Dental sealants can be used to protect your teeth from the bacteria that can cause cavities and decay. While many people may consider dental sealants as a treatment that is used exclusively for the growing teeth in children, adults are also able to benefit from using dental sealants.
What Are Dental Sealants?
Dental sealants are thin and plastic coatings that are painted on the surfaces of your teeth. They are used primarily on the teeth towards the back of your mouth, which include the molars. When a dental sealant is applied properly by a dentist, it can bond deep into the crevices and grooves of the teeth and create a protective seal over your teeth, preventing bacteria and acids from adhering to the enamel and creating cavities. The plastic coating is applied when it is in liquid form, which makes it easier for it to flow into the unique indentions and pits of your teeth. It is not effective an effective treatment on the smooth surfaces of the teeth, and as a result, is typically not used on teeth that are located towards the front of your mouth or on the sides, fronts, and backs of your teeth.
Getting Your Dental Sealants
The process to apply dental sealants is relatively quick, and you will experience no discomfort. After your dentist has cleaned and dried the affected tooth, the tooth will be covered with an acidic gel to create a slightly roughened surface on the enamel to which the plastic coating will adhere. After rinsing off the gel and re-drying the tooth, your dentist will carefully apply the sealant, taking care to cover the depressions in the tooth. A device that emits a special blue light will be used to harden the sealant.
How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?
When they are applied correctly and are properly cared for, dental sealants can last you up to 10 years, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It is not necessary to have them removed as the sealants will slowly wear away. However, to ensure they last as long as possible, it is important that you avoid placing unnecessary stress on your teeth and avoid behaviors such as using your teeth tear open difficult food packaging. The condition of the sealant can be assessed during regular dental visits. If necessary, your dentist can reapply it.
Can You Get Sealants on Teeth with Fillings/Dental Sealants Over Fillings?
The sealants are typically most effective when applied directly to the enamel of your teeth. They can be placed directly on the parts of the tooth have early signs of decay, which will prevent the decay from spreading. However, teeth that already have fillings are not good candidates for dental sealants. This is because the sealant cannot bond to the surface of the fillings.
With proper dental hygiene, dental sealants can help prevent cavities. If you have questions about how dental sealants or any other dental treatments can improve your oral health, schedule an oral health consultation with your dentist today.