What You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

What You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

Feb 01, 2021

According to several reports, children are at risk of developing decay and cavities, more than adults. This could be attributed to the below-average dental care and high consumption of sugar. While brushing and flossing can help minimize the risk, you need other preventive measures in place. Dental sealants are one of the suitable protection for your children’s teeth and gum health.

What are Sealants?

Teeth sealants are hard plastic coatings painted on the teeth’ surface to create a barrier and protect the teeth from cavities. These coatings are can be applied on any tooth, but are best suited for the back teeth. The molars have grooves that can trap food and give room for bacteria to fester.

Dental sealants come in two types; composite resin and glass ionomer. The composite sealants are the commonly used sealants because they are more durable. Glass ionomer sealants have fluoride that strengthens the enamel. However, they are less durable and therefore require more upkeep.

Sealants are applied on the grooves, not on the tooth surface.

Who Can Use Sealants?

Sealants are most effective in preventing dental cavities in children. They are recommended for between age 6 and 12 when the final molar has come out. The earlier the sealants are fixed, the more effective they will be. However, teenagers and adults with healthy teeth can also benefit.

How Are They Applied?

A dental sealant procedure is done in one dental visit and can take about 30 minutes for it to be completed. The process is also painless, and there’s no need for anesthesia. However, laughing can be used in children who have dental phobia.

The procedure is done in three steps that include:

1. Assessment and preparation 

Our dentist in Satsuma, AL, will first examine the teeth and gums. Next, the teeth to be sealed are cleaned and dried in preparation for the procedure.

2. Conditioning of the teeth 

The dentist will then apply an acidic gel on the grooves for 20 to 30 seconds to roughen the teeth. This will make it easy for the sealants to bond to the teeth. The acid is rinsed off and the teeth dried again.

3. Painting the sealants 

The dentist will place the sealant material on the grooves. A special dental light is used to harden the tooth. Finally, the teeth are polished.

Are Sealants Effective?

According to the American Dental Association, dental sealants can prevent cavities by 80 percent within the first year of application. As the years go by, the effectiveness reduces to about 58 percent.

Children with no sealant are twice as much likely to develop cavities than those who have.

Are Sealants Safe?

There have been concerns about the safety of sealants because of the amounts of BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA is believed to affect vital functions of the body like the immune, thyroid, and nervous system. However, the ADA and the CDC have reported that the level of BPA in sealants is negligible and will not cause any problems.

What is the Dental Sealants Aftercare Instructions?

Your child will be ready to eat immediately after the sealants are applied. However, it is important to pay attention to the foods they eat. Some foods can cause the sealants to crack and chip. Yes, with time, the sealants may wear out because of the constant pressure.

But, you can protect them and reduce pressure by avoiding hard foods. Do not chew ice, jawbreakers, and hard candies. Also, chewy and sticky foods can cause the sealants to come out.

It is vital to visit the dentist often for assessment of the teeth, gums, and sealants.

What Other Preventive Measures Can You Use?

While sealants are effective, they cannot completely prevent cavities. Dental sealants are not applied in between the teeth, so it is possible to trap food. Flossing is vital and also rinsing the mouth with mouth wash.

Routine cleaning and fluoride treatment are also recommended for preventing dental cavities.

Schedule an Appointment

Book an appointment and visit Satsuma Family Dental and consult our dentist for more information on dental sealants, how they are applied, and what to expect after.

251-679-9428 Book Appointment