The teeth in the back of the mouth have a variety of recesses, fissures, and pits, that help when chewing and grinding food. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to remove all of the food and plaque from these recesses. Dental sealants can help protect these teeth, keeping them from pain and tooth decay.
What are Dental Sealants?
Sealants are a thin plastic layer that is placed onto the teeth. They act as a barrier between the teeth and food and bacteria. Brushing and flossing can remove a lot of the food and plaque from the teeth, especially on teeth with flat surfaces. With all of the different recesses the molars and premolars have in the back of the mouth, however, it is difficult to completely clean them with good dental hygiene alone. The sealants help to protect the teeth from things that can cause decay.
When Should the Teeth Be Sealed?
Pit and fissure decay can begin early in life. Children and teenagers are great candidates for getting sealants as a part of preventative dentistry. Most children get sealants placed on their teeth between the ages of six and 14. In some children, their baby teeth grow in with recesses. In these cases, it may be a good idea to have sealants put on a younger child. Additionally, many cosmetic dentists recommend that adults get sealants as well in order to protect their teeth from problems.
The sealants are applied carefully to the teeth by a cosmetic dentist or dental hygienist in several steps.
- The teeth will first be thoroughly cleaned.
- The teeth are then dried; cotton may be placed in the mouth to keep the teeth dry during the procedure.
- A solution containing acid is brushed onto the teeth to roughen up the surface and allow the sealant to bond properly.
- The teeth are next rinsed and dried to remove the excess acid.
- The sealant is painted onto the tooth, where it hardens and forms a bond.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
With proper care and normal chewing, sealants will last several years before requiring reapplication. Preventative dentistry can help save you from the pain that comes from tooth decay and cavities. Call the dentist today to schedule an appointment for you or your child to protect your teeth with dental sealants.