What are Sealants?
Sealants are a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Typically, they are applied to the back teeth to hinder tooth decay. This rapidly forms a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth as it fastens into the grooves of the teeth. They are a tremendous tool for
fighting against tooth decay.
Thankfully, They protect these tough-to-get-to areas from further damage by “sealing out” plaque and food. It is not always easy to access the back teeth to remove food particles and plaque from the surfaces of teeth. Even brushing and flossing diligently are not always 100% effective.
Generally, they are placed on the tooth in liquid form and then cured chemically or with light activation. To prepare the tooth for bonding with the sealant system, the tooth surface is first treated with an acid etch to intensify wetting of the tooth and to maximize mechanical retention of the sealant.
How are Dental Sealants Helpful?
They reduce cavities
The process is painless and simple
They are long lasting
There are several benefits, even though they are known as a procedure aimed toward children. But despite one’s age, we are all susceptible to tooth decay and this can reduce this occurrence in anyone. Sealants do not allow bacteria to grow. Ultimately, dental sealants are a great form of prevention. Spending a little money now ensures hard-to-reach areas won’t produce costly dental procedures later in life.
Why are They Placed on Teeth?
The chewing surfaces of the back teeth have grooves or “fissures”, putting them at greater risk for decay. These fissures can be deep and tough to clean. At times, even a bristle from a toothbrush can be more narrow. There is much plaque build-up in these areas. When the acid from bacteria in the plaque attacks the enamel, cavities can form. Fluoride helps keep tooth decay at bay while protecting all the surfaces of the teeth. This gives further protection for the grooved areas by placing a smooth surface cover over the designated fissures.
When are They Placed?
Usually, the first dental sealant is placed on the fissure of the first permanent molar tooth, after the chewing surface of the tooth has fully discharged beyond the gum. This tooth develops behind the baby teeth. If the chewing surfaces of such teeth are sealed, the tooth is further protected by the sealant. The molars and premolars continue to surface until age 11-13. The chewing surfaces of these teeth can be sealed after eruption occurs beyond the gum. Wisdom teeth are an exception because they grow in years later.
Are Dental Sealants Useful for Adults?
Yes. Although used less commonly for adults, they are sometimes placed in adults who are at risk for decay. That’s only if deep grooves and fissures do not contain fillings.
What do Dental Sealants Look Like?
There are different types. Some are clear; some are white. There are also sealants with a touch of tint.
Who Should Get Sealants?
Due to the possibility of developing decay in the depressions and grooves of the back teeth, children and teenagers are primary candidates. But there are adults who can benefit from sealants even though they may not have decay or fillings in their molars.
Typically, children should have them placed on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth grow in so they can guard the teeth through the cavity-prone years, ages 6 through 14.
Contact us if you’re interested in
a free consultation with Dr. Bainer for dental sealants in Escondido.
How Are Sealants Applied?
Sealant application is pain-free and simple. Your dentist or hygienist will only need a few minutes to apply the sealant to the tooth. The application steps are:
first, thoroughly cleaning the teeth that are to be sealed
then, each tooth is dried with cotton or another type of absorbent material used to keep the tooth dry
an acid solution is placed on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to harden them, helping the sealant anchor to the teeth
then, teeth are rinsed and dried
at this time, sealant is painted onto the tooth enamel, so it can bond precisely to the tooth – sometimes a special curing light is needed to stimulate the sealant to solidify.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
They can protect teeth from decay for up to a decade, but it is important for them to be checked for chipping or wearing during regular dental visits. Your dentist will replace sealants as needed.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost?
Many insurance companies cover the cost. Check with your dental insurance provider to determine if sealants are covered under your policy.
Should I Still Use Fluoride if I Have Dental Sealants?
Yes because they only guard the surface area for which they are placed. Fluoride helps protect the surfaces of the tooth from cavities and decay.
Do Sealants have BPA?
They are plastic made from monomers derived from BPA but BPA itself is seldom used in dental sealants. So in this sense, they do not contain BPA. But BPA is created by a chemical response when the sealants are worn down and exposed to saliva.
Contact us if you’re interested in a free consultation with Dr. Bainer for dental sealants in Escondido.