Dental sealants are a preventive treatment that creates a barrier against tooth decay. They are typically placed on permanent molars and premolars after they have erupted to protect them from plaque and food debris.
First, the teeth to be sealed are cleaned and dried. Cotton is then put around each tooth to keep saliva away from the chewing surfaces. An acid etching solution is applied to the chewing surfaces to roughen them up so the sealant can bond to them.
Dental sealants are a protective plastic coating that fills in the deep grooves on chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars and premolars). These pits and fissures can trap bits of food, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to thrive. When these bacteria produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel, cavities form. Sealants prevent food particles from getting trapped and keep acidic foods from damaging tooth enamel, protecting teeth from decay and minimizing the need for costly restorations like fillings or crowns.
A dentist can apply dental sealants to the biting surfaces of permanent back teeth after a thorough cleaning. First, the tooth is isolated from other teeth and saliva with cotton or an absorbent material. Next, the chewing surface is etched to roughen it and prepare for bonding with the sealant. The tooth is rinsed and dried. Finally, the runny sealant is painted onto the chewing surface of the tooth and “cures” with a special light.
While children are the prime candidates for sealants to protect their molars, adults can also benefit from the procedure. Individuals who have very deep grooves on their molars; those with a diet high in sugary, processed foods; or those with physical or mental challenges that make consistent oral hygiene difficult are especially good candidates for sealants.
Prevents Plaque Buildup
Even with thorough brushing and flossing, plaque can build up in the grooves and pits of your back teeth. These tiny areas can be hard for a toothbrush to reach, and food can get trapped in these cracks. Bacteria in the plaque produces acids that eat away at the tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Sealants can help prevent this by creating a barrier to stop food and bacteria from getting into the tooth crevices.
The procedure for applying dental sealants is quick and relatively painless. First, the dentist cleans and dries the chewing surfaces of the teeth to be sealed. Then, they put on a mild acid solution to roughen up the chewing surfaces and help the sealant bond to the tooth. After a few seconds, the tooth is rinsed and dried again. Then the liquid sealant is painted on and allowed to dry, often with the use of a special curing light.
While dental sealants are not a replacement for regular brushing and flossing, they can prevent decay from developing in children’s molars and premolars. These molars and premolars have deeper grooves, called fissures, than the front teeth.
Most tooth decay starts in the narrow pits and grooves on the biting surfaces of back teeth (molars). These areas are hard to clean with a toothbrush, so food particles and bacteria often get trapped there, leading to tooth decay. Dental sealants fill in these tiny areas, creating a smooth surface that’s easier to brush and less likely to harbor plaque.
Sealants are safe and painless, and the process is quick. First, your dentist will clean and dry your tooth, then apply an acidic gel that slightly roughens the surface of your tooth, allowing the sealant to adhere better. Then, your dentist will rinse off the gel and clean and dry your tooth again before applying the sealant. Afterward, your dentist will use a blue light to harden the sealant.
Besides improving the ease of cleaning, some sealants also release ions that prevent and arrest caries. Both glass ionomer sealants and resin-based sealants release fluoride, which reduces demineralization, promotes remineralization and inhibits the growth of cariogenic bacteria (38). Giomer sealants release antimicrobial borate and strontium ions, which also inhibit bacterial growth (42). Some patients may experience a temporary bitter taste after having their sealant placed; however, this sensation is harmless and will not last more than a few days.
Prevents Gum Disease
Dental sealants are an important preventive measure to help protect teeth against decay and cavities. They are a plastic resin that fills the chewing surfaces of molar and premolar teeth, where food particles and bacteria often hide. These grooves and pits are difficult to clean with a toothbrush, so they can gather plaque that causes tooth decay. This can lead to holes in the teeth, called cavities.
Using sealants is an easy procedure for children and adults. After brushing and flossing, a dental professional applies a thin coating of the plastic resin to the chewing surface of the teeth. The tooth is then rinsed and dried. A liquid, called etching, is applied to the surface of the tooth before the sealant is placed, which helps the bonding process.
Studies have shown that dental sealants reduce the risk of tooth decay on permanent molars by up to 80% and can last for four years or more. However, it is important to note that the sealants can wear away over time, and it is important to regularly check and replace them.
Prevents Tooth Wear
Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing help prevent cavities, but these methods cannot reach all areas of the mouth. The bristles of a toothbrush are unable to get in between the small cracks and grooves on your back teeth (called molars). These tiny areas can trap food and encourage bacterial plaque, which can lead to tooth decay. Sealants provide an extra layer of protection to these vulnerable areas by coating them with a thin plastic material.
The procedure to apply dental sealants is simple and painless, especially for children. A rubber dam may be used to isolate the tooth, or the area to be sealed, and a gel-like liquid is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth. This “etching” solution roughens the tooth’s surface and helps the sealant adhere to it more firmly. After the tooth is dried, the sealant is painted on and cured using a safe curing light.
A dental sealant can last for years or even decades, but it needs to be checked and maintained regularly. Your dental professional at Modern Essence Dentistry will evaluate the condition of your sealants and reapply them as needed.