Sealants are thin, plastic-coated materials applied on the surface of the tooth to protect it from tooth decay. They are usually used on premolars and molars so dental carries cannot settle in the natural fissures and grooves of the teeth, which usually are the hiding places of cavities. Also, plaque easily accumulates on the back teeth because their location usually deprives them of the protection of saliva and fluoride. When sealants are applied, it will bond with the grooves of the teeth, creating a complete shield on every tooth.

How Does Dental Sealants Work?

The premolars and molars are very susceptible to tooth decay, dental caries and cavities, primarily because it is hard to reach them with a dental floss or toothbrush. This makes them more vulnerable to plaque. Sealants keep food particles from lodging into the fissures, grooves and nooks of the back teeth. because of this protective function, they are usually regarded as a basic part of dental hygiene. Also, they have shown to be helpful in managing lesions caused by dental caries.

Dental carries is when the naturally-occurring minerals on the tooth surface slowly disappear because of the acids and bacteria that collect in the mouth during food chewing. This loss can be counteracted by fluoride and saliva, which allow for new minerals to form. But because premolars and molars are usually beyond the reach of fluoride and saliva, they are less protected compared to the other teeth.

Who Should Get Dental Sealants?

Sealants are designed to protect the teeth, so it is advisable to get them at a young age between 6 and 14 years old. These years are when children are most prone to dental caries and cavities. Also, it is usually during the age of six when the premolars and molars start to come out. Still, adults can also benefit from sealants. Adults can get dental sealants to provide their teth extra protection from decay and damage, which is something that becomes more common with age.

Younger children like toddlers and school-age children can also get dental sealants on their baby teeth, especially when these teeth have significantly deep grooves and fissures. Keeping the baby teeth of a child healthy can also help maintain proper spacing once their permanent teeth come out. Aside from this, getting dental sealants will also make sure that the children will not lose their baby teeth earlier than they should because of dental caries and tooth decay.

How are Dental Sealants Applied?

A dentist or dental hygienist can perform a sealant application, and is performed at the dentist clinic. The whole procedure can be completed in just one visit. This protective procedure is relatively simple, painless and will take a few minutes for every tooth. However, this does not necessarily mean that if many teeth requires a sealant, the treatment will take longer.

Before the sealants are applied, every tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried. An acid solution is applied to roughen the tooth surface and ensure that the coating will quickly bond to the tooth surface once it is applied. This will depend on the kind of sealant used: if an acid solution was used, the teeth will have to be rinsed and dried a second time. after prepping the teeth, the sealants are applied. Once it is applied on the tooth, it should immediately harden. The dentist can also use a curing light to make it harden faster.

Can Sealants be Placed Over Cavities?

Dental sealants can be applied over areas with early decay to prevent any further damage on the tooth. Otherwise, a dental filling will have to used. Fillings are a restorative treatment that will repair the damage of tooth decay. To do so, the decay is removed from the tooth, because the dentist will fill the resulting hole using the filling. Fillings may be made from an amalgam or composite material. The latter is newer and is now the preferred material because of cosmetic reasons.

Author's Bio: 

James Franklin is a full time author and part-time blogger who like to put his review on various topics.
Ryan Daniel is a professional Dentist in Castle Hills of Lewisville, The Colony, Tx and genuinely care about the health and well being of teeth and gums.