Preventive dentistry: Sealants
Part of a preventive regimen for your oral health can consist of applying sealants to your molar teeth. Sealants act as a barrier that protects your teeth from decay causing bacteria. They are applied to the molars and premolars where decay is most likely to occur.
Children and teenagers are common candidates for sealant applications, however many adults can benefit from the protection that sealants offer.
What IS a sealant made from?
A sealant is a light cured material that is usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Once placed, it acts as a barrier to protect the enamel from plaque and acids that cause decay.
What is the procedure for applying the sealants?
The application of sealants is a very simple process and takes only a few minutes to complete. The tooth is first cleaned to remove all unwanted matter and bacteria. An etchant is then applied to the chewing surface of the tooth which helps to insure a secure bond for the sealant. And finally the sealant is “painted” onto the surface of the tooth, bonding to the enamel and hardening, always with the help of a curing light.
How durable are sealants?
As long as the sealant is intact, it can sometimes be effective for 5 to 10 years. The plastic resin of the sealant is very durable, holding up against the force of normal chewing (an average pressure of 50 lbs per square inch!). If the sealants are dislodged for any reason, we will replace them at no charge for up to 3 years as long as we see the patient every 6 months for regular hygiene visits.
How do sealants fit into a preventive dentistry program?
Sealants should be used as a part of a child’s total preventive dental care. A complete preventive dental program includes the use of sealants, fluoride, plaque removal, careful food choices, and regular dental care.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an evaluation appointment, call (615) 893-8771.