Dental Sealants are used to coat the part of the teeth that we use to chew food. They are usually made of plastic and are very thin. They are mostly placed on the surface of the teeth.
The main purpose of using sealants on the teeth is to prevent tooth decay. When the sealant is applied to a tooth, it finds its way into the depression and grooves of the tooth, this makes it form a shield that protects the enamel or the outer covering of the tooth.
Tooth decay is caused by remnants of foods that we eat that stay in our teeth. To prevent tooth decay it is recommended that we brush our teeth at least twice daily. However, brushing or flossing our teeth cannot completely help us to get rid of food particles that hide in our teeth and this is why sealants are necessary. With the presence of a sealant on a tooth, food particles will not be able to hide in places where a toothbrush will be unable to fish it out. A dentist or a dental hygienist can help you apply a dental sealant to your teeth and seal the teeth from food particles and other substances that can cause tooth decay.
Sealants are mostly used for children and teenagers. This is because they are the ones who are most prone to tooth decay. Food can hide in the molars and premolars of children’s teeth and cause their teeth to begin to decay because sometimes these children do not even brush their teeth well. However, some adults can also undergo a sealant placement procedure as far as the adult has no tooth decay or tooth filling. This means that an adult with an existing dental issue cannot have a sealant.
In children, sealants are used as soon as their molars and premolars begin to come out and the sealants are enough to take them through their teenage years. It is during these teenage years that they are more likely to have a cavity or tooth decay. In certain cases, sealants are used for babies when they just begin to get depressions and grooves in their teeth. Baby teeth are very important for oral health. They act as forerunners for the permanent teeth and help to hold the correct spacing for these teeth. Sealants help to make sure that the milk teeth are healthy throughout the period before the permanent teeth come out.
To get a sealant, you have to first visit a dentist or a dental hygienist. The sealant placement procedure does not take much time and will not cause you pain. For each tooth, it only takes a few minutes and the dentist is done so in less than 30 minutes to an hour, the whole of your teeth is sealed. The first thing that a dentist will do when coming around for a sealant is to clean your teeth thoroughly. You don’t want to seal teeth that have dirt in them. It will cause the very tooth decay that you are trying to avoid. After the cleaning of your teeth, the teeth are dried and absorbent materials like cotton are used to keep them dry. When the teeth are dried, acid is rubbed on the surface of the teeth. This is done to roughen the teeth and allow the sealants to bond well with the teeth. After this is done, the teeth are rinsed and dried again. Then finally, the sealant is placed on the outer part of the teeth so glues well to the teeth because of the acid that was applied earlier, then it hardens on the surface of the teeth. A dentist can also use a special light to fasten the hardening process and that is all. The sealant has been placed and the teeth are safe from tooth decay.
Sealants ideally last as long as ten years but you need to visit your dentist regularly for maintenance check-ups. The dentist has to check for crack or wear in any of the teeth where you have sealants. If there is a need, the dentist will help you to replace a sealant. Sealants are also covered by insurance so take your insurance card when you are going to get your sealant.