Your teeth deserve maintenance and hygienic treatments to improve their health and resilience against bacteria. Teeth make up an important part of a person’s hygiene practice. Just like the skin, the teeth can also indicate the age of a person. The efforts people put in to keep the skin healthy and glowing should also apply to practicing good oral hygiene.
What are Sealants and How Do They Work?
Sealants are a dental procedure which involve a special plastic coating being applied on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This is usually done for back teeth (premolars and molars), however it can be done for other teeth as well. Sealants function to prevent tooth decay. They form a protective layer over the enamel of each tooth by bonding into the depressions and grooves of the teeth. Although brushing and flossing are effective ways to remove food particles that are deposited onto the back and the sides of the teeth, sealants are proactive and do the job more efficiently. They effectively seal out plaque and food to ensure tooth decay does not occur at all.
Who are Sealants Recommended for?
There’s a greater likelihood of developing tooth decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars of children and teenagers due to their diets and inattentive habits of brushing and flossing. Because of this, the sealant procedure is usually recommended to them relatively more than adults. However, adults can also benefit from this procedure.
The most cavity prone ages of children are between 6 to 14 and therefore it is wiser for children to get sealants painted on their teeth as soon as their permanent molars and premolars grow in. This way, their teeth are protected from tooth decay before plaque collects. Some children can be more susceptible to cavities than others, therefore if such conditions arise, it is best to consult their dentists about a sealant procedure.
Depending on the case, dental sealants may also be appropriate for baby teeth if deep depressions and grooves are found in them. Baby teeth are place holders for permanent teeth. The longer they stay in healthy condition, the longer they can last and serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, in order for them to grow in properly, without using up space.
How Are Sealants Applied?
The application process for sealants is fairly simple and painless. It isn’t lengthy and only takes about a few minutes for the dentist to seal each tooth by painting the sealant on them.
The dentist requires teeth to be thoroughly cleaned before undergoing this process. This is followed up by drying the teeth with cotton, which may also be placed inside the mouth to keep the teeth dry. Next, an acid solution is used on the teeth to temporarily add roughness to their surface. This helps the sealant stay in place and bond to the teeth easily. Then, the teeth are rinsed and dried. Lastly, the sealant is painted onto the enamel, and at this point it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.
How Long Do Sealants Last?
The expected lifetime of sealants is up to ten years, but they do require regular dental check-ups to examine them for chipping or wear and tear. Sealants can be replaced and repaired if necessary.
If you would like more information about dental sealants, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S., located in San Marcos, TX.