Dental sealants. What are they?
Dental sealants are clear or shaded plastic materials applied to the top of the back teeth, where tooth decay occurs most often. They are a thin plastic coating painted on the teeth’s chewing surfaces, usually on the back teeth (premolars and molars) to prevent decay of the tooth. The sealant binds quickly into the teeth’s depressions and grooves, forming a protective shield over each tooth’s enamel. By filling the grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces, the dental sealant blocks out decay-causing germs and food.
Why are dental sealants placed?
A sealant is a preventive dental treatment that our dentist may recommend to protect your teeth from decay. A dental sealant is made of a clear or tooth-colored resin material, which is painted onto the chewing surface of the tooth. By blocking out the bacteria and food debris that lead to tooth decay, the sealant prevents decay and cavities. The dental sealant forms a smooth surface over the natural pits and grooves of the tooth surface, which also makes it easier to effectively clean your teeth with normal brushing.
Dental sealants are most often recommended for children; our dentist frequently recommends sealants for the permanent molars as soon as they come in, which is usually between the ages of 6 and 14 years. We may also recommend dental sealants for adult patients whose teeth are prone to decay or for teeth that have not been restored or suffered from decay in the past. We can apply dental sealants in just one short, comfortable visit to our practice. Sealants can be a powerful tool in preventing decay and keeping your smile healthy. To learn more about dental sealants and how we can keep your smile in good health, we welcome you to call or visit our office today.
Brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities, but cleaning every nook and cranny of your teeth is not always easy, especially the back teeth you use to chew. Molars are rough, uneven and a favorite place to hide the remaining food and bacteria that cause cavities.
The molar and premolar teeth’s chewing surfaces have grooves that make them vulnerable to decay. These fissures may be deep, hard to clean, and may be smaller than a single toothbrush bristle. In these areas, plaque accumulates and the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel and can cause cavities. Fluoride helps prevent decline and helps protect all teeth surfaces, providing extra protection for grooved and pitted areas by providing a smooth surface covering the fissured area.
Usually the first dental sealant to be placed is on the fissure of the first permanent molar tooth after the tooth’s chewing surface has erupted completely beyond the gum. Behind the baby teeth this tooth grows. If these teeth’s chewing surfaces are sealed, the dental sealant will help protect the tooth. The molars and premolars continue to erupt until the age of eleven-thirteen and the chewing surfaces of these teeth can be sealed after they have erupted beyond the gum, except for the wisdom teeth that come through much later.
While thorough brushing and flossing may remove food particles and plaque from smooth teeth surfaces, they may not always get into all the back teeth’s nooks and crannies to remove the food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas from decay and plaque by being “sealed out.”
Sealant application process
Sealant application is a simple and painless process. Applying the sealant to seal each tooth takes just a few minutes for your dentist or hygienist.
First of all, your dentist or hygienist thoroughly cleans the tooth surface with a paste and rotating brush. Next, the tooth is washed and dried with water. A solution that is acidic is then placed for a number of seconds on the fissured area of the chewing surface of the tooth before rinsing off. This creates small microscopic areas and a finer rougher surface that can be seen with a microscope. The rough surface and microscopic areas make it possible to attach the dental sealant to the tooth. The liquid dental sealant is placed on the tooth and hardened after the tooth is dried again. Dental sealants are hardened by using a light that enhances the dental sealant, or by using a two – component dental sealant that sets without using a light. It becomes a hard plastic varnish coating once the dental sealant has hardened, and you can chew on the tooth again.
Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.
You can play, eat, drink, and do whatever else you want when your dentist is finished sealing your teeth. At first, you might feel like you’re biting something, but this odd feeling will go away within a couple days. You won’t even know after a couple of days that the sealants are on your teeth. A tooth sealant does not last forever, but for up to ten years it can effectively seal your teeth. Your dentist will check to see how the sealants are doing each time you go for a dental examination. A dental sealant can be easily replaced if one is chipped or damaged.
Our office is conveniently located in Freehold, New Jersey. We are always available to answer your questions about dental sealants anytime. Please contact us today with any further questions about dental sealants and how to improve and protect your smile.