What are dental sealants?
Dental sealants are thin plastic materials that are coated on to the teeth, usually to prevent tooth decay. They are applied in their liquid form, which hardens overtime to seal the grooves and pits in the teeth, especially the molars and premolars.
How do dental sealants work?
Molars and premolars are uneven, which is why food particles tend to stick there and cause tooth decay over time. Sealants simply make these surfaces even, preventing food particles from being stuck in those grooves and pits!
Why should children get sealants?
Kids are the most prone to tooth decay. Therefore, as per the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, kids should get sealants as soon as the first permanent molars and premolars come up.
“Children should get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as the teeth come in — before decay attacks the teeth. The first permanent molars — called “6 year molars” — come in between the ages of 5 and 7. The second permanent molars — “12 year molars” — come in when a child is between 11 and 14 years old.”
Sealants act as a protective layer on the surfaces of the teeth and prevent them from decay at a young age. This helps children to sustain their oral health and aesthetics for a long time!
Are dental sealants safe?
Yes, dental sealants are safe and reliable. Dentists have been using them for nearly 6 decades now, and there has been no account of harm caused by dental sealants.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants usually last a decade with proper care. However, they are susceptible to teeth grinding and hard brushing and flossing. Thus, their lifespan is generally as long as 6-8 years, approximately.
What to expect while getting dental sealants?
Dental sealants usually require a single appointment.
- First, the dentist cleans the tooth, often with an electric toothbrush.
- Second, gauze is placed to keep the tooth dry.
- Third, an acidic solution is applied to roughen up the surface of the tooth. This is done because sealants stick well to rough surfaces.
- Fourth, the tooth is rinsed and dried again.
- Fifth, the sealant is placed on the tooth, usually at the posterior side.
Were you expecting any sort of pain in the process?!
Isn’t proper brushing and flossing better than getting sealants?
Of course! However, the bristles of your toothbrush can not perfectly get rid of the germs at the back of your teeth and have a hard time reaching the pits and grooves effectively. The question is, why would you leave it up to your toothbrush when you can seal the decay-prone areas in the first place?
However, there is one alternative that you may consider. Fluoride is the best and strongest defense against tooth decay. Hence, dentists recommend you to use fluoride toothpaste. Apart from that, you may also drink fluoridated water to keep bacteria away from anywhere in your mouth!