Seal out Tooth Decay
Most people are aware that brushing and flossing are the best ways to keep their teeth cavity free. However, our back teeth (molars and pre-molars) sometimes have deep grooves on the chewing surface that can trap cavity causing bacteria and food. These deep grooves are often inaccessible by a tooth brush and even the most diligent brushers may be at risk of developing decay in these areas. What can we do about these areas? A dental sealant can be used to help protect our back teeth and block the grooves, preventing bacteria and other debris from getting caught in these areas.
What is a Dental Sealant?
A dental sealant is a resin based dental material that is placed in the grooves of back teeth, especially molars, to help block out deep grooves at high risk of developing cavities. The sealant adheres to the tooth and is tooth colored. Sealants have been shown to effectively prevent the development of cavities in back teeth. Sealants can also effectively be used to prevent early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.
Who Should Receive Sealants?
Children and adults both can benefit from having sealants placed. It is recommended to have the sealants placed as soon as a tooth erupts into the mouth. First molars erupt at around age 6 and second molars around age 12. We also like to recommend sealants on pre-molars which typically erupt between the ages of 10-12. Getting the teeth sealed as soon as they enter the environment of the mouth helps keep the teeth cavity free from the get go. This will ultimately help save time and money in the future and provide a good foundation for keeping the natural teeth for a lifetime.
What to Expect During Sealant Placement
The placement of sealants is typically a quick and painless process. Numbing is not required. The tooth’s surface is cleaned and dried and an acidic gel roughens the tooth surface so that the sealant will form a bond to the tooth structure. The gel is rinsed away and dry the tooth again. At this point the sealant is flowed into the grooves and is cured with a blue light to harden the sealant. After placement of the sealants the bite is checked to make sure no areas of sealant caused a change in bite.
How Long do Sealants Last?
Dental sealants usually last for many years of service before needing to be replaced. We will check the sealants at each dental visit and ensure they are still in functioning condition. It is not uncommon to have to touch up sealants if small pieces have broken off. Try to avoid chewing sticky candy as they can pull sealants off.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog and we hope that you found the information helpful. While dental sealants do not replace brushing and flossing our teeth, they are a very effective tool to help prevent the development of cavities. Feel free to call us at 317-535-7141 to schedule an appointment or ask any questions. We look forward to serving you and your families!