At one time or another during your routine dental care appointments, you may have been advised to get dental sealants to protect your teeth from cavities.
A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that is applied on the chewing surface of your molar and premolar teeth. This layer bonds quickly to your tooth and adds a layer of protection on your enamel against dental caries.
Why Do We Recommend Dental Sealants
The chewing surfaces of your back teeth have pits and grooves where food can stick easily. These fissures are deep and can be hard to clean since many of them are even narrower than a single bristle of your toothbrush. Bacterial plaque can accumulate inside these cracks, and its acid can dissolve the enamel and leave your tooth exposed for infection.
The back teeth are also more vulnerable since they experience a lot of pressure during chewing and can develop wear and tear.
Using fluoride toothpaste can help strengthen the enamel of all teeth and prevent tooth decay, while sealants can provide extra protection to the pits and fissures of the back teeth.
The first dental sealant is usually placed on the chewing surface of the first permanent molar once it has erupted fully. This tooth grows behind the baby teeth. Dental sealants can seal the fissures and provide a smooth surface to chew, keeping the tooth protected.
Candidates for Dental Sealants
Children and teenagers between the age of 6 and 14 are the most likely candidate for dental sealants since their eating habits are more likely to result in decay of the chewing surface of molars and premolars.
However, dental sealants can also be an effective preventive measure for adults who don’t have decay or fillings in their back teeth.
In some cases, dental sealants may also be placed on baby teeth if they have developed deeper fissures. Because the primary teeth have an important role in the health of the permanent teeth, it is important that primary teeth be also kept healthy so that they don’t get lost too early or spread the infection to the teeth that have not yet erupted.
What to Expect During a Sealant Procedure
Placing sealant is usually a simple and painless process and is completely non-invasive.
|Tooth preparation: We will first clean and polish the surface of your tooth to remove food debris and plaque from its fissures. The tooth will then be dried and etched slightly.
|Application of sealant: The sealant is then added to the surface of the tooth in layers with a brush. A curing light is applied to harden the sealant and bond it to the tooth.
|Final Adjustments: We will then check if you can comfortably bite with the sealant in place. The hardened sealant turns into a plastic coating, and you can chew on it again.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants can keep your teeth protected for 10 years. However, it is important that you get them checked regularly for any wear or tear or chipping. If necessary, they can also be reapplied.
Some people are concerned that sealants contain BPA, which can be harmful to health. However, the American Dental Association states that the BPA found in sealants is too low to cause any risks.
If you are concerned that your chewing teeth may be wearing down, it is a good idea to get a dental checkup at Perrinville Family Dentistry. Based on your tooth health, Gary J. Jacky, DMD and will advise you whether a dental sealant is a good option for you.
To schedule an appointment with us, call us at (425) 616-0620 today.