Benefits of Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are made of a special type of plastic. Sealants are a special plastic that dentists place on the chewing surface of a tooth. They usually put it on the back, permanent teeth. This keeps debris from getting into the teeth and causing decay.
Why will a Dentist Use Sealants?
Even though good oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing regularly can help remove particles of food and plaque from the teeth, sometimes a toothbrush can’t reach far enough down into the grooves and depressions on the tooth’s surface. This means some food or debris could remain down in the teeth and eventually cause tooth decay. Fluoride is great at reducing and preventing tooth decay, but dental sealants can help add another layer of extra protection in those pitted and grooved areas. The whole goal of the application is to add more protection for the back teeth used to chew food.
When will a Dentist Recommend Sealants?
The dentist may suggest different teeth be treated with sealants depending on how susceptible the child is to having cavities. Ideally, sealants are applied to the top of the back teeth as soon as the permanent tooth breaks through the gum. For most kids, this is usually around 6 years of age. However, many times children do not get sealants that early and they are applied later as a precaution.
How are Sealants Applied?
It’s a simple three step process. The dentist will prepare the teeth to be treated by polishing and then etching the surface. This removes plaque or food from the dips in the surface. Once the tooth is prepared, the sealant is applied using a brush and then cured with a special light so it bonds to the tooth and dries. Then the dental professional will check the tooth to ensure the sealant has hardened.