Why Are Dental Sealants Used by Family Dentists?

dental sealants Surfside, FL

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, dental sealants may be recommended by family dentists to prevent cavities. Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings that are painted on the surface of the teeth to prevent or slow decay. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of children between ages 2 and 5 and 50% of adolescents suffer from tooth decay. 

Tooth selection and dental health

Sealants are most often used on permanent molars because they naturally have pits and fissures that aid in chewing food. Dental sealants can smooth the tooth’s surface and prevent bacteria from building up in these grooves.

Primary teeth

Primary teeth, or baby teeth, can be selected for sealants if they are considered at risk of decay. Baby teeth are more susceptible to cavity formation because their enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth, is thinner. 

Permanent teeth

Most dental sealants are placed on a child’s permanent premolars and molars as soon as they come in, before decay can attack the tooth crevices. The first molars usually erupt around age 6, while the second molars come in around age 12. Adults may be candidates for dental sealants if they have not had decay or fillings. Teeth are evaluated for sealants on a case-by-case basis, regardless of age.

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars, and most people will get them between the ages of 17 and 25. Many people have these teeth removed because their mouth is too crowded or their teeth are impacted. Wisdom teeth should be sealed if they emerge without problems.

Sealant application

Dental sealants are usually made of plastic. The application of a dental sealant is a quick and painless process that does not require any numbing medications. It usually includes four steps:

  • Preparation and cleaning: Teeth to be sealed are cleaned and polished by a dental hygienist to remove any plaque and debris. Each tooth is then thoroughly dried and cotton is placed around the tooth.
  • Conditioning: The dentist will use a small brush to apply an etching gel to the tooth’s surface to roughen them up and help the sealant to bond. The etching gel is slightly acidic and will kill any bacteria that is still in the tooth’s grooves. Next, the tooth will be rinsed off and dried again.
  • Application: While the tooth is dry, the sealant is dabbed into the tooth’s grooves and pits. Then the dentist will shine a curing light for about 30 seconds to bond and harden the sealant.
  • Evaluation: Finally, the dentist will verify that the sealants are fully dried and check the way the teeth fit together when the mouth is closed. If a sealant is too thick, it will be buffed to thin it slightly. It is safe to eat and drink as soon as the sealants are fully hardened. 

Conclusion

Preventative dental care is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Dental sealants are an excellent way to provide additional protection against tooth decay. Sealants can last up to 10 years but should be evaluated at dental visits to ensure there are no cracks or chips.

Request an appointment here: https://balharbourdentist.com or call Bal Harbour Smiles at (305) 440-4229 for an appointment in our Surfside office.

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