Do you ever get wound up over which oral appliance is best for you? In dentistry, the is no ‘one fits all’ dental appliance. A myriad of them is used to ensure that different oral conditions are treated correctly. For the most part, you never have to worry about which appliance will be used for your treatment. It is the role of the attending dentist to come up with recommendations for the best treatments for your specific diagnosis. Today, we focus more on dental sealants, finding out why they are different from other oral materials used in dentistry.
What Are Dental Sealants?
They are plastic-like materials used to cover the surfaces of teeth in preventive dentistry. These appliances are designed to be used for protecting teeth. Their use is a lot similar to that of dental fillings. Ideally, they are both applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth for treatment. They fill in the puts and depressions of teeth, but that is as far as their similarities go.
What Is the Main Importance of Dental Sealants?
Oral sealants have been used a lot in dentistry for preventive measures. Their main goal is to protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from dental cavities, and ultimately, dental decay. The sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth, filling up the pits and depressions thereof. They are specifically used for the back teeth, as they have more room that needs coverage.
When a sealant is applied, it creates a layer of protection, disallowing plaque from hiding in the deep pits of teeth. This lowers the chances of oral cavities a great deal.
While this is the primary role of oral sealants, they can also have other advantages, like that or improving your oral hygiene. It gets really hard to properly clean the puts and depressions of the teeth. With sealants in place, you have a better chance of getting rid of all the food residues in the far corners of your mouth.
Are Dental Sealants the Same As Fillings?
It is easy for one to think of a sealant as similar to a filling. However, they are different in the following ways:
- Usage – oral sealants are mainly used for preventive dentistry, while dental fillings are used for restorative dentistry. When you have a dental cavity in your mouth, a dental filling is used, as opposed to a sealant.
- Purpose – the primary role of oral sealants is to prevent dental cavities from happening. However, after your teeth have succumbed to dental cavities, dental sealants may not be the best solution for your teeth. In such a case, you need a solution from restorative dentistry, that is, oral fillings. Fillings have the primary role of repairing teeth following dental decay. Therefore, when you have tooth decay, oral fillings are the right treatment.
- Material – oral sealants don’t come in a variety of materials, unlike oral fillings. You can find tooth fillings of all types of materials, ranging from gold to ceramic. However, tooth sealants only come in a putty-like clear material.
- Area of application – as earlier mentioned, sealants are used to fill in the pits and depressions of teeth. Since these are features of molars and premolars, sealants are only used for back teeth. Besides, the back teeth are more prone to dental decay than all other types of teeth. However, dental decay can also affect the front teeth. Therefore, when it comes to tooth fillings, they can be used to repair all teeth in the mouth. The different materials used in tooth fillings make this possible.
- Children vs adults – tooth sealants are commonly used for pediatric dentistry. Ideally, children are more prone to tooth cavities between the ages of 6 and 14 years. This is why sealants are used to protect their teeth and help them bypass this age smoothly. Besides, kids could use a little help with their oral hygiene routine. Even then, tooth sealants can be used for adult teeth when there is a need. On the other hand, tooth fillings are mostly used to treat adult teeth. The treatment is used to manage dental decay, preventing it from escalating to the next level.