Get the Facts About Dental Sealants

Get the Facts About Dental Sealants

Dec 01, 2020

According to research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental sealants have proved to be effective at preventing cavities by up to 80%, following the first 2 years after application. After four years they still remain effective but only offering up to 50% protection. They continue to provide some degree of protection for up to 10 years. Your dentist may also recommend reapplication after a certain period to improve their effectiveness.

Dental sealants for adults help prevent cavities by smoothening the surface of the tooth, especially across the pits and fissures. This makes it easy to clean the teeth, especially in those hard to reach areas. They are based on a simple yet innovative concept to create a barrier that protects the enamel from destructive acids and bacteria in the mouth that contribute to tooth decay and cavities. The first commercial sealant was introduced in the mid-1960s by Drs. Buonocore and E.I. Cueto. The idea however has existed since the early 1900s and it has over time evolved in terms of the application procedure and the sealant materials used.

Who Needs Dental Sealants?

The ages 6 to 14 are considered cavity prone years and patients within these age limits are the greatest beneficiaries of sealants. The procedure is usually done on the permanent molars and premolars as soon as they fully erupt. There are however cases when sealants may be recommended before the age of 6, if the dentist sees the need to protect the primary teeth. This is usually to prevent premature loss of the milk teeth which hold the correct spacing for incoming permanent teeth. Dental sealants for adults are also available for patients that are at high risk of cavities.

The Procedure

Dental sealant describes a thin plastic coating that is applied on the chewing surface of teeth to shield them from decay and cavities. The application process is simple and painless and can be done by a regular dentist or a hygienist. It only takes a couple of minutes and involves the following steps:

  • First, the teeth are thoroughly cleaned to get rid of any harmful bacteria and acids. This is a professional cleaning that complements your routine oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing.
  • After cleaning, the teeth to be treated and dried, and isolated by creating a dam barrier to keep them dry.
  • Next, an etching solution is put on the surface of the selected teeth to help roughen them a little so that the sealant material properly bonds onto the tooth’s surface. The teeth will then be rinsed and dried again in preparation for the final step.
  • To complete the process, a dentist will use a brush to apply the sealant resin onto the surface of the teeth. It will take a few seconds for it to dry and thereafter the teeth can be rinsed and life goes on as normal. Sometimes a curing light may be used to help the resin dry faster.

Benefits of Dental Sealants

Sealants completely shield the surface of a tooth, including the tiny grooves and crevices found in molars and premolars. This provides round the clock protection against cavity-causing bacteria. The teeth’s surface does not get into contact with plaque and food build-up that contribute to cavities. Additionally, maintaining and caring for sealants is easy and simple. Daily brushing and flossing are all take in addition to observing all your dental visits. During your visit to our dental office in Ontario, CA, you will also be educated on any additional care steps you need to observe to keep off decay and cavities.

Another good reason to consider sealants is that the application is painless and the results last quite a while. In the long run, it is more affordable to invest in preventive treatment rather than wait to treat a cavity later on. Also considering that most kids do not take it well sitting through dental procedures, especially when they are long and invasive, getting sealants ensures you do not have to worry about this.

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