What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are a great preventative dental care treatment that can be used to help protect the chewing surfaces of healthy back teeth. The chewing surfaces of your molars and premolars contain lots of intricate grooves and fissures that can be deep and difficult to clean. As a result it’s often easy for food particles and bacteria to become trapped in these areas, and they’re quite prone to developing cavities.
Protecting these surfaces with dental sealants will prevent bacteria and food from becoming trapped in these fissures and grooves so dental decay cannot set in. They can only be used on teeth that do not have any fillings and which are free from the cavities or any signs of decay. For this reason they’re generally offered to children whose adult teeth are newly erupted, but they can also be used for adult teeth that are cavity free. Protecting the teeth in this way is quick, easy and effective and can be completed during one visit to Midtown Dentistry.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
The application process is very straightforward. Your dentist will clean the tooth surfaces to be sealed and will dry them thoroughly before painting on a solution that etches the tooth. The etching process slightly roughens the tooth surface providing a better bond between the tooth and the dental sealant. The next step is for the etching fluid to be rinsed off so the tooth surfaces can be dried. The sealant is painted on and is hardened with a special light, and that’s it! Dental sealants should last for approximately 10 years but can be reapplied whenever necessary as they can chip, and Dr. Jonathan Penchas will check their condition at each examination.
Using Dental Sealants on Teeth with Small Signs of Decay
There is some evidence to show that using dental sealants on teeth that only have very small pits or lesions, indicating the beginnings of tooth decay, can be successful in halting its progression. This is because the dental sealant seals in the bacteria, but this type of treatment is only likely to be successful in a very small number of cases and isn’t widely used.
If you have young children then your dentist at Midtown Dentistry will almost certainly recommend the use of dental sealants as soon as the adult teeth have erupted, and it’s well worth getting this done as it has been shown to be highly effective. If you think your back teeth might be healthy enough to have dental sealants then ask your dentist for more information and a quick assessment as to whether or not this treatment could help you. Tooth decay generally occurs in children and young adults, but can affect anyone at any age.