WHAT ARE DENTAL SEALANTS?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surfaces of some of the permanent teeth (premolars and molars), in order to help protect them for decay. Dental sealants are generally used at the same time with fluoride applications. And, over the last years, dental sealants with fluoride have been introduced in the dental practice.
Dental sealants can be white, transparent or have a slight tint depending on the dental sealant used.
DO I NEED DENTAL SEALANTS?
The chewing or occlusal surfaces of premolars and molars have grooves; these make them vulnerable to tooth decay. When this grooves or fissures are too deep and hard to clean, there is generally plaque accumulation leading to decay.
Fluoride application altogether with dental sealants help prevent decay and protect the surface in these areas.
WHEN ARE DENTAL SEALANTS PLACED?
Premolars and molars have the most fissures in their chewing surfaces, making it difficult for people (children 6 years and up) to clean these zones with toothbrush.
Generally, the first dental sealant to be placed is in the first permanent molar chewing surface, once it has fully erupted in the oral cavity and consequently in the other permanent premolars and molars as they erupt.
In some cases, dental sealants are necessary in baby teeth, such as when they have depressions of deep grooves. Baby teeth play an important role in permanent dentition, therefore, it is of great significance to keep these teeth healthy.
CAN DENTAL SEALANTS BE PLACED IN ADULTS?
Yes, they are indicated in any permanent teeth with deep grooves that don’t already have sealants of dental restorations.
HOW IS THE SEALANT PROCEDURE?
This is a non-invasive procedure; the dental professional won’t use local anesthetics.
- Your dentist will clean the tooth structure with pumice and dry the surface.
- Acid solution (orthophosphoric acid) is applied for 30 seconds on the zone that the dental sealant will be applied to improve adhesion.
- Teeth are then rinsed and dried
- A very thin layer of dental sealant is applied and light cured.
- Dental sealants should be checked regularly in case for a re-application if necessary.
HOW LONG DOES DENTAL SEALANTS LAST?
Dental sealants can last for up to 10 years, but they need to be checked regularly. If necessary, it is possible that your dentist places a new dental a sealant or re-application over the years.