What You Should Know About Dental Sealants
Cavities and bacterial infections in the mouth are common problems experienced by both children and adults. So there is always a need to take extra care of the teeth. Brushing the teeth and flossing regularly are recommended ways to take care of your teeth, but getting to down in the deep grooves of the teeth may prove impossible sometimes.
The invention of tooth sealants has helped curb many of the problems prone to the teeth.
A dental sealant is a thin protective coating made from plastic or other natural dental materials, applied to the surface of the teeth to protect it from rotting. While this procedure does not mean you no longer have to brush or floss, it creates a thin layer that serves as a shield for as long as possible.
Dental Sealants are usually applied to the molars and sometimes premolars since they are used more in grinding and are further into the mouth. These molars have deep grooves in which food can stick into and not be brushed out easily.
When the sealant is applied, it blends into the teeth, covering all cavities and smoothing out rough surfaces while protecting the enamel of the teeth.
The presence of the sealant coupled with routine dental care and checks, keep plaque and food particles out, preventing tooth decay.
According to the CDC: Two years after placement, dental sealants prevent >80% of cavities in the permanent molars, in which nine in 10 cavities occur.
What you should know about sealant application
Perhaps you have been searching for ways to improve your oral hygiene or looking for help for your child or loved one. Applying sealants are completely safe and the procedure is painless.
There are steps your dentist will follow during a sealant procedure, let us highlight a few of them:
- The teeth are thoroughly polished and cleaned to eliminate food particles and plaque. This is done to ensure that bacterial infection does not set in after your teeth are coated with the tooth sealant.
- Next, your tooth is dried out and cotton or any clean material is kept around your teeth to ensure it stays completely dry.
- An acid solution or acid gel is then applied on the teeth to make the surface of the teeth rough, then washed off after a while. This is to create a strong base for the sealant to bond perfectly with the teeth.
- The sealant is applied onto the enamel after a few seconds and left to bond and harden until it has the same texture with a regular tooth. In most cases, a special blue light called a curing light is used to speed up this process, it makes it dry up quickly. Once it dries up and hardens, you can proceed to chew on the teeth again.
Can everyone get tooth sealants?
The first thing you should note about sealants is that they can be used by everyone with permanent molars, especially because they are painless and they serve as protection to the teeth. However, it is recommended that they are used early in life.
They do not really have to be applied to the baby teeth, but once a child starts to grow the permanent teeth, sealants can be used to protect the teeth from cavities. Dental seals are usually placed on the 6 year molars and 12 year molars.
On the other hand, adults can benefit from using sealants too especially if they’re prone to cavities and tooth decay.
Although sealants are safe and the procedure is harmless, remember to always consult your doctor or a certified healthcare professional before carrying out this procedure. Your dentist is in the best position to proffer suitable options for you.
Side effects of dental sealants
There are no side effects of using sealants as the procedure is completely safe. There may be an allergic reaction to some of the products used so you need to have a discussion with your dentist before getting sealants.
What to expect after a sealant procedure
Sealants have been helping individuals maintain good oral hygiene. People with sealants notice that they do not suffer most of the ailments that are associated with the mouth or teeth.
This is because the sealants serve as shields, protecting the teeth from tooth decay and pushing off food particles that would have lodged in the deep grooves of the teeth causing the growth of harmful bacteria.
After a sealant procedure, it becomes easy to brush off leftover foods. Since the grooves have been filled up with tooth sealant, harmful bacteria do not have breeding pockets.
Sealants for children are highly recommended because children are more prone to tooth decay due to poor diet and hygiene.
Sealants can last for several years before the process is done again. Routine trips to your dentist are important as your dentist has to check that there are no breaks or cavities on the sealants. If there are cavities or breaks, your dentist will fix them.
BPA in dental sealants
Before we discuss BPA, remember that dental sealants are there to protect the teeth from cavities and other dangers. It is well-known that sealants contain a minute trace of BPA and some have expressed concern over this.
BPA which is short for Bisphenol A is present almost everywhere. It can be found on plastic bags, food packs, and other daily products. The amount found on these other items is much more than what is present in sealants.
Scientists have not found this minute trace to pose a problem in dental sealants. It still stands that sealants perform the function of protecting and not harming anyone, that is why even children can use tooth sealants.
Why everyone should get dental sealants
It is clearly impossible to manage oral health a hundred percent. Even individuals who carry out routine checks and think they have the best oral hygiene get cavities and sores from time to time.
Dental sealants improve oral health up to 80% and the procedure is totally safe.
Tooth issues may be hereditary, so once you notice that this may be prominent in your family, you may consider getting a tooth sealant to protect your tooth from future damage.
Also, your children will benefit from getting sealants from an early age because they will not have to go through the struggles that come with tooth cavities or infections that can be avoided by using tooth sealants.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.