What Do Sealants Do for your Teeth?
Have you heard about dental sealants but don’t really know what they are for or who needs them? Here at bafdentistry, we offer dental sealants to both children and adults who meet the criteria for this dental procedure and know everything there is about this, making us the perfect go-to for learning more about dental sealants. If you are curious to know more, then the below guide is just what you need.
Read on to discover:
- What are dental sealants?
- What is the purpose of dental sealants?
- Who needs dental sealants?
- When should children get dental sealants?
- How are dental sealants applied?
- Are dental sealants painful?
- How long do dental sealants last?
- Do you have to use a fluoride toothpaste if you have dental sealants?
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth. In most cases, this is the back teeth, known as the molars and premolars. The applied sealants quickly bond into the depressions and grooves of the teeth to act as a protective layer.
Dental sealants can be clear, white, or have a slight tint depending on the type of dental sealant that your dentist uses. They are typically made from a plastic or composite resin similar to that used in fillings.
What is the purpose of dental sealants?
Dental sealants are designed to protect the enamel of the tooth and, in particular, to offer protection to vulnerable areas of the mouth from tooth decay. Even if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, food particles may still be present in the nooks and crannies of the teeth, and this can cause oral health problems.
However, if you have sealants painted onto your back teeth, you get an extra layer of protection which can help to prevent tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems.
Who needs dental sealants?
Although children and adults can be suitable candidates for dental sealants, as the former are more at risk of tooth decay in the depressions and grooves of the back teeth, children are more likely to be recommended sealants by their dentists. That being said, if you are an adult that does not yet have any fillings or decay, your molars can still benefit from dental sealants.
What are the benefits of dental sealants?
There are many benefits of having dental sealants painted onto your teeth, including the following:
- Dental sealants tend to be white or transparent, so they protect your teeth without affecting the appearance of your smile.
- The procedure of applying dental sealants is simple and requires no drilling or injections.
- Dental sealants are long-lasting and will not dissolve through contact with your saliva.
- Dental sealants are made from safe materials.
The Centers for Disease Control states that dental sealants prevent 80% of cavities for two years after application and 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
When should children get dental sealants?
Ideally, children should have dental sealants applied to their back teeth as soon as they get their permanent teeth, as this will provide protection when they are most prone to cavities between the ages of 6-14.
However, in some cases, dental sealants are appropriate for baby teeth. For example, if your child has deep depressions or grooves in their back teeth, they are more susceptible to tooth decay.
How are dental sealants applied?
The process of applying a dental sealant is very straightforward and does not cause any pain or discomfort.
The application process for applying dental sealants is as follows:
- Your dentist will thoroughly clean the teeth that are going to be sealed.
- Each tooth is then dried, and a cotton ball or other absorbent material is placed around the teeth to keep them dry.
- Your dentist will then apply an acid solution to the chewing surfaces to slightly roughen the teeth, which helps the sealant bond.
- Your teeth are then rinsed and dried.
- Finally, your dentist will paint the sealant onto the tooth enamel, where it will bond with the tooth and harden.
Are dental sealants painful?
If you are not a fan of the dentist and you typically avoid any unnecessary procedures, then you will be pleased to hear that dental sealants are not at all painful. In fact, you should hardly feel a thing when the sealant is painted onto your teeth.
If you are still a little bit worried about having dental sealants applied, then it can be a good idea to ask your dentist to talk you or your child through the procedure beforehand to put your mind at rest.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants can last for up to 10 years. However, they do need checking for chipping or wearing during your routine dental check-ups. If your dental sealants have succumbed to wear and tear, your dentist can easily replace them.
To make sure your dental sealants last as long as possible, you need to have a consistent dental hygiene routine in place. To care for your sealants, make sure that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to remove any plaque or debris from between your teeth.
Do you have to use a fluoride toothpaste if you have dental sealants?
Yes, even if dental sealants are painted onto your teeth, you still need fluoride toothpaste. This is because dental sealants only protect the surface of the teeth that they are applied to, while fluoride helps to protect all the surfaces of your teeth from tooth decay and cavities.
Once you have had your dental sealants applied, you should still brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and again before bed, as well as floss at least once a day or after eating.
Dental sealants are useful for children and adults that do not yet have any cavities in their back teeth. Pain-free, quick and easy to apply, and incredibly effective at preventing tooth decay, ask your dentist about dental sealants and what they can do for you and your family.