Dental sealants are the thin plastic coating applied on the surfaces of teeth usually on back teeth (the molars and premolars) to help prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants acts as a protective shield for each tooth. This article discusses all about dental sealants.
Why are dental sealants placed?
Though brushing and flossing removes leftover food particles and plaque from the teeth, they cannot get in to all the crannies and nooks of back teeth for removing food particles and plaque, these areas become more prone to tooth decay. Dental sealants protect these areas from decay by sealing out and providing smooth surface covering to the teeth.
Who are the candidates for dental sealants?
Since children and teenagers are more likely to develop tooth decay, they are obvious candidates for getting sealants. However, adults can also benefits from sealants.
As soon as molars and premolars come in, children can get dental sealants. This will help protect teeth until the age of 14.
Sometimes dental sealants may also be appropriate for baby teeth, when the child’s teeth have deep grooves and depression. As baby teeth plays an important role in making space and holding permanent teeth, it is essential to keep these teeth healthy.
How are dental sealants applied?
Applying dental sealants is a painless process. The dentist will take only few minutes for applying sealant on each tooth. The procedure is simple and involves the following steps:
- The teeth to be sealed are cleaned first.
- Then each tooth is dried, cotton or other absorbent material is put around the teeth for keeping it dry.
- An acidic solution is placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to roughen them that helps the dental sealants to bond with the teeth.
- Then the teeth are rinsed and dried.
- Sealants are painted on the tooth, where it directly bond with the tooth and hardens. A special curing light is sometimes used for hardening sealants.
How long do sealants lasts?
Dental sealants can help protect teeth from decay for about 10 years provided; it should be monitored by dentist. They need to be checked for wearing or chipping at regular dental visits. If required, the dentist will replace it with new sealants.