A dental sealant is a plastic coating that is placed on the chewing surface of your molars and premolars to protect them from decay. This plastic layer bonds tightly to the tooth and provides an extra layer of protection to your enamel. At Spektor Dental, and we recommend dental sealants for people of all ages.
Why Are Dental Sealants Used
The chewing surfaces of our molars and premolars contain pits and fissures where food debris can get stuck. These fissures have many nooks and are deep so they may not be easily cleaned by a toothbrush. Hence, the back teeth are more vulnerable to bacterial plaque collecting in these cracks. Over time, this plaque can destroy the enamel and make its way to the dental pulp resulting in tooth death.
In addition, our back teeth are most at risk since the highest amount of pressure is placed on them for chewing.
To protect these vulnerable teeth, we recommend the use of dental sealants. Dental sealants can provide a smooth chewing surface that is easy to clean. Plus, it does not allow bacteria to come into contact with the teeth.
Candidates for Dental Sealants
The most likely candidates for dental sealants are young children and teenagers, typically between the ages of 6 and 14. That’s because these children have eating habits that can place their teeth at high risk of decay.
However, dental sealants are also used to protect adult teeth as well. Many adults have dental sealants so that they can prevent their healthy back teeth from the need for fillings.
Although sealants are typically placed on permanent teeth, we may also recommend their use on baby teeth in some cases. Since the baby teeth have an important role in the health of their permanent teeth, it is important that primary teeth remain healthy so that they do not fall out prematurely or spread infection to the adult teeth growing behind them.
What Does a Sealant Procedure Involve?
At Spektor Dental, we can place a dental sealant on your teeth in a painless and non-invasive way. We will first clean away the food debris and plaque from the surface of the tooth that needs the sealant. The tooth will then be dried and etched slightly so that it has a rough surface to which the sealant can adhere to.
The sealant is in the form of a plastic putty and is then added to the surface of the tooth in layers. We will apply a curing light to harden the material and bond it tightly to your tooth.
Once the sealant hardens, we will check if your bite is proper and comfortable and shave off the excess where necessary.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants can last for about 10 years. However, you should get them checked routinely so that you are sure there is no chipping or wearing. If we find that your sealant is damaged, we can easily repeat the procedure.
Just because your teeth have sealants doesn’t mean you can neglect brushing them. Remember, sealants only cover the chewing surface, not the sides of your tooth. If you are neglectful of your oral hygiene practices, cavities can still form on the sides.
If you are concerned about your chewing teeth getting cavities, dental sealants are a very effective way to prevent them. Call us at (425) 247-3629 to schedule an appointment with us.