Dentists use a wide variety of treatments and procedures to care for their patients’ teeth. Some of these processes (dental fillings and dental sealants) are preventative in nature, while other ones are restorative measures designed to repair damage that has already occurred to the teeth. When it comes to your teeth, should you choose a dental filling or a dental sealant? How do you know which dental procedure is going to work best to protect your teeth and meet your oral health needs?
Fortunately, you can rely on your dentist for this decision about dental fillings or dental sealants as well as any other one that needs to be made about your teeth. Your dentist has all of the relevant information and can explain to you whether a dental filling or dental sealant is best for your needs.
How Are Dental Fillings and Sealants Different?
One of the primary differences between the two is longevity. A filling is expected to last for as many as ten years, whereas the average life expectancy of a dental sealant is no longer than a year. In reality, sealants generally don’t last even that long, depending on the patient’s oral hygiene practices. Whether you choose a dental filling or dental sealant is actually dependent upon your age.
Sealants are provided to children in order to protect their molars against the development of decay. Fillings are measures that are taken to eliminate the hole left when your dentist removes existing decay from your teeth. Whether you should choose a dental filling or dental sealant depends on your age and needs.
Are Fillings or Sealants Necessary?
If your tooth has experienced decay, a filling is often necessary to repair the damage and to add a new level of strength for the tooth. If you do not fill in the hole left when the decay is removed, the tooth remains susceptible to ongoing damage. Sealants, however, are not always needed by the patient. They are intended for children who have premolars and molars with deep crevices in them. Whether you need a dental filling or dental sealant is dependent upon your unique set of circumstances.