A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating which is painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth usually the back teeth, i.e. the premolars and molars. They can help in preventing decay. A sealant is able to bond quickly into the depressions and grooves of the teeth. They act as a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth.
Children and teenagers are usually candidates for sealants, as there is a likelihood of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars. Adults without any decay or fillings in their molars are also able to benefit from sealants.
Children are generally recommended to get sealants as soon as their permanent molars and premolars come in. In this way, the dental sealant is able to protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of age 6 to 14.
Sometimes, sealants can be also be appropriate for baby teeth in a situation such as when a child’s baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves. Since baby teeth play an important role in holding the correct spacing for permanent teeth, it is also important that these teeth are kept healthy and taken care of, so that they are not lost early.
It is noteworthy that not all teeth require protection of dental sealants. Any tooth that has pits and fissures that tend to accumulate debris is a candidate for a sealant.
Whether you are looking for dental sealants for yourself or your child, it is best that you discuss it with your dentist regarding the costs, procedure, expectations etc. Dental sealants are generally covered by insurance.
If you are considering the sealants for your child, it is important to communicate with them properly before the procedure. Children who have never had a filling placed might feel a bit uncomfortable regarding the procedure.
Applying sealants is generally a simple and painless process. Your dentist requires just few minutes to apply the sealant to seal each tooth.
First the teeth that are to be sealed are cleaned thoroughly. Then each tooth is dried and an absorbent material such as cotton is put around each tooth for keeping it dry.
An acid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of your teeth for roughening them up. This helps the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried.
Sealant is then painted onto the enamel of each tooth and then it bonds directly with the tooth and hardens. A special intense white light is then used to help the sealant harden.
After the Procedure
Sealants can generally protect the teeth for up to 10 years and sometimes even a lifetime. However, it is important that you go to your dentist for regular check ups. If necessary, your dentist will replace any sealants.
Though sealants can greatly help in preventing decay of the teeth, it is not a final solution. Therefore, it is important to take care of the teeth and keep them healthy.
Dental sealant can generally have only one downside, if one has an allergy to it. However, reactions related to sealants are very rare.
It is best to talk to your dentist before the placement procedure regarding any allergies you might have.