Dental Sealants: Protecting Teeth from Decay
Sealants are thin plastic resin films that are primarily applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars, as well as deep grooves on teeth. The natural anatomy of these teeth often includes pits and fissures where debris can accumulate, making them difficult to clean. Unfortunately, these rough areas also make them highly susceptible to tooth decay, with approximately 75% of cavities starting in these deep grooves. Sealants are designed to flow into and fill these pits and fissures, creating a smooth and easy-to-clean surface.
While dental sealants are commonly used in children who are at a higher risk of developing cavities, they can also be applied to adult teeth that are cavity-free but have deep grooves or depressions. If you're unsure whether sealants are suitable for your child or yourself, don't hesitate to consult with our dentist in Lake Worth at Prestige Dental Care.
The Sealant Application Process
Applying sealants involves several steps to ensure effective protection. First, a cleaning agent is applied to the tooth surface that will be sealed, typically the chewing surface. After rinsing away the cleaning agent, the tooth is isolated and an etching solution is carefully applied to the surface, allowing it to sit for fifteen seconds. Thorough rinsing removes the etching solution, leaving a clean and slightly roughened area for the sealing material to adhere to.
Next, our caring dentist in Lake Worth will apply the sealant material to the tooth surface, painting it on carefully. A special curing light is then used to harden the sealant. Finally, your bite will be checked for any high contact areas, which can be adjusted if necessary. One of the advantages of sealant placement is that it is a painless process, requiring no anesthesia or drilling. The entire procedure is typically quick, lasting anywhere from ten to thirty minutes, depending on the number of tooth surfaces that need to be sealed.
Effectiveness of Dental Sealants
Scientific studies have demonstrated that properly applied sealants are 100% effective in protecting teeth surfaces from developing cavities. The key to their effectiveness lies in the technique used during application and their ability to adhere to the tooth. As long as the sealants remain intact, they create a physical barrier that prevents bacteria and other cavity-causing agents from penetrating the tooth and causing decay. In fact, studies have shown that sealants can even stop small cavities from progressing by cutting off the nutrient supply to the bacteria. Discuss with our dentist in Lake Worth at Prestige Dental Care how sealants can contribute to the long-term health of your teeth.
To maintain their protective benefits, sealants need to maintain their integrity. Regular dental check-ups are essential, as our Lake Worth dentist will examine your sealants every six months to ensure they are still providing proper protection.
Longevity of Sealants
Sealants can last for many years, up to ten years if there is minimal wear and tear. However, they should not be considered permanent. The protection provided by sealants diminishes when the bond between the sealant and tooth surface is compromised. It is crucial to have regular check-ups at our Lake Worth dental office to ensure your sealants are not chipped or worn away. Alongside proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits, these practices will help prolong the lifespan of your sealants.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Sealants?
Children and teenagers with newly erupted adult molars and premolars are the primary candidates for sealants. Since bacteria can easily accumulate in the grooves and depressions of these teeth, sealants provide significant benefits. However, sealants can benefit individuals of any age, as their main purpose is to protect teeth. Regardless of your stage in life, sealants can be a valuable addition to your dental care routine.
Schedule a Sealant Consultation Today
If you are considering sealants to protect your teeth or your child's teeth, our caring dentist near you at Prestige Dental Care is here to help. Contact us today at (561) 965-3933 or click below to schedule a consultation and learn more about how sealants can contribute to the preservation of a healthy smile.