Over the years, awareness of the importance of dental sealant application has increased and there are people who wish to enhance and sustain their dental health for longer. Dental sealants are layers of plastic, usually placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of permanent back teeth (molars and premolars), to protect them against cavities. Cavities are very common and cause damage to the tooth, usually through the types of foods we eat and improper dental maintenance.
Why do you need dental sealants?
The chewing surfaces of molars and premolars have grooves also known as “fissures”, which make them vulnerable to cavities. These cracks can be deep, difficult to clean, and often incredibly thin which makes them resistant to good cleaning. The plaque builds up in these areas, and the acid from the bacteria within the plaque attacks the enamel, promoting the development of cavities. Fluoride helps prevent cavities and protects all tooth surfaces. Fluoride is of course found in toothpaste but this alone cannot bring full protection. Dental sealants add extra protection for damaged and furrowed teeth, providing a smooth surface covering the cracked surface. They offer both practical and aesthetic support. Dental sealants are usually clear white or lightly tinted, but you can discuss this option with your dentist.
Sealants are an effective way to prevent plaque from settling in places that are hard to reach with the toothbrush. They are usually applied to permanent molars and premolars, but can also occasionally be applied to temporary teeth. Sealants are only applied to the posterior teeth, so they remain invisible when you speak or smile which makes them a positive choice.
Are they safe?
Dental sealants are incredibly safe. Any risk associated with the application of dental sealants is exceptionally minimal. No product or agent considered toxic is used in the manufacture of sealants. In addition, when the sealant is properly applied, there is no known occurrence of cavity formation under the sealant. There are even some cases where the sealer would have stopped the progression of minimal decay present before application. Sealants are effective, easy to apply and economical; there is no discomfort in the procedure and it is performed without a local anesthesia. It allows you to retain your bright smile and confidence for years to come and is a very good choice for the prevention of tooth decay and loss in the future.
How long do they last?
With proper care and maintenance, including the use of fluoride toothpaste, dental sealants can last for years. However, if any issues do occur with your sealant, it is recommended to replace or repair any loss of sealant, complete or partial, in order to maintain the effectiveness of the treatment over the years. You can ask your dentist for more information on how to keep them pristine.