It can be an easy way to protect your teeth against long-term cavities. Dental sealants are plastic coverings placed on the chewing (occlusal) surface of permanent posterior teeth (molars and premolars) to protect them from cavities.
Why Do You Need Dental Sealants?
The chewing surfaces of molars and premolars have grooves, “fissures”, which make them vulnerable to cavities. These crevices can be deep, difficult to clean, and narrower than the bristles of a toothbrush.
Plaque builds up in these areas. Acid from plaque bacteria attacks the enamel and cavities can develop. Fluoride helps prevent cavities and protects all tooth surfaces. Dental sealants provide additional protection for areas with grooves and depressions by providing a smooth surface that covers the cracked area.
Since dental sealants provide such prevention against tooth decay, they are typically used in children and adolescents after molars have erupted. However, adults without cavities or fillings in their molars may also benefit from sealants.
Dental sealants may also be appropriate for baby teeth, such as when a child’s baby teeth have deep depressions and grooves. Because baby teeth play such an important role in maintaining the correct space for permanent teeth, it is important to keep these teeth healthy so that they are not lost too soon.
Types Of Dental Sealants
Technically, sealants are a combination of chemicals, fillers, and resins. The two most common types of dental sealants are composite resin and glass ionomers.
- Composite Resin: These dental sealants do not release fluoride over time, so they provide no added benefit to your child’s tooth enamel layers. They can be tooth-colored to blend naturally in a child’s mouth.
- Glass Ionomer: This treatment alternative is a softer paste that can be used for baby teeth. In this process, two components are mixed to create an acid-base reaction on the patient’s teeth. This soft paste adheres to the teeth. Glass ionomer materials blend very well with the natural color of a patient’s teeth, which is why many people prefer them as a functional and aesthetic treatment.
Results with Dental Sealants
Dental sealants can protect teeth from decay in the depressions and grooves of the premolars and molars for up to 10 years or more to ensure good oral health.