What Are Dental Sealants?

Most children will need dental sealants at some point. At Dentalville Panorama City, we offer dental sealants to our younger patients as a way to protect their teeth from decay. They are coatings that are made of plastic, normally white or a natural color to match the tooth, that will help to protect the teeth from cavities. Sealants are often placed on the back teeth as they will help to protect the chewing surface and usually not used on the front teeth. There are grooves on the molars. These grooves allow for more bacteria to stay in place, causing decay to quickly form. Brushing can help, but it's sometimes hard to reach into the grooves for an adequate cleaning. The sealants will protect the enamel from bacteria forming as they build a barrier for each tooth. They will essentially create a smoother surface so that it's easier to brush the teeth.

What Age Are Sealants Placed?

When the permanent molars begin to appear, it's usually time to think about sealants. Not every child will need sealants. It's up to Dr. Monique Glosman to make the decision as to whether the teeth would need the extra protection, but in for most children, this is the best option to protect the permanent teeth. An exception would be the wisdom teeth as these are often removed once they begin to come through. Adults can sealants placed on their teeth, but it's not a common occurrence unless there is a risk for cavities to form or a risk for damage to occur.

Procedure For Placement

Before the sealant is placed, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned. The tooth is then rinsed and dried with air so that it will be receptive to the material. A solution is placed on the tooth and left for a few seconds before the tooth is rinsed again. The acidic solution will create a rough surface so that Dr. Monique Glosman can easily apply the sealant. When the tooth is dry, the sealant is then applied to the tooth. It is left in place to harden. Sometimes, a special light is used to enhance the hardening process. When the sealant is hard, it will look like a shiny piece of plastic on the tooth. Most sealants will last for several years. However, it's important to brush and floss regularly as the sealant can become damaged if something happens to other areas of the tooth.

Benefits

Even children who brush their teeth on a daily basis and avoid sugary foods can benefit from sealants on the teeth. They will save parents money in the long run since they won't have to spend as much getting cavities filled. Another benefit is that you'll save time as it can take a few hours to do a filling or other procedures that treat cavities. Decay that develops can lead to other health issues with the teeth, such as an infection. This would mean that the tooth might need to be removed or that another dental option might be required, such as a crown or a bridge at a later point in life if there isn't protection applied early.