Dental sealants are protective covering of the teeth to keep it from bacterial attacks which in turn cause cavities. Mostly, it is applied to children with permanent teeth which have just erupted. The main purpose for this kind of dental procedure or treatment is to cover the teeth to keep food debris and cavity causing bacteria from getting deposited in the pits, grooves and fissures and help prevent decay. Even though the best time to place these sealants are for a molar that just erupted, which is usually around age six, anyone at any age can have this procedure done. The only criteria is that the teeth have to be decay free. So if your tooth already has a cavity, then it is too late to do sealants.
How effective are dental sealants?
Over the years, dental sealants have proven to be highly effective. It protects teeth 90% from being decayed compared to those which have no sealants at all. You just have to make sure that the sealant is secure so that bacteria and food particles can’t penetrate and cause cavities.
Who are candidates for dental sealants?
Typically, children with newly erupted teeth are given dental sealants. This is to protect the teeth from having cavities due to accumulation of food debris in the deep grooves of their teeth. It is placed over the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. This is because these surfaces are very prone to getting cavities.
Adults can also have dental sealants. They should first undergo thorough dental cleaning. In this process, sticky tartar and plaque on the surface of the teeth is removed. Then your dentist will check to make sure there is no cavities on these teeth. If there is no decay, then dental sealants will be applied. Your dentist will be glad to tell you if you need one.
How are dental sealant applied?
The application of dental sealants is quick and painless. You need about half an hour on the dental chair for this procedure, of course depending on how many teeth are being done.
First, the teeth are cleaned thoroughly on the surfaces, pits and creases. This is to ensure that there will be no trapped food debris on the pits after the sealants are placed. This procedure usually takes 5 to 10 minutes for children and depending on the presence of tartar, about 30 minutes for adults.
Second, the teeth are dried, a gel is placed and then washed off (this ensures that the sealant sticks to the teeth), the teeth are dried again and the sealants are applied over the teeth. A blue curing light is placed over it to harden the material. Then the dentist will ask the patient to bite to make sure there are no high spots. Depending on how many teeth are being done, generally it will take about 15 minutes for 4 molars to be completed.
Protecting your teeth and your child’s teeth is the best way to have it for a longer period of time. Dental sealants seal your teeth from decaying due to food particles and bacteria that are accumulated in the grooves and creases of your teeth. It works like a helmet that covers your teeth from getting cavities. Without this protection, your chances of getting cavities on these teeth are 90% higher. Dental sealants are an effective teeth protector for you and your child’s teeth. The great news is that they are not expensive at all; what better way to protect yourself and your child from cavities.
By Ladan Zinati