What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a very thin type of plastic coating that is applied onto the surfaces of the teeth to help prevent cavities.
When applied properly, numerous studies have shown that dental sealants are 100 percent effective in protecting teeth from cavities. If the sealant stays intact, food and the bacteria that cause cavities cannot reach the tooth surface.
Protection is reduced when the dental sealant is broken or compromised in some way; however, studies on dental sealants and tooth decay show that teeth that have lost their sealants are no more susceptible to cavities than teeth that were never sealed.
Although brushing and flossing removes most of the food particles and plaque from the surfaces of the teeth that are smooth, they are not always effective with the nooks and valleys in the back teeth, or molars, where cavities are common. Dental sealants will protect these teeth from cavities by sealing the surfaces against both food and plaque.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Tooth decay can begin very early in life. Here at Country Dental, we recommend that dental sealants be applied to both children’s and teenager’s molars and premolars to protect them.
Children should receive dental sealants on their new permanent teeth, so they can protect the teeth through those years between 6 and 14, when most children develop their first set of cavities. This way they will receive the most benefits from dental sealants.
Research shows that 95 percent of the population will experience tooth decay at some time in their life, so sealants can actually be beneficial to almost everyone. Even baby teeth can be good candidates for sealants as they also have deep grooves and depressions.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied to Teeth?
Dental sealants are applied very easily and it only takes a few minutes per tooth.
- Your Cambridge, Fergus or Toronto dentist will first clean the tooth. This may require using a drill to open the space between the teeth to see if there are any signs of decay.
- Your dentist will then apply an acid solution to roughen up the chewing surface; this allows the dental sealant to stick to the tooth surface.
- The sealant is then painted directly on the tooth. The dental sealant will harden as it bonds to your tooth. Sometimes a special light is used to help cure and harden the sealant.
- The dental sealant procedure is completely painless.
- The entire process takes from 10 to 50 minutes depending on how many teeth are being sealed.
How Long Will Dental Sealants Last?
Dental sealant treatments are quite different from a dental fluoride treatment. When properly applied, dental sealants will last for as long as 10 years. Once the tooth is sealed, the surface is completely protected from cavities. Dental sealants are quite durable and hold up well under normal chewing circumstances. Your Country Dental dentist will check the condition of the sealants during your routine checkups and will reapply them if it should become necessary.
Dental sealants are a great way to keep your teeth free from the effects, pain, and costs of cavities.
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