Dental sealants or pit and fissure sealants are like a protective covering on your teeth. Sealants as the name states, seal off all the deep fissures and grooves on your molar teeth.
The molars teeth are present at the back of your jaws. These teeth have a broad surface area and are full of grooves and fissures. Molars are also the teeth which are most susceptible to decay and cavities because food and debris get stuck on them.
Dental sealants seal these deep grooves and make the top surfaces of your teeth smooth. Dentists prefer to apply sealants in newly erupted molar teeth in children. On rare occasions, sealants are helpful for adults and primary teeth as well.
The procedure is simple and hassle-free. It involves acid treatment and application of the sealant. No drilling or teeth cutting is necessary for this procedure.
Sealants can last long enough if you take proper care. Let’s have a look into dental sealants in detail.
What are Dental Sealants and how do sealants appear?
Dental sealants are a particular type of cement that covers up and seals off fissures on your teeth. It is more of a preventive treatment than a cure for tooth decay.
The major constituent of a dental sealant is resin. The resin is also a part of dental bonding agents. Hence, we can say that sealants are tough and fracture resistant.
They are preventive dental resin. Hence, the best time to apply sealants is on newly erupted permanent teeth. They add an extra layer of protection to the molars which are otherwise prone to decay.
Sealants smoothly flow into all the cracks and fissures on your molar teeth and prevent food lodgment in them. (1)
On rare occasions, sealants are helpful in primary molars too. Primary molars sometimes have deep fissures on them. Sealants can fill them up and prevent teeth decay.
Same goes for adult teeth as well. It is never too late to get a sealant unless your teeth have already decayed.
Also, the sealants are white. You will barely even notice any difference in your teeth after application of sealants.
When do you need Dental Sealants?
You may mistake a dental sealant for regular dental cement. Hence it is essential to know the uses and need for application of dental cement.
Uses of dental sealants
The only singular purpose of dental sealants is the prevention of cavities and teeth decay. They are highly flowable resin. Thus, the sealant smoothly flows into all the cracks and fissures of your molars.
The fissures when sealed off, no longer allow debris lodgment. Hence, the incidence of cavities goes down.
Signs for the need for dental sealant placement
As adults, you may spot a few of these signs that cry out the need for sealant application –
- You see deep fissures on your molars.
- You see deep grooves on your molars.
- White spots appear on top surfaces of your teeth.
- Sensitivity occurs in your molars.
Where do dentists place Dental Sealants?
Dentists apply dental sealants on your back teeth, i.e., molars and premolars. To be more specific, sealants cover only the cuts and crevices of top surfaces of your back teeth. Most commonly, sealants cover your molars and sometimes your premolars.
Sealants are a necessary preventive treatment for children over six years of age who have erupting permanent molars. But sometimes even adults and children below six years might need dental sealants. (2)
Dental Sealants for adults
Dental sealants are more commonly applied only for newly erupting permanent teeth. But sometimes even adults require dental sealants for their molars.
Adult teeth are complex and have more rugged surfaces. Hence, if you want to get your deep dental crevices sealed off, you can see your dentist.
Although, you should keep in mind that sealants don’t help already decayed tooth. They are only a preventive measure for tooth decay. (3)
Procedure for Dental Sealant placement
The sealant application is a simple 3 step procedure.
Cleaning and conditioning of the tooth
Your dentist washes off the debris from your teeth with a dental jet spray. After which he conditions your teeth with acids so that sealants stick to your teeth. Then he dries off the tooth surface on which he wishes to apply the sealant.
Application of sealant
The dentist will then apply the white sealant on your tooth surface and remove any excess material. He might ask you to bite so that the sealant gets evenly dispersed.
Curing or fixing of the sealant
Finally, your dentist will cure or fix the sealant with a UV light. Curing or fixing makes the sealant permanently bonded to your tooth surface.
How long do Dental Sealants last?
If you maintain good oral hygiene by only brushing and flossing twice daily, sealants can last for years. Also, you need to avoid excessive brushing over the sealants because they might chip off.
Sealants are white and readily stainable. So, you might want to avoid staining beverages like tea, coffee, and red wine when you have sealants on your teeth.
Use of fluoride toothpaste with Dental Sealants
Some people stop using fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash after sealant application. They have a common notion that sealants are the ultimate preventive measure for teeth.
This idea is incorrect since sealants can chip off or break off just like any other dental cement. Hence, adding fluorides to this dental cover is always a good idea.
Over to you
Prevention is always better than cure. Hence, dental sealants are essential. They prevent cavities and tooth decay. They also help to maintain a clean tooth surface. Sealants smooth out the cracks and fissures on your molar teeth.
Thus, making it easy for saliva to wash away any debris from your teeth. No particular care method is necessary for sealants in your mouth. Follow your regular brushing and flossing regimen and use fluoridated products for best results.