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Dental Sealants Vs. Dental Fillings: Which is Better?

Mar 01, 2022
Are you in a predicament trying to determine whether you should get your child dental sealants with yourself or wait until they develop cavities to provide dental fillings?

Are you in a predicament trying to determine whether you should get your child dental sealants with yourself or wait until they develop cavities to provide dental fillings? Deciding between the two will pose challenges because having them requires you to understand both options and select what suits you and your child the best. In addition, you cannot decide whether sealants are suitable and fillings are wrong merely because they serve different purposes.

When deciding between dental sealants vs. dental fillings, you must also consider the target of the restorations. Your child’s requirements are entirely different than yours. To help you understand which option best suits you and your child, this article compares the dental sealant and filling procedures, looking at the similarities and differences between the two.

Differences and Similarities between Dental Sealants and Fillings

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are available for children and adults. Adults with unrestored teeth can request dental sealants from their dentist if they feel the protective measure benefits them. Dental sealants are preventive treatments that protect the molars with deep pits and fissures, allowing food particles and bacteria to remain trapped and create cavities. Sealing the molars with dental sealants in San Antonio, TX, helps prevent cavities by preventing decay-causing bacteria from settling in the molars.

Dental sealants are a durable tooth-colored plastic coating painted on the surface of the molars and hardened by the dentist near you providing the treatment. The dentist also ensures their patient’s bite is aligned by creating a smooth surface on the molars for proper cleaning.

Dental Fillings

Dental fillings are restorative procedures to repair teeth after bacteria have created cavities. The dental filling procedure involves closing the hole created by the cavity after decay removal. You can have different filling materials in the tooth before it is applied.

The application process of dental fillings is similar to dental sealants. However, dental fillings are placed only after the decaying part of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected before inserting the filling material. The dentist treating you also hardens the filling material and polishes it to adjust your bite on completion of the procedure.

Similarities between Dental Sealants and Dental Fillings

Sealants are an optional procedure that you can consider for your and your child’s teeth so long as the teeth are not restored. You can consider discussing both methods with the dentist in San Antonio to understand which procedure best suits your requirements and that of your child.

The San Antonio dentist will examine your teeth to determine the extent of tooth decay in your mouth before recommending dental sealants or fillings. The dentist recommends sealants on children’s teeth without cavities as a preventive measure because children are susceptible to tooth decay and have at least one cavity by the age of five. In addition, sealants prevent children’s teeth from getting affected due to poor dental hygiene and the lack of supervision when brushing and flossing.

If you have tooth decay in your mouth, the dentist recommends dental fillings as the optimal remedy to save your tooth and prevent further damage. However, dental fillings are not a preventive measure but a therapeutic treatment to help your teeth from breaking apart because of tooth decay.

The application procedure for dental sealants and dental fillings is similar except for tooth decay removal, which in most cases is not required for dental sealant application.

Variances between Dental Sealants and Dental Fillings

The primary variant between sealants and fillings is the longevity of the intervention. Dental sealants have a lifespan of over nine years but, in most cases, need touch-ups during routine dental visits because they are prone to chipping and cracking.

Some dental fillings like silver amalgam and gold last for over 15 years with proper dental hygiene, and composites can remain in the mouth for five to seven years. However, if sealants are a preventive treatment against cavities, fillings serve as restorative materials for existing damage in the tooth.

Dental sealants are recommended for children as an optional therapy to protect their molars. Unfortunately, if you have cavities in your teeth, the extent of damage determines the filling best suitable for your needs.

Sealants are merely a superficial application over the molars, while fillings are restorative treatments that require compromising of the tooth structure for decay removal.

Getting dental sealants on your child’s teeth is an excellent method of safeguarding their oral health against developing tooth decay. If you have unrestored teeth, you can also consider dental sealants on them. However, if your dentist discovers tooth decay and recommends the filling procedure, please consider it a mandatory requirement and not a preventive therapy.

If you want to determine whether you will benefit from sealants or fillings, you can visit or schedule an appointment with AB Dental & Oral Surgery to determine or receive dental sealants or fillings for your teeth.