29 Mar How Dental Sealant Protects Teeth from Decay
We want to keep our teeth long-term; to bite into a crunchy treat or to enjoy our favorite foods. The foundation of good dental hygiene begins at home with the Daily 4: brush, rinse, floss, and chew. Fluoride-containing toothpaste helps in the prevention of dental caries. These daily habits are critical, but there are additional steps we should take to ensure whole mouth health. A dental sealant is a simple way to further protect the chewing surface of our teeth. What is a dental sealant and how does it protect teeth from decay?
What is Dental Sealant?
Dental sealant is not a well-known procedure, yet it has been around since 1960. A thin protective coating, called dental sealant is applied to the chewing surface of teeth with a focus on premolars and back molars (your back teeth). The rough and uneven surface of molars makes it easier for food and bacteria to get stuck and to hide. A dental sealant acts like an umbrella, repelling bacteria-causing particles from getting stuck in the small nooks our teeth. Applied to teeth before decay occurs sealant can prevent long-term repair costs such as fillings, crowns, and bridges. Dental sealants can also be applied to teeth previously filled to prevent further decay.
How is Dental Sealant Applied?
Dental sealant is applied by your dentist. Quick and painless, completed in 5 short steps:
- Teeth are thoroughly cleaned and flossed.
- Each tooth is dried with additional absorbent material placed around the tooth to absorb moisture.
- A mouth-friendly acid solution is applied to slightly roughen the teeth. This texture plays a role in helping the sealant to effectively bond to the teeth.
- Teeth are rinsed again and dried.
- The sealant is applied using a small brush. In some cases, a cure light is used to help speed the process.
Who Can Get a Dental Sealant?
Dental sealant is appropriate for both children and adults. Children ages 6 to 14 are more prone to cavities during this age and dental sealants provide an extra level of protection. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control recommends sealant during this age to reduce the risk of decay.
How Long Does Dental Sealant Last?
On average dental sealant will last for 10 years, but this does not replace regular brushing or checkups with your dentist. Food particles can still be lodged between teeth, in gums, under the tongue, and just about any place bacteria can find to thrive. Continue with twice daily brushing, visit your dentist twice per year for cleanings and include your oral cancer screening during one of those appointments. Many oral diseases including periodontal disease and oral cancer are considered systemic and may play a contributing role in other potential health conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A strong dental care program is not only good for your mouth but for whole-body health. Contact us today to determine if a dental sealant is right for you and your family.
Dr. Dragana Angelova
Imperial Dental Center
“We love to see you smile”