What Are Dental Sealants?

By February 24, 2014 August 27th, 2015 Cavities, Dental Sealants, Oral Health, Sealants
Dental sealants are used to coat the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities. They are primarily applied to protect the premolars and molars from tooth decay and can be a very effective dental treatment.

As you can appreciate, your teeth are full of ridges, gaps and uneven surfaces where tooth decay can take hold. Unless you have an exceptionally effective oral health regimen, a small amount of decay is inevitable. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly.

Food and other debris can get caught in these gaps which can cause tooth decay. In hard to reach or hard to brush areas, this is quite common. As plaque accumulates in these areas, it attacks tooth enamel and decay can occur. Dental sealants are one way to help prevent that.

Dental sealants are used to coat the premolars and molars with a thin plastic film to prevent tooth decay from taking hold. If food gets trapped within the teeth and plaque forms, there is a strong barrier between it and your teeth, preventing decay from taking hold. It’s a simple but very effective treatment.

How Are Dental Sealants Placed?

The procedure for fitting dental sealants is quite straightforward and doesn’t involve drugs, anesthetic, or drilling.

First we perform a deep clean of the teeth using an air abrasion machine to ensure all plaque has been removed and the teeth are as clean as they can be. Next we wash them down, dry them use a special solution to prepare the teeth for the sealant. The solution creates a key on the surface of the tooth to allow the sealant to adhere properly.

Once the teeth have been dried once more, the sealant itself is applied. The application provides a thin coating across the teeth that is almost invisible. Most sealants will then be dried using a light to provide a hard protective surface. Some sealants will dry without the light, it depends on what kind of sealant your dentist surgery uses.

How Long Does it Last?

If a high quality dental sealant is applied properly, it can last anywhere up to 10 years. Much depends on the health of your mouth, your diet, whether you smoke or drink and some environmental factors.

Regular checkups with your dentist can keep you informed of how the sealant is coping and whether you need to take any special measures to keep it in good condition. Looked after properly, there is no reason why it couldn’t last a decade or more.

What’s more, dental sealants are covered by most insurance policies. They are a proven dental procedure that has long lasting preventive benefits to those who have them. Insurance companies have realized this and now often include them in your coverage. Check your policy to make sure.

If you’re ready to take advantage of dental sealants, contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry for a consultation today!