Dental Tips Blog

Mar
9

Are Dental Sealants the Same Thing as Fillings?

Have you heard about dental sealants before and wondered what they were?

Dental insurance usually covers them, but they are not expensive if you have to pay for them out of pocket. A single sealant may only cost around $20-$50.

Are sealants just cheap dental fillings? What do they do?

A Protective Layer to Seal Out Decay

As a preventative measure, dental sealants stop decay before it starts.

Made from a plastic resin, sealants lightly bond with tooth enamel in a quick, drill-free procedure. Dentists paint sealant material over deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of molars where they keep food debris and bacteria from lodging in teeth and starting cavities (in deep grooves, especially prone to decay.)

Sealants Don’t Alter Tooth Structure

Sealants aren’t permanent tooth restorations. They’re thin ribbons of resin that overlay existing tooth structure. If your sealant wears away or falls out, your tooth is no worse off. A sealant is simply a protective additive.

On the other hand, if a filling is lost, you must replace it, otherwise your tooth will be vulnerable to infection.

Dental Sealants Do Not Treat Decay

A sealant can only prevent decay, not treat it after a cavity strikes. Dental sealants can prevent bacteria from nesting within the groove on a molar, but they don’t create a strong bond with enamel the way fillings do.

Additionally, a sealant doesn’t replace lost tooth structure. If a cavity eats a hole in a tooth, it needs a strong filling to complete the gap. Sealants are thin layers of plastic that aren’t strong enough to support the enamel structure of a tooth.

Dental sealants are very different from fillings. To learn more about how this preventative treatment can help you and your children, talk to your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Georgia Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

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