The Difference Between Dental Fillings, Sealants and PRR

At Icon Dental Center, we use three primary dental treatments to treat and prevent future cavities – Preventive Resin Restoration (PRR), sealants and dental fillings. There is a good chance you’ve already heard about dental fillings and sealants, but what about PRR?

We believe patient education is crucial for any dental treatment and every patient should be aware of what they’re getting into.

If you’re considering one of the procedures for yourself or your child, here are the differences between dental fillings, sealants, and PRR to help you decide which one is best for you.

What are Dental Sealants

  • Dental sealants are made of plastics and they serve as a coating for a tooth. These sealants are professionally installed on the chewing surface of permanent teeth in order to prevent future tooth decay. The treatment usually takes a few minutes but can extend to several minutes depending on how many teeth needs the treatment.

Since molar and premolar teeth have grooves on the surfaces called fissures and puts, they are easily susceptible to decay.

The fissures are typically deep and narrow in nature which makes them very hard to clean. 

  • Sometimes the fissures on the teeth are thinner than a single bristle of a toothbrush. If not treated in time, plaque can begin to gather in the empty area and later the bacteria in the plaque can start to attack the tooth enamel which results in cavities. 

According to research, over 75% of tooth decay starts in these fissures. Although fluoride can prevent decay to some extent, dental sealants are crucial for the long term protection of these areas. They protect the teeth by creating a smooth surface over the fissure. 

  • It is important for you to know that dental sealants are only a temporary solution. Over time, they can start to wear down. When they start to wear down, small pockets or holes can take place which becomes the perfect place for bacteria to call home.

Although sealants can protect your teeth for many years to come, they still need to be regularly checked by a dentist to ensure no chipping, or wear and tear has occurred.

Dentists at Icon Dental Center Everett suggest that you should get dental sealants checked when you come for your regular dental checkups.

If the dentist sees that the sealant has partially come out, they will suggest a workaround. If left untreated, they can open the way for bacteria to build up and gradually rot the tooth from the bottom. 

  • We use specialized tools to identify these tiny holes that appear under sealants. These are hard to detect and can often go unnoticed if the right tools are not used. 

Dental sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth to protect the molars against any development of decay.

  • It is crucial to put on these sealants on children whose oral hygiene is not good or they have a history of fillings on any of their primary teeth. 

PRR and Dental Fillings

  • If any of the teeth have already been decayed, a dental filling may become necessary in order to repair the damage and provide protection for the tooth. Fillings can help restore damaged teeth back to their original form and function. 

PRR, on the other hand, uses the same tooth-colored composite material as dental fillings. But there is one big difference between the filling procedures. The dental filling typically extends into the dentin of the tooth while the PRR does not. 

  • Just like sealants, PRR is typically considered a preventive measure to protect a portion of the tooth from decay. The difference between dental sealants and PRR is that sealants tend to protect the teeth for around 6-8 years while PRR lasts indefinitely. 

Another difference is that PRR or fillings can only be placed by a qualified dentist while sealants can also be placed by dental hygienists. The procedure of installing a filling or PRR requires the use of a drill to remove decay from natural teeth. These tools can only be used by a dentist.

What Types of Fillings are Used?

  • There are many types of fillings ranging from white, silver, and composite resin fillings. At Icon Dental Center we strictly use white fillings to make sure that they match the color of your teeth. This helps you support a natural smile. 

The procedure is extremely simple and can be completed within minutes without the use of anesthesia. The tooth-colored filling is applied to one or more of your natural teeth after adhesive has been applied. The mixture later becomes hard and looks like the part of the teeth. 

However, if the filling is added to a very large cavity, the composites may not be the best material because they tend to wear down as time passes by. 

We also don’t use dental amalgam (silver fillings) because they can be toxic. To learn more about fillings, PRR, and sealants, talk to one of our dentists today. We will do our best to provide dental care to you and ensure that your oral health stays perfect as long as you stay with us.

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