SEAL MOLARS TO PREVENT CAVITIES IN DEEP RIDGES
Dental sealants are an incredibly thin clear, plastic coating that we brush onto the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars or premolars). This treatment is used to help prevent cavities, avoid any tooth decay, and add a protective layer that seals the tooth against any damages.
Benefits of Sealants
Molars are used primarily for chewing foods so they are more susceptible to cavities. That is why it is recommended by dentists to have sealants applied to these specific teeth. Food can easily become trapped inside the deep ridges on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. These areas can be incredibly difficult to clean so sealants are applied to help “seal” these ridges, preventing food and plaque buildup. By eliminating the areas for food to become trapped, the risk for cavities is decreased.
Who should get sealants?
Because we use dental sealants as a way to protect teeth and prevent cavities, technically both children and adults can get dental sealants. This procedure is most commonly performed on children that have not yet suffered from tooth decay (at least on the tooth or teeth in question). Although someone can be diligent in keeping a good brushing and flossing routine, someone can only be so good at removing the food particles that can begin forming plaque. Sealants protect against cavities, especially on the molars and premolars. If you or someone in your family has deep ridges in your teeth, this can be a beneficial solution for maintaining optimal oral health.
Dental sealant application process
The application of dental sealants is entirely painless and straightforward. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes per tooth and it is so easy that our patients are usually surprised by how quickly it is done! We’ve outlined the steps below so you know what expect:
- The first step is that the dental hygienist will thoroughly clean the teeth that the dental sealants will be applied to.
- Then, each tooth is dried entirely using cotton or an absorbent material that is put around the tooth to ensure that the area is kept dry.
- Sometimes a dentist will put a type of “etching” solution on the surfaces of the teeth that are used for chewing. This will help in “roughening them up” and helps the sealant bond with the teeth. Depending on the sealant that the dentist is going to apply, this step may not be necessary.
- The teeth are then rinsed and dried as long as step 3 was completed.
- After the teeth are thoroughly dry, the sealant is applied and painted onto the tooth’s enamel. This helps in bonding directly to the tooth, and it hardens it. Sometimes a dentist will use a specific light that aids in the sealant hardening faster.
QUESTIONS ABOUT DENTAL SEALANTS
Do kids or adults mind getting dental sealants?
Typically, no. The process is easy, fast, and comfortable. There is no drilling or invasive preparation and the sealant itself does not cause any irritation or smell funny. It is truly an easy way to prevent cavities.
What does it feel like after they are placed?
We have found that our patients cannot even notice them. They do not look like anything because they are completely clear. If you run your tongue along your teeth, you may be able to feel a slight difference but they are smooth and will not feel uncomfortable in any way.
Do dental sealants really make a difference?
Yes, they do. By preventing food and plaque from becoming stuck in your teeth, the risk for developing cavities is significantly reduced. As a result, you and your family may experience less tooth decay, fewer cavities and the need for costly dental restorations down the road.
How often do they need to be replaced?
We have found that sealants typically last for 5-10 years. They are incredibly effective but we will want to monitor them during regular dental examinations. Naturally, there are certain things like chewing on pencils or biting down on ice that can wear down the dental sealant so it is important to make safe and healthy choices regarding what is put in the mouth. If we see that they are wearing down, we may recommend that they are replaced so that you, or your children, can continue to benefit from this layer of protection.