Purpose of a Dental Sealant
Just like our bodies, our teeth can always use an occasional helping hand towards the prevention of tooth decay. While we might take vitamin supplements to boost our immune system, using dental sealants help to preserve the health of our teeth, especially those teeth that are located at the back of the mouth, and which are more prone to tooth decay.
Visiting a dentist at a young age helps to build trust, but also sets us well on the way to a good and regular dental health habits. At a younger age, tooth decay is often less developed, and so is easier to treat than it might be in later years. As part of the treatment to help prevent tooth decay, and to help protect teeth, a dentist may apply a dental sealant – a thin plastic coating that is placed onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
By using dental sealants, the dentist can help to protect the teeth by covering over the fissures and grooves, thus preventing bacteria from entering the tooth structure and so reducing the risk of tooth decay.
These back teeth have fissures, and so bacteria which cause tooth decay can collect in the grooves and form into plaque in order to attack tooth enamel, which in turn can lead to decay and eventual tooth loss. The fissures in these teeth are difficult to clean and so the chances of developing tooth decay on these teeth are higher than in other teeth.
By using dental sealants, the dentist can help to protect the teeth by covering over the fissures and grooves, thus preventing bacteria from entering the tooth structure and so reducing the risk of tooth decay. The sealant creates a barrier which helps to prevent bacteria from growing on the teeth’s surface; although primarily used on the ‘chewing’ teeth – molars and premolars – dental sealants can be applied to other teeth which might have fissures or pits of their own.
Dental sealants are applied to teeth that have first been cleaned. After cleaning, the tooth is washed with water and then dried. A slightly acidic rinse is then used on the tooth to roughen the surface and give the dental sealant a stronger attachment. The dental sealant is applied as a liquid plastic that is then hardened and set by a curing laser. The process is quick and painless, and dental sealants can last several years.
While dental sealants helps to protect the surface of the teeth, it is important to maintain good and regular oral hygiene to provide even better protection.