At 3V Dental Associates, our dentists specialize in dental sealant applications for patients of all ages. Dental sealants are used to fill in narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. These will develop cavities over time, and you don’t want that. So the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
Did you know: According to the American Dental Association, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.
What Are Dental Sealants?
A dental sealant is a thin coating composed of plastic or other man made material that’s applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth [premolars or molars] to prevent them from decaying. Because the surfaces of premolars and molars are uneven and rough, even the most careful brushing and flossing can’t always completely clean food particles from the teeth. Sealants form a protective shield by bonding into the hard-to-reach grooves of the teeth.
Dental sealants prevent cavities from forming and can potentially reduce the risk of cavities in premolars and molars by nearly 80 percent. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that school-age children who’ve not had their teeth protected with sealants “have almost three times more cavities” than those who have sealants protecting their teeth.
When bacteria combine with leftover food particles, acids form that can cause cavities in an unprotected tooth. However, sealants will keep out the bacteria and acids and prevent holes from forming in the tooth.
Are You a Candidate for Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are beneficial for all ages, but obviously the younger the child is whose teeth are sealed, the less likely they’ll ever develop cavities in the protected teeth. For ultimate protection, children should have their permanent back teeth sealed as soon as they’ve fully erupted. Even baby teeth can benefit from sealants to prevent early loss.
How Are Dental Sealants Applied?
You might wonder, “How are sealants applied?” The process is simple, quick and painless. Either a dentist or hygienist can perform the procedure here at our Port Washington office. He must first thoroughly clean the tooth. He then dries the tooth and surrounds it with an absorbent material, such as cotton, to ensure it stays dry. Then he applies an acidic gel on the chewing surface of the tooth, which makes it rough. This helps the sealant adhere to the tooth. He then rinses and dries the tooth and applies the sealants in the grooves of the tooth enamel. It will then harden, often with the help of a blue curing light.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
Sealants are effective for as long as 10 years. Regular dental exams and cleanings will detect wearing or chipping. If necessary, the sealants can be replaced.
Sealants can be applied over early cavities to prevent them from becoming larger and damaging the teeth further. The dentist might use clear sealants so he can detect any growth of the cavity in the future.
Sealants are very safe aside from any allergy the patient might have to the chemicals used.
To schedule your sealant consultation for your or your child, please contact our office today. A friendly 3V Dental Associate is standing by to assist you.
This article has been reviewed and/or authored by Dr. Irina Kellerman