Has your child’s dental professional recommended sealants for their teeth? Have you been wondering about the difference between this preventative dental treatment and a dental filling that treats cavities?
While both procedures can utilize composite resin, these treatments accomplish different goals when it comes to preserving a pediatric patient’s oral health. Dr. Allie Miller, a dentist serving young patients in Winter Park, FL, elaborates on the similarities and variations between treatments with dental sealants and fillings.
Preventative Dental Care with Sealants
When your child’s permanent molars grow into place, your dentist may suggest preventative dental care using dental sealants. This treatment is useful for teeth with multiple grooves, such as molars, that do not show signs of cavities or more advanced tooth decay.
The sealant is made from a thin composite resin that coats the tooth. This will protect the enamel from acidic substances that may wear down this outer layer of the tooth and cause cavities. While the treatment is not permanent, it can reduce the likelihood of forming cavities in these patients by 80%.
The procedure for applying sealants to these teeth is simple and can be completed with one easy, pain-free appointment. A dental professional will prepare the surface of the teeth by coating them with a specific acidic compound that will allow the sealant to adhere effectively to the enamel.
Then the dentist uses a brush to apply the thin composite to the tooth. They cure the composite with specialized light which will harden the sealant into place. The patients can eat and drink normally after the sealants set, but for optimal results, they should continue to practice good oral hygiene habits.
Repairing Your Smile with Dental Fillings
Dental fillings can be made of composite resin just like sealants, but fillings are used to treat cavities rather than prevent them. If your dentist notices tooth decay in the form of a cavity, they will need to remove the damaged portion of the tooth before the structural damage worsens.
The dentist drills away the decay, a procedure that can be completed comfortably with help from a local anesthetic. They fill the resulting hole in the tooth with composite resin to create a dental filling. As with a sealant, the dentist cures the resin once sculpted into place.
The filling can last approximately 15 years. It seals the vulnerable part of the tooth after treatment and protects it from further damage. Patients should continue proper oral hygiene and avoid damaging their fillings to preserve their smiles.
Ask Your Winter Park, FL Dentist About Dental Sealants
Pediatric Dentistry of Winter Park, FL provides dental sealants and other preventative dental care to young patients. Dr. Miller specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry as well, including periodontal care, for pediatric patients. If your child feels nervous about upcoming dental work, ask your dental professional about sedation dentistry options. To schedule a consultation or appointment with our practice, contact our office by phone at 407.434.0267 or reach our office online.