visits in the long run, plus the advantage of healthy teeth and reduced risk from oral bacterial infections. Some other considerations include your child’s brushing habits, whether they are genetically prone to cavities, and insurance coverage. Adults can get sealants applied, too, but it’s not recommended as frequently. Talk with your Bethpage dentist if you are wondering whether sealants are a good option for your teeth.
The Longevity Of Materials Is An Important Factor
When determining the right course of treatment for yourself or your child, it’s helpful to consider how long the materials may last. The good news is that both fillings and sealants will last a long time with good oral hygiene.
Fillings are considered a permanent application and rarely require replacement. They are made with different types of materials. Composite fillings are tooth-colored and made from porcelain. They are a popular option for visible fillings and when patients want their fillings to look natural. Amalgam is made with silver material. Although less attractive, they last longer than other types of fillings. Ceramic fillings are the most expensive filling options, but win in the durable and aesthetic categories, and will usually last longer than composite fillings.
Made from medical grade resin, sealants are strong. However, they will erode over time, especially when they are on high impact surfaces like the grooved area of a molar. However, dental sealants should last several years.
Can Dental Sealants Be Permanent?
Unlike dental fillings, sealants are temporary. They are most effective for the first two years after their application. They will continue to last for up to several years, but will gradually begin to wear down and eventually need replacement if you want them to continue shielding your teeth from decay. This is especially true when sealants are applied to the outer chewing surface of specific teeth that grind and chew food, where they will wear away much more easily than a filling, which is placed inside of a tooth.
Frequent Visits To a Qualified Dentist Will Reduce The Risk Of Tooth Decay
When it comes to treating or protecting your teeth from decay, your dentist can help you understand the options. Additionally, visiting Bethpage Smiles Family Dental at least twice a year for routine cleanings and keeping up with daily oral hygiene are some of the best ways to reduce your risk of tooth decay. It’s especially important to remind children that sealants are not a replacement for brushing and flossing twice a day. Contact our dentist office to get started on your healthy smile!
This blog post is courtesy of Dr. Rita A. Peck and Gilbert Vista Dental Care, which is located in Gilbert, AZ.
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