Are you looking for a solution to reduce the risk of tooth decay? In addition to regular brushing and flossing at home, preventive treatments can be used in a dental office to protect your teeth from decay-causing bacteria.
You’ve probably heard your dentist talk about dental sealants, but you might not understand how this treatment works. What are dental sealants? This article will help you understand how this preventive solution protects your teeth so you can decide whether you would like to include the service at your next dental appointment.
What Are Sealants for Teeth?
Dental sealants serve as a safeguarding shield, forming a delicate film that protects and preserves the biting areas of your teeth. They are applied to the back teeth (molars) to prevent decay that forms due to the presence of cavity-causing bacteria.
A liquid coating is placed over the chewing surfaces of both the molars and premolars. Then, this sealant is cured with a special tool that the dentist uses to harden the sealant. The material forms a shield that covers this portion of the tooth.
The chewing surfaces have a higher risk of tooth decay because they contain small grooves that can catch tiny particles of food and bacteria, creating the ideal conditions for tooth decay to form. Even if you are proactive about brushing your teeth daily, these grooves may be deep enough and difficult to clean thoroughly with a toothbrush. The sealant covers these areas so the bacteria can’t reach the grooves.
What Is the Most Important Factor in Dental Sealants?
Not only do you need a quality sealant product, but the application of the sealant also impacts the effectiveness of this preventive treatment. What is the most critical step in sealant application?
Because of the way dental sealants work, it’s essential to make sure they are applied in a way that fills in the grooves and seals the chewing surface of the teeth.
What Are the Steps for Dental Sealants?
Here is a quick overview of the step-by-step process for applying dental sealants:
- Preparing the tooth by cleaning it thoroughly
- Isolating the tooth to prevent saliva contamination
- Etch the tooth surface with phosphoric acid (gel or liquid)
- Rinse the tooth for 10 – 15 seconds
- Apply the dental sealant material from one end of the fissure to the other
- Cure the sealant with a light tip (for light-cured sealants), or allow sufficient time for the sealant to cure (for auto-polymerized sealants)
- Wipe the surface of the tooth with a cotton applicator
- The patient rinses their mouth thoroughly with water
What Are the Different Types of Dental Sealants?
A few different materials can be used to make dental sealants. An experienced dentist will only use medical-grade materials.
The most common types of dental sealants include:
- Plant resins
- Synthetic resins
- Glass ionomers (glass powder is mixed with a water-soluble acid)
What Are the Disadvantages of Dental Sealants?
There are no major disadvantages to this preventive dental treatment. The most important thing that patients need to understand is that dental sealants reduce the risk of tooth decay, but it’s still essential to maintain regular brushing and flossing daily.
Also, dental sealants are ineffective for teeth already damaged with decay or cavities.
Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Sealants?
Most often, dentists recommend dental sealants for teenagers and children to preserve the teeth as much as possible. Dentists often use sealants on pre-molars, then reapply the sealant when the permanent molars grow in. The goal is to protect the teeth during the cavity-prone years between the ages of 6 – 14.
Sometimes dentists also recommend a dental sealant for tooth decay prevention in younger children. If a child has baby teeth with deep grooves and depressions, sealants can be used to protect these areas of the teeth. It’s important to preserve the baby teeth whenever possible because they hold space for the permanent teeth that will grow in later.
If adults have teeth without dental fillings or tooth decay, these molars can benefit from dental sealants at any age. As a general rule of thumb, any person prone to tooth decay can be a good candidate for sealants on their molars.
Call myDental for Information About Dental Sealants
Do you have questions about protecting your teeth from decay and gum disease? Learn more about our preventive dentistry services. Call our experienced team to learn more about available treatments. We offer a full range of dentistry services for people of all ages, helping you maintain a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
One of the benefits of choosing myDental is that we have multiple locations, so you can find a dental office that is close and convenient to your home. Reach out any time to book an appointment and ask questions about available services. We are here to help!