Dental Sealant 1

Dental Sealant

There may be few things more frustrating than adhering to rigorous dental hygiene habits every single day, only to be told at your annual dental examination that you have cavities. It doesn’t even matter if the cavities are relatively small and easy to handle–you are convinced that with your dental hygiene habits you shouldn’t have any at all. So what’s happening?

The truth is that there may be nothing wrong with your dental hygiene habits, but there is something wrong with your dental cleaning tools. This does not mean you should rush out to buy a new toothbrush or floss, because they are likely to have the same weaknesses: they simply cannot penetrate fully into the deep pits and grooves of your primary chewing teeth, or molars. All molars have pits and grooves–this is what makes them effective at chewing up food. However, some molars have deeper pits and grooves than others, and some individuals just generally have more pitted and grooved molars than others. It is these pits and grooves, and the inability of even the finest toothbrush bristles to fully penetrate them in order to remove bacteria and leftover food particles, that leads to cavities. Fortunately, even if you have very deep pits and grooves in your molars, this does not mean you are doomed to suffer from cavities. There are solutions that can help keep your teeth clean and protected–like through the use of dental sealants.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are exactly what they sound like–protective seals placed over the chewing surfaces of the molars in order to protect them from bacteria and decay. They are typically made from a type of plastic that can be painted onto the tooth in liquid form in a very thin layer, so as to be able to protect while being entirely undetectable in the mouth–either by the individual himself or others. First, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried, and then the surface is roughed up so that the sealant will better adhere to the tooth. The tooth is rinsed and dried again, and the sealant is applied. Many dental sealants are able to harden fairly quickly on their own, but dentists who apply them often use a special type of light to “cure” them even more quickly.

Properly cared for, dental sealants can usually last for as long as ten years. Once they have been applied, the dentist will check them during normal dental examinations to ensure they are still working properly and are not damaged. In some cases, minor repairs can be made with the use of more dental sealant material. However, individuals who use their molars as tools to open containers and other things or who tend to grind their teeth at night may find that their dental sealants don’t last quite as long as desired. The solution, of course, is to protect one’s teeth from damage by using them only as intended (to chew foods) and wearing nightguards as needed to protect against the damage caused by tooth grinding.

Having a dental sealant applied to one tooth is usually slightly cheaper than having a filling placed in one tooth, and it is certainly far less expensive than dental crowns, caps or other types of dental restorations. More importantly, a dental sealant helps to protect one’s healthy, natural tooth so that they can remain strong for longer.

The Appropriate Use of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants can be helpful for any individual, no matter their age or whether their molars have shallow or deep pits and grooves. That said, individual dentists may be more likely to recommend dental sealants in certain situations. For example, many dentists recommend that children get dental sealants on their permanent molars as soon as they come in, which is between five and seven years of age and then again between eleven and fourteen years of age. This will help to protect the child’s teeth, especially in view of the fact that children are not generally excellent with their oral hygiene habits. In some cases, dentists may even recommend that a child’s baby teeth be sealed so as to better protect them while they are in use and while they are holding space for the child’s permanent teeth.

Dental sealants are easy and painless to apply, and can help enormously in the maintenance of a healthy, comfortable mouth.


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