Protect Your Teeth with Dental Sealants
What are dental sealants, and how does it work? Sealants are thin plastic coating applied to the chewing surfaces of molars, premolars, and any deep grooves in teeth (known as pits and fissures). More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy-to-clean surface. Sealants can last a long time, but they must be monitored for wear and chipping at your regular dental appointments.
Dental Sealants Protect Against Decay
Sealants are considered a preventative form of dentistry. The procedure aims to prevent decay rather than treating it directly; it’s straightforward and involves virtually no pain or discomfort for your child. So, how effective are sealants in preventing tooth decay? Once applied, sealants protect against 80% of cavities for two years and against 50% of cavities for up to 4 years.
The Dental Sealant Process
Dr. Duffy will first clean the tooth’s surface receiving the sealant, which is necessary for the sealant to adhere effectively. He will clean the tooth with a small brush. He may also use an air abrasion technique to clean your child’s tooth grooves.
After Dr. Duffy has thoroughly cleaned the tooth, he will apply the sealant by using an “etching” gel to the specified area of the tooth. This gel will help the sealant adhere to the tooth’s surface. Finally, he’ll rinse out the etching gel and dry the tooth.
After that, he’ll carefully apply the sealant to the tooth’s grooves. We’ll use a “curing” light on the sealant to harden it to the surface of the tooth. This unique light activates the sealant material, which causes it to set. The sealant is now applied.
Finally, Dr. Duffy will check if your child’s bite is still functioning correctly and make any required modifications. Your child will be finished with the treatment once he gives his final approval.
Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?
Sealants are most often associated with children because they are a valuable tool in fighting tooth decay. However, a dental sealant can deliver the same benefits to an adult. The primary purpose of dental sealants for adults is to add an extra layer of protection from cavities. Some people have a higher risk of developing cavities. That is why Dr. Duffy may recommend a dental sealant for an adult who is more prone to cavities, either because of a family history of cavities or because they have severely pitted molars or crowded back teeth that make cleaning difficult. Due to their preventative properties, sealants can also save you money that you would otherwise spend on fillings, crowns, and other repairs for a damaged/decayed tooth.
The Pros and Cons of Dental Sealants
Pros: Protect against cavities, Quick, simple process, Improve oral hygiene.
Cons: Only protect the back molars, It won’t work if you have cavities, Don’t last forever.
Do Dental Sealants Need to be Replaced?
A dental sealant won’t last forever. Sealants can last up to nine to ten years on the teeth. Dr. Duffy, however, advocates replacing them after the fourth year. This is due to the fact that their effectiveness reduces over time, with the first four years being the most beneficial. We will reapply your dental sealants to reduce the risk of decay or bacteria becoming trapped under a worn sealant.
Dental sealants also tend to get worn down a lot faster with people who tend to grind their teeth, chew on ice, open items with their teeth, or smoke. All of these factors can cause premature wear and tear. However, we will check your dental sealants every six months when you come in for your regular checkup.
Dental Sealants in Gig Harbor, Washington
At Peninsula Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves on our attention to preventative dental care. Our goal is to keep patients away from the dental chair as much as possible. If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your smile with dental sealants, please call our office today.