Protect and Restore Your Smile With Sealants and Tooth-Colored Fillings
Your teeth are strong and play a vital role in your day to day life. However, teeth can become damaged for several reasons including decay, dental trauma, or infection. Fortunately, at Chapko & Shah Modern Dentistry, our dentists offer dental sealants and tooth-colored fillings for patients looking to restore their smiles and protect them from further damage. Keep reading our helpful guide to learn about the benefits of sealants and tooth-colored fillings.
Dental sealants are thin coatings that are applied to the back teeth, also known as the molars. Molars are highly susceptible to cavities because the unique shape of the grooves makes them hard to effectively clean with a toothbrush. While sealants are especially helpful for children who are still learning how to care for their teeth, adults can benefit from the treatment as well.
The Dental Sealant Process
Before your treatment, you’ll undergo an initial consultation with one of our Belvidere dentists to determine if dental sealants are right for you. They’ll thoroughly examine your mouth, review your medical history, and discuss your oral health goals with you.
Once it’s been decided that dental sealants are a good option for you, we’ll thoroughly clean your mouth out so no food particles or debris become trapped by the sealants.
Your dentist will paint the sealants onto your back molars. Applying your sealants is a painless, non-invasive procedure that requires no anesthetic, although we do have sedation dentistry options available if you’re feeling nervous.
Your dental sealants will be dried, either with air or a handheld blue light. Your dentist may advise you not to eat or drink anything for a prescribed amount of time after your sealants are applied to ensure they harden properly.
What Are Tooth-Colored Fillings?
Tooth-colored fillings, also known as composite fillings, are restorative treatments used to treat decay and prevent further tooth damage. They’re customized to match the color of your natural teeth, so they won’t draw undue attention when you smile. Because tooth-colored fillings don’t make use of metal material, they offer additional benefits that often make them the better restorative option.
Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings
There are a variety of benefits that tooth-colored fillings offer, including:
- Natural Appearance — Tooth-colored fillings are customized to match the color, shape, and size of your teeth.
- Non-Toxic — The lack of metal in tooth-colored fillings eliminates the chance of allergic reactions or mercury poisoning.
- Temperature Resistance — These fillings don’t expand and contract upon contact with hot and cold, which means there’s no pressure put on the inside of the tooth. This helps prevent tooth sensitivity and cracks from occurring.
- Preserves and Reinforces Enamel — Tooth-colored fillings only require a small amount of enamel be removed, which helps preserve the structural integrity of the tooth.
- Hardens in Seconds — Tooth-colored fillings are cured instantaneously with a specially made handheld bluelight, so you can enjoy the foods and drinks you love as soon as you leave our Belvidere, IL office.
The Tooth-Colored Filling Process
To determine your candidacy for tooth-colored fillings, you’ll undergo an initial consultation with one of our dentists. During your consultation, your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth, review your medical history, discuss your smile goals with you, and tell you about available sedation dentistry options.
To prepare your mouth for tooth-colored fillings, we’ll clean your teeth and numb the surgical site with a local anesthetic. At this point, we can also apply a sedative to keep you calm or, if you took an oral sedative, we’ll make sure it’s working alongside your anesthetic.
To apply your tooth-colored fillings, your dentist will drill small holes in your teeth to access and remove any damaged or decayed material from the tooth and make room for the filling. Then, they’ll apply the tooth-colored filling in layers, hardening each layer with the blue light as they go. Once the filling is set, you’ll be able to leave our office in Belvidere, IL with your newly restored smile.
Frequently Asked Questions
In most cases, dental sealants last between three and five years. However, when properly cared for they can last as long as nine years. Attending your bi-annual dental exams will allow your dentist to ensure your sealants remain effective, or reapply your sealants for continued coverage.
The cost of your tooth-colored fillings will vary based on several factors. Certain factors include how many fillings you need, the condition of your oral health, and your insurance coverage. We encourage you to call your provider beforehand and ask them if your plan will cover some or all of the costs of your tooth-colored fillings.
Dental sealants are best applied before cavities develop, as they are not an alternative to a filling treatment. If you already have cavities, you’ll likely need to have a tooth-colored filling placed to effectively treat any damage. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our Belvidere office at (815) 544-5144, and one of our friendly staff members will gladly assist you.