Sealants: A Weapon Against Cavities
Tooth decay can be troublesome, but not everyone needs to fall victim.
Naturally, a regular dental routine is the best way to keep your or your children’s teeth healthy in the long run, but the application of dental sealants can give you an extra shield of protection.
What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a plastic coating that is painted – usually - on to the chewing surfaces of the molars or pre-molars, the teeth at the back of the mouth.
Why are sealants applied particularly on the molars and pre-molars?
The chewing surfaces of the teeth at the back of the mouth contain small pits and grooves. Understandably, your toothbrush does not do a very good job of clearing food trapped in these tiny crevices. Sugar in lingering food combines with bacteria in your mouth and, over a period of time, causes tooth decay. To prevent this from happening, sealants are generally applied on the surfaces of teeth, acting as a protective barrier against sugar and bacteria.
How are sealants applied?
In 5 easy steps:
1. The tooth on which the sealant is to be applied is thoroughly cleaned.
2. It is then dried properly and covered in cotton, so it stays dry.
3. A solution is poured on the tooth to make it rough, so the sealant sticks better.
4. The tooth is rinsed, dried and again covered in cotton, so it stays dry.
5. The sealant, in liquid form, is now painted on the tooth and hardens in a few seconds.
Who are candidates for dental sealants?
Children who have just developed their molars and pre-molars are the most common patients to receive sealants. However, adults can have sealants applied if requested.
Sealants can also be applied to baby teeth, which may help prevent early tooth loss as a result of tooth decay. Those who are prone to tooth decay can also use sealants to prevent further decay. Sealants last for about ten years. However, it is prudent to have your teeth checked regularly for chipping or wearing away. Sealants can be reapplied if needed by your dentist.