Fillings and Sealants
Tooth decay and cavities are common dental issues. Receiving a tooth-colored filling to restore your tooth helps prevent the problem from developing into something worse.
Tooth Fillings and Sealants
A filling is a simple restoration procedure primarily used to restore cavities or other mild decay or deterioration. Fillings are extremely common and have a high success rate. We offer options for composite fillings and amalgam fillings–both are safe. The type of fillings we use depends on your needs, but we commonly use composite fillings because they are tooth-colored and appear more natural for teeth that are visible and easier for others to see or notice.
Sealants are thin coatings painted on teeth to protect them from cavities. They are typically used in children, but can be used in adults as well. Sealants are a quick and affordable option to preventing cavities and tooth fillings.
How do cavity fillings work?
Cavity and tooth fillings are required to repair holes left in teeth due to tooth decay. Left unchecked, decay will continue to spread and damage the tooth. During the filling procedure dentists clean away decay inside of a cavity, usually with a drill to prevent further damage. But this doesn’t fix the damage that has already been created, so a filling is necessary. Fillings replace the part of the tooth that is missing or destroyed by tooth decay. The dentist molds the filling to match the shape of the surrounding tooth, which restores the strength and integrity of the tooth and prevents further decay.
What is a dental sealant?
Sealants give us a tool that can dramatically reduce the number of fillings placed in permanent teeth during critical stages of growth and development. On the chewing surface of molars, deep grooves reach into the center of the teeth. Under a microscope, these crevices might look like a deep canyon. In fact, most of them are narrower than a single toothbrush bristle but wide enough for bacteria to hide. It’s easy to see how cavities can form in such a perfect hideout.
If the grooves in permanent molars are sealed at a young age, the risk of decay occurring on the chewing surfaces decreases dramatically. Fortunately, this procedure can be done quickly and without any discomfort. If the grooves are free of cavities, they can be gently cleaned out and conditioned for bonding. Then a resin material is flowed into the grooves and sealed quickly with a blue activating light. Within a few minutes, the permanent molars receive a protective measure against cavities.
Who qualifies for dental sealants?
Sealants are designed for healthy teeth that have yet to develop cavities. In most cases, they’re placed on permanent molars shortly after they come in (around the ages of 6 and 12, respectively). However, adults can choose to get sealants too. It may be that their childhood sealants came off or they’re starting to develop cavities in other teeth for the first time.
Investing in affordable dental sealants can help you prevent more extensive (and expensive) oral health treatments in the future.
If you have more questions about tooth fillings and sealants, please contact our office and we will be happy to discuss further.