Understanding the Difference Between Dental Fillings and Sealants

What is a Dental Filling and What Does It Do?

Dental fillings and sealants are both common procedures that can help to treat or prevent tooth decay. But what exactly are these two treatments, and how do they differ from one another?

dental filling is a procedure that involves filling a cavity in a tooth with a material that can restore the tooth's shape and function. This is typically done using a composite material that matches the color of the tooth, or with amalgam (a mixture of metals) or gold. The purpose of a filling is to treat decay and prevent further damage to the tooth.

What are the Different Types of Dental Fillings Available?

There are several types of dental fillings available, each with its own set of pros and cons. Composite fillings are the most common and are made from a mixture of plastic and glass. They are tooth-colored and blend in with the natural color of the tooth. Amalgam fillings are made from a mixture of metals and are less expensive than composite fillings. However, they are also more noticeable and can cause sensitivity to temperature changes. Gold fillings are the most expensive type of filling, but they are also the longest-lasting. Porcelain inlays are another option and are more durable than composite fillings.

What Are Dental Sealants and How Do They Differ from Fillings?

Dental sealants are a preventive treatment that involves applying a thin layer of plastic over the surface of a tooth. This layer forms a barrier that can protect the tooth from decay and damage. Sealants are typically used on molars, which are more susceptible to decay because they have deep grooves and fissures. Sealants are a quick and painless procedure that can be completed in a single visit.

The Benefits of Getting a Dental Sealant Compared to a Filling:

The main benefit of getting a dental sealant is that it can prevent tooth decay from occurring in the first place. Sealants provide a protective layer over the tooth that can help to prevent bacteria and food particles from getting stuck in the grooves and causing decay. Sealants are also a good option for children who are still developing their brushing and flossing habits. Sealants can last for up to 10 years and are an affordable way to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health.

When Should I Visit the Dentist for a Filling or Sealant?

The decision to get a filling or a sealant will depend on the individual's specific needs and the severity of their tooth decay. If a cavity is present, a filling may be necessary to restore the tooth's shape and function. If the tooth is healthy but at risk for decay, a sealant may be the best option. It is important to visit the dentist regularly for check-ups to catch any potential problems early on and to maintain good oral health.

Dental fillings and sealants are two important treatments that can help to prevent tooth decay and maintain good oral health. By understanding the difference between these two treatments, patients can make informed decisions about their dental care and work with their dentist to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Regular dental check-ups are essential to catch any potential problems early on and to maintain optimal oral health. If you have any concerns about your dental health, contact Howe Dental Vancouver today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists.