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 in children. Adults can get them as well.
When applied properly, numerous studies have shown that 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 they are broken or compromised in some way; however, studies on 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. The dental sealants procedure is quite simple and will protect teeth from cavities by sealing the surfaces against both food and plaque.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Tooth decay can begin very early in life but can also occur in people of all ages. Here at Country Dental, we do recommend dental sealants for adults but mostly they should be applied to both children’s and teenager’s molars and premolars to help protect them.
Children can also get them on their new permanent teeth, so they can protect the teeth through those years between 6 and 14, when children are most at risk for getting their first cavities. This way they will receive the most benefits.
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, including adults. Even baby teeth can be good candidates for them as they also have deep grooves and depressions.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied to Teeth?
They are applied very easily and it only takes a few minutes per tooth.
- Your dentist in Cambridge, Fergus, or Toronto 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 onto the tooth and will harden as it bonds to your tooth. Sometimes a special light is used to help cure and harden the sealant.
- The dental sealants procedure is completely painless.
- The entire process takes from 10 to 50 minutes depending on how many teeth are being sealed.
How Long Will Sealants Last?
Our dental sealant treatments in Cambridge, Fergus and Toronto 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. They 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 can reapply them should it become necessary.
The American Dental Association website offers additional information about Oral Health and Dental Sealants.
The dental sealants procedure is painless and a great way to keep your teeth and your child’s teeth free from the effects, pain, and costs of cavities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are dental sealants?
Applied as a liquid plastic resin, sealants for teeth are brushed onto the tooth’s surface and either chemically cured or hardened with a special visible curing light. The thin plastic coating creates a smooth surface, helping to protect hard to reach teeth from decay and cavity causing bacteria.
What are dental sealants used for?
Sealants are primarily used to protect hard to reach teeth like the back premolars and molars, sealing and smoothing the pits and fissures (grooves) in the chewing surface with a thin plastic coating.
How long does it take for dental sealants to dry?
While some types of sealants for teeth will chemically dry (autopolymerize) within a few minutes, most modern sealant procedures utilize a visible curing light to quickly dry and harden the sealants.
What are sealants made of?
Most sealants for teeth are made from medical grade resin-based materials or glass ionomer cement (GIC), which also contains fluoride.
How long do dental sealants last?
Sealants for teeth can last up to five years or more and will naturally wear down or may become damaged over time.
Can dental sealants be removed?
Yes, dentists generally inspect sealants during routine dental visits and can repair, replace, or remove the sealants if they are damaged or show signs of excessive wear.
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