Good oral hygiene routines and twice-yearly dental visits help us keep our mouths and teeth healthy. However, sometimes we need to take extra care of our teeth, which requires advanced preventative measures to maintain our oral health while also saving money and time in the future on dental procedures.
One of these preventative measures is to get dental sealants, which protect our teeth from developing cavities and maintain healthy oral health for years to come. Children that are susceptible to developing cavities should get dental sealants from a pediatric dentist to avoid future complications. Dental sealants preserve the health of teeth in areas where cavities are most likely to form as a result of harmful bacteria and the accumulation of plaque and tarter.
How Do Dental Sealants Help?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings made of medical-grade resin that are applied to the surface of molars and premolars. When it hardens, it functions as an extra layer of defense between cavity-forming bacteria and tooth enamel. It is a minimally invasive, painless, and cost-effective dental care procedure.
Dental sealants function as a raincoat. While a raincoat keeps us dry, dental sealants keep us from getting cavities. They both act as a shield, protecting us from more harm that could affect our health.
When a sealant solution is injected into the grooves of molars and premolars, it forms a smooth surface that shields our teeth from bacteria that can trap and build stubborn cavities.
Who Needs Dental Sealant?
Dental sealants have been approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) as a safe dental care procedure for both children and adults. Dentists recommend children have sealants as soon as their permanent molars and premolars appear.
The ages of 6 to 12 are ideal for getting dental sealants because our teeth are more susceptible to tooth cavities during this period. It is also recommended that children get dental sealants on their primary teeth if they have difficulty with dental hygiene to safeguard their permanent teeth from future damage.
Adults can also have sealants if they are at high risk of developing cavities or have never had decay. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental sealants reduce the risk of cavities by 80%.
How Dental Sealants Are Applied
The procedure for dental sealants is very simple and painless, requiring only one visit to the dentist's clinic. The procedure is only three simple steps long.
- Cleaning – The first step in any at-office dental treatment is to thoroughly clean the teeth to remove any food particles or bacteria. It will aid in the correct adhesion of the sealant. The teeth will be dried after cleaning and will be ready for the application of a solution.
- Application of a Solution – A blue gel-like solution is then applied to gradually roughen up the chewing surface of the tooth, helping in the formation of a strong bond for sealant.
- Application of Sealant – A dental sealant is then applied to the pits and grooves of the damaged tooth. To harden the setting process, the dentist will use a blue UV light for 60 seconds.
There will be some discomfort at first, but it will wear off and you will be able to use your teeth as usual.
Dental Sealant Maintenance Tips & Post-Operative Care
One of the major benefits of a dental sealant is that it does not require extensive maintenance. You only need to visit your dentist every six months for a check-up examination to monitor the sealants and offer touch-ups if they are in less-than-perfect condition.
Avoid hard and sticky foods such as candies, dried fruits, and ice after having sealants. To preserve your oral health, avoid grinding your teeth and brushing and flossing regularly.
By following these tips, your dental sealants can last up to a decade or more.
With qualified dentists and cutting-edge technology, the Anderson Lake Dental Clinic provides quality care in Eden Prairie, MN. Visit our clinic and ask our dentist any questions you have about dental sealants.