Dental terminologies like dental fillings and sealants can be confusing. After all, these procedures address dental cavities, can be completed in one appointment, and seem to coat or shield the teeth.
If you are at crossroads whether you need a dental sealant or dental filling, Dr. Brad Sievert is here to set the record straight. At Westlake Family Dentistry in Lake Oswego, Oregon, we never want you to be caught in dental jargon and miss out on the dental care you deserve. Education is part of our dentistry; that’s why we go out of our way to feed you with as much information as practical.
Dental sealants are thin, tooth-colored plastic coatings applied on decay-prone teeth to protect them from cavity-causing bacteria. Your posterior teeth (molars and premolars) have deep crevices not easily accessible by your toothbrush and dental floss. When you miss spots in your teeth, plaque and tartar accumulate, resulting in cavities.
A dental sealant is applied directly to your teeth — no anesthesia or teeth drilling is required. The plastic coating is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth and hardened using a curing light. The final step is to check your sealant is properly bonded and that there are no gaps or air bubbles. This painless procedure lasts only a few minutes per tooth, and the patient can resume their everyday activities after treatment.
A dental filling is a restorative procedure that repairs your tooth after damage by cavities or tooth decay. Dental filling treatment is a one-visit procedure, just like the dental sealant procedure. However, the treatment may involve anesthesia, and we must drill your tooth to remove the decayed part. Next, your tooth is cleaned, filled with composite resin, and cured with a special light. The last step is checking your bite and polishing your tooth for a natural-looking outcome.
A dental sealant is preventive — it protects your teeth from cavities and decay by acting as a protective barrier. Dental fillings are restorative — you need them when damage has already occurred.
The other differences between sealants and fillings include the following:
We provide comprehensive dental care services to patients of all ages so you can enjoy doing the things you love. Please call (503) 386-4164 to get the dental care you deserve.