What is a sealant?

Graphic saying "Sealants protect against tooth decay!"

If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy an occasional sugary treat, don't fret. It’s important to know that cavities and decay don’t pop up after eating one cookie or piece of cake, they form over time. With that in mind, it's still important to brush and floss after every meal and limit the amount of sugar you consume daily.

While brushing and flossing are vital to your oral health, sometimes you just can't get all those tiny bacteria that love to stick around on our teeth. Sealants are a great way to prevent cavities from forming on the biting surfaces of our teeth. 

 

So What’s The Difference Between Sealants And Fillings?

 

In a nutshell, sealants are proactive and fillings are reactive.

 

 

Sealants

 

Sealants are like fillings but are applied to cavity-free teeth and mainly in young children. However, they can be used in adults as well if the dentist deems it appropriate. The sealant acts as the outer layer of the enamel and keeps the tooth safe from food particles and other bacteria, which typically cause cavities to develop. They are painted onto the exterior of the tooth to protect the tiny grooves and crannies from bacteria. Tooth grinding, sticky foods, and acids have been known to wear away sealants, making them a more temporary solution.

 

 

Fillings

 

Once there is actual decay, composite (tooth-colored) fillings are the answer IF there is still plenty of healthy tooth left. The composite resins are natural-looking and durable, built to withstand everyday chewing and can last a long time if cared for properly.

 

First, the dentist will remove all decay and thoroughly clean the area. After, he will apply the filling material to the area to prevent damage from reoccurring and eliminate any pain. Side note: composite fillings are one of the most labor-intensive procedures a dentist performs. The fillings have to be ‘layered’, small amounts at a time, each layer cured with a special light, all while keeping the tooth absolutely dry in a decidedly very wet environment!

 

 

Making The Best Choice For You

 

When choosing between a sealant and a filling, the state of the tooth will usually make that decision for you. Talk to Dr. Davis and after determining the extent of the damage, if any, to the tooth in question, he will guide you as to which option will fit you or your child’s needs best.

 

 

 

Interested in getting sealants? For the month of August, buy 1 sealant, get 1 sealant free!

Click the "Request Appointment" button above or call us at 918-212-8300 to reserve your appointment today!

 

Author
Mark M. Davis, DDS General and Cosmetic Dentist in Tulsa since 1982

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