A dental sealant is a treatment used to prevent tooth decay, while dental restoration describes several procedures done to repair teeth that have already been damaged. Dental sealants and restorations allow people to smile brighter for longer. During a restoration, Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS and her team will remove the damaged or decayed part of the tooth and replace it with a material that will strengthen the tooth and give it a more normal appearance.
What is a Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is a thin coat of plastic that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to protect them from plaque and food particles. They are typically used on the back teeth, as those are the hardest to clean on account of their uneven surfaces. Most patients are children.
Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS or one of her assistants will prepare the patient by thoroughly cleaning their teeth. She will dry each tooth and put an absorbent material like cotton around it to keep it dry. She will apply an acid solution to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The solution will make the teeth rougher and, thus, give the sealant a better grip. She will rinse and re-dry the teeth and then apply the sealant. She may use a special curing light to help the sealant harden.
The procedure is quick, and the sealant can last for up to 10 years. If it is applied as soon as a child’s adult teeth grow in, it can keep those teeth protected through the middle of a child’s teen years. Since children are most likely to develop cavities between the ages of 6 and 14, a dental sealant greatly increases a child’s chances of reaching adulthood with no cavities.
Types of Dental Restoration
There are several types of dental restoration procedures, and they all involve replacing a tooth or part of a tooth. Fillings are the most common type. Dr. Wendy Willoughby, DDS can remove the decayed part of the tooth and then fill the resultant hole with gold, porcelain or dental composites.
A crown is another common type of dental restoration, and it is a cap placed over a tooth to make it stronger and improve its appearance. A crown can be used if a tooth is badly decayed or damaged, and it can also be used to hold a bridge in place or to cover a dental implant. Like fillings, crowns can be made from a variety of materials.
A bridge is used if the patient has missing teeth. It consists of one or more artificial teeth held in place by a crown on either side. Either implants or natural teeth can support a bridge.
A dental implant replaces the roots of a tooth. The implant consists of a titanium post that looks like a screw. Over the next few weeks, it bonds to the jawbone. Later, Dr. Willoughby can make a crown and attach it to the top of the implant. If properly cared for, a dental implant can last for the rest of the patient’s life!
Benefits of Dental Sealants and Restorations
If you have tooth damage, or if you simply want to prevent tooth damage, consider all of the benefits of dental sealants and restorations at Chestnut Family Dentistry. Our office is located in Asheville. Contact us today to book an appointment to learn more.