Difference between a Dental Filling and a Dental Sealant

Often our patients ask us how they can better care for their teeth. Of course, our number one recommendation is to floss once and brush twice a day for two minutes each. However, there are other preventative and restorative ways to maintain a healthy smile. At Cox Family Dentistry, we use dental fillings and dental sealants to protect and preserve your healthy teeth. These cavity-fighting cousins can be difficult to distinguish. Read below to find out the differences.

Dental Sealants are Preventative

Cavities form when the enamel on your tooth is broken down by acids in starches and sugars. To thwart this, Dr. Cox recommends that you use fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, and drink plenty of water. This combination will keep the enamel clean and strong. However, natural cracks and ridges form in your teeth. It is difficult to reach these spaces with a toothbrush or floss. In this case, Dr. Cox usually recommends a protective measure, typically given to children, called sealants. A sealant fills in these naturally occurring crevices to reduce the possibility of cavity development.

Dental Fillings are Restorative

Although, if a cavity does develop, dental fillings are typically used to occupy the whole in your tooth. Once Dr. Cox removes the decayed part of the tooth, the area can be filled with a composite resin or metal which prevents future damage and strengthens your tooth. Unlike sealants, dental fillings can last decades with proper care while sealants can be removed by chewing gum, eating sticky food, or teeth grinding.

Choosing a between a dental filling and a dental sealant is more dependent on the state of your oral health than on personal preferences. If you have young children, ask Dr. Cox about applying a sealant to their teeth if [he/she] has not already. Additionally, remember that neither treatment options are a substitute for proper oral health habits such as flossing, brushing, and drinking plenty of water.

If you have more questions about dental fillings or sealants, please contact Cox Family Dentistry today. To schedule an appointment for a filling or sealant, go to our website or call 972-468-8692. We look forward to seeing you!