Our Dentist in Wadesboro Shares FAQs Regarding Dental Sealants

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin coatings that are made out of plastic. They are placed over the teeth in order to prevent them from decaying. They help keep the food particles and germs out of the grooves of the teeth. Sealants are considered preventative dentistry.

Are Sealants 100 Percent Effective?

Some studies have shown that sealants can be 100 percent effective. The tooth will be protected as long as the sealant remains in place.

Can you see Sealants?

Sealants are clear and white. That is why they can only be seen up close.

How Long do the Sealants Last?

The sealants can potentially last for several years. In some cases, sealants can last over 10 years.

Are Sealants Expensive?

Sealants are affordable. Because they can prevent tooth decay, they can also help you save money on dental care. Your general dentist will discuss the cost of sealants.

Will my Teeth Look Different?

One may feel the sealants on their teeth. However, because the sealants are thin, they do not cause discomfort.

Who Needs Sealants?

The best candidates for sealants are children because their permanent teeth have just come in. However, older patients may also benefit from getting sealants. If your general dentist believes that you are at a higher risk for getting tooth decay, then you may need to get sealants.

Will I Still Need Fluoride Treatments?

Fluoride treatments are still needed. It helps strengthen your enamel and provides additional protection from tooth decay.

Why do I Need Sealants?

Decay can cause permanent damage to your teeth. Sealants help you save time and money by protecting your teeth. It is also important to remember that a filling is not an easy fix for a cavity. A tooth gets weaker every time that it is drilled.

If you are interested in getting sealants, then you will need to contact our dentist office.

Tooth-Colored Fillings vs. Silver Fillings: Which Should I Choose? Ask a Wadesboro Dentist

So you have a tooth that has a cavity and needs a filling. Now what?

Most people know that the two most common options are tooth colored fillings (called composite fillings) and silver fillings (called amalgam fillings).  And most people would agree that the composite fillings are much more aesthetically pleasing than the amalgam fillings.  Some patients prefer not to have amalgam fillings because they contain mercury.  However, it is important to note that ongoing scientific studies conducted over the past 100 years continue to show that amalgam fillings are not harmful.  Sometimes the aesthetic outcome is reason enough to choose a tooth colored filling, especially when the tooth is one that is visible when the patient smiles.

But there are other important reasons that most Wadesboro Dentists these days are choosing to use tooth colored composite fillings rather than amalgam.  And these reasons have to do with the major difference in the way they are placed in the mouth.

Composite fillings are resin-based and are chemically bonded to the tooth.  Amalgams are not.  They are held in place due to a physical retention.  This means that after the dentist removes the decay, he also has to remove additional healthy tooth structure in order to create the proper undercuts and retention grooves to hold the amalgam in place.  This process leaves less remaining tooth structure.

The good thing is that amalgams usually lasts for a really long time.  The bad news is that when they do wear out, they tend to cause larger problems because there is less tooth structure remaining to work with. That is why it is common for a very large amalgam to be replaced with a crown.

If a tooth has a composite filling, the dentist is able to be very conservative in how much tooth structure

he/she removes other than the decay.  This could mean that years later when the composite filling eventually wears out, hopefully another larger composite filling can be placed, rather than a crown.

Another common issue is that teeth with old amalgams tend to develop more cracks.  Because the amalgam filling is not bonded to the tooth, the enamel surrounding the filling is unsupported.  Over time, that unsupported tooth structure microscopically flexes when stress is placed on the tooth.  Years of this flexing can cause cracks to form. These cracks can lead to more extensive (and expensive) treatment, such as a crown,  a root canal, or even loss of the tooth depending on the severity of the fracture.

Whether you have composite or amalgam fillings it is important to maintain your regular cleaning and check-up appointments with your Wadesboro dentist. He/she can keep you informed about the condition of your fillings. That way when one does wear out (and they will, because unfortunately no dental work lasts forever), you can be pro-active, which typically leads to a less expensive and more conservative outcome.