Dental sealants are very thin layers of plastic that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the teeth, typically the molars and premolars. These sealants create a barrier between acid-creating bacteria that result in tooth decay, effectively protecting your teeth from cavities and infection.
At Victor Nitu DDS, Victor Nitu, DDS and recommend the use of dental sealants, often used in cosmetic dentistry, for both children and adults as a preventive measure against tooth decay.
Why are Dental Sealants Necessary?
Your back teeth have a wider chewing surface than the rest of your teeth and it is pitted with cracks and fissures. Over time, these cracks can deepen since our back teeth see more wear and tear due to chewing. In addition, insufficient dental hygiene that does not remove the food debris and bacteria from the surface of the tooth can also contribute to the deepening of these fissures. As such, your back teeth become vulnerable to tooth decay and infection. Dental sealants prevent this from happening.
Dental sealants create a hard, smooth, and protective layer on the chewing surfaces of your molars and premolars. This prevents food debris and bacteria from burrowing deep into the fissures in your teeth and causing decay. In fact, research has found that dental sealants can reduce the risk of cavities in molars by 80%, which is very helpful for your child’s dental health.
Keep in mind, however, that dental sealants are not a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. If you forego these necessary dental hygiene practices, your teeth, even the ones protected by dental sealants, will develop cavities, since the walls of your teeth are still exposed.
How are Dental Sealants Applied?
Applying dental sealants is a quick and pain-free process. Here are the steps:
|The tooth that needs to be sealed is given a professional cleaning by us.
| We will then dry all of the teeth and place a piece of gauze or cotton, also known as a dental dam, around the tooth that needs to be sealed to isolate it from other teeth and to keep it dry.
|We will then place an acid solution on the tooth to etch the surface so that the sealant can set more easily.
|Your tooth is then rinsed carefully and dried again.
|Putty-like sealant is painted onto the chewing surface of the tooth, where it hardens. We may use a curing light to accelerate the bonding process.
Can Sealants be Applied Over Cavities?
If tooth decay is in its very initial stages, then we may apply dental sealant on it to prevent further damage. However, typically, sealants are not applied to cavities and are used as a preventive measure to keep healthy but high-risk teeth safe. If you have a cavity, we may recommend another form of treatment for you.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
With the right amount of care, sealants can last for seven to ten years. You should always keep your routine dental appointments so that we can check the sealants for any wear or chipping. If necessary, sealants can be re-applied.
If you or your child is prone to developing cavities, we may recommend the use of dental sealants as a protective measure. Call us at (480) 536-8228 to schedule a dental appointment with us.