Dental sealants refers to the bonding a thin layer of plastic onto the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a way of preventing tooth decay.
What are the benefits of dental sealants?
Dental sealants reduce the depth of the grooves on the tooth surface, making it easier for children to keep their teeth clean by brushing. Since plaque removal is more effective, there is much less likelihood for tooth decay to take a grip and fester.
What will the dentist do?
The placement of dental sealants is fairly straightforward and often takes just one visit. The tooth is cleaned, etched, conditioned and dried. Liquid plastic is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth surface and hardened using an intense blue light. The bite is subsequently checked and the hardened sealant is buffed to a smooth finish. Your child can resume normal activities immediately after the appointment.
Which teeth should be sealed?
Molar and premolar teeth are the most common teeth on which dental sealants are placed. Having said that, any tooth that exhibits characteristics that increases the risk of tooth decay should be sealed. The recommendation for dental sealants will also take into account your child’s oral hygiene habits, diet and predisposition to teeth decay.
How long do dental sealants last?
Dental sealants last between 3 and 5 years on average. It is however not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of young adults. Your dentist will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
Are there any risks?
Dental sealants are very safe as it is made from the same materials as tooth coloured fillings. Dental sealants in combination with regular brushing and flossing, forms an affordable, yet formidable defensive strategy against tooth decay.