Dental Sealants vs Fillings

November 12, 2023 3:31 pm

Understanding the Distinction Between Dental Sealants and Fillings

At Tots to Teens Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we recognize that cavities are a prevalent oral health concern in children’s dentistry. Just as any dentist for kids will recommend, regular dental cleanings and checkups can effectively combat tooth decay, but preventive care can go a step further with specialized treatments. To provide clarity on specific cavity-fighting treatments, let our trusted kids dentists explain the key differences between two essential approaches childrens dentists use: dental sealants and fillings. While these terms may seem alike, they serve distinct purposes and are essential in maintaining bright and amazingly healthy smiles.

The Purpose

To put it simply, dental sealants are a preventive measure aimed at warding off cavities before they can develop. On the other hand, fillings are used to restore teeth that have already been affected by decay.
Dental sealants consist of a transparent or tooth-colored coating that is carefully applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. This creates a protective barrier, shielding the teeth from decay-causing bacteria. Typically, sealants are applied to the back teeth, as they are more difficult to clean thoroughly and have deep grooves that are more susceptible to cavities.

Dental fillings, however, are employed to treat teeth that already harbor cavities. During the filling procedure, the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, and a filling material is used to restore the tooth’s form and functionality.
 
The Process

Although both dental sealants and fillings play vital roles in maintaining oral health, their procedures differ significantly. Dental sealants require the direct application of a thin layer of plastic material onto the teeth. The material is simply brushed across the tooth surface and dries quickly for years of preventive protection. This process creates a shield that prevents bacteria and food particles from accumulating in the grooves, potentially leading to cavities. Plus, tooth sealants are gentle and completely noninvasive for a quick and simple treatment.
To administer fillings, the damaged portion of the tooth is first removed. Subsequently, a durable filling material is used to fill the cavity and restore the tooth’s integrity. Although the filling material can vary, it can be extra beneficial to find a dentist for kids that provides tooth-colored fillings (like us!) for a seamless, restored smile. Fillings are the simplest and most cost-effective treatments to combat cavities once they arrive to prevent the spread of decay and avoid further treatments like dental crowns and root canals.

 
Make an Informed Choice for Your Child’s Dental Needs

At Tots to Teens, we offer a range of essential dental treatments, including dental sealants, tooth-colored fillings, and more. Our knowledgeable team of kids dentist will guide you in choosing the right option for your child’s unique needs to let their smile thrive. We wholeheartedly believe that good oral hygiene plays a vital role in enhancing the quality of life.
From the initial consultation to treatments such as dental fillings, dental sealants, or a combination of both, our experienced team is dedicated to helping your child achieve a healthy and happy smile. If you have any questions about our services or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can’t wait to work with you and your child soon!

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