Purpose and Use of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are made of a special type of plastic that is used to cover the surface of the teeth. In most cases it is used to coat the teeth further in the back, molars and premolars. They cover a healthy tooth and prevent the teeth from decaying. Sealants bond quickly to the rough surface of the teeth and form a protective shield over each tooth.
Brushing and flossing are useful for removing food particles from the teeth, but sometimes the little nooks and crannies still contain food debris. A sealant will fill in and protect these areas from storing food and plaque.
Who benefits from sealants?
Children and adolescents are the most vulnerable to developing decay in their back teeth so they are the best candidates for the procedure. However, it is possible for adults to benefit as well if they do not have any decay or fillings in their back teeth or molars. Children are most prone to cavities from the ages of 6 to 14, so during these years they benefit the most from dental sealants. In rare instances, sealants may be used for baby teeth, if they have deep grooves or depressions that can hold food. Sealants help keep baby teeth healthy so they are not lost too early and continue to hold a space for the permanent teeth which appear later.
Application of Dental Sealants
A Markham dentist can apply sealants without inflicting any pain as it is a relatively simple procedure. In just a few minutes, the hygienist or dentist will have sealed the teeth. The steps followed in the application include:
- The teeth are cleaned thoroughly
- The teeth are then dried
- Special solution is applied to the chewing surfaces to make them rough which helps sealants bond to each tooth
- The teeth are rinsed and then dried again
- The sealant is applied to the teeth and is allowed to harden
Longevity of Sealants
For most people sealants will continue to protect your teeth for as long as 10 years. However, it is important to have the dentist perform routine checkups to make sure they are not chipping or wearing off too soon. The dentist can replace sealants if that becomes necessary.
Sealants vs. Fillings
Sealants and fillings are two different things. Sealants are considered to be preventive dental care and part of maintaining healthy oral care. Fillings are a treatment option once a cavity has already occurred. Fillings are not a permanent solution and every time a tooth gets filled it requires more drilling which can weaken the tooth. Sealants are placed on the teeth before a cavity occurs and are part of preventing the breakdown of the teeth. Sealants along with routine brushing with fluoride toothpastes and flossing are part of a good oral health care plan that help prevent decay and cavities altogether.
Sealants do not replace other preventive measures, but works along with them to keep the teeth healthy and free from decay.